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Full text of "William Carey"

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CHOICE POPULAR BIOGRAPHIES. 

HEROES OF CHRISTIAN HISTORY. 

A SERIES OF POPULAR BIOGRAPHIES 

BY 

Eminent English and American Authors. 



I2mo Vols., bound in cloth. Price, 7c. each. 



A series of biographies of men eminent in religious history, by 
writers of recognized ability. Popular in style, trustworthy, and com 
prehensive, and dealing with the most interesting characters and events 
in the story of the Christian Church. The series will condense, in enter 
taining form, the essential facts of the great body of religious literature, 
and will have special value for the large class anxious for information 
touching these great men, but unable, by reason of limited leisure or 
means, to read more elaborate works. 



NOW READY. 

WILLIAM WILBERFORCE. By REV. JNO. STOUGHTON, D.D. 
HENRY MARTYN. - By REV. CHAS. D. BELL, D.D. 

PHILLIP DODDRIDGE. - By REV. CHAS. STANFORD, D.D. 
WILLIAM CAREY. By REV. JAS. CULROSS, D.D. 

THOMAS CHALMERS. - By REV. DONALD FRASER, D.D. 
ROBERT HALL. .... By REV. E. PAXTON HOOD. 



NEARL Y READ Y. 

JOHN KNOX. - - - By REV. WM. M. TAYLOR, D.D. 

JONATHAN EDWARDS. - By H. SINCLAIR PATERSON, M.D. 
RICHARD BAXTER. By REV. G. D. BOYLE. 

JOHN WYCLIFFE. - - By REV. JAS. FLEMING, B.D. 



See "CRITICAL NOTICES" on next page. 

Sent on receipt of price , charges prepaid \ by 
A. C. ARMSTRONG & SON, 714 Broadway, New York. 



HEROES OF CHRISTIAN HISTORY. 

CRITICAL NOTICES. 



" A series of books which will be widely popular. It consists of 
compact, popular biographies of men eminent in religious history, pre 
pared by English and American authors of repute. They are similar in 
size to the English Men of Letters Series, trustworthy and sufficiently 
comprehensive, while yet brief enough to satisfy the demand of a large 
number of readers who earnestly desire to become acquainted with the 
lives and work of eminent Christian heroes. New York Evening Post. 



" These books are excellently printed * * * * a valuable 
acquisition to every reader s library." Chicago Evening Journal. 



" These are books that feed, as well as amuse ; books filled with 
good lessons, as developed in the lives of truly great men." 

Buffalo Commercial. 



The biographies are both excellently done, alike in their intrinsic 
interest and in their condensation of a great mass of material into a 
narrative for popular use and family libraries." 

N. Y. Christian Intelligencer. 



" A new library of men who have been both great and good com 
bining mental vigor with Christian virtue. It is seldom that we are able 
to record a more interesting list of subjects and writers." 

Sunday School Times. 



" In ordering these volumes no Sunday School, Church, or Public 
Library can make any mistake, for they are readable, instructive, and 
inspiring." N. Y. Observer. 



" They serve not only as a compendious history of the life and times 
in which they lived, but are standards of character for the coming gener 
ations." A. Lowrey. 



WILLIAM CAREY. 



BY 

JAMES CULROSS, D.D., 

AUTHOR OF 
"John, whom Jesus Loved," "The Greatness of Little Things," etc. 



A. C. ARMSTRONG AND SON, 

714, BROADWAY. 

MDCCCLXXXII. 

[AH rights reserved.] 



CONTENTS 



CHAPTER I l 



CHAPTER II 2 7 



CHAPTER III. 47 



CHAPTER IV 61 



CHAPTER V. 93 



CHAPTER VI "2 



CHAPTER VII .120 



CHAPTER VIII 139 



vi CONTENTS. 

CHAPTER JX. 



CHAPTER X .......... I7I 



CHAPTER XI. 



187 



CHAPTER XII. . . . . . .195 



BOOKS made use of in drawing up this account of Carey s life : 
Periodical Accounts Relative to the Baptist Missionary Society ; 
Sermon (with appendix), by Christopher Anderspn ; Memoir, by 
Eustace Carey ; Life and Times of Carey, Marshman, and Ward, 
by J. C. Marshman ; Life of John Thomas, and numerous articles 
in the Oriental Baptist, by C. B. Lewis ; Brown s History of 
Missions ; Hough s Christianity in India ; Kaye s History of 
Christianity in India ; Sherring s Protestant Missions in India ; 
Life of Dr. Duff, and The Canterbury of North India (Sunday 
Magazine, 1874), by Dr. George Smith ; Hunter s Statistical Ac 
count, and Rural Annals of Bengal, etc. 

Special acknowledgment is due to the Rev. W. FIDLER, Tow- 
cester; to Mrs. TRESTRAIL, Newport, I.W., for notes respecting 
Paulerspury ; to Mrs. HUGH ANDERSON, Edinburgh, and to the 
Rev. C. B. LEWIS, late of Calcutta, for the use of manuscript 
volumes of letters by Carey, Marshman, Ward, Fuller, Ryland, 
and others ; and to JOHN TAYLOR, Esq., Northampton, for much 
out of the way information most kindly furnished. 



CHAPTER I. 

PAULERSPURY is the name of a village lying on 
the south side of the old Roman road known 
as Watling Street, three miles or thereby from the 
market-town of Towcester, county of Northampton. It 
is the Pavelis Pery of Camden, and derives its name 
from the Paveleys (or Peverels), its ancient lords. The 
neighbourhood, without being picturesque, is pleasing, 
and occasionally the wayfarer comes upon "bits" of 
unpretending beauty. 

A hundred years ago, Whittlebury Forest, which is 
no distance off, was open, and its fine trees, though 
few compared with what they had been, still formed 
a striking feature in the landscape. Thomas Fuller 
records l that in his time the county of which he was 
a native was " as fruitful and populous as any in 
England, insomuch that sixteen several towns with their 
churches have at one view been discovered by my eyes, 
which I confess none of the best." "Sure I am," he 

1 " The History of the Worthies of England, endeavoured by 
Thomas Fuller, D.D." 

B 



2 WILLIAM CAREY. 

adds, " there is as little waste ground in this as in any 
county in England ; no mosses, mears, fells, heaths 
(Wintering but a beauty-spot), which elsewhere fill so 
many shires with much emptiness ; Northamptonshire 
being an apple without core to be cut out, or rind to 
be pared away." 

The village itself, with population not far off a 
thousand, lay rather high and cold in the yet unenclosed 
"field," and must have been dreary enough in winter. 
It consisted of two hamlets, Paulerspury proper and 
Pury End, separated by a depression with a small brook 
in the bottom, where children would delight to dabble 
in the summer time ; and extended in straggling fashion 
more than a mile from one extremity to the other. The 
houses were mostly built of grey-looking stone, and 
turned many a quaint and high-pitched gable to the 
village-street with small regard to symmetry of arrange 
ment ; the upper windows looking out from under eye 
brows of dark thatch. Great trees flung their shadows 
here and there one fine elm which stands at the 
entrance to the churchyard surviving to the present. 
The soil was too cold and stiff for any but the com 
monest flowers, and a few ferns of the hardiest kinds, 
such as would grow anywhere. There were tufts of 
primrose, cowslips, violets, blue bells, buttercups, crow 
foot, with Wordsworth s small celandine, and just over 
the way from the school-house what a " starry multi 
tude " of daisies ! The rarer birds were beginning to 
disappear from the locality if indeed they had ever 



BIRTH AND PARENTAGE. 3 

haunted it; but of a summer evening the nightingale 
could still be heard in the dark woods of Whittlebury 
a mile away. Near the church was the village green, 
with deep draw-well in the middle, the water clear as 
crystal, and cool in the hottest day of summer. Away 
over by the Forest was just such a neighbourhood as 
a boy would scour for birds nests, or a very young 
botanist for plants and flowers. 

In this village, in a cottage which has now dis 
appeared, William Carey saw the light, i7th August, 
1 76 1. 1 He was the first-born of five children, William, 
Ann, Mary, Thomas, and Elizabeth. Elizabeth, who 
bore her mother s name, died in infancy. The father, 
Edmund Carey " a short, dotty man " was a weaver, 
but succeeded to the united offices of village school 
master and parish clerk when his son William was about 
six years old. School-house and master s house stood 
end to end, with a bit of playground in front, in which 
grew two wide-spreading planes. The school forms 
were small trees, sawn down the middle, the flat side 
smoothed and turned upward, resting on legs as primi 
tive as the body. The old man lived to complete his 
eightieth year, in " honest repute " among his neighbours 
for "the strictest integrity and uprightness," "a lover 
of good men," and "a great reader." A gravestone 
in the churchyard recorded his death, June i5th, 1816. 

In those days and in that district, village life was far 

1 Was he a descendant of "James Gary," curate of the parish 
from 1624 to 1630? 



< 



WILLIAM CAREY. 



from being Elysian. From an early age the children 
were kept close at work, with little time allowed for 
school or play. The price of labour was very low, and 
there was often scarcity of food. The chief employ 
ments were those of shoemakers, tailors, wool-combers, 
weavers, dyers, woodmen, and agricultural labourers. 
The wives and daughters earned something by spinning 
and making pillow-lace. The common pay of a labourer 
from Michaelmas to Midsummer was under five shil 
lings a week with his beer and a cup of milk at break 
fast time ; other work was paid in proportion. The 
rent of a farm of a hundred acres and there were 
few larger was about 30. The "cottage homes of 
England," smiling over " silvery brooks " or nestling 
among " glowing orchards," made beautiful pictures ; 
but the fortunes of the cottager as may be imagined 
were cheerless enough : poverty and sore toil bringing 
on age before its time. It was to such prospects that 
young Carey was born. 

The memorials of his boyhood, though meagre, enable 
us to picture him somewhat vividly. Attached to the 
schoolmaster s house was a considerable-sized orchard- 
garden, and this the boy cultivated almost entirely by 
himself. If there was an unproductive spot he planted 
a tree or shrub in it ; and he found room besides for 
a variety of choice flowers, collected with pains, which 
he carefully tended. He was small for his years, and 
slightly built Dress and manners were rustic; but he 
had a prepossessing face, eye and brow in particular, 



THE BOY THE FATHER OF THE MAN. 5 

and a bright, indomitable spirit. He had good physical 
stamina, was wiry and nimble, and took all a boy s 
delight in frolic and adventure. If, for example, there 
was a tree more than ordinarily difficult to climb, he was 
sure to try, often succeeding where others failed. In one 
such attempt, for which a bird s nest was the prize, he 
came to the ground, bruised and half-stunned, but as 
soon as he was able to leave the house, the first thing he 
did was to try again and succeed. 

Along with his high .spirits he had a keen desire for 
knowledge, great perseverance in the pursuit of it, and a 
fine memory. As the schoolmaster s son he had advan 
tages over the children generally; still, his pursuit of 
knowledge was carried on under difficulties. After he 
became famous, the villagers remembered that whatever 
he began he finished, and that he did not know how to 
yield. In later life, when some one made reference to 
what he had accomplished, he replied unconsciously 
revealing the inner self " There is nothing remarkable 
in it ; it has only required perseverance." Another time 
he said to his nephew, Eustace : " If after my removal 
any one should think it worth his while to write my life, 
I will give you a criterion how you may judge of its 
correctness. If he give me credit for being a plodder 
he will do me justice. Anything beyond this will be 
too much. I can plod. I can persevere in any definite 
pursuit. To this I owe everything." There is truth 
in this self-estimate. He had indeed a clear, vigorous 
intellect prompt, acute, and capable of considerable 



6 WILLIAM CAREY. 

comprehension ; he was many-sided ; he had a child s 
simplicity; with niuch gentleness of disposition he 
combined unswerving decision ; but he had no imagina 
tion, no philosophic insight, 

" No conquering gift of speech or form or face ;" 

no splendid native endowments of any sort ; his cha 
racteristic from boyhood onward was what Robert Hall 
termed "unrelenting industry," or, if there be such a 
quality, the enthusiasm of patiejice. What this carries 
in it let Carlyle tell : " To swallow one s disgusts, and 
do faithfully the ugly commanded work, taking no 
council with flesh and blood know that genius 
everywhere in nature means this first of all ; that, with 
out this, it means nothing, generally less." 

Books in those days were few, and not easy to be 
begged or borrowed by a country boy; but he had 
" a hunger " for them, and such as fell in his way he 
mastered. His tastes inclined him to those which bore 
on travel, adventure, history, and more especially natural 
science. Novels and plays he avoided, as he avoided 
books on religious subjects, and to some extent from the 
same motive. The " Pilgrim s Progress," however, fasci 
nated him, though he did not understand it. 

He learned from nature as well as books. His sister 
Mary " Polly " he called her several years his junior, 
used to be his companion in many of his country 
rambles, as when he went to gather " Whittlebury nuts," 
or to visit some favourite resort ; and she relates how he 



SHOEMAKER S APPRENTICE. 

never walked out without keeping his eye inquisitively 
on hedge and bush ; and if he took up a specimen of 
any sort he always observed it with care. His little 
room at home was crowded with living plants, birds, 
and insects, which he had himself collected, and whose 
habits he carefully watched. This love of nature never 
died out in him, and had much to do with the good 
health and flow of spirits which made him known many 
a year afterwards as " the cheerful old man." 

From his seventh year he was troubled with a dis 
order, chiefly affecting his face and hands, which made 
the sun s rays disagreeable to him, and rendered him 
unfit for any outdoor employment ; so, when somewhere 
over fourteen years of age, he was apprenticed to 
Mr. Clarke Nichols, shoemaker, Hackleton, nine or ten 
miles eastward from his native village. 

This engagement seemed at the time decisive of the 
boy s future career, and in an ordinary case it would 
have been so. But though as yet he had no ulterior 
aims, his thirst for knowledge continued unabated. As 
an indication of this, it is related that among his master s 
books there was a commentary on the New Testament, 
the pages sprinkled with Greek words. These words 
were as great a puzzle to him as Egyptian hieroglyphics 
would have been ; but he was fascinated by them and 
determined to get at their meaning, so he copied them 
as accurately as he could, and on his visits home took 
the copy with him to be deciphered and translated by 
Tom Jones, a weaver in the village, who had received 



8 WILLIAM CAREY. 

and misused a classical education. It is not probable 
that he added much to his stock of information in this 
way, but the discipline was worth something. 

About the end of his second year s apprenticeship 
his master died. Though under no legal obligation, he 
paid (or there was paid for him), a sum of money to 
the widow for his freedom, and he entered the employ 
ment of Mr. T. Old, in the same village, as a journey 
man, receiving lower wages, as he was not yet master 
of the craft. It is generally stated that he was a poor 
workman so much so that he could never make a 
pair of shoes to match each other or to please the 
customer ; but this was not his own estimate of his 
proficiency. l Of course the country lad would not have 
found employment in a fashionable workshop, but the 
work he turned out was counted good for the district, 
and he relates that his employer kept on view a pair 
of shoes made by him, as a model of what shoes ought 
to be. 

A revolution took place in his life about his eighteenth 
year. Though brought up a strict churchman, as became 
the son of a parish clerk, and in due time confirmed, 

1 " The childish story of my shortening a shoe to make it longer 
is entitled to no credit, though it would be very silly in me to 
pretend to recollect all the shoes I made. I was accounted a 
very good workman." Carey to Dr. jRyland. There is no 
inconsistency between this and his retort to the general officer who 
inquired of one of the aides-de-camp, when dining with the 
Marquis of Hastings, whether Dr. Carey had not once been a 
shoemaker? "No, sir! only a cobbler " 



STINGS OF CONSCIENCE. g 

he was a stranger to the love of Christ. " Stirrings of 
mind " he had often experienced, succeeded by good 
resolutions, which, however, always melted away ; he was 
well acquainted with the letter of Scripture, particularly 
the Psalms and the historical books ; he attended church 
and said "Amen" with regularity: but- that was all. 
Notwithstanding his father s solicitude to guard him 
from harm, he had associated with companions whose 
influence could only be debasing ; his lips were too 
often polluted with profane language ; he told lies ; 
and he ran great risk of going down into those depths 
of gross conduct to be found among the lower classes 
of neglected villages. 

In the same employment there was another young 
man just awakening to the perception of invisible 
realities the son of a dissenter, with whom he had 
frequent discussions in the workshop on religious sub 
jects, the master occasionally putting in a word. Being 
a churchman, who had read Jeremy Taylor s " Works," 
and Spinker s "Sick Man Visited," young Carey had 
always viewed dissenters with contempt indeed, to be 
a dissenter was then only one remove from being a 
pariah ; he had pride enough, too, for a thousand times 
his knowledge ; and so, though the argument often went 
against him, he always had the last word. Subsequent 
reflection, however, convinced him that, even when 
triumphant, he was in the wrong, and led to a growing 
uneasiness and many " stings of conscience," though it 
was long till he saw that what he needed was a new 



10 WILLIAM CAREY. 

heart Nevertheless, a gracious purpose was served ; 
he was made sensible of his sinful condition, and began 
earnestly to search the Scriptures. 

* In this state of mind he thought he would render 
himself acceptable to God, and secure peace, by means 
of religious observances ; and accordingly, in the spirit 
of a young Pharisee, he began to attend church three 
times on Sunday, and a dissenting prayer-meeting in the 
evening ; he also began to fight against his bad habits, 
and sometimes, when alone, he tried to pray. It is 
impossible to trace the various stages of his experience, 
but the issue was a perception of the wonderful grace 
of God, through the Redeemer, and that vital change of 
heart whence all newness of life proceeds. The transi 
tion from darkness into light was not sudden ; rather the 
contrary. For a time, as his sinfulness was brought 
home to him, he "sought the Lord with shame and 
fear"; and even after he thought himself in the light, 
he would seem to be thrown back again into darkness 
as black as ever. Just as the Gospel was beginning 
to shape itself before his mind into a consistent and 
gracious system, he came in contact with some who 
" had drank deeply into the opinions of Law and other 
mystics." In a long discussion with one of these men, 
conducted in a manner quite new to him, he became 
more deeply convinced than ever that his life was out of 
harmony with the Gospel ; he " felt ruined and helpless," 
and the anxiety into which he was thus thrown brought 
him "to depend wholly on the crucified Saviour for 



THE GREAT CHANGE. u 

pardon and salvation." Still, perplexities and fears 
would haunt him, and though he listened earnestly to 
various ministers, and conversed with many experienced 
Christians, they left him in an inquisitive and unsatisfied 
state. 

Thomas Scott, the commentator, who had succeeded 
John Newton in his curacy at Olney, was in the habit of 
walking occasionally from Olney to Northampton ; and 
when he did so would call at Mr. Old s house in passing. 
On the first of these visits a "sensible-looking lad," 
wearing his leather apron, entered the room along with 
Mr. Old. Mr. Scott gave an account of the conversion 
of an aged relative of the Olds, who had long been con 
sidered a " self-righteous Pharisee "; and he pointed out 
how the term was often wrongly applied to conscientious 
but ignorant inquirers. The attention of the young 
shoemaker " was riveted with every mark and symptom 
of intelligence and feeling ;" and now and then he 
"modestly asked an appropriate question." Calling at 
the house twice or thrice a year, Mr. Scott was each 
time more struck with the youth, and judged that he 
would one day prove no ordinary man. 1 

The younger sister, already referred to, speaking of 
the change in her brother, says : " Before this, with 
respect to religion, he was at enmity with God, and in 

1 A gentleman, who lived in the neighbourhood, and who had 
observed the signs of promise in the boy, informed the family " that 
never a youth promised fairer to make a great man, had he not 
turned a cushion-thumper." 



12 WILLIAM CAREY. 

many things ridiculed His people. I well remember 
our wondering at the change. This was evident in his 
conduct and conversation. For some time he stood 
alone in his father s house. I recollect once his burning 
a pack of cards he had before purchased. Like Gideon, 
he wished to throw down all the altars of Baal in one 
night; his zeal perhaps at the time might exceed the 
bounds of prudence. I often wished he would not 
bring his religion home, though it was a harder task to 
discover [manifest] his zeal at home than anywhere, had 
he not felt the importance so great. Often have I seen 
him sigh as if his heart were overwhelmed, yet he could 
not speak to us. He, however, asked leave to pray in 
the family, and one circumstance I well recollect. He 
always mentioned these words, that all our righteousness 
was as filthy rags. That used to touch my pride and 
raise my indignation." 

In 1781 a small Church was formed at Hackleton, 
consisting of nine members. Carey s name is third in 
the list. 1 He does not seem to have been much with 
them, being soon afterwards occupied in village preach 
ing. Opposite his name in the church-book is the 

1 He had broken off from the Church of England some time 
previously without very clearly knowing why. The tenth name in 
the above list is that of William Manning, Carey s shopmate. The 
educational level of the little band may be judged from this entry : 
"The ordance of baptsom first instituted. Mr. Timson, of Earl 
Barton, first performed that ordance at Hackleton, July the 25, 
1798." There had been an old meeting-house opened in the village 
as far back as 1767. 



HIS MARRIAGE. 



3 



entry : " Whent away without his dismission." Several 
others " whent away " in the same manner. About the 
time when this little Church was formed, there was a 
considerable religious "awakening" in the neighbour 
hood, and prayer-meetings were more than ordinarily 
frequented. A sort of "conference meeting "was also 
begun, in which the members gave their thoughts on 
some passage of Scripture. Carey sometimes took part, 
" the ignorant people applauding," as he records, " to 
my great injury," and tempting him to self-conceit. 

On the roth of June, 1781, at Piddington Church, he 
married Dorothy Plackett, his employer s sister-in-law, 
and on Mr. Old s death soon after, he succeeded him 
in business, 1 occupying a small neat house in the village, 
with a pleasant garden, to which he paid great attention. 
His marriage was a mistake. His wife was indeed a 
good woman, but she had scarcely any education ; she 
had neither nerve nor strength for hardships; she 
could not sympathise in her husband s aspirations, and, 
unhappily, she had a pre-disposition to_ mental disease. 
He always treated her with respectful tenderness. 

He was present one of the days when the Association 
of Baptist Churches held their meeting at Olney, in 
June, 1782, fasting till night because he had not a penny 
to buy a dinner. Mr. Guy, 2 of Sheepshead, preached On 

1 The sign-board of his shop may be seen in Regent s Park 
College, London. It was preserved by William Manning, his 
shop-mate, from whose widow it was obtained in 1815, by Joseph 
Ivimey. 

2 Called " the sleeping preacher " from his habit of speaking on 



14 WILLIAM CAREY. 

Growing in Grace, and in the afternoon at five, Andrew 
Fuller, a " round-headed, rustic-looking " young minister 
from Soham, just beginning to be recognized as a man 
of singularly powerful and acute intellect, and uncom 
mon weight of character, preached On being Men in 
Understanding. The same Andrew Fuller next morning 
laid on the table the annual Circular Letter, On the excel 
lence and utility of the grace of Hope, On this occasion, 
through the intervention of Mr. Chater, the Independent 
minister of Olney, Carey met with some friends belong 
ing to Earl s Barton, a village about six miles from 
Hackleton ; and a fortnight afterwards he was formally 
requested to preach to a little congregation there. He 
complied. Why he did so, he says, " I cannot tell ; but 
believe it was because I had not a sufficient degree of 
confidence to refuse ; this has occasioned me to comply 
with many things which I would have been gladly 
excused from." He continued to visit Barton for about 
three years and a half. Once a month or so he 
preached in his native village ; occasionally elsewhere. 

Though sincerely trusting the Saviour and walking in 
newness of life, his views of Divine truth were yet far 
from being clear, and he continued to search the Scrip 
tures with slow and prayerful earnestness, using "free 
inquiry and diligent search, to find out the truth," and 
gradually constructing for himself a system of Biblical 

religious subjects in his sleep. " The sermon of the sleeping 
preacher " will be found in the Baptist Magazine for 1862, page 
317, where the name is misprinted Gray. 



2LLNESS. IS 

theology. While he was prosecuting his search, Mr. 
Skinner, of Towcester, presented him with a copy of 
Hall s " Help to Zion s Travellers," l and this book was 
of such service to him that "for the first time he felt 
the ground of his faith firm and stable." There were 
some indeed who labelled the book " Poison;" if it was 
poison, he says, " it was so sweet to me that I drank it 
greedily to the bottom of the cup." 

Not long after becoming a master he was obliged to 
sell off his stock at a loss, owing to depression of trade. 
At the same time sickness invaded his home ; his first 
born child, a little girl, was taken away after a short 
illness, and he himself was attacked with fever which 
left him in health so feeble that for more than a year he 
had the greatest difficulty in providing daily bread for 
his household. Such indeed was the pressure upon him 
that he would have been reduced to the verge of 
starvation but for timely aid from his younger brother, 
and a small gift of money from friends at Paulerspury, 
enabling him to rent a cottage and garden in the neigh 
bouring village of Piddington. The fever still hung 
about him there, combined with ague, and rendered him 
prematurely bald. 1 

1 "Help to Zion s Travellers ; being an attempt to remove 
various stumbling-blocks out of the way, relating to doctrinal, 
experimental, and practical religion. By Robert Hall. Sold by 
Buckland & Keith, London. Price 35-. bound. " 

1 A likeness of him in "a black coat and stiff old powdered 
wig" hung in Fuller s parlour. Dr. Ryland did not like it. 
Writing to India in 1809, he says, "I wish we had a picture of 



1 6 WILLIAM CAREY. 

At the age of twenty-two, having become convinced 
from Scripture that baptism should not precede but 
follow personal faith in the Redeemer, he applied as a 
candidate to Mr. Ryland, senior, of Northampton, who 
lent him a book, and put him into the hands of his 
son. On the 5th of October, 1783, he was baptized 
by the younger Ryland in the Nen, a little beyond 
Dr. Doddridge s chapel in Northampton. To onlookers 
as well as to Ryland himself so he afterwards stated 
it was merely the baptism of a poor journeyman shoe 
maker, and the service attracted no special attention. 
Ryland s morning text that day was unconsciously pro 
phetic (Matt xix. 30), " But many that are first shall be 
last, and the last shall be first." 

A desire had been growing up among the people at 
Barton to embody themselves as a Church, with Carey 
as their pastor ; and they consulted Mr. Sutcliff, of 
Olney, on the subject, who paid them a visit and had 
a conference with them. He preached a sermon on 
the occasion, which Carey stayed to hear. In private 
discourse Sutcliff advised him to join "some respectable 
Church," by whom he might be "appointed to the 
ministry" in a regular way. He followed the advice, 
and applied to the Olney Church, a community dis- 

Carey without his odious stiff wig and coat-cellar. Good Mr. 
Wilson, of Olney, is an excellent Christian, but one of the ugliest 
wig-makers that ever was born. He made them of just the same 
description for Carey, Fuller and Sutcliff; enough to spoil any 
man s physiognomy." Carey is said to have thrown his overboard 
on his passage to India. 



HIS EARLY PREACHING. 17 

tinguished for Christian zeal and concord. He had 
removed from Piddington to Moulton at the previous 
Lady- Day, and exercised his ministry there as well as 
at Barton. The Olney Church-book records that " a 
request from William Carey, of Moulton, in Northamp 
tonshire," for membership, was brought forward on the 
iyth June, 1785; and it is noted: "He has been, 
and still is, in connection with a society of people at 
Hackleton. He is occasionally engaged with acceptance 
in various places in speaking the word. He bears a 
very good moral character. He is desirous of being 
sent out from some reputable and orderly Church of 
Christ, into the work of the ministry. The principal 
question debated was, In what manner shall we receive 
him ? By a letter from the people at Hackleton, or on 
a profession of faith ? The final resolution of it was 
left to another Church-meeting." 

The following month he appeared before the Church, 
and having given a satisfactory " account of the work of 
God upon his soul," he was admitted a member, and 
was invited to preach in public once next Lord s day. 
He preached accordingly in the evening. It seems that 
some of the brethren were not quite satisfied ; so it was 
resolved that he should be " allowed " to go on preach 
ing at those places where he had been for some time 
employed Earl s Barton, Moulton, and elsewhere; but 
it was deemed necessary " that he should engage again 
on suitable occasions for some time before us, in order 
that farther trial may be made of his ministerial gifts." 

c 



1 8 WILLIAM CAREY. 

On June i6th, next year, " the case of Brother Carey 
was considered, and an unanimous satisfaction with his 
ministerial abilities being expressed, a vote was passed 
to call him to the ministry at a proper time." On the 
loth of August, accordingly, he was formally "called" 
a term corresponding to Presbyterial " license " and 
was sent out from Olney to preach the gospel " wherever 
God in His providence " might determine. This was 
done after he had delivered a discourse which he de 
scribes as having been " as weak and crude as anything 
could be, which is or has been called a sermon." 

Meanwhile the tie with Earl s Barton was loosening. 
This was due in part to necessity. The friends there 
were few and very poor so poor that they were unable 
" to raise enough to pay for the clothes worn out in their 
service ; " and he must have starved but for his trade. 
By-and-by, " circumstances " led to the entire severance 
of his connection with Barton ; after which the Moulton 
people seem to have enjoyed his undivided services. 
The congregation at Moulton had been originally on 
the General Baptist foundation. Throughout the county 
these congregations were considered not as distinct 
Churches, but as one. Through declension in preaching 
and life, however, they had been wasting away, while 
communities more distinctly evangelical gradually took 
their place. So it came about that when Carey settled 
in Moulton, the Church had practically ceased to be 
General Baptist, and held views of Divine truth pretty 
nearly akin to his own. 



BECOMES A SCHOOLMASTER. 19 

For a length of time discipline had been neglected ; 
but on Lord s Day, ist October, 1786, having had 
Carey s services for more than twelve months, they met 
together, and unanimously signed a "Covenant," in which 
they declared their acceptance of the Word of God as 
their only guide in matters of religion, acknowledged 
that no other authority whatsoever is binding on the 
conscience, professed themselves persons who had found 
mercy of the Lord, and held themselves bound to walk 
in obedience to His Divine commands. The " Cove 
nant," which is somewhat lengthy, was designed to pro 
mote the purity of the Church, particularly as respects 
life and character. A month later (2nd November) they 
invited him to become their pastor. 

One consideration that induced him to settle at 
Moulton was the prospect of exchanging shoemaking for 
teaching. He opened school ; but it soon became clear, 
even to himself, that in becoming a schoolmaster he had 
mistaken his calling : he could neither wield the school- 
sceptre with authority nor inspire the village children 
with the love of knowledge. " When I kept school," he 
would afterwards laughingly say, "the boys kept me." 
His income was " about Ten Pounds per Annum " from 
the Church, Five Pounds from a fund in London, and 
latterly seven shillings and sixpence a week from his 
school in all, less than ^36. The village preacher, in 
" Sweet Auburn," was 

" Passing rich with forty pounds a year ; " 

but then he had his "garden " and his "modest mansion" 



20 WILLIAM CAREY. 

besides : Carey had only his six and thirty, or something 
less, a sum altogether inadequate to enable him to 
do his Church work and maintain his family. The con 
sequence was a return to his former trade,. which yielded 
him a bare living. Northampton, eight or ten miles 
distant, was then the metropolis of shoemakers ; as far 
back as the days of Thomas Fuller it might " be said to 
stand chiefly on other men s leggs ; " and there was a 
common saying that " you may know when you are 
within a mile of the town by the noise of the cobblers 
lap-stones." Once a fortnight, the little man, with a far 
away look on his face, might be seen trudging thither 
with wallet full of shoes for delivery to a government 
contractor, and then returning home with a burden of 
leather for next fortnight s work. All this time, in 
poverty that would have crushed the spirit out of an 
ordinary man in three months borrowing and occasion 
ally buying a book he went on with his studies. One 
notable habit he had formed in his Barton days, which 
he continued at Moulton that of carefully reading 
beforehand, in the original Hebrew or Greek, as well 
as in a Latin translation, the portion of Scripture which 
he selected for the morning devotional exercise in 
church. 

Dr. Ryland records an incident illustrative of Carey s 
faculty as a linguist. " Well, Mr. Carey," he said to 
him one day, " you remember how I laughed at you 
when I heard of your learning Dutch, for I thought you 
would never have any use for that language ; but now I 



BECOMES PASTOR AT MOULTON. 21 

have the first opportunity of profiting by it. I have re- 
ceived a parcel from Dr. Erskine, of Edinburgh, who has 
long been used to send me any interesting publications 
which he receives from America or which have been 
printed in Scotland ; and this parcel contains several of 
those sorts ; but, he says, I shall wonder that he has 
enclosed a Dutch book. This, he informs me, is a 
volume of sermons written by a divine now living in 
Holland ; at the end of which is a Dissertation on the 
call of the gospel, which if any friend of mine or Mr. 
Fuller s understands the language sufficiently to translate 
it for us, we should be glad to see. Now (said I to Mr. 
Carey) if you will translate this Dissertation for me, I 
will give you the whole." Carey soon brought the Dis 
sertation, 1 and afterwards an extraordinary sermon on 
Hosea iii., translated from the Dutch volume. He had 
acquired his knowledge of the language chiefly through 
means of a Dutch quarto obtained from an old woman 
in the neighbourhood. 

The Church-life of the Moulton congregation is sug 
gestively pictured in their Church-book. " Mr. Carey " 
has been acting as their " minister " for some time ; and 
at a Church-meeting on 2nd November, 1786, it was 
"universally agreed" to call him "to the office of Pastor, 

1 " A Discourse on the Gospel Offer, by a Minister of the Re 
formed Church, translated from the Dutch by the Rev. Wm. Carey, 
of Moulton, near Northampton, 1789." The original MS. (with 
other treasures) is in the Vestry of College Lane Chapel, North 
ampton. It is in a very small hand, pp. 45, two blank. 



22 WILLIAM CAREY. 

which was accordingly done." On ist February, 1787, 
he "agreed to accept" this call. On 3rd May, "our 
Brother William Carey was received by a letter of dis 
mission from the Baptist Church at Olney, in the double 
character of a member and minister ; and his ordination 
was settled or appointed to be on Wednesday, Aug. ist. 
Agreed that Mr. Ryland, jun. shall ask the question, 
Mr. Sutcliff preach the charge, Mr. Fuller to the people." 
The service was held as arranged, and the young pastor 
was solemnly installed in office by the laying on of hands; 
the " ordination prayer " being offered by Mr. John 
Stanger, who dwelt particularly on the petition that he 
" might serve the Lord with all humility of mind." On 
the 2nd August, " our Brother William Carey having 
been yesterday ordained our Elder or Pastor, we agreed 
to administer and receive the Lord s Supper next Lord s 
day." In this settlement they certainly carried out the 
apostolic injunction to lay hands suddenly on no man. 

At the time of calling him to be pastor, they " agreed 
to establish a little fund for the support of their poor, 
by contributing zd. a month each." The same night 
" 2s. 4*/. was subscribed." The little fund grew till they 
had upwards of i at their disposal. It was disbursed 
in sufhs varying from sixpence to three shillings a month, 
and an account of income and outlay was as faithfully 
kept as if they had been dealing with the revenue of 
Great Britain. 

A sister in the Church " has for a long time neglected 
coming to hear," and a brother is appointed " to inquire 



MOULTON CHURCH LIFE. 23 

into the reasons of it, and if she still continues to neglect 
to fill up her place, to exclude her as a disorderly mem 
ber." She promises to come and give her reasons for 
non-attendance ; and till then the matter is allowed to 
rest. " Having given her reasons, which appeared in 
sufficient to us, and yet promising to fill up her place as 
often as possible, we thought it not proper to admit her 
to communion till we see reason to think that her attend 
ance is from a good motive." Six months later, it is 
"unanimously concluded to exclude her from our com 
munion, she never coming near us to answer to the 
charges brought against her." 

Elizabeth Britain, an old lady in the Workhouse, 
afflicted with an unruly tongue, is " charged with utter 
ing passionate and unbecoming words," for which she is 
" reproved by the Church " ; but as she " acknowledged 
and appeared sorry for the affair," no more was done. 
The same month next year she is again charged " with 
frequently indulging excessive passion," as also with 
"tattling and tale-bearing;" and is suspended till she 
show " tokens of godly sorrow." Two months later it is 
recorded that she has given satisfactory tokens of repent 
ance. By-and-by she appears as a complainer against 
two other members of the Church, " John and Ann Law, 
who had taken the Workhouse," charging them with 
" cruelty to the poor." The Church hears the evidence 
against them ; and then they state their defence, which 
involves " an accusation against Elizabeth Britain for 
misbehaviour." On full examination it is found that 



24 WILLIAM CAREY. 

some of the charges against John and Ann Law " are too 
true," but yet it was difficult positively to prove them. 
However, as the Church "could not prove the inno 
cence " of the accused persons, and as " the Gospel was 
reproached by means thereof," they advised them to 
refrain meantime from the Lord s supper. Poor Eliza 
beth Britain is found to be "of a very arrogant and 
passionate conduct," and guilty of " tale-bearing, by 
which the peace of the Church was very much broken" ; 
and she is "suspended and admonished." Eight months 
later the same cases are considered by the Church at a 
meeting specially called for the purpose. John and Ann 
Law are " admonished to let old Elizabeth Britain work 
or not as she pleases, and be paid for her work ;" and 
they are advised, as soon as they prudently can, to resign 
the care of the Workhouse, remaining suspended till 
they do so. Elizabeth Britain s case is again taken into 
consideration, as also that of Edward Smith, who " had 
thrown himself on the parish while he had property to 
subsist on ;" and they are " admonished to repent of 
their conduct, and remain suspended till they mani 
fest it." 

It appears that the Moulton Church is interested in 
certain legacies, along with some neighbouring Churches, 
$o being in the hands of Brother William Stanger of 
Burton-Latimer. At the Church-meeting a question is 
put on the subject to Brother John Law, who refuses to 
answer ; and the matter is referred to the " arbitrement " 
of Brother Stanger ; Mr. Wade, Elder at Kilsby ; and Mr. 



ENLARGING THE BORDERS. 25 

Adams, Elder at Napton-on-the-hill. In due time Mr. 
Adams comes over, armed with authority; and it is 
found that Mr. Wright of Daventry left ; 60; a soldier, 
"supposed to be in Oliver s army," left 20; and so 
forth, making ^"150 in all, of which ^5 had been lost. 
The sum available for Moulton was ^"85, of which it 
appeared ;io had been lost. Of the ^75 remaining, 
it was agreed to allow Brother Stanger the interest of 
^15 ; the interest of ^60 being divided equally between 
the minister and the poor of the Church. Interest to the 
amount of i igs. Sd. was in hand, of which "we 
agreed to give 2os. to our Brother Carey, so that igs. 8d. 
remains to be distributed among the poor." 

The village of Moulton was considerable, and there 
were neighbouring villages which sent in their contingent 
to the Baptist congregation on the Lord s day. The 
"meeting-house," erected in 1750, was a small edifice, 
thirty feet by twenty-one ; and in Carey s time it had 
got "exceedingly out of repair," and one wall had 
become "so ruinous" that it was thought dangerous 
to meet in the place much longer. Besides this, it had 
pleased God "to awaken a considerable number of 
persons to a serious concern for the salvation of their 
souls, and to incline many others to attend upon the 
preaching of the Gospel;" so that for two years there 
had not been " room sufficient to contain them," and 
numbers more would have attended had there been 
accommodation for them. Hence it became a matter 
of necessity to do something, "unless we would give 



26 WILLIAM CAREY. 

up the Gospel, or run the risque of being buried in 
the ruins of our building." They resolved therefore 
to enlarge the house by making it thirty feet square, 
putting on a new roof, and rebuilding "most of the 
walls ; " and this, they expected, would cost one hun 
dred pounds. On attempting a collection among them 
selves, they could raise but two pounds and a few 
shillings. They appealed for help, therefore, "to all 
those who are generously disposed to encourage the 
publication of the everlasting Gospel, with a view to the 
honour of the great Redeemer, and the salvation of 
perishing sinners;" and, as "Mr. Carey" could not 
leave his school to solicit contributions, they begged 
that " if God should put it into the heart of any of our 
Christian friends at a distance to assist us in our distress 
and necessity," the money should be remitted " to the 
care of the Rev. Mr. Ryland, in Gyles s Street, North 
ampton." 

Such was the Nazareth out of which the modern mis 
sionary enterprise was to come forth. "The smallest 
thing," says John Foster, " rises into consequence when 
regarded as the commencement of what has advanced, 
or is advancing, into magnificence. The first rude 
settlement of Romulus would have been an insignificant 
circumstance, and might justly have sunk into oblivion, 
if Rome had not at length commanded the world." 
Moulton s claim to remembrance is its association with 
the great missionary idea of modern times. 



CHAPTER II. 

THOUGH sorely pressed by poverty, Carey found 
his residence at Moulton advantageous in many 
ways. Besides that his sphere of usefulness was enlarged, 
he was able to devote himself to more thorough and 
systematic study ; he learned to husband his time with a 
severe wisdom which gave him the fullest use of it ; 
he had readier and larger access to books; and he 
was brought into intercourse with a circle of ministers 
of great personal worth, notable among whom were 
Dr. Ryland, Mr. Sutcliff, the venerable and gracious 
Mr. Hall of Arnsby, not inferior in native genius to his 
illustrious son, and chiefly Andrew Fuller, now pastor of 
the Church at Kettering. His intimacy with Fuller dates 
from a ministers meeting at Northampton. He was un 
expectedly called to preach on the occasion ; and, as he 
left the pulpit, Fuller grasped his hand and hoped they 
would become better acquainted. The intimacy thus 
commenced ripened into a friendship which became 
closer and more confiding every year till the death of 
Fuller, more than a quarter of a century afterwards. 

It was at Moulton that Carey s great thought took 
definite shape in his mind. He had been reading 



28 WILLIAM CAREY. 

" Cook s Voyages Round the World" a book as fas 
cinating at that time as " Robinson Crusoe " and, as 
he taught his geography class at school, from a globe 
of leather of his own construction, 1 it flashed painfully 
upon him how small a portion of the human race yet 
possessed any knowledge of Jesus Christ and His sal 
vation. How could the existing state of matters be 
accounted for ? Was it by sovereign decree, which it 
was impious to question ? Was it the Divine will that 
the nations should sit in darkness till some " set time " 
arrived? Or was there not blame somewhere? And 
if so, ought there not to be repentance, and works meet 
for repentance ? He resolved to investigate the subject 
thoroughly, and to be guided thereafter not by his feel 
ings, but by the ascertained will of the Lord. Patiently 
and devoutly he prosecuted his inquiry. He saw, with 
Fuller, " the freeness of the Gospel." He saw its adap 
tation to men universally. And the charge to bear it 
into all the world seemed to him to lay imperative obli 
gation of some sort not merely on the Christian Church 
in general, but on himself in particular. 

- With the map of the world unrolled, and consulting 
books that described the various countries, he ascertained 
as exactly as he could the extent of those countries, 
their population, their government, their social and reli 
gious condition. 2 The result at which he arrived was 

1 Baker s Northamptonshire. 

2 Fuller relates that on entering his workshop, he found a very 
large map on the wall, consisting of several sheets of paper pasted 



THE DARK PLACES OF THE EARTH. 29 

something like this : that the population of the world 
was not less than seven hundred and thirty millions, of 
whom about seven millions were Jews, thirty millions 
Greek and Armenian Christians in name, forty-four mil 
lions nominally Protestant, one hundred millions Roman 
Catholic, one hundred and thirty millions Mahommedan, 
while all the rest, numbering more than four hundred 
millions, lay in the blackest night of Paganism. 

The result appalled him : but even this was. not all. 
The vices of European civilization had been propagated 
to every shore ; the face of so-called " Christendom " 
presented a dreadful spectacle of ignorance, hypocrisy, 
and profligacy ; there was oppression of the weak by 
the strong everywhere ; pernicious errors abounded ; the 
Gospel itself was attacked, and every method that the 
enemy could invent was employed " to undermine the 
kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ;" while the Churches, 
generally, lay in a state of profound and self-complacent 
apathy apathy almost sublime when the world s woes 
were taken into account. 

The condition of England itself which was some 
times spoken of as "a garden of the Lord" was 
terrible ; and that notwithstanding all that had been 

together, on which was represented every country in the known 
world, with jottings of all he had met with in his reading relative 
to its condition : a singular commentary on the aphorism, Ne sutor 
ultra crepidam. The ultra in this case was the most distant boun 
dary of earth ; and the great thought that inspired the shoemaker- 
preacher had its natural effect, and dignified and enlarged his 
being. 



30 WILLIAM CAREY. 

done by Whitefield, Wesley, and their coadjutors. In 
" the Church " men like Herbert s " Country Parson " 
might have been found by searching, but they were the 
rare exceptions ; while in the membership of that Church, 
as well as among dissenters of every name, errors and 
looseness of conduct extensively prevailed. The " lower 
orders " were steeped in ignorance ; among the " higher 
classes" gambling, duelling, drunkenness, uncleanness, 
were scarcely regarded as vices ; infidelity was rampant ; 
in extensive districts the Gospel was all but unknown, 
the substitute for it being a heartless morality that was 
moral only in name, or a barren orthodoxy that dealt 
with " Christianity " but knew not Christ ; and one 
might have gone throughout some whole counties with 
out hearing much more of the truth than could be 
gathered from the pages of Cicero, and sometimes even 
less except it might be in some despised conventicle. 
Too truly as Carlyle has named it it was " the godless 
eighteenth century." 

Painfully meditating, Carey arrived at the conclusion 
that the Gospel must be sent to the heathen. Even 
for England s, salvation this must be done as Italy was 
saved from the terrible Hannibal by carrying the war 
across into Africa. He could scarcely talk or preach, 
and he could never pray, without referring to the subject. 

It must not be supposed that the missionary spirit 
was unknown before his time. On the contrary, the 
history of the Gospel has been a history of aggression 
from the beginning : great names and great though often 



FRANCIS XAVIER. 31 

mistaken movements will at once occur to the memory 
of every reader of Church history : and at times the 
missionary spirit has glowed with an intensity that in 
these modern days we can scarcely understand. 

Not to go farther back, the wonderful devotion of 
Francis Xavier in the East, though associated with so 
many elements of error and superstition, was at least 
homage to the Saviour s will. Born in 1506, under the 
shadow of the Pyrenees, Xavier was a young Spanish 
grandee of wit and splendid accomplishments, when 
his acquaintance was sought by Ignatius Loyola, the 
founder of the " Society of Jesus " ; and speedily he 
came under the spell of that master-spirit. Kneeling 
at the altar-steps of St. Denys, Loyola, Xavier, Laynez, 
Bobadilla, Rodriguez, Salmeron, and Faber swore on 
the consecrated bread to renounce all earthly possessions 
and joys, and to devote their lives to the conversion of 
unbelievers. A few years later, at the age of thirty- five, 
Xavier looked his last on the purple hills of Spain, and 
sailed for India, to win those eastern lands as spoil for 
Christ Though every comfort was ordered for him 
on his voyage, he refused to break his vow of poverty, 
but wore the squalid dress of the poorest, ate what the 
common sailors refused, and rested his head on a coil 
of rope no softer than Jacob s pillow. He slept ashore 
at Goa a gaunt and ragged man, with a sublime en 
thusiasm and daring in his heart, and spent his first 
night on Indian soil in solitary prayer. His mode of 
evangelizing, alas ! was not that of apostles and apostolic 



32 WILLIAM CAREY. 

men ; but in pursuing it he endured hardships such as 
would have brought any ordinary man to the grave in 
a few months time. His errors were those of Rome : 
his aims were lofty and his devotion heroic. There is 
nothing nobler than his reply to those who warned him 
of the dangers of the Eastern Archipelago, when he 
was about to venture thither: "If these islands had 
scented woods and mines of gold, Christians would have 
courage enough to go thither, nor would all the perils 
in the world prevent them. They are dastardly and 
alarmed because there are only souls of men to be 
gained. And shall love be less hardy than avarice? 
They will destroy me, you say, by poison. It is an 
honour to which such a sinner as I am may not aspire : 
but this I dare to say, that whatever form of torture or 
of death awaits me, I am ready to suffer it ten thousand 
times for the salvation of a single soul." After a brief 
career, in the course of which he visited many shores 
from India to Japan, he landed in the island of Sancian 
on his way to China ; and there, in a miserable shed 
on the sea-beach, unsheltered from the fierce sun by 
day or the chills of night, he lay in mortal sickness till 
on the 2nd of December, 1552, with ".Amplius" on his 
dying lips, he closed a life which has scarcely a parallel 
in history. 

In another and very different quarter the spirit of 
missionary enterprise had been powerfully manifested. 
Among the pre-Reformation confessors and martyrs was 
John Huss of Prague, doomed to the flames for heresy. 



THE MORAVIANS. 33 

Out of his ashes, so to speak, sprang the Church of the 
United Brethren. Their original home was Moravia, 
in the kingdom of Bohemia. A bloody decree was 
issued against them in 1468, which was ordered to be 
read from all the pulpits in the land. They soon 
crowded the prisons ; many of them perished in dun 
geons ; others were subjected to torture ; the rest hid in 
forests. The Reformation did not bring them freedom ; 
and toward the close of the seventeenth century it 
seemed as if they were exterminated ; they could only 
meet in secrecy and darkness. Half a century later, a 
few families, escaping from Moravia, found refuge on 
the estates of Nicholas Lewis, Count Zinzendorf, in 
Lusatia, where others afterwards joined them. While 
not more than six hundred in number, so imbued were 
they with the missionary spirit that there went out from 
them messengers of the cross to Lapland, Greenland, 
North America, the West Indies, different parts of 
Africa, and Ceylon. Being inured to poverty and hard 
ship, they took little else with them than the clothes on 
their back. Wherever they came with the message of 
Divine love, though sometimes long waiting tried their 
patience, the rudest savages believed and entered into 
the fellowship of Christ. 

A powerful influence, too, had been exerted on many 
minds by the brief, bright career of David Brainerd. 
Gentle, fragile, sensitive, heroic, inspired with intense 
love to his Redeemer, he had given himself to preach 
the Gospel among the American Indians (as Elliot had 



34 WILLIAM CAREY. 

done) ; and at the end of four years time, in the course 
of which he had gathered many of these poor savages 
into the kingdom of the eternal love, he died, October, 
1747, at the age of twenty-nine, under the roof of 
Jonathan Edwards, who afterwards wrote his " Life." 
The interpretation of his whole career is found in that 
longing of his : " Oh that I were a flaming fire in 
the service of my God ! " It is not too much to say that 
for a century afterwards, his example had a marvellous 
influence in kindling within Christian hearts a desire 
to make Christ known in " the regions beyond." There 
is evidence that it influenced Carey. 

It cannot be doubted that God was gradually pre 
paring His people for a vaster enterprise of gospel 
extension than had been known since primitive times ; 
and we should misconceive the case if we thought that 
Carey s heart was the only one in England in which 
missionary longings were created. As early as 1782, 
four years before Carey went to Moulton, Samuel Pearce 
of Birmingham felt that his desires " were particularly 
fixed upon the poor heathen." The very first week that 
he knew the love of God, " I put up," he says, " many 
fervent cries to heaven in their behalf; and at the same 
time felt an earnest desire to be employed in promoting 
their salvation. It was not long after, that the first 
settlers sailed for Botany Bay. I longed to go with 
them, although in company with the convicts, in hopes 
of making known the blessings of the great salvation 
in New Zealand." 



PRAYING FOR THE HEATHEN. 35 

In 1784 the Northamptonshire Association of Baptist 
Churches urged upon all connected with it to hold meet 
ings for prayer, " to bewail the low state of religion, and 
earnestly implore a revival of their Churches and of the 
general cause of the Redeemer, and for that end to 
wrestle with God for the effusion of His Holy Spirit," 
spending an hour for this purpose on the first Monday 
of every month. They entreated the brethren not to 
confine their requests to their own immediate connec 
tion, but urged : " Let the whole interest of the Re 
deemer be affectionately remembered, and the spread 
of the Gospel to the most distant parts of the habitable 
globe be the object of your most fervent requests." The 
urging of this charge was not indicative of a mere senti 
mental or romantic impulse, but was a sign that the 
Christian mind was awaking to a new sense of privilege 
and responsibility in spreading the Gospel. 1 

How far Carey was influenced from without, and how 
far he drew his impulse directly from the Bible, cannot 

1 A petition of William Castell, Parson of Courtenhall, "ex 
hibited " to the High Court of Parliament, and printed in 1641, 
sets forth " the great and generall neglect of this Kingdome in not 
propagating the glorious Gospel in America, a maine part of the 
world," and the " evident necessity and benefit of the undertaking, 
together with the easinesse of effecting"; and maintains "that we 
of all nations are most for the worke, and most ingaged to doe 
it in due thankfulnesse to God." His petition to Parliament is 
"approved by 70 able English Divines; also by Master Alexander 
Henderson and some other worthy ministers of Scotland." 
Courtenhall, in Northamptonshire, lies only a few miles distant 
from Carey s district. 



36 WILLIAM CAREY. 

now be ascertained ; but, once the Saviour s will was clear 
to him, he felt the burden laid upon himself personally 
to do what he could for the salvation of the heathen, 
and he endeavoured with all earnestness to impart his 
convictions to his brethren in the ministry. It proved 
no easy task. In place of sympathy he met for the 
most part with indifference, and a disposition to put him 
down. It was not altogether surprising. When old 
Hugh Latimer, at the stake, wearing his nightcap and 
shroud, said to his fellow-sufferer Ridley, " Play the 
man, Master Ridley : we shall this day light such a 
candle, by God s grace, in England, as I trust shall 
never be put out," he was probably (so says Froude) 
"the greatest man then living in the world"; Carey, 
lighting his candle, was nobody. When the missionary 
thought took hold of him, he was scarcely beyond his 
five and twentieth year ; his obscurity was extreme ; he 
was not gifted with commanding presence, eloquence, or 
passion ; he had never been within the walls of even the 
humblest college ; he was simply the poor pastor of a vil 
lage church, in which there was not a single person of note 
or influence ; his income was but ^36 a year, and more 
than half of that small sum was earned by painful toil. 

All sorts of objections, too, were brought against the 
project itself : " The time is not come ;" " It is an in 
terference with Divine sovereignty ; " " The means are 
awanting ; " " There is enough to do at home ; Christian 
ize England before you set out on such a crusade ; " 
" Have any of the chief priests or rulers believed ? " 



NOTHING IMPOSSIBLE. 37 

* In Carey s own mind, however, doubt had no place : 
the principle he advocated had become as clear to him 
as anything in the Bible, and the duty as imperative as 
that of paying one s lawful debts. When in 1786 Fuller 
published his "Gospel Worthy of all Acceptation," Carey 
said to him : " If it be the duty of all men, where the 
Gospel comes, to believe unto salvation, then it is the 
duty of those who are entrusted with the Gospel to 
endeavour to make it known among all nations for the 
obedience of faith." The one thing seemed to him a 
corollary to the other. 

To his faith, impediments in the way of the enterprise 
vanished. If distance were named, he pointed to the 
mariner s compass, to the ships that had gone forth on 
voyages of discovery, and above all to the promises of 
the Divine word : " Surely the isles shall wait for me, 
and the ships of Tarshish first." British adventure was 
penetrating into every region of the globe ; why should 
not the Gospel do the same ? 

If the barbarous character of the heathen were put 
forward as a difficulty, he replied, that this would hinder 
none but those whom love of ease rendered unwilling to 
endure hardship for Christ s sake. The primitive Chris 
tians were not thus daunted, nor in recent times men 
like Elliot or Brainerd ; and those who sought nothing 
higher than worldly gain would brave many a hazard 
for the sake of a few otter-skins or elephants tusks. In 
truth, the barbarism of the heathen, so far from being 
a dissuasive, was a powerful motive to the undertaking 



38 WILLIAM CAREY. 

" Can we hear that they are without the Gospel, without 
government, without laws, without arts and science, and 
not exert ourselves to introduce among them the senti 
ments of men and of Christians ? " And if the doing 
of this meant peril, be it so ; why should not Christian 
men march to death at Christ s bidding? 

As to difficulty of providing means of subsistence, it 
was not so great, he thought, as appeared at first sight. 
" The Christian minister would at least obtain such 
food as that on which the natives subsisted, and this 
would only be passing through what he had virtually 
engaged to do, by entering on the ministerial office." 
"The commission is a sufficient call to venture all, and, 
like the primitive Christians, go everywhere preaching 
the Gospel." The grand principle was " that a mission 
ary must be one of the companions and equals of the 
people to whom he is sent." 

As to the missionaries themselves, " they must be men 
of great piety, prudence, courage, and forbearance, of 
undoubted orthodoxy in their sentiments, and must enter 
with all their hearts into the spirit of their mission ; they 
must be willing to leave all the comforts of life behind 
them, and to encounter all the hardships of a torrid or 
a frigid climate, an uncomfortable manner of living, and 
every other inconvenience that can attend this under 
taking." They must cultivate friendship with the na 
tives, and convince them that it was their good that was 
sought ; and they must specially guard against resenting 
injuries. "They must take every opportunity of doing 



HOW HIS THOUGHT WAS REGARDED. 39 

them good, and, labouring and travailing night and day, 
they must instruct, exhort, and rebuke, with all long- 
suffering and anxious desire for them ; and, above all, 
must be instant in prayer for the effusion of the Holy 
Spirit upon the people of their charge. Let but mission 
aries of the above description engage in the work, and 
we shall see that it is not impracticable." Obviously 
such men could not be hired for money, or " bred " in 
colleges, but must be the "gift of God." 

To some of his ministerial brethren Carey s views 
seemed wildly visionary, if not in direct conflict with the 
doctrine of God s sovereignty. It is related probably 
with some embellishment that at a meeting of ministers 
the elder Ryland called on the younger men round him 
to propose a subject for discussion at their next gathering, 
when Carey rose and suggested " The duty of Christians 
to attempt the spread of the Gospel among heathen 
nations." Springing to his feet, astonished and shocked, 
the good man ordered him to sit down : " When God 
pleases to convert the heathen, He will do it without your 
aid or mine." Even Fuller held his breath at the bold 
ness, if not audacity, of the proposal, and describes his 
feelings as having resembled those of the unbelieving 
noble who said, " If the Lord would open the windows 
of heaven, might this thing be ? " In truth, while the 
conversion of the heathen was earnestly prayed for, to. 
attempt it seemed like a profane outstretching of the 
hand to help the ark of God. 

In 1789 he removed to Leicester, to the little Church 



40 WILLIAM CAREY. 

at Harvey Lane. His worldly circumstances were now 
somewhat improved, yet he still found it necessary to 
supplement his income by his own exertions. One who 
recollected his coming to Leicester, 1 states that he lived 
in a very small house just opposite the place of worship. 
" I have seen him at work in his leathern apron, his 
books beside him, and his beautiful flowers in the 
windows." By-and-by he opened a school, with better 
results than at Moulton. His turn for literature recom 
mended him to the notice of Dr. Arnold, who gave him 
the use of his fine library, which was specially rich in 
books of science ; and his botanical tastes brought him 
acquainted with Mr. Robert Brewin. 

How his time was laid out here, we learn from a letter 
to his father. Monday was devoted to the study of 
languages ; Tuesday to science and history ; on Wednes 
day he lectured ; Thursday was set apart for visitation ; 
Friday and Saturday were spent in preparing for the 
Lord s Day ; on that day he preached, morning and 
afternoon, at home, and evening in a neighbouring 
village and at home alternately. His school began at 
nine in the morning, and continued till four in winter 
and five in summer. Add all his other engagements, 
and it will be seen how fully his time was occupied. 
But, he says, " I am not my own, nor should I choose 
for myself. Let God employ me where He thinks fit, 
and give me patience and discretion to fill up my station 
to His honour and glory." 

1 Gardiner s Music and Friends, 1838. 



MINISTRY AT LEICESTER. 41 

On commencing pastoral work in Leicester, he dis 
covered that (to use Dr. Ryland s expression) "the 
Antinomian devil had got in" among the members of 
the Church, and was playing havoc with character. His 
preaching was directed to the exorcising of this devil, by 
an exhibition of the doctrines of grace as they appear in 
Scripture. He found, however, that he " could not cast 
him out " by such means. He therefore proceeded, with 
consent of the best among them, to dissolve the Church 
and to form a new society which should include those 
only who professed subjection to the law of Christ in the 
New Testament as binding on all believers. Though 
the Church was thus diminished in numbers, its spiritual 
power was greatly increased, and a tone of piety and holy 
earnestness was speedily manifested. We have it on 
the testimony of Fuller that his zeal and unremitting 
Christian activity not only lifted him above detraction, 
but greatly endeared him to a wide circle of Christian 
friends ; while his generous, manly, open disposition won 
him regard both from those who attended his ministry 
and from " many persons of learning and opulence " 
besides in the general community. 

While prosecuting his work in Leicester, he became 
more than ever intent on the establishment of a mission 
to the heathen. Hitherto his urgency had been met 
partly by indifference, partly by opposition, and only in 
a few cases by intelligent sympathy; and as yet those 
who did sympathise men like Fuller, Sutcliff, Pearce, 
and the younger Ryland were not prepared to step 



42 WILLIAM CAREY. 

forward along the untrodden path in the dark. The 
spring meeting of ministers was held at Clipstone in 
October, 1791. Sutcliff preached " on being very 
jealous for the Lord God of hosts," and exhorted his 
brethren to cherish "the Divine passion, the celestial 
fire, that burned in the bosom and blazed in the life 
of Elijah." Fuller followed, exposing " the pernicious 
influence of delay" a pungent and powerful sermon 
printed in his Works. " An uncommon degree of atten 
tion," says Dr. Ryland, " seemed to me to be excited by 
both sermons. I know not under which I felt the more. 
. . . Both were very impressive ; and the mind of 
every one with whom I conversed seemed to feel a 
solemn conviction of our need of greater zeal, and of the 
evil of negligence and procrastination. I suppose that 
scarcely an idle word was spoken while I staid; and 
immediately after dinner, Carey introduced the subject of 
a mission by inquiring, if it were not practicable and 
our bounden duty to attempt somewhat towards spread 
ing the Gospel in the heathen world. As I had to 
preach at home that night, fourteen miles off, I was 
obliged to leave the company before the conversation 
ended." In the conversation Carey urged that they 
should commit themselves that very day. It was in 
vain. They agreed generally that something should be 
done ; but the " something " was yet in the clouds. All 
the length they would go was to request him to publish 
his " Enquiry on Missions," written at Moulton, and 
lying by him in manuscript To this request, which was 



EXPECT: ATTEMPT. 43 

made partly to gain time, he consented, and the booklet 
appeared accordingly next year. 1 

Next year, May 31, 1792, the Association met at 
Nottingham. It devolved on Carey to preach the 
sermon. That Sermon really created the Baptist Mis 
sionary Society, while it has furnished a motto for 
Christian enterprise that can never be forgotten. The 
text was Isaiah liv. 2, 3 : " Enlarge the place of thy tent, 
and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habita 
tions : spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy 
stakes ; for thou shalt break forth on the right hand and 
on the left ; and thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles, and 
make the desolate cities to be inhabited." He began by 
pointing out that the Church was addressed as a desolate 
widow, dwelling in a little cottage by herself; that the 
command to enlarge her tent implied that there should 
be an enlargement of her family; that, to account for 
so unexpected and marvellous a change, she was told, 
" thy Maker is thy Husband," and that another day He 

1 "An Enquiry into the Obligation of Christians to use Means for 
the Conversion of the Heathens. In which the religious state of the 
different nations of the world, the success of former undertakings, 
and the practicability of further undertakings are considered. By 
William Carey. Leicester, 1792. Price one shilling and six 
pence." Some time previously, Mr. Potts, of Birmingham, had 
given him 10 toward the cost of publishing. He discusses the 
question whether the commission given by our Lord to His disciples 
be not still binding on Christians ; gives a view of former under 
takings ; exhibits the condition of the world in his time ; considers 
the practicability of doing something more than is done ; and the 
duty of Christians in general in the matter. 



44 WILLIAM CAREY. 

would be called "the God of the whole earth." He 
then proceeded to establish and illustrate two great 
principles involved in the text : First, Expect great 
things from God; Second, Attempt great things for God. 
It was as if the sluices of his soul were thrown fully 
open, and the flood that had been accumulating for years 
rushed forth in full volume and irresistible power. " If 
all the people had lifted up their voices and wept," says 
Dr. Ryland, " as the children of Israel did at Bochim, I 
should not have wondered at the effect ; it would only 
have seemed proportionate to the cause ; so clearly did 
he prove the criminality of our supineness in the cause 
of God." Profound, however, as was the impression 
which the sermon produced, it failed to remove the hesi 
tation that was in the minds of the brethren present, 
and that hindered action. They were about to disperse 
as usual, when Carey seized Fuller s hand and wrung it, 
in an agony of distress, demanding whether they could 
again separate without doing anything. His imploring 
appeal stayed the breaking up of the assembly, and it 
was resolved " That a plan be prepared against the next 
ministers meeting at Kettering for the establishment of 
a Society for propagating the Gospel among the heathen." 
The meeting was held at Kettering on the 2nd of 
October, 1792. When the public services were con 
cluded, twelve men met in the evening in the back- 
parlour of Mrs. Beeby Wallis, widow of a deacon of 
Kettering Church, who had died a few months previously. 
The presence of the Lord was felt in the little gathering. 



THE BAPTIST MISSIONARY SOCIETY. 45 

Long and earnestly they deliberated what the first step 
should be. They had no experience to guide them ; 
they had neither funds nor influence ; the one thing clear 
to them was the Lord s will that His Gospel should be 
made known to every creature under heaven. Before 
separating, they solemnly pledged themselves to God and 
to each other, to bear their part in an endeavour to send 
the Gospel to some part of the heathen world ; the Society 
was constituted ; a committee of five was appointed 
Andrew Fuller (Secretary), John Ryland, John Sutcliff, 
Reynold Hogg (Treasurer), and William Carey, to which 
number Samuel Pearce was added shortly afterwards ; 
lastly, a subscription was then and there made, amount 
ing to ^13 2s. 6d. No sooner was the subscription list 
filled up than Carey whose name does not appear in 
that list contributed himself, 1 declaring his readiness 
to embark for any part of the world that the Society 
might decide. And so, in that back-parlour in unpre 
tending Kettering, was first heard a " sound " which has 
already " gone forth into all the earth." 

The ardent zeal of Samuel Pearce, of Birmingham, had 
been leading him for some time " to preach much upon 
the promises of God concerning the conversion of the 
heathen nations," and, by his doing so, and always 
communicating any piece of information respecting the 
present state of missions, they soon imbibed the same 

1 The very theatrical story of his making offer of himself by 
stepping into the collection plate beside the money is destitute of 
foundation. 



46 WILLIAM CAREY. 

spirit. Now that a definite enterprise was launched, the 
preaching of Pearce began to bear its fruit; earnest- 
hearted friends came forward with free-will offerings ; 
and " the surprising sum of ^70 " was forwarded from 
Birmingham to the Society. Other Churches followed 
the example, and the mission treasury began to fill 



CHAPTER III. 

THE new Society had to justify its existence. It 
had been originated by a few young men who were 
scarcely known beyond their own parishes. The whole 
district which they represented might be surveyed from 
the top of a steeple. With a solitary exception, no 
minister or man of mark in London would look at the 
concern; and when a meeting was convened there to 
consider whether an auxiliary should be formed, an over 
whelming majority carried the negative. Not impro 
bably there was a tincture of jealousy against a movement 
of origin so obscure. London was London, and did not 
care to follow the lead of a handful of country nobodies, 
the chief among them a shoemaker. " When we began 
in 1792," says Fuller, "there was little or no respecta 
bility among us, not so much as a squire to sit in the 
chair, or an orator to address him with speeches. Hence 
good Dr. Stennett (yea, and even Abraham Booth also) 
advised the London ministers to stand aloof, and not 
commit themselves." l 

1 When he visited London, Carey was treated with cordial re 
spect both by Stennett and Abraham Booth. He also made the 



48 WILLIAM CAREY. 

This Gamaliel-like policy of waiting to see was almost 
as discouraging as the contempt with which the very 
idea of a mission was scouted in other quarters. To 
state the idea was deemed sufficient exposure of its 
absurdity; while the missionaries who by-and-by went 
forth became a favourite target for wits and satirists, 
who did not perceive that their shafts were really aimed 
at a certain manger in Bethlehem. How it was with 
the country generally may be inferred from a debate 
which took place in the general assembly of the Church 
of Scotland, a few years later, on a proposal to establish 
a foreign mission. One member maintained that " to 
spread abroad the knowledge of the Gospel among bar 
barous and heathen nations " was " highly preposterous, 
inasmuch as it anticipates, nay, reverses the order of 
nature : men must be polished and refined in their 
manners before they can be properly enlightened in re 
ligious truth ; " and, singling out the untutored Indian 
or Otaheitan, he affirmed that Christianity would neither 
refine his morals nor ensure his happiness. It was in 

acquaintance of the venerable John Newton, "who advised him 
with the fidelity and tenderness of a father, and encouraged him to 
persevere in his purpose, despite all opposition." In a letter to 
Ryland in 1 797, Newton says : Mr. Carey has favoured me with 
a letter, which indeed I accept as a favour, and I mean to thank 
him for it. I trust my heart as Cordially unites with him for the 
success of his mission as though I were a brother Baptist myself. I 
look up to such a man with reverence. He is more to me than 
bishop or archbishop ; he is an apostle. May the Lord make all 
who undertake missions like-minded with Mr. Carey ! " 



"RAX ME THAT BIBLE." 49 

this debate that Dr. John Erskine, now a venerable- 
looking man of seventy-five, rose to his feet, and, point 
ing with his forefinger to the Book which lay on the 
table, thrilled the assembly by calling, " Moderator, rax 
me that Bible." x The Bible was handed to him, and, 
amidst death-like stillness, he read the account of Paul s 
reception at Melita, when " the barbarous people showed 
us no little kindness." Think you, he asked, that when 
Paul wrought his miracles at Malta, and was taken to be 
a god, he did not also preach Christ to the barbarians, 
and explain whose name it was through which such 
power was given unto men? He then reminded the 
assembly how the same apostle had affirmed that he was 
debtor both to the Greeks and to the barbarians, both 
to the wise and to the unwise ; and urged upon them the 
apostle s example. The majority, however, fell in with 
those who thought it " highly inexpedient " and even 
" dangerous " to send forth missionaries, and who there 
fore gave the overtures recommending such action their 
" most serious disapprobation " and their " immediate 
and decisive opposition." The prevailing temper of the 
religious leaders of the period with respect to missionary 
enterprise may be fairly judged from this debate. 

At the time when the Society was formed at Kettering, 
John Thomas, a ship-surgeon, who had been in India 
and had preached to the Hindoos, had just returned 
to England. He was a man with many blemishes and 
frailties; he was fickle, capricious, moody, at times 
1 Reach me that Bible. 

E 



SO WILLIAM CAREY. 

ecstatic, bitter of tongue, and never able to guide his 
affairs with discretion : but he was also very warm 
hearted, full of zeal, with singular skill in stating and 
enforcing the Gospel, and earnestly bent on serving his 
Redeemer. After having some experience of his ways, 
Carey writes : " He is a very holy man ; but his faith 
fulness often degenerates into personality " " a very 
good man, but only fit to live at sea, where his daily 
business is before him, and daily provision made for 
him" "a man of sterling worth, but perhaps of the 
most singular make of any man in the world." While in 
India, without any knowledge of what was passing in 
Carey s mind, Thomas had opened correspondence with 
Abraham Booth and Dr. Stennett on the subject of an 
Indian mission ; and, soon after his arrival in England, 
hearing of the Northamptonshire movement, he wrote to 
Carey, and gave him some account of what had been 
already done in Bengal, and particularly of the prospects 
at Malda. The letter was read in committee, and Fuller 
was directed to make all necessary inquiries, as to 
"character, principles, abilities, and success," in order 
to decide whether a combination of effort were desir 
able. The result of the inquiries was on the whole 
satisfactory. 

On the gth of January, 1 793, a meeting of committee 
was held, others being present, when it was concluded 
that an open door was set before them in India ; that 
it was desirable to unite with Thomas; and that the 
Society should endeavour to send out a fellow-labourer 



SURRENDER AS A MISSIONARY. 51 

with him in spring. That evening Carey again ex 
pressed his willingness to go. Before the meeting closed, 
Thomas unexpectedly entered the room ; Carey sprang 
to meet him " and they fell on each other s neck 
and wept." Thomas made a full disclosure of his 
pecuniary embarrassments, from which it appeared that 
he was deeply, if not hopelessly, in debt ; but he showed 
himself so ingenuous and frank that he quite won the 
confidence of the committee ; and, after prolonged con 
ference, it was resolved that Carey and he should be sent 
out to Bengal together. 

Immediately after this meeting, Carey gave notice to 
the Church at Leicester of his intention to leave them 
in March. His state of mind is seen in these words, 
addressed to his father : " To be devoted like a sacrifice 
to holy uses is the great business of a Christian. 
I consider myself as devoted to the service of God 
alone, and now I am about to realize my professions." 
The Church acquiesced in his decision with mingled 
sorrow and joy. This entry occurs in the Church-book, 
under date 24th March, 1793 : " Mr. Carey our minister 
left Leicester to go on a Mission to the East Indies, 
to take and propagate the Gospel among those Idolatrous 
and Superstitious Heathens. This is inserted to shew 
his Love to his poor, miserable Fellow-Creatures : in this 
we concur? with him, though it is at the Expence of 
losing one whom we love as our own souls." 

A succession of unexpected difficulties now arose. 
One was the extreme aversion of Mrs. Carey to what 



52 WILLIAM CAREY. 

she regarded as worse than a fool s errand. She did not 
sympathise with her husband in his views ; she was con 
stitutionally timid ; the proposed undertaking appeared 
to her to be attended with all kinds of danger, if not 
with absolute ruin, to her family ; she could not go im 
mediately, and she declared that she would never go with 
her own consent. In these circumstances, feeling that 
he " could not now draw back without guilt on his soul," 
Carey resolved to take his eldest son, Felix, with him 
leaving the others to follow by-and-by, or returning 
to take them out once a footing was established. It 
was indeed usual for mercantile and military men to 
leave their families in England, during their absence in 
the East ; but it was felt that this was very undesirable 
for missionaries, if it could possibly be avoided. 

The next difficulty was the want of sufficient funds 
to launch the undertaking. Carey s idea was " that the 
first expense might be the whole ; " and that after con 
veyance to the country to be evangelized, and receiving 
" a fair start " there, the missionaries should afterwards 
provide for themselves as God might enable them : but 
there was not even money enough to pay the passage. 
It became necessary, therefore, to proceed with energy, 
if the departure were to take place that spring. Accord 
ingly Thomas was sent out to plead the mission cause, 
and proceeded as far as Bristol. Carey went to the north 
for the same purpose. In the course of his journeying 
he met William Ward, printer, his future colleague at 
Serampore, to whom he said, "By-and-by we shall 



THE FAREWELL MEETING. 53 

want you " a remark that Ward never forgot. Fuller 
himself went up to London, and canvassed the members 
of the Churches there from door to door, meeting much 
coldness and many rebuffs, but finally succeeding. It 
is a touching picture, that of the strong, stern, great- 
souled man foot-sore and disappointed turning aside 
into a back-lane to weep unseen. 

The financial difficulty being surmounted, a farewell 
meeting was held in Leicester on the 2oth of March, to 
commend the missionaries to the Divine safeguard. It 
was a meeting unprecedented in England, and was 
characterized by profound solemnity. When the first 
Crusade was proclaimed, the multitude broke into a loud, 
tumultuous shout, God wills it. In the Leicester con 
venticle that day there was a calmness almost awful. 
The forenoon was spent in prayer. In the afternoon 
both Mr. Thomas and Mr. Hogg spoke to the people. 
Fuller addressed the missionaries from the words, 
" Peace be unto you : as My Father hath sent Me, even 
so send I you." The powerful frame trembled with 
emotion ; the grave, stern face glowed as he spoke. 
" The preface," he said, " is sweet ; Peace be unto you, as 
if He had said, All is well as to the past, and all shall 
be well as to the future. The commission itself is sweet. 
Nothing could well be more grateful to those who loved 
Christ than to be employed by Him on such an errand, 
and to have such an example to imitate." Then he drew 
attention to some of the points of likeness between the 
enterprise in which they were embarking and the mission 



54 WILLIAM CAREY. 

of Christ Himself; referring to the object in view, the 
directions for their guidance, the difficulties and trials 
to be encountered, and the promises of support and 
of a glorious reward. " Go then," he said, " my dear 
brethren, stimulated by these prospects. We shall meet 
again. Crowns of glory await you and us. Each, I 
trust, will be addressed at the last day by our great 
Redeemer, Come, ye blessed of My Father; these were 
hungry, and you fed them ; athirst, and you gave them 
drink; in prison, and you visited them; enter ye into the 
joy of your Lord. Amen." When the assembly broke 
up, the dispersing groups were silent, or spoke in the 
subdued tones of solemn awe. 

At this point a new and serious difficulty arose : How 
were the missionaries to reach their destination ? Those 
were the days of jealously guarded monopoly; India was 
the " preserve " of the East India Company, and to go 
without their license was to run the risk of being for 
bidden to land, or being ordered off by the next ship. 
Formed into a corporation under Elizabeth, with a 
charter, dated the last day of the year 1600, giving them 
the exclusive right to trade in the Indian seas, the 
Company had been gradually becoming more and more 
powerful, till at length they were practically supreme. 
They were in idea a company of merchants, and what 
they sought was not the moral and religious welfare of 
India, but the advancement of their own interest. 
Having now become the despots of the country, they 
held themselves not simply " neutral " with respect to the 



DEPARTURE FOR INDIA. 55 

Gospel, but they feared its promulgation as dangerous 
to their supremacy. If that fire were kindled, it might 
burn their house down. After fruitless negotiations with 
the view of obtaining a license, there seemed no course 
open but that the missionaries should proceed without 
one, and run all risks. Accordingly a passage was 
taken for them in the Earl of Oxford, Indiaman, and the 
party went on board. For nearly two months the ship 
lay at anchor in the Solent waiting for convoy, as the 
Channel swarmed with privateers. While thus detained, 
the captain was warned in a letter, signed Verax, that an 
"information" would be lodged against him for having 
on board " an unlicensed person ; " and consequently 
Carey, Thomas, and another passenger were forced to 
remove their baggage and go ashore, Mrs. Thomas and 
her daughter proceeding. The sum of ^150 was re 
turned to the missionaries. 

At first it seemed the ruin of the enterprise, but in the 
end it turned out for the best. An opportunity soon 
afterwards presented itself of proceeding in a Danish 
ship, the Kron Princessa Maria, manned by Danes and 
Norwegians, and bound for Serampore ; the additional 
passage-money was obtained, and Mrs. Carey now joined 
her husband, with her infant son, little Jabez, and the 
rest of the children, her sister accompanying her. They 
set sail on the i3th of June, 1793, just at the height of 
the Reign of Terror in France, and speedily they lost 
sight of the white cliffs of England, which they were 
nevermore to look upon. The voyage, though at times 



56 WILLIAM CAREY. 

stormy, was - prosperous. Poor Mrs. Carey had many 
fears and troubles ; " she was like Lot s wife till we 
reached the Cape ; but, ever since, it seems so far to 
look back to Piddington that she turns her hopes and 
wishes to our safe arrival in Bengal." They reached 
Calcutta, all well, on the nth of November. As they 
approached, and the " faint verge of green " turned into 
belts and groves of cocoa-nut trees, this was Carey s 
earnest longing : " O may my heart be prepared for our 
work, and the kingdom of Christ be set up among the 
poor Hindoos ! " So he entered India, strong in the 
might of weakness that trusts in God. 

What were the thoughts of friends at home, now that 
they were committed to the great enterprise, Fuller 
discloses. After the departure of the missionaries, he 
says, "we had time for reflection. In reviewing the 
events of a few preceding months we were much im 
pressed ; we could scarcely believe that such a number 
of impediments had, in so short a time, been removed. 
The fear and trembling which had possessed us at the 
outset had insensibly given way to hope and joy. 
Upborne by the magnitude of the object, and by the 
encouraging promises of God, we had found difficulties 
subside as we approached them, and ways opened beyond 
all our expectations. The thought of having done some 
thing towards enlarging the boundaries of our Saviour s 
kingdom, and of rescuing poor heathens and Mahom- 
medans from under Satan s yoke, rejoiced our hearts. 
We were glad also to see the people of God offering so 



PREVIOUS LABOURERS IN INDIA. 57 

willingly ; some leaving their country ; others pouring 
in their property ; and all uniting in prayers to Heaven 
for a blessing. A new bond of union was furnished 
between distant ministers and Churches. Some, who 
had backslidden from God, were restored ; and others, 
who had long been poring over their unfruitfulness, and 
questioning the reality of their personal religion, having 
their attention directed to Christ and His kingdom, lost 
their fears, and found that peace which, in other pur 
suits, they had sought in vain. Christians of different 
denominations discovered a common bond of affection ; 
and instead of always dwelling on things wherein they 
differed, found their account in uniting in those wherein 
they were agreed. In short, our hearts were enlarged ; 
and if no other good had arisen from the undertaking 
than the effect produced upon our own minds, and the 
minds of Christians in our country, it were more than 
equal to the expense." 

A glance may be taken at what had been done for 
India before Carey s time. It is unnecessary to refer 
to the work initiated by Xavier ; it had not come to 
much ; his successors had converted the heathen by 
becoming heathen themselves. But in 1705 Bar 
tholomew Ziegenbalg and Henry Plutschau, educated 
under Franke at Halle, the stronghold of " pietism," had 
been sent forth to India as missionaries by Frederick IV., 
King of Denmark. Landing at Tranquebar, their first 
business was to acquire the language; and as soon as 
they could hold communication with the people, they 



58 WILLIAM CAREY. 

began, Bible in hand, to tell the glad tidings. Converts 
were slowly won, chiefly from the lowest classes. 1 Per 
ceiving the hindrance that arose from the converts 
becoming " outcast," they endeavoured to provide means 
of livelihood for them by the establishment of native 
manufactories. They began also to translate the Scrip 
tures, and to institute means of education. In 1715 
they had printed the New Testament in the Tamil 
language. Ziegenbalg, who appears to have been a 
man of great zeal and simplicity of character, died 
young; and Plutschau was forced home by broken 
health ; but others took up their work, and carried it 
on with much assiduity and considerable outward suc 
cess. In 1726, aided by the Christian Knowledge 
Society of England, the mission was extended to 
Madras, Cuddalore, and Trichinopoly. The great 
name of Christian Frederick Schwartz now appears, 
who laboured in Southern India till 1798. It is a 
striking picture that we have of him, living on an 
income of ^"50 a-year, dressed in dimity dyed black, 
eating rice and vegetables cooked after the native 
fashion, his dwelling an old room just large enough for 
himself and his bed, devoting himself with the utmost 

1 In what sort of soil these old missionaries had to sow their 
seed may be seen from a single incident. " I was speaking to 
some heathens, when one of them pointed at an old man whose 
head was bent almost to the ground, and said : That man must be 
a very great sinner ; he is so old, and yet he cannot die. I spoke 
to the old man, on God s willingness to save him. He only 
laughed and said : Give me some tobacco ; I want nothing more." 



SCHWARTZ AND KIERNANDER. 59 

simplicity and enthusiasm to the work of making known 
the name of Jesus Christ. A man of sound common- 
sense, of winning manner, of intense and holy devotion, 
as courageous as John the Baptist, his own life a pattern 
of what he called men to. " He had a great deal of 
love to Christ," said a native Christian, describing him, 
" and used to preach about the love of Christ till he 
wept." Till lately, there were very old men in Southern 
India who remembered his snow-white hair and benig 
nant countenance. When he died, in 1798, a wail of 
lamentation arose from multitudes who had loved him. 
Numbers came from different parts of the land to throw 
themselves weeping upon his grave. 

While Schwartz and his coadjutors were labouring in 
Southern India, John Zachariah Kiernander, a Swede, 
was at work in Bengal. He too had been educated 
at Halle. When Cuddalore was surrendered to the 
French in 1758, he removed to Calcutta at the invitation 
of Clive, who, though not professedly a religious man, 
saw no harm in the introduction of the Gospel among 
the natives, or thought he might be able to play it, as 
a piece, in a political game of chess. In Calcutta, 
Kiernander instituted a native school ; he preached to 
all who would come and listen to him ; he " built a 
church," largely at his own cost ; he gathered in some 
few converts ; and he manifested both simplicity and 
benevolence of spirit. His views of the Gospel, how 
ever, seem to have been hazy ; and he never mastered 
either Bengali or Hindustani so as to speak to the 



60 



WILLIAM CAREY. 



people in their own tongue. Practically, his work made 
only the slightest impression. After his death an at 
tempt was made to supply his place by the aid of the 
Christian Knowledge Society ; but the attempt proved 
a failure ; the Society, it was affirmed, " could give any 
thing to the good work of evangelizing the heathen 
except a man to preach the Gospel." Beyond what 
was done by English chaplains, by a somewhat feeble 
Moravian effort, and by the personal character and in 
fluence of individual Christian men, this was substantially 
all that had been hitherto done to bring India to the 
feet of Christ. There was a ground of truth for the 
remark of Captain William Bruce to Southey, " that if 
our empire in India were overthrown, the only monu 
ments that would remain of us would be broken bottles 
and corks. " 



CHAPTER IV. 

THE missionaries were allowed to enter Calcutta 
without obstruction indeed without notice, so 
obscure were they as Paul and Silas entered Philippi, 
bringing salvation to Europe. They had as yet no 
definite plans for the future, but waited on providential 
guidance. Their first step was to secure a house in 
which the two families might live together ; and then 
Carey sat down to the study of Bengali, which he had 
begun on the voyage, while Thomas undertook the 
housekeeping not without forebodings on Carey s part. 
Ram Ram Bosu -was engaged as Bengali teacher. 
This man had apparently been brought under the power 
of the Gospel five years previously; he then assured 
Thomas that he had "found Jesus Christ to be the 
answerer of his prayers ; " he had composed a Gospel- 
hymn, 1 " the first ever seen or heard of in the Bengalese 

1 A single verse of this hymn, "imitated in English," will indi 
cate its quality : 

" Who besides can man recover, 
O who else restore to light ? 

6> 



62 WILLIAM CAREY. 

language ; " and there had seemed good reason to expect 
that he would soon avow himself a Christian. Since that 
time, however, he had gone back, and " bowed to idols." 
Hearing of the arrival of the missionaries, he came to 
welcome them, and seemed full of penitence for his 
grievous fall. Under his tuition, Carey made rapid 
progress in the language. 

Calcutta was an expensive place to live in ; and the 
scanty funds rapidly melted away. In the course of a 
few weeks it was deemed advisable to remove to cheaper 
quarters in the old Portuguese town of Bandel, where it 
was hoped they would find opportunities of making the 
Gospel known to the natives. The prospect at first 
seemed favourable, but a short trial proved it otherwise, 
and by the end of the year they returned to Calcutta, 
Thomas hoping to find employment as a surgeon, and 
Carey occupying a garden house at Manicktolla, a north 
eastern suburb of the city, indebted for its poor shelter 
to a wealthy native. His distress was extreme. The 
house was small and ill-ventilated ; he was a stranger in 
a strange land, without money or friends ; illness was 
beginning to invade his family ; and, added to all, were 
the bitter upbraidings of his wife for having brought 
them into such hopeless misery. His connection with 
Thomas, whose failings were better known in Calcutta 

Who but Christ, that heavenly Lover, 
Save from everlasting night ? 

Who besides Him 
Save from sin s eternal night ? " 



ATTEMPTS AT SETTLEMENT. 63 

than his excellencies, did him no good. Thus, when he 
called on the Rev. David Brown, a man who afterwards 
became a firm friend, " he received me," says Carey, 
" with cool politeness. I staid near an hour with him ; 
found him a very sensible man ; but a marked disgust 
prevails, on both sides, between him and Mr. Thomas. 
He carried himself as greatly my superior, and I left him 
without his having so much as asked me to take any 
refreshment, though he knew I had walked five miles 
in the heat of the sun." 1 There seemed at this time 
no break in the darkness by which the mission was 
environed. 

At length, after a period of great anxiety, Carey ob 
tained a small supply of money from Thomas, and left 
with his family and Ram Bosu, his munshi, for Dehatta, 
forty miles east from Calcutta, where Ram Bosu s uncle 
was zemindar. Dehatta lay on the borders of the 
Sunderbunds, a vast tract of marsh and jungle, forming 
the southernmost portion of the Gangetic Delta, inter 
sected by numberless sluggish streams which interlaced 
in all directions, and comprising an area of nearly seven 
thousand square miles. The foundation of the land, a 
hundred and twenty feet below the surface, consists of a 
bed of semi-fluid mud. Residence there was like living 

1 He gives an account of a similar interview with Claudius 
Buchanan five years later at Barrackpore : " He at first began to 
examine me as if he had been my suffragan asked me what was 
become of that chap Thomas, and a number of officious questions ; 
but afterwards was rather more agreeable." 



64 WILLIAM CAREY. 

in a vapour-bath. The journey from Calcutta had to 
be made by boat, at times skirting jungle-forest, that 
abounded with the lairs of tigers and other wild beasts, 
and that sent forth deadly miasma. When they reached 
Dehatta, provisions for only a single day more remained. 
A friend, however, was raised up for them in the hour 
of need. This was Mr. Short, superintendent of salt 
works in the neighbourhood, a man of open and 
generous disposition. With true "Indian hospitality" 
he received the whole party into his house, and insisted 
on their remaining there till otherwise provided for. 
Land was easily procured in the neighbourhood, and 
Carey soon obtained a few acres at Hashnabad, across 
the Jubona, and set to work immediately to erect huts 
for his family after the fashion of the district. 

"The walls," he writes, detailing his plan, "will be 
made of mats, fastened to wooden posts, and the roof 
formed of bamboos, and thatched. . . . Although 
the country is an excellent soil, it has been lately almost 
deserted, on account of the tigers and other beasts of 
prey which infest the place ; but these are all afraid of a 
gun, and will soon be expelled. . . . We shall have 
all the necessaries of life here, except bread, for which 
rice must be a substitute. . . . When my house is 
built, I shall have more leisure than at present, with 
daily opportunities of conversing with the natives, and 
pursuing the work of the mission. Here is certainly a 
large field for usefulness; much larger than you can 
conceive. . . . The part where I am building my 



THE SUNDERBUNDS. 65 

house is within a quarter of a mile of the impenetrable 
forests called Sunderbunds ; and though quite deserted 
before, through fear of tigers, the people are now return 
ing, encouraged by my example, and we shall soon have 
three or four thousand in our vicinity. . . . With 
respect to personal safety, I am just the same here as in 
England. My health was never better. The climate, 
though hot, is tolerable ; but, attended as I am with 
difficulties, I would not renounce my undertaking for all 
the world." 

Much has been done of late years under British rule 
to reclaim the Sunderbunds, and to render them less 
insalubrious. The measures that are in operation date 
from the appointment of Mr. Henckell, the first English 
judge and magistrate of Jessore, in 1781. The work to 
be accomplished was of the most difficult nature. For 
the most part a swampy forest, the haunt of tigers and 
other wild beasts, overspread the region. The trees, 
some of them of great size, were interlaced, both roots 
and branches, in the most intricate way. There was, 
besides, a low and almost impenetrable brushwood or 
" bush " covering the ground, which had to be slowly 
hacked away, bit by bit ; and after a portion had been 
cleared, it required constant attention lest it should 
spring back into jungle again. Mr. Henckell originated 
a scheme, which was sanctioned by Government, under 
which allotments of land were granted, on favourable 
terms, to persons who undertook the work of reclama 
tion; and from that period the enterprise has made 



66 WILLIAM CAREY. 

progress in spite of all difficulties, so that now a very 
large area is under rice, and the health rate has risen 
considerably. But toward the close of last century the 
whole region was little else than an unreclaimed and 
pestilential wilderness, in which, or in the neighbourhood 
of which, it would have been almost certain death for 
an unacclimatized European family to take up their 
dwelling. 1 

It was well that this locality was soon abandoned : it 
was not a good mission centre, and almost inevitably it 
would have been fatal to life. The abandonment came 
about in this way. Mr. Thomas had been reconciled to 
his former friend, Mr. Udny, from whom he had parted 
in anger before he went to England. Mr. Udny now 
offered him the management of an indigo factory at 
Moypaldiggy, near Malda, which offer he thankfully 
accepted; and through the representations which he 
made, a similar appointment at Mudnabatty, sixteen 
miles distant, was offered to Carey. 

On accepting the offer and removing thither, Carey 
wrote home to England that he would require no further 

1 About 1783, Mr. Henckell established three market-places in 
different parts of the Sunderbunds, for the sale of produce, chiefly 
firewood, and for the purchase of provisions and other necessaries. 
At one of these places, while the work of clearing was going on, 
the native agent acting under Mr. Henckell was much troubled 
with the depredations of tigers ; so he called the place Henckellganj, 
hoping that out of respect and dread for the judge s name tigers 
would no longer molest him. The surveyors, unaware of the origin 
of the name, and guided by the local pronunciation, give it in their 
maps as Hingulgunge. 



REMOVAL TO MUDNABATTY. 67 

support from the Society, and that the salary destined 
for him should be devoted to some other effort ; only he 
wished them to send out a few implements of husbandry 
and a yearly assortment of seeds, for which he promised 
that he would regularly remit money. At the same time 
he assured them that it would be his joy to stand in the 
same relation to them as if he needed supplies from them, 
and to maintain the same correspondence with them. 

His letter produced a somewhat painful impression 
in the committee. Even Mr. Sutcliff was afraid that he 
was beginning to look back after putting his hand to the 
plough, and confesses, " It has been an occasion of 
many thoughts and fears." The committee resolved, 
" That though, on the whole, we cannot disapprove of 
the conduct of our brethren in their late engagement, 
yet, considering the frailty of human nature in the best 
of men, a letter of serious and affectionate caution be 
addressed to them." No doubt the committee were 
moved by a sincere jealousy lest a spirit of vvorldliness 
should creep in upon the missionaries ; a little also was 
conceded, as Fuller confesses, " to the Londoners ;" 
but when it is remembered that from the outset the 
missionaries were expected, if possible, to support them 
selves, and, further, that the whole amount transmitted 
to India for three years (May, 1793, to May, 1796) to 
support the mission families and carry on the work 
was only ^200, the resolution will appear scarcely called 
for. 

The letter of " serious and affectionate caution " was 



68 WILLIAM CAREY. 

written, and in due time received. How it hurt may be 
seen from this entry in Carey s journal : " One part, I 
acknowledge, rather surprised me : I mean that respect 
ing our engaging in employment for our support. I 
always understood that the Society recommended it 
. . . To vindicate my own spirit or conduct I should 
be very averse. It is a constant maxim with me that, if 
my conduct will not vindicate itself, it is not worth 
vindicating ; but we really thought we were acting in 
conformity with the universal wishes of the Society. 
Whether we are indolent or laborious, or whether the 
spirit of the missionary is swallowed up in the pursuits 
of the merchant, it becomes not me to say ; but our 
labours will speak for us. I only say that, after my 
family s obtaining a bare allowance, my whole income 
(and some months much more) goes for the purposes of 
the Gospel. ... I am indeed poor, and shall always 
be so, till the Bible is published in Bengali and Hin 
dustani, and the people want no further instruction." 

His secular employment required pretty close attention 
for three months out of the twelve ; the rest of the year 
he had more leisure. This leisure was devoted in part 
to the translation of the Scriptures into Bengali, and in 
part to itinerant preaching. His district comprehended 
about two hundred villages, scattered amid jungle-patches 
over the monotonous plain. Among these he was con 
tinually going about that he might publish the Gospel ; 
occasionally extending his journeys nearly a hundred 
miles up country, where probably no European, and 



THE DA Y OF SMALL THINGS. 69 

certainly no herald of salvation, had ever been before. 1 
In travelling which was by river he used two small 
boats, one to sleep in and the other for cooking his food ; 
while he himself mostly trudged on foot from village to 
village. A day s journey might vary from ten to twenty 
miles, according to the opportunities he had of speaking 
with the people. On Lord s Day the gatherings some 
times numbered nearly five hundred persons. His hopes 
of winning some were often excited, and as often dis 
appointed. 

" Poor souls ! " he exclaims, " they have need of the 
Gospel indeed. Their superstitions are so numerous, 
and all their thoughts of God so very light, that they only 
consider Him as a sort of plaything; while cheating, 
juggling, and lying are esteemed no sins in them." 
There was not mere stolidity of mind, but it seemed 
almost as if a conscience had to be created in them, so 
difficult was it to make them conceive of sin. 2 As to 

1 In 1797 he made a tour in company with Thomas to the borders 
of Bhotan, whose stupendous snow-clad mountains could be seen 
from his district. They exchanged presents with the Siiba, and for 
some time afterwards a friendly correspondence was maintained. 
Carey never ceased to long and hope for the establishment of a 
mission there. 

2 Thus on one occasion a man inquired how he was to pray. 
Carey asked him what he should do if he carried a petition to the 
Governor for pardon. He replied that he should look very sorrow 
ful, and tell a great many lies to excuse himself ; and that so he 
should do if he went to God. He declared himself in favour of 
lying, and even thieving. Who could wonder ? Their gods were 
no better. 



70 WILLIAM CAREY. 

responsibility, they held themselves to be machines, on 
which God acts in a physical manner, so that they were 
not accountable for their dispositions or actions. If one 
of them, for example, were detected in theft or some 
other crime, he would excuse himself by saying that his 
forehead was bad. "In a conversation which I had 
with a man some time ago on this subject, he roundly 
asserted that he had never committed a sin in his life ; 
for though many of his actions were unjustifiable, yet it 
was not he that committed them, but God." This way 
of thinking he found almost universally prevalent 

Another hindrance to the Gospel was the mingled 
servility and avarice of the people generally. A man 
would appear deeply interested ; and at length it would 
be discovered, after months of deception, that all he 
wanted was money. Hence it was extremely difficult 
to ascertain the sincerity of those who came forward as 
inquirers, or to form any true judgment respecting their 
pretensions. 

In the face of these and similar difficulties it was hard 
to labour on in a hopeful spirit. " I feel often tempted," 
he says, " to preach as if I thought the hearts of men 
were invulnerable, which is not only dishonouring and 
undervaluing the power and grace of God, who has 
promised to be with His ministers to the end, but also 
tends to destroy all my energies, and to produce a stupid 
formality in my discourses." " I am almost grown cal 
lous by these continued sights, and all that which ought 
to affect a missionary s heart with tenderness. I see 



HIS ASPIRATIONS. 71 

their abominations and their ignorance, and I sometimes 
think them to be past recovery. I charge them with 
stupidity in my mind, and then sit down in guilty dis 
couragement. . . . Yet I cannot think that our 
entering in among this people will be in vain. We may 
perhaps be only forerunners to prepare the way before 
others. At any rate the promise of God will not, cannot, 
fail. I will go in His strength." 

The discouragements, of which he speaks so feelingly, 
did not make him slack in service. " I am," he says, 
"perfectly at home as a missionary, and rejoice that 
God has given me this great honour, to preach among 
the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ. I would 
not change my station for all the society in England, 
much as I prize it ; nor, indeed, for all the wealth in the 
world. May I but be useful in laying the foundation 
of the Church of Christ in India, I desire no greater 
reward, and can receive no higher honour." Later on, 
he says, "If, like David, I am only an instrument of 
gathering materials, and another build the house, I trust 
my joy will not be the less." 

As a specimen of his manner of dealing with the 
people, he tells how, on a particular occasion, he spoke 
to them about Christ being a blessing sent to bless by 
turning men from their iniquities. He pointed out the 
superiority of the Gospel to all other writings, and Christ 
to all pretended saviours, because trust in Him resulted 
in a turning from iniquity ; " but," said he, appealing to 
the worshippers of idols, " there is not a man of you yet 



72 WILLIAM CAREY. 

turned from his iniquity. There are among you liars, 
thieves, whoremongers, and men filled with deceit. And 
as you were last year, so you are this, not any more 
holy ; nor can you ever be so till you throw off your 
wicked worship and wicked practices, and embrace the 
Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ." This manner of 
speaking did not affront them, and many were willing 
to hear. Still, no one seemed ready to accept the 
Gospel ; " the Brahmins fear to lose their gain ; the higher 
castes, their honour ; and the poor tremble at the venge 
ance of their debtas" l 

The whole management and arrangements of the 
factory he sought to conduct on Christian principles, 
believing that by the exercise of righteousness, truth, and 
kindliness he would greatly commend the Gospel and 
further its extension. He believed that it could -be 
extended only by means in harmony with its own spirit. 
Hence he carefully avoided, on the one hand, every 
thing that looked like bribing men to become Christians, 
by holding out the prospect of worldly advantage ; and, 
on the other hand, everything of the nature of coercion 
or pressure. 3 Conscience he held absolutely sacred. 
Thus, when one of the workmen employed by him 
made an idol of clay, representing Sarosuadi, the 

1 Demi -gods. 

* When it was put to him, on one occasion, "Don t you think it 
would be wrong to force the Hindoos to become Christians?" his 
answer was prompt and decisive: "The thing is impossible; we 
may force men to be hypocrites, but no power on earth can force 
men to become Christian." .. 



AV PERILS OF DEA TH. 73 

patroness of learning, which he proposed to consecrate 
at her next annual feast, "I might have used authority 
(he says), and have forbidden it; but I thought that 
would be persecution; I therefore talked seriously 
with the man to-day, and tried to convince him of the 
sinfulness of such a thing, as well as of its foolishness ; 
he acquiesced in all I said, and promised to throw 
his work away." This conviction of the sacredness of 
conscience, even in a heathen, determined his whole 
method of dealing with the people. 

Mudnabatty was an insignificant village of two or 
three dozen mud-walled cottages, most of them contain 
ing only a single apartment, the inhabitants, employed in 
cultivating the soil, being miserably poor and ignorant. 
It lay near a river bank, about a day s journey north-east 
of the ancient capital of Bengal, with its ruined walls and 
arches, and its once stately palaces, now the kennels 
of jackals. The low grounds around the village were 
annually flooded by the rains, and converted into a 
pestiferous marsh, only the higher ridges standing clear. 
Numerous other villages, with patches of jungle, dotted 
the wearisome plain in all directions. It soon turned 
out that the spot was insalubrious in the extreme. One 
" dear little boy " died, sorely wept by his parents ; and, 
to add to the trial, it was with the utmost difficulty that 
any one could be induced to aid in making a coffin or 
digging a grave, for fear of losing caste. Carey himself 
was reduced to the last extremity with malarious fever, 
returning with slow and feeble steps from the very gates 



74 WILLIAM CAREY. 

of death ; while his poor wife was smitten with incurable 
melancholy, and had to be kept under restraint to her 
dying day. 

It was not until the middle of May, 1795, that the 
first letters from England arrived. The long silence 
was depressing, and was only relieved by occasional 
meetings between the missionaries, when they took 
counsel together respecting the work of the Gospel, and 
prayed. The arrival of the letters verified Solomon s 
proverb, " As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good 
news from a far country." 

His journal and letters during this period present a 
vivid picture of his inner life. They exhibit a singular 
intermingling of dejection, self-upbraiding, patience, 
devotion, and hope. The solitude of his religious life is 
reflected especially in his journal, which indicates exces 
sive introspection, natural enough in his circumstances, 
but not calculated to promote either his happiness or his 
usefulness. 

The following extracts range from 1793 to 1799. If 
the terms, " insensibility," " coldness," " forgetful ness," 
" pride," " spiritual stupidity," seem to occur too fre 
quently, it must be remembered how conscientious he 
was, and how he shrank from everything like self- 
laudation. 

"Was very much dejected all day. Have no relish 
for anything in the world, yet am swallowed up in its 
cares. Towards evening had a pleasant view of the 
all-sufficiency of God and the stability of His promises, 



HIS JOURNAL. 75 

which much relieved my mind ; and as I walked home 
in the night, was enabled to roll my soul and all my 
cares in some measure on God." 

" Have reason to bless God for a day of quietness and 
calmness, though I must mourn over my barrenness and 
the strange stupidity of my heart. I feel pleasure in the 
work and ways of God, but have a disobedient soul. 
When will the Lord take full possession of my mind, and 
abide there for ever ? " 

" In the evening had much relief in reading over Mr. 
Fuller s charge to us at Leicester. The affection there 
manifested almost overcame my spirits, for I have not 
been accustomed to sympathy of late. Oh ! I think 
again, I am not only ready to be offered, so as to suffer 
anything, but, if I be offered upon the service and 
sacrifice of faith, I joy and rejoice in it. Oh ! what a 
portion is God, and what a shame that I am not always 
satisfied with Him ! " 

" Still I mourn my barrenness and the foolish wander 
ings of my mind. Surely 1 shall never be of any use 
among the heathen, I feel so very little of the life ot 
godliness in my own soul. It seems as if all the sweet 
ness that I have formerly felt were gone ; neither am I 
distressed, but a guilty calm is spread over my soul, and 
I seem to spend all my time, and make no progress 
towards the desired port, either in a public or private 
way. I am full of necessities, yet am not distressed ; I 
want wisdom to know how to direct all my concerns, 
and fortitude and affectionate desire for the glory of 



76 WILLIAM CAREY. 

God, and faith and holiness in all its branches ; then my 
soul would be like a well-watered garden, but now it is 
a mere jungle." 

"This day I feel much remains of my past careless 
ness and absorption in the affairs of the world, though 
somewhat more of an inclination to the things of God 
than for some time back. I hope my soul, like a pen 
dulum, though it swings to and fro about the necessary 
things of the world, yet can rest nowhere but in its 
centre, God ; and I trust I feel that there is an inclina 
tion to rest there. Oh, when shall I serve God uninter 
ruptedly, and pursue everything in a subserviency to His 
Divine will, and in such a manner as to commune with 
Him in everything I do ? 

" With all the cares of life and its sorrows, yet I find 
that a life of communion with God is sufficient to yield 
consolation in the midst of all ; and even to produce a 
holy joy in the soul, which shall make it to triumph over 
all affliction. I have never yet repented of any sacrifice 
that I have made for the Gospel, but find that consola 
tion of mind which can come from God alone." 

" Still a continuance of the same tranquil state of 
mind. Outwardly the sky lowers, but within I feel 

The soul s calm sunshine and the heart-felt joy. 

Hope more strongly operates as the time of my being 
able to speak for Christ approaches ; and I feel like a 
long-confined prisoner whose chains are knocked off 
in order to his liberatioa" 



HIS JOURNAL. 77 

"This has been a time of abundant mercy to me 
in every respect. My soul has been strengthened and 
enlightened ; I only want a heart endued with gratitude 
and love. I want to be filled with a sense of the mercy 
of God, and to feel my heart warmed with a lively regard 
to Him and all His ways." 

"This morning felt somewhat barren, but in the 
evening had much pleasure and freedom in preaching to 
the natives at Mudnabatty. These were more attentive 
also than those at Sadamahl, and I doubt not but 
God has a work to do here. It has been His general 
way to begin among the poor and despised, and to pass 
by those who imagine themselves to be wise ; but here 
we have only poor and illiterate people, and scarcely any 
of those who value themselves on account of being of 
the higher caste." 

" I have continual reason to complain on account of 
the barrenness of my soul towards God. Surely no one 
who has received such uncommon favours can be so 
ungrateful as myself. I have need of more spiritual life 
and a more evangelical turn of mind. I want true faith, 
and in a great degree ; and I have great need of an 
aptness or readiness to teach. Indeed, I always was 
very defective in this ; and now I need more of this 
spirit than ever I did in my life. I have often thought, 
on this very account, that I never was fit for the Gospel 
ministry ; but how much less fit for the work of a 
missionary among the heathen ! Oh, may God give me 
His Holy Spirit to furnish me for every good work I" 



78 WILLIAM CAREY. 

" I believe my fault is this magnifying every trouble, 
and forgetting the multitude of mercies that I am daily 
loaded with. I have been reading Flavel on Providence 
lately ; but under every new shadow .of a trial I find 
myself to be a learner, and even to have made no new 
advances in the necessary science of improving all mer 
cies to promote thankfulness, and all trials to promote 
patience." 

Page after page might be filled with similar extracts, 
but these are sufficient. They illustrate the piety, hu 
mility, and conscientiousness of the man ; but they also 
indicate a tendency to unwise self-scrutiny. Much was 
no doubt due to the solitariness of his life. Besides, 
this way of looking inward and registering moods and 
experiences as we register the daily temperature, or the 
height of the barometer was a religious habit of the 
time. Fuller says to him, with great sagacity : " I could 
as often have made similar complaints in return; but 
let us rather pray for each other, and strengthen each 
other s hands in the Lord. It is wonderful that God 
should do anything by such poor, grovelling sinners as 
we are. One thing, however, is manifested by it that 
the work is entirely His own ; and if we should reach 
the kingdom of God at last, it must be by great grace. 
God has honoured us not a little by employing us in this 
great work ; but as the honour does not belong to us, 
we must return it. The crowns do not seem to fit our 
heads, therefore they must be cast at the feet of Jesus." 

A reader of his letters during this period will be struck 



PRAYING IN HIS GARDEN. 79 

with the many-sidedness of the man, and the broad 
views he took of all that concerned the welfare of India. 
His observations range over the arts of the people, their 
manufactures, their agriculture, their buildings, their 
dress, their manners and customs, their language, litera 
ture, laws, religion, and social life, the natural history 
of the country, and whatever else was fitted to make 
India better known to Englishmen. These letters, if 
collected together, would form a kind of museum on a 
small scale, showing what Bengal was a century ago. 

We come upon an occasional jotting among his private 
papers at this period like the following : " Arose and 
retired into my garden for prayer and meditation " ; again, 
" I sometimes walk in my garden and try to pray to 
God; and if I pray at all, it is in the solitude of a 
walk " ; and again, " Lord s Day. Arose about sunrise, 
and, according to my usual practice, walked into my 
garden for meditation and prayer, till the servants came 
to family worship." This habit of quietly musing and 
praying, as he wandered in his garden among his plants 
and flowers, continued even in his busiest times to the 
close of his life. 

In dealing with the natives, he found it " easy to con 
found their arguments, but their hearts still remained the 
same." Notwithstanding, he says, " I am far from being 
discouraged ; and, should I never succeed, yet I am re 
solved in the strength of the Lord Jesus to live and die 
persisting in this work, and never to give it up but with 
my liberty or life. The worth of souls, the pleasure of 



8o WILLIAM CAREY. 

the work itself, and, above all, the increase of the Re 
deemer s kingdom, are with me motives sufficient, and 
more than sufficient, to determine me to die in the work 
that I have undertaken." 

Before 1796 ended he was joined at Mudnabatty by 
John Fountain, a young man who had been a member 
of the Church at Eagle Street, London, and had been 
well recommended to the committee. His arrival was a 
pleasant surprise. The missionaries could now sing the 
praises of God " in three parts." 

On the 3oth of December Carey wrote a letter full of 
Christian affection to the Church in Leicester, recalling 
the communion he had enjoyed with them, and urging 
them individually to be faithful to the Lord, whose they 
were. " Consider yourselves," he says, " as at the dis 
posal of God, and never go reluctantly about anything 
which He commands you, who so willingly laid down 
His life to deliver you from the lowest hell." He men 
tions that there are now five persons united in Christian 
fellowship where he is ; and he requests a dismission 
" to the Church of Christ meeting at Mudnabatty, or 
elsewhere, Bengal." In due time they complied with 
his request, and also inserted the letter of dismission in 
their Church-book, " to preserve to posterity the memory 
of an event so pleasing and important as the planting 
of a Gospel-church in Asia." The letter runs : " The 
Church of Christ meeting in Hervey Lane, Leicester, 
England, in Europe, to the Church of Christ of the same 
faith and order, meeting in Mudnabatty, Hindostan, 



NEW SCHEMES. 8 1 

Asia, sendeth Christian salutation. Dear Brethren, As 
our Brother, William Carey, formerly our beloved Pastor, 
requests a dismission from us to you, we comply. We 
earnestly desire that he may be very useful among you, 
both as a member and as a minister. Though few in 
number, may you be as a handful of genuine corn in 
Hindostan, which may fill all Asia with evangelical fruit. 
The Lord has already done great things for you, whereof 
you have cause to be glad. We hope you will make it 
your great concern to prize and conform to the glorious 
Gospel and its holy institutions. That ye may be filled 
with spiritual Light and Life and Joy, and abound in the 
practice of all the fruits of righteousness, is the ardent 
prayer of your affectionate brethren in Christ Jesus." 
The letter is signed, " in behalf of the whole," by 
Benjamin Cave, pastor, three deacons, and eight mem 
bers. 

From a variety of causes, chiefly the badly chosen 
situation of the works and the frequent floods, the indigo 
factory did not prosper. Carey meanwhile was revolv 
ing in his mind the project of a mission settlement on 
the Moravian model. He proposed in a letter to Fuller 
that seven or eight mission families should be planted 
down together, in a number of little straw houses, in a 
line or square ; that there should be a common stock, 
and no private possessions ; that there should be fixed 
rules as to eating, drinking, working, learning, and wor 
ship, with stewards to preside over the management ; 
and that native converts should be considered their 

G 



82 WILLIAM CAREY. 

equals, and all come under the same regulations. The 
advantages which he saw in such a scheme were economy, 
proper distribution of labour, and the testimony of 
example to the heathen round about. Were his pro 
posal agreed to, and Mudnabatty selected as the seat 
of the mission, he was prepared to throw his income and 
utensils immediately into the common stock. The idea 
in his mind was to establish in the midst of the heathen 
population a little Christian " community," whence the 
light of the Gospel should radiate into the region round 
about. They should live by their own industry ; they 
should have no slaughter-weapons among them ; they 
should exemplify the new life before the eyes of their 
heathen neighbours ; they should tell forth in a thousand 
ways the glad tidings of redeeming love ; church, school, 
hospital, seminary of industrial arts, should be con 
joined; those who became "outcast" for Christ s sake 
should find a home with the community ; and young 
men, trained among them, would become missionaries to 
their countrymen far and near. 

Fuller pondered the scheme, and thought it might do. 
" As to your plan of uniting families," he says to Carey, 
"we have nothing to object The experience of the 
Moravians seems to sanction it But I suppose you 
could not carry it into execution without some active, 
amiable woman amongst them. Do whatever your own 
judgment dictates, all circumstances considered. So 
advises the Society. As to the place, whether about 
Nuddea or northward, for the reasons you have given 



RELIGIOUS DISCUSSIONS. 83 

we incline to the latter. You speak sometimes of being 
obliged to quit the Company s territories. Should you 
be safer on the territories of any of the Eastern princes ? 
You must judge of this, and indeed in all these things 
you must ultimately judge for yourself. We have great 
confidence in your prudence." Thus the matter rested 
for the time, till by-and-by determination of it was made 
in a manner that neither the Society at home nor the 
missionaries anticipated. 

In the meanwhile Carey began to take steps toward 
printing his Bengali translation of the New Testament, 
now completed. A press, constructed of wood, was 
procured in Calcutta at the cost of ^40, and was gifted 
to the mission by Mr. Udny. It was set up in a side 
room in the factory at Mudnabatty, and was visited and 
inspected by great numbers of natives, who looked upon 
it as a European idol. Types were also cast, and it was 
hoped that shortly the whole of the Scriptures might be 
thrown off. 

In his preaching excursions he was frequently led 
into arguments on religious subjects. On one such 
occasion, as he sat under a tree near a large temple 
of Juggernaut, after discussion with various persons, a 
young Brahmin came up to him and hoped he would 
not be offended, but " I will sit down (he said) and 
prove all that you have said to be false." Carey desired 
him to sit down and try. He did so ; and after about 
two hours close reasoning on both sides, he found him 
self impounded. He had at first granted that God is 



84 WILLIAM CAREY. 

light, and in Him is no darkness at all ; but at length 
he was forced to say roundly that God was possessed 
of sinful inclinations like men, or to give up his cause. 
Seeing his difficulty, Carey addressed him before the 
multitude : " Brahmin, you know that you have used 
every crooked argument in your power to support your 
cause, notwithstanding which you are involved in an 
inextricable difficulty. Why will you adhere to so bad a 
cause ? " Then he spoke to him of the way of life by 
Jesus Christ, and prayed. After prayer, the Brahmin 
told how he had left his native country, Orissa, and his 
friends, to come there to study the Shasters ; but he was 
convinced that the way of the Shasters was not the true 
way. " When you prayed," he said, " I felt my heart 
pray with you." Such incidents happened frequently, 
and gave hope of fruit. 

It was near the close of his residence in Mudnabatty 
that he saw the burning of a widow for the first time in 
his life. He had been at Calcutta, and was returning 
home. One evening, getting out of his boat near a 
village, he saw a concourse of people by the river side. 
Inquiring the occasion, he was told they were come to 
burn the body of a dead man ; and that his wife meant 
to be burned with him. The dead body lay on a pile 
made of large billets of wood, and the widow stood close 
by. Her nearest relative stood beside her, and at a 
little distance was a basket of sweetmeats. Carey asked 
whether it was the woman s choice to die on her hus 
band s funeral pyre, or whether there was any influence 



SUTTEE. 







used ; and was told that she was perfectly voluntary. 
He reasoned and remonstrated till it was of no use to 
go on and then he began to exclaim against what they 
were about to do as a shocking murder. It was in vain. 
They told him it was a great act of holiness, and that if 
he did not like to see it, he might go away. He replied 
that he would not go ; he would be a witness against 
their deed ; and then he turned to the widow, and urged 
her not to throw away her life. For answer, she mounted 
the pile, and danced on it, with her hands extended, as 
if in perfect tranquillity of mind. She had previously 
passed six times round it, scattering the sweetmeats 
among the people as she walked. When she had danced 
on the pile, she lay down beside the corpse, placing one 
arm under its neck and the other over ; when a quantity 
of dry leaves and other combustibles was heaped above 
them to a considerable height ; and then a quantity of 
melted butter was poured on the top. Two bamboos 
were held fast down over them, and the nearest relative 
then set fire to the pile, which immediately blazed fiercely 
up. If the woman groaned or screamed, she could not 
be heard for the shouting of the spectators ; and if she 
tried to escape, she could not, as the bamboos held her 
down "like the leaves of a press." Carey went away 
agonized and horror-stricken. 

These years at Mudnabatty were of immense value in 
preparing him for the great service of his life ; but, so 
far as gathering men to the Saviour was concerned, they 
were years of " hope deferred." " I feel (he says) as a 



86 WILLIAM CAREY. 

farmer does about his crop : sometimes I think the seed 
is springing, and thus I hope ; a little time blasts all, 
and my hopes are gone like a cloud. They were only 
weeds which appeared ; or if a little corn sprung up, it 
quickly died, being either choked with weeds, or parched 
up by the sun of persecution. Yet I still hope in God, 
and will go forth in His strength, and make mention of 
His righteousness, even of His only. J preach every 
day to the natives, and twice on Lord s Day constantly, 
besides other itinerant labours; and I try to speak of 
Jesus Christ and Him crucified, and of Him alone ; but 
my soul is often much dejected to see no fruit." The 
gain of these years amounted to this : the object of the 
missionaries was better understood; there were a few 
natives respecting whom great hopes were cherished ; 
the sphere of action among Europeans was considerably 
enlarged; the people and their language were better 
known; the work of translation had progressed; the 
school was prosperous ; and the stations at Malda and 
Dinagepore were regularly visited. The missionaries, 
besides, were greatly encouraged by the " hitherto unex- 
tinguishable flame " that had been kindled in England 
and all the Western world. 

In 1799 the indigo works at Mudnabatty were given 
up, in consequence of a succession of bad seasons and 
inundations. In anticipation of their abandonment, 
Carey had taken a small indigo work at Kidderpore, in 
the same neighbourhood, on his own account; and he 
now set about erecting buildings there, in hope of 



MISSIONARY REINFORCEMENTS. 87 

reinforcements from England. In this venture he 
expended all the little money he possessed. 

Just at this juncture the expected reinforcements 
from England arrived. They consisted of William Ward, 
Joshua Marshman and his wife, Daniel Brunsdon and 
his wife, William Grant and his wife, and Miss Tidd, who 
was to marry Mr. Fountain. Their intention was, if 
possible, to proceed to Malda, and settle with Carey at 
Mudnabatty. They arrived off Calcutta on the i2th 
of October, 1799, by the American ship Criterion, com 
manded by Captain Benjamin Wickes, of Philadelphia 
a man whose Christlike spirit was enough " to silence a 
thousand deists, if their eyes were not holden." Instead 
of landing, they left the ship in two boats, with their 
chests, and proceeded up the river to Serampore, where 
they arrived the following morning at day-break. It was 
the Lord s Day ; and they put up for the time being at 
Myer s tavern. 

Two of the missionary band speedily fell victims to the 
climate. Mr. Grant died within three weeks after land 
ing, and Mr. Brunsdon within twelve months. Both of 
them were men of considerable promise as missionaries. 
Marshman and Ward, whose names are indissolubly 
linked with that of Carey, were spared for many eventful 
years, to labour together in the Gospel. Their story is 
a romance. Never did three men serve together in such 
close union, for so long a space of time, with such un 
broken harmony, such unselfishness and loftiness of aim, 
so thorough practical good sense, and so marvellously 



88 WILLIAM CAREY. 

sustained resolution and enthusiasm, or win such 
trophies for the Redeemer " in the hitherto unconquered 
realms of Paganism," as did these three Carey, Marsh- 
man, and Ward. 

Marshman s first approach to the mission is thus 
noticed in a letter of Fuller s at the time : " I received 
a letter from another person, a schoolmaster, by whom 
Grant was set a-thinking to purpose." This " other 
person," Joshua Marshman by name, was the son of a 
Wiltshire weaver. His early education was got at a 
village school, where scarcely anything was taught beyond 
reading and writing. In this humble seminary the boy s 
lamp was lighted. Eager for knowledge, he entered the 
service of a London bookseller at the age of fifteen, but 
speedily discovered that he could learn little more about 
books there than the title-page and binding. After a 
brief trial, the London experiment was abandoned as a 
mistake, and he went back to his loom at Westbury, 
where for several years (like David Livingstone after 
him) he continued to ply his shuttle. They were years 
of advancing mental power and religious experience. 
While he was still a young man he was offered the mas 
tership of a school in Bristol, which he accepted. While 
living there he was baptized, and joined the Church at 
Broadmead ; and besides discharging his school duties, 
he attended the Bristol Baptist Academy. He was a 
man of great mental capacity, with what the Scotch call 
" a long head," and fine administrative abilities. 

William Ward, the son of a builder at Derby, was a 



WELCOME IN SERAMPORE. 89 

man of different type, but admirably suited for his future 
work. After receiving a fairly good education, he was 
apprenticed to a printer. Being a man of native ability, 
with ardour under the guidance of practical good sense, 
and being, moreover (like so many generous young men 
at the period of the great French Revolution), an eager 
politician, he rose to the position of editor of the Derby 
Mercury, and afterwards of a newspaper in Hull. In 
1796 he became a Church member, and began to 
preach ; and a little later went to Dr. Fawcett s training 
Institution at Ewood Hall, where he became inspired 
with the earnest desire to be a missionary. 

The pilot who had boarded the Criterion in Calcutta 
Roads brought with him a Government order requiring 
the captain to give in a list of all his passengers, with 
their business and destination. The four brethren were 
accordingly reported as " missionaries bound for Seram- 
pore." On arrival there, they waited on the Danish 
Governor, Colonel Bie, an old friend of Schwartz, with a 
letter of introduction from the Danish consul in London. 
They were welcomed with frank cordiality. " I have 
received them," Colonel Bie afterwards wrote, " as right 
eous men, in the name of righteous men ; and I shall 
never withhold good from them to whom it is due, when 
it is in the power of my hand to do it. I am happy in 
possessing them, and will be more so in seeing their 
number increase; as this world gives much mould 
whereof earthen vessels are made, but little dust that 
gold cometh from." 



90 WILLIAM CAREY. 

They were disappointed that neither Thomas rior 
Carey met them on their arrival ; and as they were 
considering what course to take, Captain Wickes made 
his appearance with the unexpected tidings that his ship 
was refused entrance at the Calcutta custom-house until 
the missionaries he had brought appeared at the police 
court, and bound themselves to return immediately to 
England. For some time the French had been causing 
great alarm : " I can compare them to nothing (said 
Fuller) but a raving mad bull on the other side of a 
river." Buonaparte, " purposing to be another Caesar," 
was believed to have been threatening India by his 
recent Egyptian expedition ; and hence stringent pre 
cautions had been taken against foreign emissaries. 
One of the Calcutta newspapers had blundered into, 
announcing "the arrival of four Papist missionaries in 
a foreign ship " ; and this paragraph, catching the eye 
of the authorities, led to the police interference with 
Captain Wickes. Colonel Bie, while assuring the mis 
sionaries of an asylum at Serampore, advised that they 
should present an explanatory memorial to the Governor- 
General, Lord Wellesley, 1 setting forth their aims. This 
was done, and Captain Wickes difficulty disappeared. 



1 Earl of Mornington, created Baron Wellesley 2Oth Oct., 1799, 
and Marquess Wellesley 2nd Dec., 1799. One of three distin 
guished brothers, all serving in India at the same time ; the other 
two being the future " Iron Duke " and Lord Cowley. A man of 
vast comprehension and energy, with capacity to devise and carry 
oat the most magnificent plans. 



THE MISSIONARIES SUSPECTED. 91 

Inquiries and negotiations followed, which resulted in 
convincing them that they would not be allowed to settle 
as missionaries within the Company s territories. 

Claudius Buchanan in a letter written about this time 
says : " Lord Mornington is taking measures to send 
home all Frenchmen and republicans. I was applied 
to lately, in a kind of official way, to give some account 
of the Baptist missionaries. It was asked, What was 
their object? How supported? Whether they were 
not of republican principles ? As I had some good 
data for speaking favourably of Mr. Carey, I confined 
myself to him. 1 I stated the origin of the Tranquebar 

1 There seems here an allusion to Mr. Fountain. Though Carey 
esteemed him highly, and found him " a great help and support," 
yet his letters home, and his unguarded talk in India, led to the 
conclusion that he "had too great an edge for politics," and was 
too much given to " sarcastic sneering at all persons in authority." 
Some of his letters were opened in the Post Office, and his un 
guarded words were reported, losing nothing in the carrying ; so it 
is not altogether surprising that Buchanan " confined himself to 
Carey" in what he said to the Governor-General. Fuller s re 
monstrances with Fountain regarding his " crude and pert political 
letters," his " folly," and so forth, are of the most direct and vigorous 
character. He warns him to remember how Peter and Jude "de 
scribed the liberty-boys of their day." He enjoins him, letter after 
letter, to attend to his proper business as a missionary, and let 
politics alone. If he persists in his " sneers and violent language," 
the Society will be under the necessity of publicly disowning him. 
In more than one letter, Fuller even goes the length of saying that 
if he will not change his course, " I must withdraw." Appealing 
directly to him, he says : " If you have no regard for yourself, spare 
that cause which is worth thousands of such lives as yours and ours." 
It is only just to Fountain s memory to say that Carey, who knew 



92 WILLIAM CAREY. 

mission, and its success under Schwartz, and I repre 
sented Carey as endeavouring to do in Bengal what 
Schwartz did in the Deccan. He called upon me lately 
in his way to Calcutta. He considers himself as sowing 
seed which haply may grow up and bear fruit." 

The issue of their consultations was that on the loth 
of January, 1800, Carey, giving up the idea of a settle 
ment in the Company s territories, joined the brethren at 
Serampore, which was destined to be for years to come 
" a little sanctuary " for the mission, and a centre of 
spiritual light and influence for the regions round about. 

him best, had a higher opinion of him than Fuller had ; and that 
the letters which caused the greatest uneasiness would probably be 
counted very tame and harmless affairs to-day. 



CHAPTER V. 

T UST across the Hugli from Calcutta, with which it is 
I connected by a massive pontoon bridge, is the large 
town of Howrah, at the close of last century a mere 
village. For five and thirty miles above, on the same 
side, there stretches a narrow river-plain, which is one of 
the richest and most densely-peopled tracts in India. 
The Hugli varies in breadth from half to three-quarters 
of a mile, and is bordered with palm and tamarind, 
bright green peepul and plantain trees, which shade 
many a nestling village and lordly residence with their 
cool greenery. It was within the stretch of these few 
miles, and on the west bank of the river, that the earliest 
European "factories" in Bengal were established the 
Danes planting themselves at Serampore, the French at 
Chandernagore, the Dutch at Chinsurah, the English at 
the village of Hugli, 1 and the Portuguese at Bandel. 

1 About the middle of the seventeenth century, Job Charnock, 
English adventurer, and governor of the factory at Hugli, obtained 
a grant of the land on which Calcutta is now built, from the native 
ruler ; and there, after clearing away the jungle, he " set up the 
Company s flag and his own zenana." 



94 WILLIAM CAREY. 

Serampore, calm, cheerful, and umbrageous, lies six 
teen miles above Howrah by river. At present it con 
tains a population of over twenty-one thousand. Babu 
Bhola-Nath Chandra, in his " Travels of a Hindu," thus 
describes the place. "Serampur is a snug little town, 
and possesses an exceeding elegance and neatness of 
appearance. The range of houses along the river side 
makes up a gay and brilliant picture. The interior 
keeps the promise which a distant view has given. The 
streets are as brightly clean as the walks in a garden. 
There is not much bustle or activity ; the whole place 
wearing the character of a suburban retreat. But the 
time was when Serampur had a busy trade, and twenty- 
two ships cleared from this small port in the space of 
three months." It remained a Danish settlement till 
1845, when it was transferred, along with the other 
Danish possessions in India, by a treaty with the king of 
Denmark, to the East India Company. In the beginning 
of the present century it was a kind of Alsatia a " city 
of refuge " for all who were in debt or afraid of their 
creditors in neighbouring territory. 

The Gospel had been brought to the Serampore dis 
trict many years before Carey s arrival. While he was a 
shoemaker lad at Hackleton, a Moravian mission, sent 
forth at the request of the Danish Asiatic Company, was 
just dying out. What good the missionaries may have 
accomplished is now forgotten ; by the close of the 
century no trace of their labours remained. 

It was here that Carey and his fellow-labourers now 



THE MISSION-PLAN AT SERAMPORE. 95 

planted themselves. Charles Grant s opinion was a 
sound one, that it was a good citadel to possess, but not 
sufficiently in the seat of action ; too much among the 
Europeans, and too little among the natives. The mis 
sionaries themselves were of the same opinion ; but they 
had no choice left them, since the Company forbade 
their residence in British territory. The place, however, 
proved a valuable mission centre for many years, lying 
somewhat like old lona to the Caledonian regions in the 
days of St. Columba. Being under the government of 
a power friendly to their designs, they could work their 
press without fear, and preach without hindrance. 

The Moravian idea somewhat modified, or, as they 
would have said, the idea of the Pentecostal Church, was 
adopted by them. They resolved to constitute a single 
family. There was to be a common stock into which 
the earnings of all (from whatever source) were to go, a 
common table, and a common abode a small separate 
sum being allowed to each for pocket-money. Whatever 
remained over and above was to be devoted to the sup- 
jort of widows and orphans, and the propagation of the 
iospel, under direction of the brethren thus united. 
The missionaries were to be considered on a footing of 
equality, and were to take their turn in preaching and 
inducting devotions. Each was to be responsible, a 
lonth in turn, for the domestic arrangements and ex 
penditure. Carey was appointed treasurer and keeper 
)f the medicine chest, and Fountain librarian. 
The spirit in which they began is seen in the " Form 



96 WILLIAM CAREY. 

of Agreement " drawn up by them, which was to be read 
three times a year publicly at every station. They must 
cherish an " awful sense of the value of souls ;" and 
these myriads around them must be viewed as "im 
mortals." They must endeavour to gain a thorough 
knowledge of those among whom they labour, in their 
modes of thinking and feeling. They must avoid every 
thing that would increase the native prejudice against 
the Gospel, by unguarded words and actions, or anything 
like acrimony in their preaching, remembering that the 
real conquests of the Gospel are those of love. The 
secret of being useful does not lie in being always on 
the foot : they must watch for and seize all opportun 
ities of doing good. They must make "Christ" the 
staple of their preaching ; it is His love alone that can 
win ; and there is no hope but in a ministry of love. 
They must gain the confidence of the people. They 
must watch over the converts with patience and tender 
ness : young plants in such a climate had need to be 
nourished with peculiar affection. They must encourage 
them to make the Gospel known to their countrymen ; 
for it is " only by means of native preachers " that the 
knowledge of salvation can be diffused throughout India; 
and, as Churches are formed, pastors and deacons should 
be chosen " from amongst their own countrymen " the 
missionary of the district advising when necessary, but 
directing his own efforts specially to the extension of the 
Gospel and the forming of new Churches. They must 
labour with all their might in forwarding translations of 



THE WORK TO BE DONE. 97 

the Bible in the languages of India ; in circulating these 
translations ; and in establishing native free schools. 
And, that they may be fitted for the discharge of these 
"unutterably important labours," they must be instant in 
prayer and the cultivation of personal religion. 

"Finally (they say), let us give ourselves up unre 
servedly to this glorious cause. Let us never think that 
our time, our gifts, our strength, our families, or even the 
clothes we wear, are our own. Let us sanctify them 
all to God and His cause. Oh ! that He may sanctify 
us for His work. Let us for ever shut out the idea of 
laying up a cowry for ourselves or our children. If we 
give up the resolution which was formed on the subject 
of private trade when we first united at Serampore, the 
mission is from that hour a lost cause. A worldly spirit, 
quarrels, and every evil work will succeed the moment it 
is admitted that each brother may do something on his 
own account. Woe to that man who shall ever make 
the smallest movement toward such a measure ! " 

This "Agreement" was not drawn up till 1805 ; but 
it exhibits the aims and the kind of life to which the 
Serampore brethren bound themselves from the begin 
ning. Had the Society in England kept it in view, it 
might have prevented many of the troubles of after- 
years. 

To Carey s mind, with the experience gained at 
Mudnabatty, the magnitude of the work to be accom 
plished stood out in the clearest relief. The Gospel 
was to be made known to an immense population ; the 

H 



98 WILLIAM CAREY. 

Bible was to be translated into many languages ; the 
printing-press was to be made a power in the land ; a 
whole Christian literature was to be created; schools 
and colleges were to be instituted, and the people 
educated ; and means were to be used for raising up a 
succession of native evangelists, pastors, and teachers, 
that the word of the Lord might have free course and 
be glorified. 

It was necessary, as speedily as possible, to procure a 
suitable dwelling-house and premises for the printing- 
press. Within a week after Carey s arrival, the purchase 
was made in name of the Society, the missionaries 
becoming trustees. The house was in the middle of 
the town. It contained ample family accommodation, 
together with storage room, and a hall sufficiently large 
to serve for a place of worship. Behind the house was 
a piece of ground two acres in extent, which was made 
over to Carey for a botanical garden. The situation was 
good; additional missionaries might be sent without 
fear ; and though they could not settle, they might 
itinerate, in any part of India. The printing-press 
was set up without delay. Two boarding schools were 
also opened under the charge of Mr. and Mrs. Marsh- 
man, which soon brought a revenue of ^360 a year to 
the common fund. A month later they opened a ver 
nacular school for native youths, which in a short time 
attracted about forty pupils. 

The whole Bible, with the exception of two books, was 
now translated into Bengali of- course in a manner very 



THE HINDRANCES. 99 

far from perfect and the work of printing immediately 
commenced. " Brother Ward," writes Carey, " is the 
very man we wanted ; he enters into the work with his 
whole soul. I have much pleasure in him, and expect 
much from him." So rapidly did the work proceed 
that on the i8th of March the first sheet of the New 
Testament was placed by Ward in Carey s hands a 
treasure more precious in his estimation than gold. 

While the press was busy, both Carey and Fountain 
embraced all opportunities of preaching to the heathen 
around them, and of conversing with inquirers in private. 
The hindrances in the way of the Gospel they found to 
be extreme. It was indeed matter of fact that the two 
noblest doctrines of pre-Christian religion the unity of 
God and a future life were to be found in the early 
Sanskrit books, echoes of a primeval faith ; but in the 
minds of the people, the truth was debased, obscured, 
overlaid with error of the worst kind. Never perhaps 
was there such a combination of false principles to be 
met with, all exactly suited to make the sinner 

" Fancy music in his chains." 

"In other countries the law written upon the con 
science may be appealed to, and often with effect, 
strengthening the power of conviction produced by the 
doctrine of revelation ; but here the law of God is erased 
from the conscience, and a law of idolatrous ceremony 
engraved in its stead. Here the multitude believe that 
the Ganges can wash from iniquity ; what need, then, 



ioo WILLIAM CAREY. 

of the blood of Christ? Here Brahmins unblushingly 
declare that God is the author of sin, and that the world 
is merely His show ; so that sin is no longer feared. 
Here it is commonly believed that this is not a state of 
probation, but of rewards and punishments ; the doctrine 
of a future general judgment, therefore, appears wholly 
false. Here the multitude believe that hell is a place of 
temporary punishment merely; so that no one much 
fears, though he may think he is going there. Add to 
this, all pay a thousand-fold more reverence and devotion 
to the Brahmins than ever the people did to the priest 
hood in the darkest periods of popery; and all are 
bound in their present state by the chain of the caste, in 
breaking which a man must bear to be utterly renounced 
and abhorred, by his children, his friends, and his 
countrymen. All the ties that twine about the heart of 
a father, a husband, a child, a neighbour, must be torn 
and broken before a man can give himself to Christ 
Such is, to human nature, the dreadful colossus which 
Satan has erected to his own name in this country. 
These difficulties are increased to us by our want of 
language and of influence, the example of our country 
men, the heat of the climate, and so on. We are often 
perplexed, but not forsaken; cast down, but not de 
stroyed. We have a sure word of prophecy ; nor are 
we without evidence that God is working by us, and 
opening a way for gathering a people in this benighted 
region. Our afflictions have abounded ; but goodness 
and mercy have much more abounded. 



DEATH OF FOUNTAIN. 101 

"There appears to be a growing familiarity between 
us and the natives. They receive our printed papers 
and books with the greatest eagerness, and we cannot 
doubt but that they are extensively read. One man 
says that he has lent his book to a friend at a distance ; 
another meets us, and repeats part of what he has found 
in a hymn, perhaps ; another attempts to find fault with 
something he has read. Brahmins manifest a great dis 
like of our preaching and printing ; and some begin to 
find out we are come on purpose to put an end to 
their trade in the souls of men. There appears to be 
a favourable change also in the general temper of 
the people. Commerce has raised new thoughts and 
awakened new energies ; so that hundreds, if we could 
skilfully teach them gratis, would crowd to learn the 
English language. We hope this may be in our power 
some time, and may be a happy means of diffusing the 
knowledge of the Gospel." 

In the midst of their labours, difficulties, and hopes, 
Fountain was taken from th^m after a comparatively 
brief illness. He died at Dia^gepore on the 2oth of 
August, 1800, aged thirty-three " a sinner sated by 
grace." 

Many opportunities occurred of conversing about the 
Gospel with men of all classes, as well as of preaching. 
In the discussions which thus arose there was much that 
to an Englishman would look like quibbling, but that in 
the circumstances was really important. The religious 
disputes going on in England were quite unknown in 



102 WILLIAM CAREY. 

India, where the questions stirred and the manner of 
dealing with them resembled rather what is found in 
Justin Martyr and Irenaeus, between the old fathers on 
the one hand, and the heathen and Gnostics on the other. 
One day, for example, Carey and Brunsdon went to a 
village a few miles distant, and found three or four 
Brahmins smoking in the market-place, their faces 
marked with the powder of sandal-wood. Going up to 
them, Carey asked what was the matter with their faces. 
They answered that it was the Teeluk. "I inquired 
why they put such a mark. They said it was a piece of 
holiness, and pleaded the authority of the Shastras. . I 
inquired what Shastras, and what proof they had of their 
books being divine. While we were thus talking, a good 
number of people got together, and among the rest an 
old Brahmin, of very good understanding. I had just 
inquired whether any one could inform me how my sins 
might be pardoned ; but on the old man s coming up, 
they all referred me to him. I sat down on a mat, he 
on another, and the rest of the people around us, and 
then I repeated the question. He said that profound 
meditation and acts of holiness would answer the 
purpose. I observed that we were sinfully inclined, and 
therefore could not possibly do a good action. You 
may, said I, as well expect to see mangoes produced on 
the Indian fig, or cocoa-nuts on the toddy tree, as to see 
the fruits of holiness proceed from a sinful heart. You 
all, said I, love this present world, and are pursuing sin 
with greediness ; now you cannot love sin and God at 



PREACHING CHRIST. 103 

the same time, and you may as well expect to see fire 
and water agree, as persons with sinful hearts and desires 
cordially approve of the character of God. All the 
ceremonies, said I, which you call holiness, may be 
performed by the vilest of men, and it is no uncommon 
thing for a Brahmin to be employed one hour in these 
ceremonies, and the next hour to lie, steal, or commit 
adultery ; indeed, we cannot expect that you should be 
better than your gods. The Brahmin tried to defend 
their character, but in vain. I produced instances from 
their books of their vices. I inquired, How can you 
suppose these things to be at all related to a holy God ? 
They are not God, nor the friends of God, nor even 
His servants. For instance, you cannot suppose that 
I should keep a servant whom I knew to be a person 
addicted to every evil ; much less should I choose such 
a person for my friend. They pleaded that these debtas 
were gods. I observed, You may as well tell me that 
you are a Brahmin, a Sudra, a Chundal, a Mussulman, 
a Portuguese, an Englishman. Brahmin, said I, you 
and I and all of us are sinners, and we are in a helpless 
state ; but I have good tidings to tell you. God in the 
riches of His mercy became incarnate, in the form of 
man. He lived more than thirty years on the earth, 
without sin, and was employed in doing good. He gave 
sight to the blind, healed the sick, the lame, the deaf, 
and the dumb ; and, after all, died in the stead of 
sinners. We deserved the wrath of God ; but He en 
dured it We could make no sufficient atonement for 



104 WILLIAM CAREY. 

our guilt ; but He completely made an end of sin ; and 
now He has sent us to tell you that the work is done, 
and to call you to faith in and dependence on Him. 
Therefore, leave your vain customs and false gods, and 
lay hold of eternal life through Him. After much dis 
course of this sort, we presented him with a copy of 
Matthew s Gospel, and three more to other persons. 
He promised to read and make himself well acquainted 
with its contents, and then to converse more about it. 
It was now dark ; I therefore prayed with them, and we 
returned home." 

On another occasion he was led into discussion with 
some Brahmins in the outskirts of Serampore. They 
began objecting to the Gospel ; one in particular began 
to exculpate himself, and to cast the blame of all sin 
on God. " I immediately addressed his conscience as 
closely as I could ; charged sin upon him ; appealed to 
all present whether that man was not a sinner ; told him 
that, notwithstanding he called himself a god, he must 
die like a man, and very soon give an account of all 
his conduct to a just and impartial God. I exhorted 
him and all present to lay hold of Christ, and not to 
deceive themselves any longer. A multitude tried to 
object ; but I persisted in declaring their danger, and 
the only remedy. They told me they never would em 
brace Christ ; and, said one of them : Do you worship 
our Krishnu, and believe our books, that you may be 
saved. I immediately placed myself by the side of a 
Brahmin, and said, Well, appoint a day to invest me 



SINGING THE GOSPEL. 105 

with the Poitoo, and teach me the Gayotee. 1 Oh, 
says he, you cannot become a Brahmin ; you must be 
a Sudra. Yes, said I, a pretty business ! You want 
to put me under your feet, do you ? Is this your religion 
and benevolence ? I preach the Gospel to you that you 
may become my brother, my beloved friend ; and you 
invite me to embrace your Shastras that I may become 
your slave ! I have since been invited to embrace 
Krishnu; but my answer is, What fruits have the 
servants of Krishnu to show? You are proud, false, 
designing, treacherous, dishonest ; and no wonder, for so 
was your god : but whoever believes in the Lord Jesus 
Christ will be purified from his love to sin, and delivered 
from slavery to it." 

Sometimes they would go out, three together, like 
ballad-singers, and would take their station where differ 
ent roads or streets met, singing a Gospel hymn, while 
the people looked out from their houses, and some 
gathered round to listen. These gatherings were some 
times noisy ; but when the love and sufferings of Christ 
were touched upon, the people were all attention. 

Before the close of the first year in Serampore, God 
granted the missionaries the desire of their hearts. 
More than once they had been gladdened by the pros 
pect of Christian decision on the part of inquirers, but 
hitherto had been disappointed : now the prospect was 

1 The Poitoo, the Brahminical thread ; Gayotee, the verse taught 
at their investment with the thread, accounted so holy that none but 
a Brahmin must hear it. 



io6 WILLIAM CAREY. 

realized. Krishnu, a carpenter at Serampore, having 
dislocated his arm, applied for treatment to Mr. Thomas, 
who was then on a visit to the station. Thomas tied 
him to a tree, and set the arm, and then spoke to the 
man with great earnestness, and laid before him the 
Gospel of salvation. There followed much intercourse 
on the part of Krishnu and his family with the mission 
aries ; the word touched their hearts ; and, as the issue, 
Krishnu, his wife, his daughter, and others avowed their 
faith in the Gospel. Great allowance, indeed, had to be 
made for their ignorance ; but there appeared satisfactory 
evidence of dependence on Christ and surrender to His 
will.- 

On the 22nd of December Krishnu and Gokul threw 
away their caste by sitting down at table with the mis 
sionaries. That same evening the " Church meeting " 
was held. Carey s eldest son, Felix, gave an account 
of the work of God in his soul, and was received into 
fellowship with great joy. Then Gokul related his ex 
perience, which was to this effect : that for years he had 
been traversing the land for rest, but in vain ; that he 
had listened to the Gospel in the Serampore market 
place, and the word had struck home, so that he and 
another man spent the whole night conversing about it ; 
that for a while he was angry because the Bible did not 
agree with his notions ; that though he kept away from 
the missionaries, he could not get rid of his uneasiness ; 
that he saw himself a great sinner, with a heart all sinful ; 
that afterwards hearing the Gospel again, he looked to 



FIRST-FRUITS TO CHRIST. 107 

Christ as his only hope ; that he was now willing to 
submit to Christ entirely ; and all this he said with many 
tears. 

After Gokul came Joymuni, who related that she had 
first heard the Gospel from the lips of Gokul ; that it 
made her think herself the greatest sinner in the world ; 
that she was rejoiced to hear of Christ as a Saviour; 
and that when she heard of Him, she made Him her 
Asroy, 1 and lost all her fears. 

After her came Krishnu s wife, Rasu. She had heard 
the Gospel, in a confused way, from her husband. She 
felt herself a sinner, and was full of fear. The news 
of a Saviour gladdened her heart, and she trusts and 
expects all at His feet 

Krishnu came last of all. He first heard the Gospel 
from Mr. Fountain ; he longed and yet kept at a dis 
tance, till his shoulder was dislocated, when the words 
that Mr. Thomas spoke penetrated his heart. He did 
once delight in sin ; but now purposed, like Zacchaeus, 
to follow it no longer. The hearts of all to use Gokul s 
word seemed "nailed to Christ." Carey then ex 
plained what Christ called them to ; and after singing 
a hymn " Salvation, O the joyful sound " they knelt 
in prayer and parted. 

As soon as it became known that Krishnu and others 

had renounced caste, and become Christians, there was 

wild uproar among the natives. A crowd of many 

hundred persons collected, uttering fierce imprecations, 

1 The house for the refuge of those who have forsaken all 



io8 WILLIAM CAREY. 

and dragged Krishnu and Gokul to the Danish magis 
trate s house, who, finding that there was no accusation 
brought forward, dismissed the case, and ordered the 
crowd to disperse. By-and-by, the crowd returned, 
bringing the charge against Krishnu that he refused to 
give up his daughter to the man to whom she had been 
betrothed. The charge was true in letter ; the girl was 
thirteen, and had been contracted in marriage some 
years before by her father ; but she now declared herself 
a Christian ; and so the magistrate refused to give her 
up to a heathen, and granted a guard for the house that 
night to prevent violence. 

On Lord s Day, the 28th of December, Krishnu was 
baptized in the Ganges along with Carey s eldest son, 
Felix. The courage of Gokul and the women seems to 
have failed them, and their baptism was deferred. Poor 
Mr. Thomas went frantic with joy, and was not allowed 
to be present, though his wild cries could be heard 
during the service. Carey, with his son Felix on one 
side and Krishnu on the other, walked down to the river 
at the landing-stairs, where the governor and a number 
of Europeans, native Portuguese, Hindoos, and Ma- 
hommedans had assembled. Then he addressed the 
concourse in Bengali, and explained that he and his 
friends did not hold the river more sacred than other 
rivers it was only water ; and Krishnu by his act now 
openly renounced the gods that were no gods, and put 
on Christ. The service produced a deep impression; 
the good old governor was moved to tears ; the spec- 



THE FIRST BAPTISM. 109 

tators generally appeared to realize the significance and 
solemnity of the transaction. The same afternoon 
Krishnu sat down with the Church at the Lord s table. 
It was a time of great joy. 1 

Other baptisms soon followed ; among them that of 
Ignatius Fernandez, a gentleman of Portuguese extrac 
tion, who continued to be for many years, both by his 
personal labours and by the use of his temporal means, 
a faithful coadjutor of the missionaries. His place was 
Dinagepore, nearly two hundred miles to the north. 
There he acted as pastor of a small church, and 
preached regularly to the natives, being master of both 
the Bengali and Hindustani languages. He also es 
tablished one or two native charity schools. 

1 Krishnu s hymn is well known in the translation which begins : 

"O thou, my soul, forget no more 
The Friend who all thy misery bore." 

The following translation by the Rev. G. H. Rouse follows the 
original both in sense and metre : 

Ch, He who gave His life to save thee, sinful as thou art, 
Forget Him never, O my heart. 

1. Forget, forget Him not, but with Him cast thy lot, 

Jesus, His name is God, He saves from sin. 

2. All thine own works forsake, His love thy riches make ; 

Let Jesus only dwell thy heart within. 

3. Pity and truth and grace are all in Him boundless ; 

Jesus for sinful man His life hath given. 

4. How good and true a Friend, His praise shall never end ; 

The name of Jesus brings me safe to heaven. 



HO WILLIAM CAREY. 

Before the end of the year it was found that the 
expense of the printing-press was greater than the in 
come of the missionaries could bear ; and so, to obtain 
funds adequate to their requirements, they ventured an 
appeal to the Christian residents of Calcutta. Lord 
Wellesley, the Governor-General, was somewhat annoyed 
by this appeal ; some of his subordinates were in 
consternation. What was the use of muzzling the press 
of Calcutta as his lordship had done if another, 
only sixteen miles distant, and with such facilities for 
scattering its productions over India, were free? To 
the official eye the danger appeared extreme. Now 
Lord Wellesley never failed to appear in his seat at 
church as the representative of the British Government, 
"making a public official profession of allegiance to 
the Author of Christianity," and he had a sincere re 
spect both for the judgment and for the character of 
his chaplain, the Rev. David Brown. This was the 
same Mr. Brown who seven years before had received 
Carey in his house with such cool politeness. Mr. 
Brown, consulted by his lordship, now proved himself 
a true friend of the missionaries. Knowing that they 
had no political aims, and that .they wished simply 
to spread the knowledge of salvation, he made such 
representations that all interference was averted ; the 
appeal for aid met with a liberal response ; and the 
work went on. "Under every possible disadvantage" 
the printing of the New Testament was completed early 
next year, and Carey saw the begun realization of his 



THE NEW TESTAMENT IN BENGALI. ill 

" sublime thought." He carried the first copy of the 
book into the church, and laid it reverently upon the 
communion table ; and they all gathered round and 
united in fervent thanksgiving to God. "It is worthy 
of notice," said Fuller, "that the time in which the 
Lord began to bless His servants was that in which 
His holy Word began to be published in the language 
of the natives." 



CHAPTER VI. 

SOON after his arrival in India as Governor-General, 
Lord Wellesley discovered that many of those 
who had to discharge important functions under Govern 
ment were ill acquainted with the language, customs, 
and ideas of the natives; and this ignorance he saw 
was fraught with serious danger. Though it had hap 
pened that men equal to the emergency had hitherto 
been raised up in every crisis of Indian history, he was 
satisfied that the interests of the country should not be 
left to depend on accidental merit. The time had gone 
by when the civil servants of the Company could be 
considered as the mere agents of a commercial " con 
cern," whose principal duties were the weighing of tea, 
the counting of bales, and the measuring of muslins 
and silks. They were, in fact, the ministers and officers 
of a powerful sovereign. They occupied positions of 
grave responsibility ; and a severe and thorough training 
had become indispensable. 

With these views the Fort William College, Calcutta, 
was established in the year 1800, and there the junior 



FORT WILLIAM COLLEGE. 113 

civil servants of the Company were required to pursue 
their studies for three years. It was Wellesley s idea 
that promotion should come only through this channel. 

The College was expected by its founder to prove 
of the utmost value for the welfare of India. The two 
foremost men of the English Church in Calcutta were 
placed at its head; the Rev. David Brown as provost, 
to care for the morals of the students, and the Rev. 
Claudius Buchanan as vice-provost and classical tutor, 
to regulate the course of their studies. The internal 
management was entrusted to Mr. Barlow, the senior 
member of Council. Carey, as the one man in India 
most fully qualified for the office, was appointed teacher 
of Bengali, and afterwards of Sanskrit and Mahratta, 
with a salary of ;6oo a year. Later on he was raised 
to the status of professor, with a salary increased to 
^1,500 a year. Being a missionary, he was unacceptable 
to the officials of the Company; but Wellesley simply 
satisfied himself, before making the appointment, that 
he was a man of character, well affected to Government, 
and thoroughly competent for the position. It now 
seemed within the range of probability that Serampore 
would be able at no distant date to dispense altogether 
with assistance from England. 

In 1 80 1, in consequence of the outbreak of hostilities 
with Denmark, the English took possession of Seram 
pore, and held it for fourteen months, till the restora 
tion of peace. It was taken while the inhabitants 
were in bed and asleep ; but the mission was now 



114 WILLIAM CAREY. 

deemed as safe under English as it had been undei 
Danish rule. 

The same year saw two more breaks in the missionary 
band. Grant and Fountain had both died in the course 
of 1800; the latter near the end of August Ere twelve 
months more had elapsed, Brunsdon followed at the 
early age of twenty-four, after giving promise of great 
power and devotedness. He died in Calcutta on the 
3rd of July. On the i3th of October Mr. Thomas died 
at Dinagepore under an attack of fever and ague. His 
sufferings latterly were very great, but he was sustained 
in Christian peace of mind, and departed with a hope 
full of immortality, exclaiming, " O death ! where is thy 
sting?" He had many faults, but he had also some 
noble qualities, and he was remarkably efficient as a 
missionary, and deeply loved even by those who were 
most pained by his failings. 1 They laid him by the side 
of Fountain. The two graves bear no names to-day ; 
they are shapeless mounds, overgrown with wild vege 
tation, in which the maiden-hair fern is conspicuous; 
but no Christian man can look upon them without 
tender emotion, and even tears. These deaths reduced 
the missionary band to the three whose names are im- 
perishably associated with Serampore. 

On the first Lord s Day of 1802, the missionaries 

1 Those who wish to become better acquainted with this singular 
man should read his " Life " by the Rev. C. B. Lewis (Macmillan 
& Co.), a book of deep interest for the student of Christian 
character. 



PETUMBER SINGH. 115 

baptized the first convert of the Kayust or writer caste 
a caste inferior only to the Brahmins themselves. The 
name of this convert was Petumber Singh. He was 
close on sixty years of age a man of great intelligence 
and simplicity of character. For years like another 
Justin Martyr, going from Stoic to Peripatetic, from 
Peripatetic to Pythagorean, from Pythagorean to Pla- 
tonist he had been "feeling after God, if haply he 
might find Him." He had quietly given up idol- 
worship ; and, just at the opportune moment, had met 
with one of the Serampore tracts, from which he learned 
that strangers had come from a distant land to show 
the way of salvation through Jesus Christ. He sought 
out these strangers, and, after remaining with them two 
or three days, went home to tell his family the good 
news. He was back again within a week; threw up 
his caste ; and avowed the faith of a Christian. 1 In the 
course of a few weeks more, two other Kayusts and 
a Brahmin came forward and renounced caste also. 
On this occasion Carey writes : " Both Europeans and 
natives laughed at what they thought to be our enthusi 
astic idea of breaking the bonds of Hindoo caste by 
preaching the Gospel. When Krishnu and Gokul re 
jected their caste, many wondered at it ; but the 
majority endeavoured to carry it off with a high hand, 
and tauntingly asked, Have any of the Brahmins and 
Kayusts believed on Him ? What great thing to have 

1 He died in 1805, after a brief but very honourable Christian 
career, "triumphing in the Lord." 



Ii6 WILLIAM CAREY. 

a carpenter and a distiller reject their caste? Lately, 
however, the Lord has deprived them of that small 
consolation, and has given us one Kayust, who joined 
the Church a little while ago. Last week, two more of 
the same caste and one Brahmin came and voluntarily 
rejected their caste without our proposing it" 

The printing-press was now becoming a power in the 
hands of the missionaries, by sending forth New Testa 
ments, tracts, and pamphlets. The excitement caused 
by these publications was very considerable, and a good 
deal of alarm was excited in Government circles. Some 
of the tracts had fallen into the hands of a Hindoo 
of position, who indignantly laid them before one of the 
judges ; and he in turn brought them under the notice 
of Sir George Barlow, who was acting for the Governor- 
General during his absence in the north-west. The 
consequences might have been serious, had it not been 
for the influence of Buchanan, who suggested that, before 
going further, the authorities should acquaint themselves 
with the contents of the obnoxious tracts. They were 
accordingly translated, and found to be extremely harm 
less so far as any political effect could be feared ; and 
so nothing more was said, and the work of the press 
went on unimpeded. 

About this time Mr. Udny, to whose Christian con 
sideration Carey had been indebted at Mudnabatty, and 
who was now a member of the Supreme Council, called 
the attention of Lord Wellesley to the practice of in 
fanticide at Saugor, at the mouth of the Ganges, where 






INFANTICIDE. 1 1 7 

children were constantly being sacrificed, in connection 
with religious observances, by drowning or destruction 
by sharks and alligators. Hitherto this " custom " 
had been winked at by Government, not to offend the 
religious susceptibilities of the natives. He directed 
attention at the same time to the fact that judicial agents 
of Government signed orders by virtue of which widows 
were burned on the funeral-pyre of their husbands. 
Carey was commissioned by the Governor-General to 
examine the authorities adduced by Hindoos for the 
practice of infanticide ; and after examination he re 
ported that the practice was not sanctioned by the 
Hindoo Shasters, and ought to be put down. Accord 
ingly an enactment was passed, prohibiting the practice 
under severe penalties ; and, at next festival, to the 
surprise of the alarmists who had predicted serious 
consequences, the practice was suppressed with scarcely 
a murmur on the part of the natives. 

It was by no fault or oversight of the missionaries 
that the custom of burning widows was not suppressed 
at the same time. A mass of trustworthy, evidence 
respecting the custom was collected and laid before the 
Governor- General ; but he was just about to leave India, 
and could not deal hurriedly with a matter so important ; 
and hence the evil was permitted to survive for a quarter 
of a century longer, to receive its death-blow from that 
true statesman, Lord William Bentinck. 

A great Christian principle was affirmed in connection 
with the reception of the first Brahmin into the member- 



n8 WILLIAM CAREY. 

ship of the Church the principle of Christian brother 
hood. Previous missionaries had not merely tolerated 
caste in the ordinary social life of their converts, but 
had even allowed it to appear at the Lord s table. 
Carey and his friends determined against this from the 
outset. A Brahmin of the name of Krishnu-Prisad 
made avowal of faith in Christ, and was baptized. The 
same day, at the Lord s table, Krishnu the Brahmin 
received the bread and the cup from the hands of 
Krishnu the Sudra. Thus the principle was unmis 
takably enunciated that no caste-distinctions could be 
recognised within the brotherhood of Christian believers. 
No objection, however, was made to the poitoo, or sacred 
thread, which was looked upon as a merely social dis 
tinction, and he continued to wear it across the shoulder 
for three years, when he laid it aside of his own 
accord. 

Shortly afterwards, the first marriage among the con 
verts was solemnised, between Krishnu-Prisad the 
Brahmin and the daughter of Krishnu-Pal the Sudra. 
The wedding took place under a tree in front of the 
house. Carey gave a short address explanatory of the 
ordinance, repeated some passages of Scripture, and 
read the marriage service, which he had drawn up in 
Bengali. The bride and bridegroom then plighted their 
troth to each other, and, after prayer, signed their names, 
the missionaries adding their signatures as witnesses. 
In the evening they all went to the marriage supper, 
served in Eastern fashion. They began by singing 



FIRST DEATH AMONG THE CONVERTS. 119 

Krishnu s hymn, and ended with prayer. This was 
felt to be another step towards the suppression of caste. 

Half a year later, the first death occurred among the 
converts. It was Gokul, the Sudra, who passed away 
rejoicing in his Saviour. The coffin, made on the 
mission premises, was covered with white muslin by 
Krishnu, at his own expense. The body having been 
placed in it, Marshman, Felix Carey, Bhyrub, a baptized 
Brahmin, and Peeru, a baptized Mahommedan, took 
the coffin on their shoulders, and bore it, in presence 
of an astonished multitude, to the newly-purchased 
burial-ground, singing, as they went, the Bengali hymn, 
" Salvation through the death of Christ." So far as the 
native Christians were concerned, caste was now com 
pletely broken down. 



CHAPTER VII. 

FRANCIS XAVIER may be taken as the represen 
tative of those who thought to bring India and the 
East into the Christian fold by means of baptism and 
other outward rites : a man who, with all his errors 
and they were neither few nor small seems to have 
had a deep love for the Saviour, tender compassion for 
the heathen, and indomitable courage. The Moravian 
Brethren represent those who would plant down a 
Christian family or brotherhood in a heathen community 
for the purpose of exemplifying the living power of the 
Gospel before the eyes of all. Judson, of Burmah, repre 
sents the preacher or herald who goes about proclaiming 
the message of life, after the manner of the apostles and 
early Christians, leaving God to prove it to men in His 
own way. He held that the message is to be made 
known at once, without preliminary work extending, it 
may be, over half a generation ; that the aim to be kept 
in view is not to put men in possession of a correct dog 
matic creed, but to lead them to trust a living, present, 
almighty Saviour, and that the vitalizing action of the 



THE EASTERN WICLIF. 121 

Holy Spirit is to be counted upon by the preacher. 
Others, represented by the great name of Dr. Duff, saw 
the importance of education, and bent their energies to 
the establishing of the Christian college and school, so 
as to let in the full stream of European knowledge upon 
the minds of those who in future years were to guide the 
intellect and heart of India; it being understood that 
all the secular knowledge imparted, and all mental dis 
cipline, should be made subservient to the advancement 
of the Gospel, as otherwise the educational machinery 
created " would only turn idolaters into rogues and 
infidels," introducing a scepticism like that which (accord 
ing to Renan) turned ancient Rome into " a very hell." 
The special grace given to Carey was that as an 
Eastern Wiclif he should be the pioneer of Bible 
translation and Christian literature in India. 

For this vocation he had singular fitness, both by 
natural endowment and providential training. He was 
a born linguist On his arrival in India he soon became 
proficient in Bengali; and in a few years time he had 
made such progress in Sanskrit that no man in India was 
counted better qualified to teach that difficult tongue in 
Fort William College. His first intention was simply 
to translate the Bible into the vernacular of Bengal ; but 
time and experience showed him that much more was 
required. His views were shared by his colleagues ; and 
in 1804, "having been working silently for some time," 
they propounded a scheme, to which they had been 
gradually led by experience, for translating Scripture into 



122 WILLIAM CAREY. 

the languages of the East. They understood that there 
were at least seven languages spoken in India ; they had 
acquired the habits necessary for translators ; they had 
many helps accumulated at Serampore ; through Carey s 
connection with the Government college they could 
obtain valuable assistance from men of learning ; they 
had a large printing and type-founding establishment, 
capable of indefinite extension ; and Serampore could be 
made a good centre whence to distribute their publica 
tions. They proposed, therefore, as such a conjunction 
of advantages might never occur again, to translate the 
Scriptures into the various Indian languages ; and as 
their own resources were inadequate for so great a work, 
they asked assistance from the Society at home to the 
extent of ,1,000 a year. Some months before this, 
Carey had written privately both to Ryland and Fuller 
on the subject; and under their influence a resolution 
was passed to the effect that if the missionary brethren 
should be able to carry out their plan, " we will most 
cordially co-operate with them, and we are persuaded the 
Christian public will not suffer the work to stop for want 
of pecuniary support." Before this resolution bore arjiy 
fruit, however, sufficient assistance was received from the 
newly-formed Bible Society ; and the work went bravely 
forward. In the course of the thirty years that followed, 
more than two hundred and twelve thousand volumes of 
the Sacred Word, in forty different languages, issued from 
the mission press. 

Reinforcements to the mission were already received 






PLANS FOR MISSION EXTENSION. 123 

by the arrival of younger brethren from England ; others 
were on their way out ; some of the native converts were 
engaged in preaching; and Carey s sons, Felix and 
William, both gave promise of usefulness. Obviously, 
Serampore was becoming too strait for them, and room 
must be found or made elsewhere. Besides this, there 
were indications of a danger that, should there come to 
be a numerical preponderance of younger brethren at 
Serampore, without experience, yet placed on a footing 
of perfect equality with the seniors, they might throw 
down in an hour what it had taken years of patient 
labour to build up. This made the older missionaries 
"dread the thought of a majority of inexperienced 
persons " among them. After much consideration they 
agreed, if it were possible, to extend the mission by 
setting up subordinate stations at about one hundred 
miles from each other; each station to be a base of 
operations for its own neighbourhood. They did not 
believe in what may be called missionary vagrancy, but 
in an itineracy which held a well-chosen centre, and 
visited and re-visited the whole region round about. 

It was hoped, as the Society at home could not under 
take their full support, that those who occupied these 
stations might be able to maintain themselves or nearly 
so by doing a little business in cloth, spices, indigo, 
or some other Indian merchandise. Besides, under 
the jealous despotism of the Company, they might be 
tolerated as traders, but would certainly be prohibited 
and silenced as missionaries. It was judged necessary 



134 WILLIAM CAREY. 

that four brethren should occupy Serampore as head 
quarters, and that the various stations should communi 
cate with them once a month. A beginning was made 
with Cutwa, a large native town on the Hugli, about 
seventy miles above Calcutta ; and thither John Cham 
berlain proceeded, hoping to support himself as a cloth- 
merchant. 

Shortly afterwards a noteworthy occurrence took place, 
which was not without its influence on the future of 
the mission. Carey had been requested to deliver an 
address in Bengali and another in Sanskrit, as Moderator 
at the annual " Disputations " of the Fort William 
College, in presence of the Governor-General; and he 
embraced the opportunity to avow his missionary char 
acter. These College Disputations in Wellesley s time 
were occasions of brilliant display. They were held in 
the throne-room, in presence of the Governor-General, 
the higher Government officials, the judges, and many 
distinguished civilians, besides eminent natives, and repre 
sentatives of native princes, in " plumed and jewelled " 
turbans, with rich, brilliantly-coloured costumes, and not 
a little show of " barbaric pearl and gold." It was in 
such a " presence " that Carey appeared. His Sanskrit 
speech, the first ever delivered in that language by a 
European, was ordered to be translated and printed. 
He had addressed part of that speech to Wellesley, 
recognising the success of his administration generally, 
and the benefits derived from the establishment of the 
College in particular. When it was translated, he sub- 



SANSKRIT SPEECH. 125 

mitted it to Claudius Buchanan, who somewhat enlarged 
it, and (says Carey) "inserted some expressions of 
flattery which I totally disapprove," and then sent it, thus 
" amended," to Lord Wellesley. In the address these 
sentences occur : " I, now an old man, 1 have lived for a 
long series of years among the Hindoos. I have been 
in the habit of preaching to multitudes daily, of dis 
coursing with the Brahmins on every subject, and super 
intending schools for the education of the Hindoo youth. 
Their language is nearly as familiar to me as my own. 
This close intercourse with the natives for so long a 
period, and in different parts of our empire, has afforded 
me opportunities of information not inferior to those 
which have hitherto been presented to any other person. 
I may say, indeed, that their manners, customs, habits, 
and sentiments are as obvious to me as if I was myself a 
native. And, knowing them as I do, and hearing as I 
do their daily observations on our government, character, 
and principles, I am warranted to say (and I deem it my 
duty to embrace the public opportunity now offered me 
of saying) that the institution of this College was wanting 
to complete the happiness of the natives under our 
dominion ; for this institution will break down the barrier 
(our ignorance of their language) which has ever opposed 
the influence of our laws and principles, and has de 
spoiled our administration of its energy and effect. Were, 
however, the institution to cease from this moment, its 

1 This must be one of Buchanan s touches. Carey was only 
forty-three. 



126 WILLIAM CAREY. 

salutary effects would yet remain. Good has been done 
which cannot be undone. Sources of useful knowledge, 
moral instruction, and political utility, have been opened 
to the natives of India which can never be closed." Look 
ing round upon the students, he added, " Your name 
will be safe in their hands. No revolution of opinion or 
change of circumstances can rob you of the solid glory 
derived from the humane, just, liberal, and magnanimous 
principles which have been embodied by your adminis 
tration." 

To avow himself a missionary, in such a presence, 
was a bold thing to do ; and in some quarters it kindled 
deep and lasting resentment Lord Wellesley s own 
judgment was this : " I am much pleased with Mr. 
Carey s truly original and excellent speech. ... I 
esteem such a testimony from such a man a greater 
honour than the applauses of courts and parliaments." 
The gain was this that he had frankly avowed himself 
a missionary before the chief representative of British 
government without being called in question for what he 
said. 

Fuller disapproved of some things in Carey s address 
particularly Buchanan s " amendments " and said so. 1 

1 Fuller was in the habit of saying what he thought in the 
purest love," but with great plainness of speech. Thus, recognising 
a foreign touch in the advertisements relating to translation : 
" There you appear in all the vain-glory of coxcombs. Plain, 
sober men suffered themselves to be dressed up, by this master of 
the ceremonies, in ribbons and ringlets, to appear before universities 
and kings." To Marshman he writes, on another occasion: 



FULLER S DISAPPROVAL. 127 

Just as he objected to Fountain s political sneers and 
tirades, so he equally objected to a eulogium by a 
missionary on political and military aggression which (as 
he thought) had thrown even dive s achievements into the 
shade. 1 He feared, too, that there might be danger to 
the cause he had at heart in the kindness of the great, 
and that applause from high quarters might prove a 
greater hindrance than censure ; so he writes with 
Buchanan in view, whom he judged very sternly " Be 
ware of the council of this Mr. Worldly Wiseman. He 
will draw you off from the simplicity of Christ; and, 
under the pretence of liberality and so forth, you will 
be shorn like Sampson of his locks. Beware of the 
flatterer." 

At this time Carey and Marshman undertook the 
publication, under Government auspices, of some of the 
most celebrated Sanskrit books, beginning with " the 

"Never intrigue with intriguers. I am not afraid of Carey, nor of 
Ward, on this score ; but have some fear lest my brother Marshman 

should intrigue a little to counteract ." In another letter he 

expresses his grief that Sister W. should expend so enormous a 
sum on a straw-bonnet, and send the account to England." In 
another letter he says: "You write in a manner about sledge 
hammers, goals, and a letter (of mine) that you had seen to 
Brother Carey, not best adapted to cultivate what I am sure you 
feel brotherly love. If you and I could spit from Kettering to 
Serampore and back again, it would not be worth while. If I have 
said or done amiss, my dear brother, tell me so plainly." 

1 During Wellesley s tenure of power, the area ruled by the Com 
pany was increased by two-thirds. Some parts of his procedure 
seemed to Fuller as unjustifiable as the wars of Napoleon. 



128 WILLIAM CAREY. 

Iliad of Sanskrit literature," the Ramayunal This under 
taking was not indeed in their line as missionaries, and 
the accomplishing of it involved no inconsiderable 
addition to their labour, but they consoled themselves 
with the thought that it would furnish the means of 
" supporting at least one missionary station." 

In the space of six years, ninety-six natives had been 
baptized on a personal profession of faith in Jesus. 
This number represents more than two hundred besides, 
who were less or more powerfully affected by the Gospel. 
Some, as in the early New Testament Churches, brought 
shame on their profession, while others lived to adorn 
it. " Sometimes," says Carey in his Journal, " we have 
to rebuke them sharply ; sometimes to expostulate ; 
sometimes to entreat ; and often, after all, to carry them 
to the throne of grace, and to pour out our complaints 
before God. Our situation, in short, may be compared 
to that of a parent who has a numerous family. He 
must work hard to maintain them, is often full of anxiety 
concerning them, and has much to endure from their 
dulness, their indolence, and their perverseness. Yet 
still he loves them, for they are his children ; and his 
love towards them mingles pleasure with his toil." Even 
Krishnu-Pal at times caused them trouble. Though 

1 Its place in Indian literature is indicated in the saying that "he 
who sings and hears this poem continually, has attained to the 
highest state of enjoyment, and will finally be equal to the gods." 
Fuller s opinion of it is candidly expressed " that piece of lumber 
called the Ramayuna" 



NEED OF PATIENCE. 129 

he had many sterling qualities and was really useful in 
preaching the Gospel, yet in some respects he was like 
a child. 1 Now and again there would crop up self-con 
ceit, or timidity, or stubbornness, or indolence ; and he 
and his family were the occasion of many painful occur 
rences. The antecedents and circumstances of the con 
verts, however, must be taken into account : they required 
great patience on the part of the missionaries ; and to 
give a wise training in Christian obedience and humility 
was perhaps one of the most perplexing parts of the work, 
and one that occasioned the greatest searchings of heart. 
Fresh arrivals from England rendered it urgent that 
they should carry out their plan of founding additional 
stations up the country, but the times were not propitious. 
The Governor-Generalship was held temporarily by Sir 
George Barlow, who (though not hostile) was fettered by 
official traditions, and was unprepared to take any step, 
on his own responsibility, in favour of missionaries. 
During his absence in the upper provinces, Mr. Udny, 
a tried friend to Serampore, and a man of high character, 
acted as his deputy. Breakfasting with Mr. Udny one 
morning, Carey broached their plan to found additional 
stations, and, if possible, to establish their brethren as 
missionaries, and not as traders. As matters stood, he 
said, the magistrates were only doing their duty in 

1 The excellencies of Krishna s character ripened with years. 
He died in 1822, having maintained his Christian fidelity to the 
last, highly esteemed by his brethren, and most of all by those who 
knew him best. 



130 WILLIAM CAREY. 

obstructing the preachers. He mentioned a case by way 
of example : his son William and Mr. Moore, one of 
the missionaries, were distributing books in the city of 
Dacca some time previously ; the people crowded eagerly 
round to receive them ; when the magistrate intervened, 
and stopped them. Mr. Udny was much interested, 
and desired him to state his views and wishes in a letter, 
promising to communicate privately with Sir George 
Barlow, and then to give his best advice. This was in 
the month of December, 1805. 

Carey wrote to Mr. Udny accordingly, stating the 
outlines of their plan, and praying the permission of 
Government to carry it into effect. Speaking for his 
brethren as well as himself, he said they wished for leave 
to form subordinate mission stations to the north, under 
the superintendence of Europeans, assisted by native 
preachers or catechists ; but, he added, " we wish for no 
privileges or exemptions, but merely for leave to settle, 
to preach the Gospel, and to distribute Bibles and re 
ligious tracts, without being molested by the magistrate 
of the district; and for a general licence to itinerate 
through the British dominions. We desire to be subject 
to the laws of the country in every respect, and we 
should teach the people to pay all respect to the Govern 
ment under which they live. As Hindoo and Mahom- 
medan teachers and Roman Catholic priests are at 
liberty to settle and propagate their sentiments in every 
place, we hope the same liberty will not be denied to a 
society of Protestants." 



OFFICIAL OPPOSITION. 131 

Mr. Udny wrote to Sir George Barlow, recommending 
that the desired permission should be granted. There 
was no reply. Time passed ; and on his return to Cal 
cutta, Sir George said that, though personally friendly, it 
was not in his power to grant the authorization sought. 
The missionaries came to the conclusion that it was a 
case in which they must obey God rather than men ; 
and they determined to form the stations and accept the 
consequences. 

Almost immediately, however, the hostility against 
missions that had long been smouldering broke out 
openly. A small meeting-house, or, as Ward calls it, 
" a bamboo shed," into which the natives might freely 
enter, had been erected in the Bow Bazaar, Calcutta, for 
preaching in the vernacular ; and, to the great delight 
of the missionaries, crowds came to listen. At this junc 
ture, two new missionaries, Chater and Robinson, reached 
Calcutta by an American vessel ; and, as was the custom, 
reported themselves at the police-office. As some ques 
tion arose about permitting them to go on to Serampore, 
Carey waited on two of the justices of the peace about 
the matter, Messrs. Blacquiere and Thoroton, when he 
was informed that it was the desire of the Governor- 
General that he and his colleagues should not interfere 
with the prejudices of the natives by preaching to them, 
instructing them, or distributing books or pamphlets 
among them ; and that converted natives would not be 
allowed to go into the country to spread Christianity 
there. On learning that this communication had not 



132 WILLIAM CAREY. 

been made by the Governor in writing, Carey simply 
said they would conform as far as they conscientiously 
could, and then came away. 

The missionaries were sorely perplexed. They saw 
that they were officially " denied the degree of protection 
and favour granted to the bloody worshippers of Jugger 
naut ; " and the door seemed to be shut against Jesus 
Christ. As they had scrupulously abstained from inter 
meddling with politics, and as there seemed no political 
evil to be apprehended from the diffusion of the Gospel, 
they were quite at a loss to assign any adequate cause 
for the change that had taken place. They had to 
choose between open defiance of the Governor-General s 
wish, and yielding a little to the present storm, in hope 
that it might soon blow over. They chose this latter 
line of conduct, and waited. " Our hope is in God," 
Carey wrote. " The cause is His, and will never be 
deserted by Him ; though He may permit temporary 
obstructions to arise." In the meanwhile they resolved 
upon sending brethren to try whether a mission could 
not be begun in Burmah. 

The occasion of this stringency was the alarm created 
by the Vellore massacre, which had just taken place, in 
July, 1806. Vellore was a fortress about seventy miles 
from Madras, where, on the dethronement of Tippoo 
Sultan, the members of his family were pensioned and 
resided as prisoners of state. Suddenly, at two o clock 
in the morning of the loth of July, the sepoys rose 
on the European garrison, which consisted of four com- 



THE VELLORE MASSACRE. 133 

panics of the sixty-ninth regiment, and massacred the 
commanding officer, together with thirteen other officers 
and ninety-nine men, with scarcely an attempt at resist 
ance. Others afterwards died of their wounds. A small 
band maintained a desperate struggle on the ramparts 
till they were relieved by a body of troops from Arcot, 
when the mutineers in turn were attacked, and some 
hundreds of them slaughtered on the spot. This mas 
sacre takes its place among those ghastly tragedies repre 
sented by the Black Hole of Calcutta and the Mutiny 
of 1857, and the sensation it produced both in India 
and England was profound. While there were various 
contributing causes, such as the ambition of the de 
throned family, resentment against British aggression, 
and a real or affected dread that Government designed 
to convert them to Christianity by force, the immediate 
occasion of the outbreak was simply a change in the 
head-dress of the native troops ; a leather shako being 
substituted for the turban. Being of leather, it became 
the symbol of intentional outrage upon the suscepti 
bilities both of Mahommedan and Hindoo. At the 
same time the caste-marks were removed from the 
soldier s forehead ; his necklaces were forbidden ; and 
he was ordered to shave. Among the causes or occa 
sions of the mutiny there was not a tittle of evidence 
that the operations of the missionaries had any place ; 
nevertheless, in the alarm that prevailed, " loose ru 
mours" of the wildest sort got abroad both in India 
and England, the missionaries were made the scape- 



134 WILLIAM CAREY. 

goats, and the strongest assertions were freely hazarded 
that the missionary undertaking, if tolerated much 
longer, would inevitably result in rebellion and mas 
sacre. 

It was while this alarm prevailed that the two new 
missionaries, Chater and Robinson, arrived. An order of 
Council was. passed requiring them to return to Europe 
forthwith ; and Captain Wickes, who had brought them, 
was refused a clearance for his ship unless he took them 
back with him. It was represented to Government that 
Captain Wickes had cleared out from Rotterdam for 
Serampore ; and that the two missionaries whom he 
had brought were by this time under the protection of 
the Danish flag ; all which was formally confirmed by 
letter from the Danish Governor. Captain Wickes then 
applied at the police-office for a clearance, and in con 
versation with the magistrates stated that, rather than 
oppose Government, the missionaries would give up the 
two brethren ; and he added that, though it might be a 
serious affair both with America and Denmark if he and 
the missionaries were to be obstinate, yet they con 
sidered the peace and good understanding of nations 
to be a matter of such importance that they would give 
up almost anything rather than be the occasion of inter 
rupting it. On this statement he was furnished with the 
necessary papers for his departure. It was evident, how 
ever, that the present was no time to think of extending 
the mission in Bengal; and consequently one of the 
newly-arrived brethren took up his residence at Seram- 



THE STORY OF FELIX CAREY. 135 

pore, and the other was sent with a companion to Ran 
goon, in Burmah, where they were shortly afterwards 
joined by Felix Carey. 

The course subsequently pursued by Felix caused his 
father poignant distress. The young man he was only 
twenty-two had abilities of a high order, particufarly 
as a linguist ; he had prosecuted the study of medicine 
with some success in Calcutta ; he had been trained in 
missionary work under his father s eye ; and he was full 
of the enthusiasm that burns for great enterprise. The 
situation he was called to occupy in Burmah was one of 
importance and promise. His father, who had objected 
to his going when it was first proposed, warned him 
earnestly that he "had nothing to fear so much as 
carnal reasonings," and urged him to steadfastness and 
energy. "Whenever I think ot you relinquishing your 
post," he says, " I start from the idea with a kind of 
horror, as if I realized it to be a great crime. . . . 
It will be folly to suppose that you will have no conflicts. 
Flesh and blood will plead with you, and some friends 
may be weak enough to advise you to indulge your 
inclinations and desert the work of God. I fear a letter 
from my highly esteemed friend, Dr. Taylor, which I 
now send you, is of this complexion. Consider, how 
ever, that you are not your own. Say, Lord, here am f, 
send me, and be steadfast, unmoveable, always abound 
ing in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as you know 
that your labour will not be in vain in the Lord." 
Several years pass, when the father feels compelled to 



136 WILLIAM CAREY. 

say, "I fear the honours Felix has received from the 
Burmese Government have not been beneficial to his 
soul. If I am not mistaken, a disposition to feel com 
placency in worldly respectability has gained too much 
upon him. . . . It is a very distressing thing to be 
forced to apologise for those you love." Shortly after 
wards he was summoned by the king of Ava, who had 
heard of the wonders of vaccination at Rangoon, to come 
to the capital and vaccinate the members of the royal 
family. On his way thither, with a supply of lymph, and 
a printing-press, the small brig which was to convey the 
party up the Irawaddy was overset in a sudden squall, 
his wife and two children were drowned, and everything 
was lost. The king received him well, notwithstanding 
the disappointment, and, some time after, ennobled 
him, and sent him to Calcutta as ambassador to the 
supreme Government to bring some pending negotiations 
to a close. His father, who was deeply pained by his 
sinking " from a missionary to an ambassador," antici 
pated his coming with dread : " I long to see him, but 
fear he has much declined in Divine things. He is 
coming in some official situation, for which I am sorry. 
Had Felix continued firm to his object and laboured 
for the spread of the Gospel, I could have met every 
distressing providence with confidence that all would 
work for good ; but I am now at every step full of ap 
prehension and anxiety." Having seen him, the father 
says, "He is in my opinion very much sunk. . . . 
He has withdrawn from all connection with the mission, 



A DAY S WORK. 137 

. . . and is absolutely shrivelled up as it regards 
Divine things." He was unsuccessful in the business 
on which he was sent ; and rather than face the king, 
he threw himself among the wild tribes to the east of 
Bengal, where he passed through " a succession of 
adventures such as would be considered extravagant in 
a novel," and made his father feel, " Felix has forsaken 
the Lord." After many months of this kind of life, 
he was induced (in 1818) to return to Serampore, where 
his profound acquaintance with Eastern philology en 
abled him to render most valuable assistance to his 
father in the revision of his Bengali translations, as well 
as to do a considerable amount of independent work. 
He died in 1822, at the early age of six and thirty. 

In illustration of the patient, plodding industry of 
Carey, a single day s engagements may be selected from 
his life about this time, as a specimen of the way in 
which he spent half the week. It is one of his days 
in Calcutta, and he is making an apology for not 
writing. " I rose this morning at a quarter before six, 
read a chapter in the Hebrew Bible, and spent the time 
till seven in private addresses to God, and then attended 
family prayer with the servants in Bengali. While tea 
was getting ready, I read a little in Persian with a 
moonshi who was waiting when I left my bedroom; 
and also before breakfast a portion of the Scripture in 
Hindustani. The moment breakfast was over, sat down 
to the translation of the Ramayuna from Sanskrit, with 
a pundit, who was also waiting, and continued this trans- 



138 WILLIAM CAREY. 

lation till ten o clock, at which hour I went to College 
and attended the duties there till between one and two 
o clock. When I returned home, I examined a proof- 
sheet of the Bengali translation of Jeremiah, which took 
till dinner-time. I always, when down in Calcutta, dine 
at Mr. Rolt s, which is near. After dinner, translated, 
with the assistance of the chief pundit of the College, 
the greatest part of the eighth chapter of Matthew into 
Sanskrit. This employed me till six o clock. After six, 
sat down with a Telinga pundit to learn that language. 
At seven I began to collect a few previous thoughts into 
the form of a sermon, and preached at half-past seven. 
About forty persons present, and among them one of 
the Puisne Judges of the Sudder Dewany Adawlut. 
After sermon I got a subscription from him of five 
hundred rupees (^63 los.) towards erecting our new 
place of worship; he is an exceedingly friendly man. 
Preaching was over and the congregation gone by nine 
o clock. I then sat down and translated the eleventh 
of Ezekiel into Bengali, and this lasted till near eleven ; 
and now I sit down to write to you." If his letters are 
few, let his friends be assured that he does not forget 
them ; but " the truth is, that every letter I write is at 
the expense of a chapter of the Bible, which would have 
been translated in that time." 



CHAPTER VIIL 

IN the beginning of 1807 his status in the Fort 
William College was raised. He had hitherto 
been "Teacher," he was now appointed " Professor " of 
Sanskrit and Bengali, to which Mahratta was added, 
though not specified in the official letter ; and his salary 
was increased from five hundred to a thousand rupees a 
month. " This," he says, " will much help the mission." 

The same year the Senate of Brown University, in the 
United States, recognised his distinguished ability and 
worth, and the service he had rendered to the cause of 
the Gospel, by conferring on him the degree of Doctor 
of Divinity. 

Lord Cornwallis, who from 1786 to 1793 had united 
in his own person the powers of Governor-General and 
Commander-in-Chief, was appointed to succeed Lord 
Wellesley, but died two months after landing at Cal 
cutta. The chief authority had devolved temporarily 
upon Sir George Barlow, the senior member of Council, 
till the arrival of Lord Minto in 1807. The first in 
telligence that met the new Governor-General, before he 
landed, was that of the Vellore massacre. On reaching 



14 WILLIAM CAREY. 

Calcutta he found the anti-missionary feeling very strong 
in Government circles. It had been intensified by an 
unfortunate Persian tract, printed at Serampore, which 
contained some irritating remarks on Mahommed and 
Mahommedanism. Dr. Carey was summoned to the 
office of the Chief Secretary at Calcutta, and, the Secre 
tary of the Secret and Political Department being also 
present, a translation of the tract was produced and read. 
It was new to Carey ; he could not defend the obnoxious 
expressions or offer any explanation; and could only 
give the assurance that the missionaries aimed to avoid 
everything that could stir animosity. He also indicated 
their willingness, should it be deemed necessary, to sub 
mit the publications of the Serampore press to Govern 
ment inspection before they were circulated in the Com 
pany s territories. 

He reported the matter immediately to his brethren, 
and asked for their explanation. In the meanwhile 
formal complaint was already made to Colonel Krefting, 
the new Danish Governor, with request (almost demand) 
for the suppression of the tract. When Colonel Krefting 
acquainted the missionaries with this communication, 
they frankly explained that the tract had been issued by 
an inadvertence for which they were sincerely sorry. 1 

1 The tract was originally in Bengali, and in that language con 
tained nothing really offensive. It was translated by a native into 
Persic, and was inadvertently passed through the press without 
examination by the missionaries. It turned out that the translator 
had introduced some strong and irritating expressions, such as 
calling Mahommed a tyrant. 



THE PERSIC TRACT. 141 

They at once gave up all the copies in their possession, 
being almost the entire issue, and voluntarily pledged 
themselves not to re-issue it in any form. They also 
stated that in their view the use of irritating expressions 
was not only calculated to be offensive to Government, 
but was inconsistent with the spirit of the Gospel itself. 
The officials in Calcutta, however, thought they had 
come upon a conspiracy that endangered the interests 
of society, and proceeded to employ informers who 
should discover the ramifications and extent of the evil. 
These informers reported everything they could discover 
that had a questionable or evil look ; and on hearing 
their report, the Supreme Council recorded their con 
viction that tract distribution and preaching to the multi 
tude were dangerous, and ought to be checked ; and a 
letter to that effect was addressed to Carey by the 
Government Secretary. The letter stated that various 
other publications of the Serampore press had been sub 
mitted to Government, two of which contained abusive 
references to Mahommedanism ; that preaching on 
topics of that nature was carried on in Calcutta under 
the responsibility of the missionaries ; that both for the 
sake of public tranquillity and maintaining the public 
faith, it was the duty of Government to put a stop to 
such proceedings ; hence the Governor in Council de 
sired that the preaching in question should cease, pro 
hibited all publications " of a nature offensive to the re 
ligious prejudices of the natives, or directed to the object 
of converting them to Christianity," and expected " that 



142 WILLIAM CAREY. 

the press be transferred to this Presidency, where alone 
the same control that is established over presses sanc 
tioned by the Government can be duly exercised." No 
wonder that Carey exclaimed, " Never has such a letter 
been written by any Government before. Roman Catho 
lics have persecuted other Christians under the name 
of heretics ; but no Christian Government that I know 
of has ever prohibited attempts to spread the Gospel 
among the heathen." 

Receipt of the letter was acknowledged ; and then the 
missionaries gathered together for prayer and consulta 
tion. Though fully alive to the danger which threatened 
them, Carey weeping like a child, yet all felt a re 
liance on God such as they had scarcely ever ex 
perienced before. On the suggestion of Ward, it was 
agreed that Carey and Marshman should wait on Lord 
Minto personally, and explain to him their aims and the 
nature of their work. This was accordingly done. His 
lordship consented to receive an explanatory memorial 
from them, embodying what they had stated orally, 
previous to the meeting of Council. This memorial was 
prepared with great consideration by Marshman, and 
signed by them all. In the calmest and clearest manner 
the principles and objects of the mission were un 
folded, and the fears of those who anticipated mischief 
to the State were answered ; and thus Lord Minto was 
enabled to grasp the bearings of the case, from the 
missionary point of view, before he entered the council 
chamber. 



THE SKY CLEARING. 143 

The memorial was read in Council the day following, 
together with a letter from Colonel Krefting ; and, on 
Lord Minto s suggestion, a resolution revoking the press 
order was passed, and only requiring that the authorities 
in Calcutta should be apprised of what the missionaries 
printed, as the productions of their press were designed 
for distribution within the British territories. In the 
letter acquainting the missionaries with this decision, the 
" rectitude of their intention " was frankly acknowledged. 
No restrictions whatever were laid on the circulation of 
the Scriptures. This was felt to be a "wonderful de 
liverance wrought for them by God." Their situation 
they regarded as now " perhaps better than it had been 
before " ; and, as they honestly wished to avoid every 
thing inflammatory, they considered themselves practi 
cally free. For this result they regarded themselves as 
deeply indebted, under God, to Colonel Krefting, who 
had shown himself their staunch friend throughout. As 
they had had recourse to prayer in the hour of their 
distress, they now set apart a day for thanksgiving to 
God, whose "right hand had saved them." Before 
midsummer they received permission to erect a chapel 
in Calcutta. 

Besides troubles without, there were also troubles 
within. The younger missionaries who had come from 
England, some of them with a considerable spice of 
romance in their expectations, were unacquainted with 
the enormous difficulties and self-denials of the seniors, 
and felt the exercise of authority by them to be severe, 



144 WILLIAM CAREY. 

if not galling. They had strong faith in new blood and 
new methods ; and they naturally enough wished that 
consideration should be given to their views. Perhaps, 
also, too much was expected from them in the way of 
involuntary self-denial. Hence friction and rasping. 
Such was the heat engendered that a reference had to 
be made to the home committee ; and Fuller wrote out 
that if the opposition of the younger brethren continued, 
it might be necessary to recall them. It does not appear 
that Carey was betrayed into irritation. Gentle, con 
siderate, and utterly free from personal ambition or self- 
seeking, he always saw the best side of every man. 

While these difficulties were being experienced in 
India, a fierce conflict was raging at home. In Fuller s 
opinion there never was a controversy which drew a 
more marked line between those who feared God and 
those who feared Him not. The character and motives 
of the missionaries were disparaged ; the fears of the 
public were appealed to, and it was asserted that so 
determined was the attachment both of Hindoo and 
Mahommedan to their religion, that, approach them but 
with argument, straightway they " grasped their daggers." 
Numbers, political influence, and loudness of noise, were 
against the missionary cause ; to Fuller s eye it was " a 
kind of panorama view of the army of Xerxes and 
of the opposition of the three hundred Greeks at 
Thermopylae"; nevertheless, he stoutly writes, "we 
will not fear them ; we will play the man." Pamphlet 
after pamphlet issued from the press, with rejoinders and 



HOSTILITY A T HOME. 145 

re-rejoinders, and, in the vehemence of the struggle, the 
public mind was greatly agitated. 1 

A few extracts will sufficiently indicate the character 
of the assault on missions. The missionaries are repre 
sented as " illiterate, ignorant, and as enthusiastic as the 
wildest devotees among the Hindoos." " In the course 
of several years they have made about eighty converts, 
all from the lowest of the people, most of them beggars 
by profession, and others who had lost their castes. 
The whole of them were rescued from poverty, and pro 
cured a comfortable subsistence by their conversion." 
" Some of these converts have been expelled for gross 
immorality. Such, I am confident, would be the fate 
of the remainder, were not the missionaries afraid of 
being laughed at." " If ever the fatal day shall arrive 
when religious innovation shall set her foot in that 
country, indignation will spread from one end of Hindu 
stan to the other ; and the arms of fifty millions of 
people will drive us from that portion of the globe with 

1 The missionaries never lost heart. " Be not cast down on 
our account ; the cause in which we are engaged is the cause of 
God, and must prevail. I think, however, that a petition to 
Parliament might be presented, praying respectfully for leave to 
settle missionaries, and for them to be allowed to pursue their 
labours among the natives, subject in all civil matters to the laws 
of the country. I doubt not but with a little exertion a million 
of signatures might be procured to such a petition ; and I think 
the time to present it will be when the renewal of the Charter 
comes before Parliament. In the meantime, however, do not 
think that we are concealed or afraid to show ourselves, or to 
avow our work." Letter from Carey. 

L 



146 WILLIAM CAREY. 

as much ease as the sand of the desert is scattered by 
the wind." " If the ingenuity of Buonaparte had been 
exercised in devising a plan which, with more certainty 
than any other, would destroy the British Empire in 
India, he would have recommended that very plan." 
" If India is deemed worth preserving, we should en 
deavour to regain the confidence of the people by the 
immediate recall of every missionary." To Fuller, this 
seemed like the application of the guillotine for the cure 
of headache. 

" When wit is in the hands of a man . . . who 
loves honour, justice, decency, good nature, morality, 
and religion ten thousand times better than wit, wit is 
then a beautiful and delightful part of our nature." 
So wrote the Rev. Sidney Smith, the same man who, in 
an article of the Edinburgh Review (1808), delivered one 
of the most pitiless of all the attacks on the missionaries. 
He ridicules missionary^ ardour by saying that "if a 
tinker is a devout man, he infallibly sets off for the 
East." Extracts, some of them garbled, are made from 
the journals of the missionaries, and placed under mock- 
solemn headings, for the purpose of provoking ridicule. 
He does not hesitate to affirm that on their own subject 
the missionaries were " quite insane and ungovernable " ; 
that they "would deliberately, piously, and conscien 
tiously expose our whole Eastern empire to destruction 
for the sake of converting half a dozen Brahmins, who, 
after stuffing themselves with rum and rice, would run 
away, and cover the Gospel and its professors with every 



"THE EDINBURGH REVIEW." 147 

species of impious ridicule and abuse." He sums up his 
argument thus : " We see not the slightest prospect of 
success ; we see much danger in making the attempt ; 
and we doubt if the conversion of the Hindoos would 
ever be more than nominal." Returning to the attack 
in 1809, and taking credit to himself for "routing out 
a nest of consecrated cobblers," he says : " Our charge is 
that they want sense, conduct, and sound religion ; and 
that, if they are not watched, the throat of every 

* 

European in India will be cut." As to complaint of 
intolerance made by the missionaries, " a weasel might 
as well complain of intolerance when he is throttled 
for sucking eggs." At the same time, " we are, as we 
always have been, sincere friends to the conversion of 
the Hindoos " ; while those who were actually engaged 
in the work were included in the same category with 
"vermin that ought to be caught, cracked, and ex 
tirpated." 

A single typical example from real life will sufficiently 
show what all this pitiless invective was about. A poor 
illiterate man, unable to read or write, with a conscience 
darkened and perverted by heathenism, comes to live at 
Serampore. He is an enthusiast in idolatry ; his back is 
scarred all over from the hooks by which he has been 
so frequently suspended in swinging on the churuka; 
pieces of iron have been repeatedly run through his 
tongue ; for many years he has wallowed in the most 
filthy vices. This man "hears the words of our Lord 
Jesus Christ " from a native convert, and is brought into 



148 WILLIAM CAREY. 

contact with the missionaries. After some time he is 
awakened to a deep sense of his sinfulness, and of the 
love of Christ in becoming his Saviour. He believes 
the message of mercy. Gaining the confidence of the 
brethren as a new creature in Christ Jesus, he is added 
to their number. He works in an inferior situation ; he 
is fit for nothing better ; but on all occasions he adorns 
the Gospel by a humble behaviour and a grateful sense of 
kindnesses. His life is henceforth clean and happy. At 
the close of all, he expresses his dying confidence in 
Christ ; and, when unable to speak plainly, he lays his 
hand on his heart, and whispers, He is here ; He is here. 
Did the scoffers political men and " haughty priests " 
think whither their poisoned arrows flew ? 

The discussions closed with an article from the pen 
of Southey, in the Quarterly Review, 1 809, in which he 
glances over the history of missions to India, particularly 
of the Baptist Missionary Society, and examines the 
question whether the British government in India was 
exposed to any danger by its toleration of the mission 
aries ; " for, as that fierce and fiery CalvinistJ Andrew 
Fuller, most truly says, the question in dispute is not 
whether the natives of India shall continue to enjoy the 
most perfect toleration, but whether that toleration shall 
be extended to the teachers of Christianity ? " Toward the 
close of the article he says : " These low-born and low 
bred mechanics have translated the whole Bible into 
Bengali, and have by this time printed it. They are 
printing the New Testament in the Sanskrit, the Orissa, 



SOUTH EY^S DEFENCE OF THE MISSIONARIES. 149 

Mahratta, Hindostan, and Guzarat, and translating it 
into Persic, Telinga, Karnata, Chinese, the language of 
the Sieks and of the Burmans ; and in four of these 
languages they are going on with the Bible. Extra 
ordinary as this is, it will appear more so when it is 
remembered that of these men one was originally a shoe 
maker, another a printer at Hull, and a third the master 
of a charity school at Bristol. Only fourteen years have 
elapsed since Thomas and Carey set foot in India, and 
in that time have these missionaries acquired this gift 
of tongues ; in fourteen years these low-born, low-bred 
mechanics have done more towards spreading the know 
ledge of the Scriptures among the heathen than has been 
accomplished or even attempted by all the world besides. 
. . . From Government all that is asked is tolera 
tion for themselves and protection for their converts. 
The plan which they have laid down for their own pro 
ceedings is perfectly prudent and unexceptionable, and 
there is as little fear of their provoking martyrdom as 
there would be of their shrinking from it if the cause 
of God and man required the sacrifice." The result 
of these discussions was clear gain to the missionary 
enterprise. 

Before the close of 1807 poor Mrs. Carey died of 
fever, having been under personal restraint for a period 
of twelve years. Her condition throughout the whole 
of these years was such as to preclude even those ideal 
pleasures which are sometimes enjoyed by the insane. 
During her last illness she was almost always asleep. 



ISO WILLIAM CAREY. 

She was buried the day after her death in the missionary 
burying-ground. 

The same year Serampore was occupied for the 
second time by British troops. They were not with 
drawn till the peace of 1815. 

Sanskrit is the parent-stock of nearly all the dialects 
spoken in Northern India. It is the one sacred language 
of Hindooism; and even Pali, the sacred language of 
Buddhism, is an offshoot from it. Sanskrit literature has 
proved to be infinitely richer in works of poetry, philo 
sophy, law, religion, and all that is most highly prized by 
Hindoos, than was dreamed of in Carey s day, when the 
study was but in its infancy, and all the manuscripts were 
in the hands of Brahmins. 

When it was a living language, it was " instinct with 
tenderness and power ; a language equipped with the 
richest inflections and a whole phalanx of grammatical 
forms ; one which clearly uttered whatever it was in 
man s lot to suffer, and whatever it was in his mind to 
conceive; and which from the beginning of recorded 
time stands forth in one form or other as the vehicle of 
his highest intellectual efforts." l 

Recognising its vast importance, Carey began the 
study of this language at an early period of his residence 
in the country, and planned a Sanskrit version of the 
Bible, which he slowly executed as he was able. The 
New Testament was completed in 1808, and six hundred 
copies in quarto were issued from the press in 1809 ; the 
1 Hunter s Annals of Rural Bengal. 



HIS SECOND MARRIAGE. 151 

Pentateuch followed in 1811, the Historical Books in 
1815, the Hagiographa in 1818, and the Prophetical 
Books in 1822. The work is now very rare. According 
to the testimony of those who know it, it can scarcely 
be pronounced satisfactory except in the way of a sturdy 
literalness. He saw clearly that though the Sanskrit 
Bible was of great importance, yet at the time it was but 
a " luxury " for the few ; while the Bengali version was 
the " bread of life " for millions ; and hence his first care 
had been to provide the latter. It need scarcely be 
added that, like all first attempts, the translations were 
far from being perfect. 

The extensive interest felt in the various translations 
executed in Serampore, occasioned the throwing out of 
some disparaging insinuations against them, with hints 
that the Serampore brethren should stand aside and let 
better men take up the work. " This only proves," says 
Carey, " the truth of what Solomon observed, that for 
every good work a man is envied of his neighbour. 
We do not want the vain name of the men who translated 
the Scriptures into this or that language, but we do want 
the thing to be done, and we have not yet seen the least 
probability of any one s doing it beside ourselves. We, 
however, wish every one to try and do all he can ; this is 
no reason why we who began before them all should, to 
compliment them, throw away all which we have done." 

In the summer of 1808, he married Charlotte Emelia 
Rhumohr, sister-in-law of the chevalier Wornstedt, 
chamberlain to the king of Denmark. She was about 



152 WILLIAM CAREY. 

his own age, richly endowed in mind, highly accom 
plished, with " a beautiful soul," and, above all, charac 
terized by deep piety and thorough sympathy with the 
missionary enterprise. She had resided in Serampore 
for several years, and was well known to the missionaries, 
being indeed one of the converts. This union proved in 
all respects a happy one. 

An extract or two from a small bundle of faded, worn, 
and yellow letters, written when she was on a tour for 
the restoration of her health, will give a glimpse of this 
happiness. With their quaint " thou " and " thee," these 
letters are full of tender, trustful, and thoughtful wifely 
affection. 

" My dearest Love, I felt very much in parting with 
thee, and feel much in being so far from thee. . . . 
I am sure thou wilt be happy and thankful on account 
of my voice, which is daily getting better, and thy 
pleasure greatly adds to mine own." 

" I hope you will not think I am writing too often ; 
I rather trust you will be glad to hear of me. . . . 
Though my journey is very pleasant, and the good state 
of my health, the freshness of the air, and the variety of 
objects enliven my spirits, yet I cannot help longing for 
you. Pray, my Love, take care of your health that I 
may have the joy to find you well." 

" I thank thee most affectionately, my dearest Love, 
for thy kind letter. Though the journey is very useful 
to me, I cannot help feeling much to be so distant from 
you, but I am much with you in my thoughts. . . . 






A WIFE S LETTER. 153 

The Lord be blessed for the kind protection He has 
given to His cause in a time of need. May He still 
protect and guide and bless His dear cause, and give us 
all hearts growing in love and zeal. ... I felt very 
much affected in parting with thee. I see plainly it 
would not do to go far from you ; my heart cleaves to 
you. I need not say (for I hope you know my heart is 
not insensible) how much I feel your kindness in not 
minding any expense for the recovery of my health. 
You will rejoice to hear me talk in my old way, and not 
in that whispering manner." 

" I find so much pleasure in writing to you, my Love, 
that I cannot help doing it. I was nearly disconcerted 

by Mrs. laughing at my writing so often; but 

then, I thought, I feel so much pleasure in receiving 
your letters that I may hope you do the same. I thank 
thee, my Love, for thy kind letter. I need not say that 
the serious part of it was welcome to me, and the more 
as I am deprived of all religious intercourse. ... I 
shall greatly rejoice, my Love, in seeing thee again ; but 
take care of your health that I may find you well. I 
need not say how much you are in my thoughts day and 
night." 

For many years he had enjoyed vigorous and un 
broken health, but in June, 1809, he was seized with an 
illness that brought him to the gates of death. The 
attack came on as he was returning from Calcutta. For 
the first two or three days he prescribed for himself; but 
the fever increased, and brought on delirium. A medical 



154 WILLIAM CAREY. 

man attached to the army came to visit him, in the 
absence of Dr. Darling, who had been called in. On 
principle he was strongly averse to war, and, in his 
delirium, " the sight of a red coat," he says, " filled me 
with abhorrence, and I treated him very roughly, and 
refused to touch his medicine. In vain did he retire and 
put on a black coat. I knew him, and was resolved. I 
believe this agitation of spirits did me much injury ; but 
just then in came Dr. Darling, in whom I had the most 
implicit confidence, and who had hastened and come 
before his time. . . . For a few weeks together my 
life was in doubt. One or two days I was supposed to 
be dying. . . . On the day after I was taken ill, 
I put the finishing stroke to the translation of the Scrip 
tures into the Bengali language, which some of my 
friends considered as the termination of my labours. 
Now I am raised up, I beg that I may be enabled to 
go on with more simplicity of heart, and more real 
despatch and utility, in the work of the Lord." x 

In one of the first letters he wrote after recovering 

1 "In my delirium, greatest part of which I perfectly remember, 
I was busily employed in carrying a commission from God to 
all the princes and Governments in the world, requiring them 
instantly to abolish every political establishment of religion, and 
to sell the parish and other churches to the first body of Christians 
who would purchase them. Also to declare war infamous, to 
esteem all military officers as men who had sold themselves to 
destroy the human race, to extend this to all those dead men called 
heroes, defenders of their country, meritorious officers, etc. I was 
attended by angels in all my excursions, and was universally 
successful." 



LONGINGS. 155 

from this illness, he says : " The state of the world 
occupies my thoughts more and more I mean as it 
relates to the spread of the Gospel. I was forcibly struck 
this morning with reading our Lord s reply to His dis 
ciples in the fourth of John. When He had told them 
that He had meat to eat that they knew not of, and that 
His meat was to do the will of His Father, and to finish 
His work, He said, Say ye not, There are yet four 
months, and then cometh harvest? He by this plainly 
intended to call their attention to the conduct of men 
when harvest is approaching ; for, that being the season 
on which all the hopes of men hang for temporal 
supplies, they provide men and take measures in time 
for securing it Afterwards, directing their attention to 
that which so occupied His own as to be His meat and 
drink, He adds, Lift up your eyes, and look upon the 
fields of souls to be gathered in, for they are white 
already to harvest. After so many centuries have 
elapsed, and so many fields full of this harvest have 
been lost for want of labourers to gather it in, shall we 
not at last reflect seriously on our duty? Hindostan 
requires ten thousand ministers of the Gospel at the 
lowest calculation ; China as many ; and you may easily 
calculate for the rest of the world. England has done 
much ; but not the hundredth part of what she is bound 
to do. Ought not every Church to turn its attention 
chiefly to the raising up and nurturing spiritual gifts, 
with the express design of sending them abroad? 
Should not this be a specific matter of prayer? And 



156 WILLIAM CAREY. 

is there not need to labour hard to infuse this spirit into 
the Churches ?" 

At the end of the tenth year, Mr. Ward sums up the 
visible results. In spite of enormous difficulties and 
hindrances, they had established mission stations in 
several parts of Bengal, at Patna, in Burmah, and on 
the borders of Bhotan and Orissa, each a " city set 
on an hill," a fortress held for God in the empire of 
darkness. The number of Church members in actual 
fellowship exceeded two hundred. They had a place 
of worship in Calcutta, erected at the cost of thou 
sands of pounds, with a large Church and congregation 
occupying it. The Scriptures, in whole or part, had been 
translated and printed in six languages, and translations 
into six more were in progress. Numerous tracts and 
books tending to the advancement of the Gospel were 
being thrown off from the press. All this was visible 
result, while still more important was the invisible and 
spiritual which could not be tabulated. But even the 
visible results warranted the confidence with which Ward 
put the question : " Has not God completely refuted the 
notion that all attempts to disseminate the Gospel among 
the heathen are vain ? " 

What place did Carey claim among those who had 
been instrumental in bringing about these results ? "I 
have been," he says, " witness to an astonishing train of 
circumstances, which have produced a new appearance 
of all things relating to the cause of God in these parts. 
The whole work, however, has been carried on by God 



HIS HUMILITY. 157 

in so mysterious a manner that it would be difficult for 
any one person to fix on any particular circumstance, 
and say, I am the instrument by which this work has 
been accomplished. At the same time, all has been 
done by the instrumentality of one or another, or, more 
properly speaking, by the instrumentality of all, so com 
bined, compounded, and re-compounded, that distinct 
instrumentality can scarcely be perceived. We see the 
effect ; each one rejoices in it ; and yet no one can say 
how it has been wrought. I have often thought that the 
work must be obstructed by me, and that the God who 
aboundeth in all wisdom and prudence in the dispensa 
tions of His grace, could not give a blessing to the 
labours of such a one as I am, without deviating from 
that wisdom and prudence which He always observes. 
I have often been discouraged on account of that ap 
parent want of every pre-requisite for publishing the 
Gospel, both natural and moral, of which I am un 
doubtedly the subject. . . . Reflections such as 
these have occasioned, and do still occasion, me much 
distress. Yet I do desire to give myself, such as I am, 
wholly to the cause of my God, and to be wholly en 
gaged in His service. I do indeed plod on in my work, 
but without the life and spirit necessary to excite me to 
do it as a spiritual service to God." 

Along with this lowly estimate of himself there was 
very high appreciation of others. " Marshman," he says, 
" is all eagerness for the work. Often have I seen him, 
when we have been walking together, eye a group of 



158 



WILLIAM CAREY. 



persons, as a hawk looks on its prey, and go up to them 
with a resolution to try the utmost strength of Gospel 
reasons upon them. Often have I known him engage 
with such ardour in a dispute with men of lax conduct 
or deistical sentiments, and labour the point with them 
for hours together without fatigue, nay, more eager for 
the contest when he left off than when he began, as has 
filled me with shame. In point of zeal, he is Luther, 
and I am Erasmus. Brother Ward has such a facility of 
addressing spiritual things to the heart, and his thoughts 
run so naturally in that channel, that he fixes the minds 
of all who hear him on what he says; while I, after 
making repeated efforts, can scarcely get out a few dry 
sentences, and should I meet with a rebuff at the be 
ginning, sit like a silly mute, and scarcely say anything 
at all." " I alone," he says to Ryland, " am unfit to be 
called a missionary, and often doubt whether I am a 
Christian." 



CHAPTER IX. 

ESIDES his multifarious labours in the translation 
of the Scriptures, he undertook to prepare the way 
for successors in the same work. Hence, by the be 
ginning of 1812, he had published grammars of the 
Sanskrit, Bengali, and Mahratta languages, attending 
closely to peculiarities ; he had in the press a grammar 
of the Telinga language, and another of that of the 
Sikhs ; and he had commenced the Orissa. To these 
he intended to add others as he was able. He was busy 
at the same date passing through the press a Bengali 
dictionary, which ultimately extended to three quarto 
volumes; and was engaged in collecting materials for 
a dictionary of the Oriental languages derived from 
Sanskrit, with the corresponding words in Greek and 
Hebrew. All this work he designed for the sake of 
assisting future labourers in correcting and improving 
existing versions of Scripture, and executing new transla 
tions. 

The nth of March was one of his days in Calcutta. 
On that day he wrote a letter to his brother, in which he 



160 WILLIAM CAREY. 

says : " With respect to myself and family, I have the 
greatest reason to be thankful. I enjoy good health. 
I have a very affectionate and pious wife, whose mind 
is highly cultivated by education and extensive reading. 
Three of my sons are members of the Church, and two 
of them engaged in the work of the ministry. I have 
experienced the truth of what the Lord said, He that 
forsaketh any earthly good for My name and the Gospel 
shall receive a hundred-fold. But I have seen that 
which is of infinitely more importance than all temporal 
good : I have seen the word of God take root in this 
land, so that there are now belonging to this mission, or 
connected therewith, eleven Churches, and two or three 
more are on the eve of being formed. Some of these 
Churches are in an infant state, but there are others 
which have thirty, forty, seventy, and even a hundred 
and fifty members." 

If these cheerful words were penned, the ink was 
scarcely dry, when a calamity befel the mission which 
threatened to put a stop to some of its most important 
operations for a long time to come. About six in the 
evening a fire broke out in the printing office at Seram- 
pore, which destroyed the labours of twelve years in a 
few hours. By midnight .the roof fell in, and a great 
column of fire shot aloft to the sky, and continued for 
some time as steady as the flame of a candle. Within 
the blazing premises there were sets of types for fourteen 
Eastern languages ; twelve hundred reams of paper ; 
many copies of Scripture ready for distribution ; and, 



THE FIRE AT SERAMPORE. 161 

crowning all, many valuable manuscripts which no 
money could replace. The deeds of the premises and 
the records and accounts of the mission were rescued 
just in time by Mr. Ward, and the presses were safe in 
an adjoining office which the fire did not touch ; but 
everything else that would burn or melt seemed to be 
destroyed. When all was over, the missionaries gathered 
in a group before the glowing ruins, and "a solemn 
serenity seemed to fill and strengthen every heart." 
Marshman went over to Calcutta in the morning to 
convey the tidings of the disaster to Carey, who was so 
stunned that for a time he could not utter a word. The 
day was vainly spent in inquiring for new types ; and in 
the evening they returned sad at heart to Serampore. 

On arriving, they found Ward busy clearing the ruins. 
To his great joy he found many of the punches and 
moulds used in making type uninjured. Wasting no 
time in lamentation, they set to work immediately to 
repair their losses. They utilized a warehouse of their 
own close by, which happened to be empty, as a new 
office. They dismissed their workmen for a month. 
They kept type-casters at work by relays day and night. 
The result was that within the month two languages 
were in the press, and at the end of six weeks four more 
were ready. 

Carey gives a characteristic account of the disaster to 
Fuller. After enumerating the "merciful circumstances" 
which relieved the calamity, he states that though in his 
own department it would require twelve months hard 

M 



1 62 WILLIAM CAREY. 

labour to replace what had been consumed in manu 
scripts particularly yet, "as travelling a road the second 
time, however painful it may be, is usually done with 
greater ease and certainty than when we travel it for the 
first time, so I trust the work will lose nothing in real 
value, nor will it be much retarded by this distressing 
event ; for we shall begin printing the moment the types 
are prepared. The ground must be laboured over 
again, but we are not discouraged; indeed, the work 
is already begun again in every language ; we are cast 
down, but not in despair." 

The calamity evoked much kindly feeling throughout 
the community, and generous aid was given by men 
of every class. Their warm friend, Mr. Thomason, 
of Calcutta, sent them ^800, which he had collected 
within a few days ; and when the news reached England, 
the Christian sympathy was so wide-spread and generous, 
that the whole of the money loss was made up within 
three months. Fuller writes them : " This fire has given 
your undertaking a celebrity which nothing else, it seems, 
could ; a celebrity which, after all, makes me tremble. 
. . . The public is now giving us their praises; if 
we inhale this incense, will not the Lord be offended, 
and withdraw His blessing; and then where are we? 
. . . Only beware of flattery and applause. For 
now you may expect a tide of this to try you. You 
have stood your ground through evil report; may you 
stand it under good report. Many who have endured 
the first have failed in the last. . . . Expect to be 



NATIVE PREACHING, 



163 



highly applauded, bitterly reproached, greatly envied, 
and much tried every way. Oh that having done all, 
you may stand !" 

The Gospel work of the mission was not hindered 
by what had taken place. Krishnu-Pal, now a steady, 
zealous, well-informed, and even eloquent evangelist, 
preached on an average twelve or fourteen times every 
week in Calcutta and its environs ; while Sebuk Ram, 
another native convert, preached nearly as often. " The 
number of inquirers (says Carey) constantly coming 
forward, awakened by their instrumentality among this 
poor and benighted people, fills me with joy. I do 
not know that I am of much use myself; but I see a 
work which fills my soul with thankfulness. Not having 
time to visit the people, I appropriate every Thursday 
evening to receiving the visits of inquirers. Seldom 
fewer than twenty come ; and the simple confessions 
of their sinful state, the unvarnished declarations of 
their former ignorance, the expressions of trust in Christ 
and of gratitude to Him, with the accounts of their 
spiritual conflicts, often attended with tears which almost 
choke their utterance, present a scene of which you can 
scarcely form an adequate idea. At the same time, 
meetings for prayer and mutual edification are held 
every night in the week, and some nights, for con 
venience, at several places at the same time, so that the 
sacred leaven spreads its influence through the mass." 
A few weeks later he writes : " I have been now almost 
nineteen years in the work of the mission, and seem 



164 WILLIAM CAREY. 

as if I had but just gotten over the principal obstruc 
tions which blocked up the threshold of the door." 

This same year the final struggle began which should 
determine whether the Gospel was to be allowed "free 
course" by the Government of India, or only permitted 
to exist on sufferance. The Caravan, an American 
ship, bringing Adoniram Judson and Samuel Newell, 
missionaries, with their wives, reached India on the 
1 7th June, 1812. They were met and welcomed by 
Carey, who conducted them to Serampore. A fort 
night afterwards, they were summoned to Calcutta, and 
ordered instantly to quit the country. The Newells 
sailed in a small vessel, which could convey only two 
passengers, for the Isle of France ; Judson and his wife 
had to remain behind, finally compelled to leave in 
November. The result is well known : the very events 
which at the time appeared so gloomy were the pro 
vidential means of determining that wonderful mission 
ary career which marks Judson out as the apostle of 
Burmah. 

The action of the Government officials at Calcutta 
evinced their determination to clear the country of 
missionaries, and keep the door shut in their faces; 
and Lord Minto, though personally tolerant and even 
liberal, fell in. Carey s opinion was that, to the official 
mind, the preaching of the Gospel stood in much the 
same light as committing an act of felony ; and he saw 
no security against capricious action except by the 
modification of the Company s charter. Writing to 



RENEWAL OF THE COMPANY S CHARTER. 165 

Fuller, he says : "The fault lies in the clause which gives 
the Company power to send home interlopers," that 
was the official term, "and is just as reasonable as 
one which should forbid all the people in England, 
a select few excepted, to look at the moon. I hope 
this clause will be modified or expunged in the new 
charter. The prohibition is wrong; and nothing that 
is morally wrong can be politically right. . . . You 
must not attempt to send out any more missionaries 
without leave from the Court of Directors, for they 
will certainly be sent home." 

The battle of religious freedom for India was now 
to be fought on English ground; and it soon became 
evident that the struggle between the friends and 
enemies of missions would be a life and death one. 
The time had come for renewing the Company s charter, 
making what changes in it might be demanded by 
changed conditions ; and now was the crisis to secure 
liberty, if that were possible. The missionaries urged 
upon Fuller that, in concert with other societies, every 
thing should be done to secure this liberty by a distinct 
clause in the new charter. He responded with his whole 
soul and strength, as did the leaders (and indeed privates 
also) of all the missionary bodies in the country. They 
stuck to two points namely, unrestricted liberty for 
missionaries to go out to India, and security when there 
against being sent back without having been guilty of 
crime or misdemeanour ; and they resolved not to con 
sent to anything short of this, though they might accept 



1 66 WILLIAM CAREY. 

what they could get. It is unnecessary to detail the 
conferences that were held, and the efforts that were 
made to bring about a favourable issue : no legitimate 
means were left untried. 

Among those on whom Fuller waited was Lord 
Castlereagh, ministerial leader in the House of Com 
mons. His lordship s idea was, that a bishop and three 
archdeacons, with adequate provision for their main 
tenance, would serve the purpose ; and so he indicated 
in his outlines of the proposed new charter submitted 
to Parliament in 1813. To him Fuller stated the 
case of the missionaries with calm and comprehensive 
mastery. After hearing him, Castlereagh remarked, 
"We shall probably give your missionaries liberty to 
proceed to India, where they may profess their own 
faith." " TAat," replied Fuller, 1 "is a degree of liberty 
which we can get any day at Constantinople. From 
a Christian Government we certainly expected more 
liberality. "But," rejoined Castlereagh, "the country 
in general seems to be indifferent on the subject of 
Indian missions. Whatever interest is manifested in 
them is confined to two or three missionary bodies." 
" If the decision of the question is to depend on the 
expression of public opinion," said Fuller, "your lord 
ship will soon have an opportunity of judging to what 
extent we carry the sympathies of the nation with us." 
Fuller was right in the forecast he had made. For week 

1 A very realistic report credits him with the preface, uttered in 
his gruffest tone, " Thank you for nothing, my lord." 



DISCUSSIONS IN THE HOUSE OF COMMONS. 167 

after week petitions poured in from all quarters in 
numbers absolutely unprecedented. 1 Some of the peti 
tioners aimed at a State-establishment of religion in 
India ; others (as advised by Fuller) prayed simply that 
the Gospel should have a fair field, deprecating all 
measures that involved force or Government influence. 
Long debates took place in the House of Commons, in 
which the missionary cause was most ably championed 
by Wilberforce ; and things were said on the opposite 
side that can now be viewed only with half-incredulous 
amazement. 

One thing all but postulated by the Anglo-Indians 
was that any attempt to evangelize tKe natives would 
cost us our empire a view shared by the majority of the 
Court of Directors, the holders of India stock, and the 
press. The House of Commons, in the opinion of 
Wilberforce, was in the main adverse, and Government 
indifferent. Under such conditions was the battle to be 
fought. When the measure for renewal of the charter 
was introduced, it proved to be without any missionary 
clause ; and the power of expelling interlopers was 
continued in the Company s hands. The Company 
demanded permission to adduce evidence at the bar of 

1 Fuller records: "I suppose there were seldom less than nine 
or ten petitions presented in a day. It was not a shower, but a set 
rain ; and the adversaries of the mission had their patience worn 
out. One of them gave notice of a motion in favour of the liberty 
of the Hindoos ! He waited a week or two in hope that these 
petitions would cease, but they kept on. He then postponed his 
motion a fortnight still they kept on. At last he gave it up. " 



168 WILLIAM CAREY. 

the House showing the dangerous nature of certain 
concessions contained in the measure, and the demand 
was acceded to. This gave the opportunity which the 
friends of missions desired ; and the whole country 
became aroused to the importance of the measure in 
relation to the propagation of the Gospel. 

The resolution which the friends of missions agreed 
to propose was, " That it is the duty of this country to 
promote the interest and happiness of the native inhabi 
tants of the British dominions in India, and that such 
measures ought to be adopted as may tend to the intro 
duction among them of useful knowledge, and of religious 
and moral improvement; that in the furtherance of the 
above objects, sufficient facilities shall be afforded bj 
law to persons desirous of going to and remaining in 
India, for the purpose of accomplishing these benevolent 
designs." 

This resolution was certainly cautious enough. When 
it was brought forward, Wilberforce supported it in a 
speech which even on the slave question he had never 
surpassed. " In truth, Sir," he took occasion to say, 
"these Anabaptist missionaries, as, among other low 
epithets bestowed on them, they have been contemptu 
ously termed, are entitled to our highest respect and 
admiration. One of them, Dr. Carey, was originally in 
one of the lowest stations of society ; but under all the 
disadvantages of such a situation, he had the genius, as 
well as benevolence, to devise the plan which has since 
been pursued of forming a Society for communicating 



SPEECH BY WILBERFORCE. 



169 



the blessings of Christian light to the natives of India, 
and his first care was to qualify himself to act a dis 
tinguished part in that truly noble enterprise. He 
resolutely applied himself to the diligent study of the 
learned languages ; after making a considerable profi 
ciency in them, he applied himself to several of the 
Oriental tongues, more especially to that which I under 
stand is regarded as the parent of them all, the Sanskrit ; 
in which last his proficiency is acknowledged to be 
greater than that of Sir William Jones himself, or any 
other European. Of several of these languages he has 
already published grammars, of one or two of them a 
dictionary, and he has in contemplation still greater 
enterprises. All this time, Sir, he is labouring inde- 
fatigably as a missionary, with a warmth of zeal only 
equalled by that with which he prosecutes his literary 
labours. Another of these Anabaptist missionaries, Mr. 
Marshman, has established a seminary for the cultiva 
tion of the Chinese language, which he has studied with 
a success scarcely inferior to that of Dr. Carey in the 
Sanskrit. It is a merit of a more vulgar sort but to 
those who are blind to their moral and even their literary 
excellencies, it may perhaps afford an estimate of value 
better suited to their principles and habits of calcula 
tion that these men, and Mr. Ward also, another of 
the missionaries, acquiring from ^1,000 to ^1,500 per 
annum each, by the various exercise of their talents, 
throw the whole into the common stock of the mission, 
which they thus support by their contributions only less 



170 



WILLIAM CAREY. 



effectually than by their researches and labours of a 
higher order. Such, Sir, are the exertions, such the 
merits, such the success, of these great and good men, 
for so I shall not hesitate to term them." 

When the final vote was taken, the bill, as amended, 
was carried by a decided majority, and the door of India 
was set open to the Gospel yet subject to two evils ; 
namely, having to obtain a licence of the Directors or 
(failing them) the Board of Control ; and the mission 
aries being liable to be removed without any specific 
charge being alleged against them, except what was sent 
home to Government. 



CHAPTER X. 

A NDREW FULLER, the strong man who had so 
JL\. faithfully " held the ropes " for the missionaries 
ever since the formation of the Society, died on the yth 
of May, 1815. It was Lord s Day morning, and the 
congregation had met for worship in the chapel, adjoining 
the chamber where he lay. Overhearing the singing, 
he said to his daughter Sarah, " I wish I had strength 
enough." " To do what, father ?" " To worship, child," 
he replied ; adding, after a pause, " My eyes are dim." 
An hour after, he was at rest. 

He was a man " of stern integrity and native grandeur 
of mind," with an eye that saw through the most com 
plicated question with wonderful sureness, a massive 
understanding, a judgment that was never swayed by 
prejudice, and the most undaunted resolution. Few 
men have ever given nobler example of the supremacy 
of conscience. For more than twenty years, in addition 
to labours which would have taxed the strength of any 
ordinary man, he had devoted his energies, physical and 
mental, to the cause of the mission, and had guided it 
through difficulties of the most formidable nature with 



172 WILLIAM CAREY. 

rare courage and sagacity. The last service he rendered 
was in connection with the fierce parliamentary struggle 
which issued in the securing of an open door for the 
Gospel into India. Ere he died he had the satisfaction 
of seeing that the labour expended was not in vain. 
The missionaries had baptized nearly seven hundred 
native converts ; their schools had given instruction to 
ten thousand heathen children ; they had preached the 
Gospel far and wide in the land ; translations of the 
Bible were going forward in twenty-seven languages; 
and already the reign of darkness was giving signs of 
being broken. Truly, as he wrote to Carey, " the 
spark which God stirred you up to strike has kindled a 
great fire." 

In a letter in which Carey mentions having heard of 
Fuller s death, these pregnant words occur : " Consider 
ing the extensive countries opened to us in the East, 
I entreat, I implore our dear brethren in England not 
to think of the petty shop-keeping plan of lessening the 
number of stations so as to bring the support of them 
within the bounds of their present income, but to bend 
all their attention and exertions to the great object of 
increasing their finances, to meet the pressing demand 
that Divine Providence makes on them. If your objects 
are large, the public will contribute to their support ; if 
you contract them, their liberality will immediately con 
tract itself proportionably." 

In place of such wishes being realized, and the work 
going forward harmoniously and pleasantly, years of 



MISUNDERSTANDINGS. 173 

trouble were impending. In the change of the Society s 
management consequent on the death of Fuller, mis 
understandings almost immediately set in, particularly 
with respect to the Serampore property, and the power 
of direction and control. All things considered, this 
was scarcely to be wondered at ; but it must be added 
that the exercise of frankness, patience, and a just and 
conciliatory temper on both sides, ought to have obviated 
all danger of schism. 

As time passed on, however, the misunderstandings 
increased, and became embittered ; evil surmises de 
veloped into certainties ; it was assumed that the senior 
brethren were self-willed and overbearing ; it was first 
whispered and then affirmed that they were making 
large fortunes for themselves out of their position ; and 
instead of calmly waiting information and explanation 
from Serampore, somewhat hurried action was taken to 
prevent the alienation of the property from the Society. 1 
In the correspondence and discussions that followed, 
things were said and written on both sides which it is 
now wise to forget, or to leave in the oblivion into 
which they have sunk. The senior missionaries were 
conscious of uprightness in secular affairs ; they knew 



1 The first paragraph in Carey s Will runs: "I utterly disclaim 
all or any right or title to the premises at Serampore, called the 
Mission Premises, and every part and parcel thereof; and do 
hereby declare that I never had, or supposed myself to have, any 
such right or title. " This paragraph owes its existence to the un 
worthy suspicion above indicated. 



174 WILLIAM CAREY. 

that, so far from making gain of their position, they 
had practised the severest self-denial, and had already 
spontaneously given many thousands of pounds earned 
by their own toil, to the great cause to which they 
had consecrated their lives; it is not therefore wonder 
ful that they should have repelled insinuations against 
their disinterestedness with a measure of indignant 
warmth. Assured also that instead of the London 
committee being able to guide them, they were better 
able to guide the committee, they resisted perhaps 
resented what they deemed the exercise of dictator 
ship, that would have deprived them of their inde 
pendence and turned them into mere servants obeying 
orders. 1 On the other hand, it must be granted that 
the committee, though comprehending not a few noble 
and true-hearted men, were too ready to give ear to 
suspicions, and over-estimated the weight of their own 
judgment as compared with the experience and judg 
ment of the senior brethren. Thus it happened that 
Serampore came to be regarded by the committee as 
a "rebellious station;" and for years it seemed "as 
if they were playing a game of chess against it." The 
committee s view will be found stated at full length, 
and dispassionately, in the annual report for 1827. 

1 "The Society assumed the character and tone of Lords. 
Brother Dyer s letters are all official, resembling those of a Secretary 
of State. I can write brotherly, affectionate letters, but not official 
ones ; and therefore the Society must expect no communication 
from me. To you I will write my whole heart." Carey to Ryland. 



SEPARATION FROM THE SOCIETY. 175 

Another trouble was in progress at the same time. 
The hard discipline to which the senior missionaries 
had subjected themselves was naturally enough irksome 
to the younger brethren who joined them. It was one 
thing voluntarily to undertake the severe mode of life 
pursued at Serampore, and another thing to have it 
imposed upon them without choice. Hence jealousies 
and alienations sprang up between the younger and the 
elder, and became aggravated as time passed on, till 
they came to be almost beyond bearing. 

Ten years of increasing tension in their relations 
issued, in 1827, in the separation of Serampore from the 
Baptist Missionary Society a separation which was not 
healed during Carey s lifetime. The Society then estab 
lished a mission of its own in Calcutta, with branches 
in various parts of India, taking over with consent 
several of the Serampore stations. During these long 
troubles, however painful and even heart-breaking, 
Carey s . personal uprightness and godly sincerity were 
not assailed even by those who entertained diametrically 
opposed views ; and, on the other hand, though he 
disapproved much of their action and something of 
their spirit, and felt some things keenly, his affection for 
the younger brethren continued : " I believe," he says, 
" we sincerely love one another." 

The conviction gained ground in the minds of the 
missionaries, that if India was to be won and held for 
Christ, it must be through native preaching. Hence 
they deemed it of primary importance to provide the 



176 WILLIAM CAREY. 

means of training Christian converts in Christian know 
ledge, that they might be able to take part in the great 
enterprise of evangelization. Men like Krishnu-Pal 
were fitted to be of great use among their countrymen ; 
but it was manifest that a higher Christian education 
was necessary if native preaching was to be made fully 
efficient. The outcome of this view was the establish 
ment of Serampore College for the instruction of native 
Christians and other youths in Eastern literature and 
European science. Convinced by experience that both 
the most economical and the surest method of flooding 
India with Divine light was that of employing native 
converts, they put the question, Shall these men be sent 
forth to the work without receiving any previous instruc 
tion ? and to this question, they conceived, there could 
be only one reply. It was with the view of affording 
such instruction that the College was instituted. After 
long and patient consideration by the missionaries, the 
prospectus was drawn up. It proceeded on the as 
sumption that the complete evangelization of India was 
to be accomplished by natives. It indicated the inten 
tion of its founders that the College should not stand 
by itself, but in living connection with the mission 
stations, near and remote ; the students being drawn 
from these stations, and, when educated, going forth to 
be teachers, evangelists, missionaries, and pastors, as the 
Lord might appoint. It also implied that a purely 
" theological " training was objectionable, inasmuch as 
it tended to produce professionalism and contracted 



SERAMPORE COLLEGE. 177 

views ; hence they planned to let in light from every 
quarter. They hoped thus to secure men who should 
be able to deal with religious questions under a full 
comprehension of Indian ways of thinking and feeling. 
It seemed to them that what was required was not to 
translate European books into Eastern tongues, or to 
clothe European ideas in an Eastern dress, but to raise 
up men loyal in heart to Jesus Christ, who should build 
the truths of revelation into an edifice answering to the 
genius of the East. 

While the College, as they projected it, was designed 
to train native teachers and preachers, yet all who chose 
to enter as students, whatever their religion or caste, 
would be made welcome, subject to the College regula 
tions, conscience being in all cases respected. Had it 
been possible at the time, it might have been better to 
make Calcutta the seat of the institution. Serampore is 
now like a stranded ship ; while Calcutta is the metro 
polis, the seat of government, law, and justice, the 
emporium of commerce, and the intellectual centre, from 
which every chord that is struck vibrates to the ex 
tremities of the empire. At the time, however, the best 
was done that was possible. It was arranged that the 
Danish governor and the three senior missionaries should 
have the management in the first instance. The plans 
were submitted to the Danish Government, and King 
Frederick IV. gave them his approval, and presented a 
large house and grounds in Serampore, the rents of 
which should go to the support of the institution. 

N 



178 WILLIAM CAREY. 

The measures for establishing the College were in 
progress when Ward visited England in 1819. There 
he endeavoured to obtain assistance, but speedily dis 
covered, to his dismay, that little was to be expected, 
so strongly did the current run against Serampore. He 
wrote out to this effect. Nothing daunted, Carey and 
his coadjutors made their appeal in India itself, where 
they were best known ; and by patient and vigorous 
effort, though all but overwhelmed with other cares, 
they succeeded in rearing a noble edifice at a final 
cost of about ;i 5,000. This College was the first of 
its kind in India, and its institution marks a "new 
departure " in the work of evangelization. " The 
Bishop s College" opposite Calcutta, and the educa 
tional machinery created by Dr. Duff, both derived 
valuable suggestions from it The fruit expected from 
its establishment was a supply of well-qualified native 
missionaries. 

It was not till 1827 that the College charter was 
granted. Ten years time was allowed for the forma 
tion of its statutes ; and such as should be authorized 
by the three senior missionaries, or the survivors of them, 
were to be enrolled in the Danish Court of Chancery 
as the permanent statutes of the College. The prin 
ciples which Carey deemed essential were the following : 
That no oaths be administered to any member of the 
College, but that a recorded promise should be sufficient 
in all cases ; that marriage be no bar to office ; that 
of the five members of Council one may always be of 



SERIOUS ILLNESS. 179 

another denomination beside the Baptist ; that no caste, 
colour, country, or mode of belief be a bar to any 
one becoming a student; that faith in the truths of 
Christianity be deemed essential to the eligibility of 
any teacher in the College ; that a public account of 
the College procedure be annually given ; that any 
degrees conferred should be free of charge to the 
receiver; that any friend to learning and Christianity 
in India should be at liberty to found a professorship 
in the College; and that the number of professors 
and students should be regulated according to the pro 
vidence of God. 

Throughout all these years Carey s immense labours 
for the advancement of the Gospel were going steadily 
on. But it was not possible to sustain the strain of 
work, the many anxieties that pressed upon him, and 
the influence of the climate, for so many years, without 
having a heavy penalty to pay. In the beginning of 
1821, the old man for he was now sixty was suddenly 
seized with a fever which threatened his life, and which 
considerably diminished his working power. Just about 
the crisis of the fever came a letter from the king, who, 
after acting for many years as regent, had lately ascended 
the throne. In this letter he assured the missionaries 
of his continued interest both in themselves and in their 
labours. He had previously offered them a Danish 
"order," that of the Dannebrog, which they had re 
spectfully declined, as unsuited to their position and 
character; the letter now sent was accompanied with 



i8o WILLIAM CAREY. 

a gold medal for each of them, to express approbation 
of their, work. 

Soon after recovering from the attack of fever, he was 
called to suffer one of the sorest trials of his life, in 
the death of his accomplished and devoted wife, who 
had been the partner of his joys and sorrows for thirteen 
years. She was suddenly seized with an epileptic fit ; 
attack followed attack in rapid succession ; and in four 
days she passed away, apparently without pain, May 
30th, 1821. In one of his letters, referring to her 
death, he says : " If there ever was a true Christian, 
she was one;" and in another: "She was eminently 
pious, and lived near to God. The Bible was her daily 
delight; and, next to God, she lived for me. Her 
solicitude for my happiness was incessant ; and so 
certainly could she at all times interpret my looks, 
that any attempt to conceal anxiety or distress of mind 
would have been vain. It was her constant habit to com 
pare every verse of Scripture she read in the German, 
French, Italian, and English versions, and never to pass 
by a difficulty till it was cleared up. In this respect 
she was of eminent service to me in the translation 
of the Word of God. ... So many and merciful 
circumstances attend this very heavy affliction as still 
yield me support beyond anything I ever felt in former 
trials. I have no domestic strife to reflect on, and add 
bitterness to affliction. She was ready to depart. She 
had long lived on the borders of the heavenly land, and 
I think had latterly become more and more heavenly 



DEATH OF MRS. CAREY. 181 

in her thoughts and conversation. She suffered no long 
and painful affliction. She was removed before me, a 
thing for which we had frequently expressed our wishes 
to each other; for though I am sure my brethren and 
my children would have done the utmost in their power 
to alleviate her affliction, if they had survived me, yet 
no one, nor all united, could have supplied the place 
of a husband." " She watched every change in my 
countenance," he says in another letter, "with the 
utmost solicitude, and often was full of anxiety if she 
perceived the least sign of weariness, illness, grief, or 
distress. Often has she come to me and requested me 
to forgive her anything in which she had unwittingly 
offended me. She certainly had no occasion for such 
a request, but her heart was exceedingly tender upon 
that point. My loss is irreparable, but her gain is in 
finite." 

These thirteen years were perhaps the happiest of 
Carey s life made happy in no small measure through 
her fellowship. In many respects a singularly gifted 
woman, she was wonderfully adapted to her position 
as the wife of such a man in such a place as Serampore. 
Though for long unable to move much from her room, 
and carried downstairs twice a day in her husband s 
arms for exercise in her Bath-chair, the brightness and 
intelligence of her mind lighted up his home with con 
tinual sunshine. She was a universal favourite ; the 
"mixture of patrician polish and Christian simplicity 
in her deportment " captivating all who knew her. 



1 82 WILLIAM CAREY. 

Carey s family consisted of a daughter named Ann, 
who died at Piddington in her second year; Felix; 
William ; Peter, who died at Mudnabatty, aged six ; 
Lucy, who died at Leicester in her second year ; Jabez, 
born just before the family set out for India ; and 
Jonathan, born at Mudnabatty. The career of Felix 
has been already referred to ; William and Jabez both 
entered the mission field ; Jonathan took to law in 
Calcutta. 

Nearly one hundred letters, almost all of considerable 
length, addressed to Jabez by his father, have been 
preserved. They form an extremely interesting series, 
and throw much light on Carey s family life, as well as 
his profound and unchanging interest in the mission. 
His children are very dear to him ; he never ceases to 
pray for them ; he counsels them with the fidelity of a 
man who fears God, and with " the affection of a parent 
who loves them very tenderly "; his highest ambition 
for them is that they may belong to the Saviour, and 
may serve Him truly ; he acquaints them with all the 
little incidents and doings in and around Serampore that 
might be expected to prove interesting, as well as with 
the more important events that bore on the progress of 
the Gospel. There is scarcely a letter in which he does 
not express his solicitude that his son may " live near 
to God," adorning the Gospel by his life, and counting 
no sacrifice too great for the advancement of it. 

A few extracts from these letters will sufficiently 
indicate the tone of the whole : " Supposing you to 



LETTERS TO HIS SON JABEZ. 183 

have now entered upon your labours [at Amboyna], I 
feel a more than ordinary concern that you may glorify 
the Gospel of Christ in all things. I therefore, with the 
affection of a father, entreat you to walk closely with 
God, and to cultivate diligently every grace of the Holy 
Spirit. Every one, however carnal or wicked he may 
be, expects you to be holy ; and should the men of the 
world see you carnal or conformed to the world, they 
will be disappointed in you, and will not fail to repeat 
it to your disadvantage and to the discredit of religion. 
I do not say this because I have any suspicion of you ; 
but I am jealous over you with a godly jealousy, and 
not only desire that you may be saved at last, but may 
glorify the Gospel of God in all things." 

" Watch against the temptation to gossip with Euro 
peans. Show them every respect, but always consider 
that your chief duty lies among the Malays. Never 
forget that you are now a Christian minister. . . . 
Above all things, my dear Jabez, live near to God, and 
avoid conformity to the European world. Where you 
are, you have much to fear from that quarter, . . . but 
walk as with God before your eyes, and all things will 
in time become more easy, difficulties will vanish, and 
blessings will attend you." 

" I cannot let slip this opportunity of assuring you 
how much you lie upon my heart. I follow you with 
my prayers, not only for your personal support under all 
trials, but for your abounding in all the graces and gifts 
of the Holy Spirit, and for your being furnished by the 



184 WILLIAM CAREY. 

grace of God for that very important work that lies 
before you. You will need zeal, prudence, tenderness 
of conscience, perseverance, and firmness at almost 
every step. The Lord, who has opened this important 
door for you in His providence, is able to supply all 
your wants out of the riches of His glory in Christ 
Jesus, and to make you the instrument of evangelizing 
the countries to which you are now going, and which are 
enveloped in the grossest darkness. Go forth, my dear 
Jabez, in His strength ; make mention of His righteous 
ness, and of His only ; and leave it with Him to choose 
your lot. It is of little importance whether we are poor 
or rich, admitted to the society of great men of this 
world, or frowned upon by them. If God give us a 
work to do, fit us for it, and support us in it, that is 
sufficient." 

"I have never yet touched the very delicate subject 
of E s excessive love of finery, and her tawdry ap 
pearance. I would write to her about it if I did not 
despair of doing good thereby. . . . She will be 
respected a thousand times more dressed in a Thhassa 
gown than in gaudy things more fitted for an actress than 
the wife of a Gospel minister. . . . Consider that no 
one expects you to keep a house or table like the civil 
or military officers of Government. You would not be 
respected for it were you to attempt it ; but every one 
expects an appearance in your house, your dress, and 
other things, resembling that of a humble follower of our 
Lord. I have long wished to write you on this head, 



LETTERS TO HIS SON JABEZ. 185 

for I was greatly distressed about it when you were 
here, and ray conscience is not clear till I have seriously 
entreated you to apply a remedy to that evil. Your 
honour is as dear to me as my own. ... As a 
parent who loves you most tenderly, I feel all these 
things very keenly ; but were I to say nothing . . . 
I should be a partaker of the evil. I often, with much 
deep distress, pour out my supplications for you to 
God." 

After referring to obstructions laid in the way of his 
son s preaching the Gospel, he says : " Your last letter 
contains a formal relinquishment of the work of God, 
and must therefore be considered as a step chosen by 
yourself, and not forced on you by external circum 
stances. So far as relates to men, you are at full liberty 
to relinquish any line of life and to adopt another ; but 
surely you cannot suppose that any of our determina 
tions can set us free from the obligations we owe to 
God. The Scripture says explicitly, Ye are not your 
own, for ye are bought with a price ; therefore glorify 
God in your body and spirit, which are God s. The 
whole parable of the talents is founded upon the same 
truth ; viz., that we and all we have belong to God, and 
that He expects us to improve all our opportunities and 
advantages for the promotion of His cause. ... It 
therefore appears plain to me that none of us can throw 
off our obligations to the service of God, and that even 
the engaging in His service is not a merely optional 
thing, but that every person is under indispensable 



1 86 WILLIAM CAREY. 

obligation to serve God in promoting His work to the 
utmost of his ability and opportunity. God does not 
require the employment of greater abilities than He 
bestows, but He does require the employment and im 
provement of those which He gives, whether it be five, 
two, or one talent ; and we can no more withdraw our 
abilities, however slender, from His service, with im 
punity, than he who had but one talent could safely hide 
his in the earth or wrap it in a napkin. ... If 
you could not bear the reproaches of your conscience 
because you neglected the work of God, how will you 
bear the reproaches of your conscience for forcibly with 
drawing from it ? This step, my dear Jabez, cannot be 
vindicated. Your duty was to strengthen the things 
that remained and were ready to die, to be zealous, and 
to work while it is day." 

" Your interest, both spiritual and temporal, my dear 
Jabez, lies very near to my heart, and is seldom for 
gotten in my prayers; but most of all I am anxious 
about your spiritual state. Without spiritual prosperity, 
all worldly prosperity will be useless and tasteless ; but 
if we live near to God, that circumstance will give a 
genuine relish to all outward blessings, and even in the 
absence of them will furnish us with genuine enjoyments 
such as will make us triumph in the midst of earthly 
disappointments and troubles." These lines were penned 
just after a season of severe bodily pain, and while the 
prospects of Serampore were overhung with dark clouds. 



CHAPTER XI. 

AS already mentioned, Carey s fondness for natural 
history began to show itself during his boyhood at 
Paulerspury. The ground connected with the school- 
house he turned into a botanical garden on a small scale, 
in which he cultivated his favourite plants and flowers, 
obtained from neighbours and friends or gathered wild 
in the district. No spot where anything would grow 
was left unoccupied. Hackleton, Piddington, Moulton, 
and Leicester in turn nurtured the same tastes, and 
enlarged his knowledge. 

In India, while the mission held the supreme place in 
his regard, and absorbed both his time and strength, the 
inborn love of nature asserted itself even in his busiest 
and most burdened years. At Mudnabatty, lonely and 
with a thousand discouragements, he had his garden, 
kept in order by several " mails," to which he was in the 
habit of withdrawing that he might muse and pray, and 
where he never failed to find solace in his hours of de 
spondency. In writing to friends in England, he refers 

again and again to the delight and refreshment he found 

187 



i88 WILLIAM CAREY. 

in natural history; and "no part of that pleasing study," 
he remarks, " is so familiar to me as the, vegetable king 
dom." On settling at Serampore, two acres of ground 
were made over to him (afterwards increased to five) to 
form a botanical garden, which from the outset he began 
to store with all that was choice in tropical botany, and 
in which, too, he attempted to naturalize the products of 
other climes. The first potatoes ever seen in Bengal 
were planted by him. He cultivated the vine with such 
success that grapes of his producing were thought not 
unworthy of being presented to the Governor-General 
himself. He attempted also to naturalize the English 
oak, but could not rear it to the height of more than six 
or eight inches. A fine group of mahogany trees of his 
planting still attracts the notice of visitors. 

Sometimes, in his letters home, he begs his friends to 
send him seeds or plants. Thus to his sisters : " Do 
send a few tulips, daffodils, snowdrops, lilies, and seeds 
of other kinds. You need not be at any expense ; any 
friend will supply those things. The cowslips and daisies 
of your field would be great treasures here." Again : 
" Were you to give a penny a day to some boy to gather 
seeds of cowslips, violets, daisies, crowfoots, and to dig 
up the roots of bluebells, after they have done flower 
ing, you might fill me a box every quarter of a year ; 
and surely some neighbours would send a few snow 
drops, crocuses, and other trifles. All your weeds, even 
nettles and thistles, are taken the greatest care of by me 
out here." One reads in this and like requests not the 



HIS GARDEN. 189 

mere love of flowers, but love of home just as in 
Bishop Heber s lines, when after speaking of the wonder 
ful beauty of a Bengal scene, he adds : 

" Yet who in Indian bowers has stood 
But thought on England s good greenwood, 
And blessed, beneath the palmy shade, 
Her hazel and her hawthorn glade, 
And breathed a prayer (how oft in vain ! ) 
To gaze upon her oaks again ? " 

The garden at Serampore was gradually enriched with 
all of choice and rare that he could gather, till it became 
the finest in India, containing three thousand species 
of plants. A band of gardeners was kept in constant 
employment, and when he was at home he spent part of 
every day overseeing and directing. As at Mudnabatty, 
his garden was his place of meditation and prayer ; and 
there, as if it were an Eden, he heard the voice of the 
Lord God in the cool of the day. To disturb bed or 
border was to touch the apple of his eye ; nor could he 
suffer a rose or a sprig of any kind to be torn from its 
stem. Amidst his numerous and exhausting labours, 
preaching, teaching, translating, " pursued by printers as 
hounds pursue a deer," working his hardest to get copy 
ready for them or to correct their proof, and notwith 
standing his strong repugnance to letter-writing, he found 
time to correspond with scientific botanists both in 
Europe and America on special subjects. In return for 
contributions from them, he supplied his correspondents 
with rare collections from the East. Part of his recrea- 



190 WILLIAM CAREY. 

/ 

tion was to describe the birds, the quadrupeds, and a 
few of the insects of Bengal ; but his delight was botany. 
Two trees and an herb in Indian botany bear his name, 
the Careya arborea or saul-tree, the Careya spherica, and 
the Careya herbacea. 

When Dr. Roxburgh, Keeper of the Company s Botanic 
Garden at Calcutta, returned to his native country, 
he recommended that the keys should be entrusted to 
Dr. Carey as the most competent man he knew to 
have charge. In 1812 Carey edited Roxburgh s Hortus 
Bengalensis, a scientific catalogue of the plants in the 
Company s Garden; and in 1821-24 he published Rox 
burgh s other manuscripts in two volumes under the title 
of Flora Indica, and a new edition in three volumes 
in 1832. This was regarded as a standard work with 
botanists. 

The breadth of his view was shown in various schemes 
which he either devised or promoted for the welfare 
of India. Among these may be specified the Savings 
Bank established on the English model in 1820, designed 
to encourage thrift and independence of spirit, par 
ticularly among the native converts and adherents. Its 
very success, however, led to its discontinuance in con 
nection with the mission, as due attention to it was 
found to interfere seriously with the prosecution of still 
more important labours. 

About the same time the first steam-engine ever seen 
in India was introduced into the works at Serampore. 
It was a small one, of only twelve horse power, made in 



THE AGRICULTURAL SOCIETY OF INDIA. 191 

England for their paper-mill ; and it excited much 
curiosity, not only in the neighbourhood, but among men 
of a scientific bent at a distance, who came to examine 
its mechanism and working. To the natives it was 
known as the " fire-machine "; and many of them counted 
it "a fire-child of the devil." It is still preserved at 
Serampore like " Puffing Billy " at South Kensington. 

After lengthened experience and observation he arrived 
at the conclusion that much might be done for the 
welfare of India by improved agriculture, better fencing, 
better implements of husbandry, and the introduction 
of useful cereals and plants. 1 The cultivation of the 
soil was carried on in the most wretched manner ; 
the cultivators were miserably poor and ignorant ; the 
landowners wrung all they possibly could out of them, 
and left them for the most part without the inspiration 
of hope. It appeared to Carey that if an Agricul 
tural Society could be formed for India, it would 
show the proprietors of the soil that their interest 
lay not in rack-renting the peasantry, but in develop 
ing the resources of the country, and might besides 
be a preparation for the time when men should beat 
their swords into ploughshares and their spears into 
pruning-hooks. His idea was heartily approved by Lady 
Hastings, wife of the Governor-General, and afterwards 

1 The first paper in vol. x. of the Asiatic Researches " is from 
Carey s pen. It evinces the interest he felt in the physical pros 
perity of the country, and the completeness of his acquaintance 
with the state of agriculture and the agricultural population. 



192 WILLIAM CAREY. 

by Lord Hastings himself ; and accordingly he issued a 
prospectus dated "Mission House, Serampore, i$th 
April, 1820," in which he set forth his views in a homely 
and exceedingly common-sense style. This prospectus 
he circulated as extensively as possible throughout the 
country. A meeting of persons favourable to the scheme 
was called for the i4th of September in Calcutta, when 
only three besides himself and Dr. Marshman attended, 
none of them natives. With the old, undespairing re 
solution which had been tested so often, they constituted 
the Society then and there, naming it the Agricultural 
Society of India. Within a couple of months, about 
fifty members, some of them wealthy natives, were 
enrolled, Lord Hastings consenting to be patron. The 
expectations of the founders have been largely realized, 
both in the improved social condition of the peasantry 
and in the enlightenment of the great landowners. 

Although he never meant to return to England, and 
frequently spoke of his determination to live and die 
in India, he never ceased to regard his native country 
with deep affection. One little incident, as touching in 
its way as that of Mungo Park and the tuft of moss, 
may be cited as an illustration. Among some English 
earth, in which other seeds had been conveyed to him, 
there sprang up, to his intense delight, an English daisy, 
such as he had known by thousands on his native village- 
green,. He watched and tended the humble exotic with 
the most loving interest, and perpetuated it from season 
to season in his garden as an annual He writes to the 



THE DAISY. 193 

friend (Mr. Cooper, chief gardener to Lord Milton ?) who 
had sent him the package : " That I might be sure not 
to lose any part of your valuable present, I shook the 
bag over a patch of earth in a shady place ; on visiting 
which, a few days afterwards, I found springing up, to 
my inexpressible delight, a bellis perennis of our English 
pastures. I know not that I ever enjoyed, since leaving 
Europe, a simple pleasure so exquisite as the sight of 
this English daisy afforded me, not having seen one 
for thirty years, and never expecting to see one again." 1 

1 James Montgomery, seizing upon this incident, puts these well- 
known verses into Carey s lips as Cowper does with Alexander 
Selkirk : 

" Thrice welcome, little English flower 1 

My mother-country s white and red ; 
In rose or lily, till this hour, 

Never to me such beauty spread : 
Transplanted from thy island-bed, 

A treasure in a grain of earth, 
Strange, as a spirit from the dead, 

Thine embryo sprang to birth. 



Thrice welcome, little English flower I 

Of early scenes beloved by me, 
While happy in my father s bower, 

Thou shalt the blithe memorial be. 
The fairy sports of infancy, 

Youth s golden age and manhood s prime, 
Home, country, kindred, friends with thee 

Are mine in this far clime. 

Thrice welcome, little English flower 1 
To me the pledge of hope unseen ; 



194 WILLIAM CAREY. 

In the weakness of his last days, it distressed him that 
he was unable to wander in his garden as he had been in 
the habit of doing ; so they wheeled him thither in a 
garden chair. When too weak even for this, he would 
send for the principal gardener to his room to converse 
with him about the plants ; and near his couch, against 
the wall, he placed the picture of a beautiful shrub, upon 
which he gazed with delight. One day, during his last 
illness, when he was unusually depressed, Dr. Marshman 
asked him the cause. "Ah, Brother Marshman," he 
replied, " I was thinking that when I die, you will let the 
cows into my garden." Marshman endeavoured after 
wards to carry out his dying friend s wishes by means 
of a small endowment sufficient to keep three gardeners 
busy. Mr. Urwick, who visited Serampore lately, re 
ports, however, that the garden is now jungle, and has 
been sold for business purposes. Hullodhur, who 
entered Carey s service as a gardener when quite a boy, 
and whom he taught the Latin name of every favourite, 
is still alive (1881), though very old. 



" When sorrow would my soul o erpower, 
For joys that were or might have been, 

I d call to mind how, fresh and green, 
I saw thee waking from the dust ; 

Then turn to heaven with brow serene, 
And place in God my trust." 



CHAPTER XII. 

IN 1821 Ward returned to India, taking with him 
John Mack, a young Scotsman of three and twenty, 
for the chair of philosophy and chemistry in Serampore 
College. No choice, as the issue proved, could have 
been better. He was a man of the rare order, whose 
character, spirit, abilities, and attainments all command 
respect. A nature originally vehement and passionate 
had been brought under the domination of grace, till 
the " resolution of the old covenanters " came to be 
blended in him with the gentleness of Christ. His 
strong intellect was disciplined and informed ; his judg 
ment was singularly trustworthy ; his eloquence com 
manding. The assistance he rendered to the work of 
Serampore was of the highest order. He was spared 
to devote his great abilities for three and twenty years 
to the benefit of India. On his death in the beginning 
of 1846, the Serampore establishment was transferred 
to the Baptist Missionary Society, Serampore itself 
having passed the previous year from Danish to British 
rule. 

Carey had now warnings of approaching old age ; he 



196 WILLIAM CAREY. 

was occasionally ill ; his life was " solitary and melan 
choly ; " so in the course of the year 1822 he married 
Mrs. Hughes, a widow of forty-five. Though she pos 
sessed none of the accomplishments and mental endow 
ments of his late wife, she was a woman of genuine 
Christian principle, and proved most attentive in minis 
tering to his comfort Amidst the increasing infirmities 
of age he could not have had a more kindly and careful 
nurse. An incident which shows the character of the 
man happened in connection with the marriage. The 
day was fixed, guests invited, and all necessary arrange 
ments made, when, three or four days prior to the time, 
it turned out that it would be necessary for him to obtain 
a licence, which would have necessitated his taking an 
oath. He had conscientious objections to do so, and, 
as his affirmation could not be received, he applied to 
have the banns published, and postponed the marriage 
for three weeks. 

Next year, 1823, the Serampore triumvirate was 
broken by the death of Ward, the youngest of the band, 
at the age of fifty-three. On Wednesday, the 5th of 
March, he appeared in excellent health, but next day 
was seized with cholera of a virulent type. Two doctors 
were immediately called in, and all means employed to 
save a life that was felt to be so valuable ; but in vain. 
By noon on the Friday his pulse began to sink, and 
by five in the afternoon all was over. The sorrow of 
Carey and Marshman was overpowering. For three 
and twenty years there had been unbroken harmony 



DBA TH OF WARD. 197 

among them, and now the suddenness of the blow 
almost stunned the two survivors. That evening Marsh- 
man wrote : " This is to us the most awful and tremen 
dous stroke, and I have no way left but that of looking 
upward for help , " and a little later on : "I have lost 
the desire to live, except for the Redeemer s cause." 
The blow fell as heavily on Carey, though he said 
less. 

What added to the trouble, was the pecuniary em- 
barrassment in which they were at the time involved. 
They had struggled and hoped to save Serampore " from 
ultimate dishonour," and at last " to have the satisfaction 
of lying down in the grave free from debt, and all fear 
of thereby dishonouring the cause that is dearer to us 
than life ; " and now it seemed as though the struggle 
had been useless, and the hope were finally blasted. 
But just in the hour of need, the British and Foreign 
Bible Society came forward very generously to their aid, 
and through the timely help thus rendered they were 
extricated from their immediate difficulties, and enabled 
to proceed hopefully with their work once more. Mr. 
Mack proved to be a most valuable and sympathetic 
coadjutor, and his cheerful resolution did not a little 
to brace the courage of the two old men. 1 

One dark October night in 1823, when returning late 
to Serampore after preaching in Calcutta, Carey slipped 



1 In those sorrowful days, and still darker days that followed, 
there was one hymn which they sang so frequently at worship that 



198 WILLIAM CAREY. 

in getting out of the boat, and was severely injured by 
the fall. He suffered excruciating pain for ten days ; 
violent fever followed ; and for a time his life was de 
spaired of. Slowly he recovered, but was obliged to use 
crutches for half a year. It was touching to see the old 
man absorbed with his work long before he could walk 
across the room without aid. From the shock to his 
system he never fully recovered ; and though he went 
on with his work of translation and revision, he found 
it necessary to contract the circle of his labours on a 
few of the more important dialects, particularly the Ben 
gali, in order to bring them nearer perfection. 

The unhappy differences with the Society at home 
gradually became more and more painful till the formal 
separation took place ; and, even then, the most serious 
charges continued to be made till all arrangements as 
to property were completed. It was openly asserted that 
the senior missionaries lived in "Oriental pomp," that 
they had "amassed extensive property, and thereby 
enriched themselves and families, while they had been 
unmindful of the great cause to which they originally 
devoted themselves;" and their conduct was pro- 
it came to be known as " the chant of the Serampore missionaries." 
There is not much poetry in it, but its spirit is grand : it is the 
hymn beginning : 

" O Lord our God, arise, 

The cause of truth maintain ; 
And wide o er all the peopled earth 
Extend her blessed reign." 



CONTINUED MISUNDERSTANDINGS. 199 

nounced " consistent neither with truth nor common 
honesty." The charges made and believed in England 
found their way to America; and Dr. Staughton, 1 who 
was a trustee for certain funds intended for Serampore 
College, declined, on behalf of himself and his co-trustees, 
to transmit any money till an assurance was given that it 
would not be appropriated to the teaching of science, 
and still less to family aggrandizement, but solely to the 
preparation of native converts for the ministry of the 
Gospel. With reference to the teaching of science, 
Carey in reply asked, "Do you in America train up 
youths for the Christian ministry without any knowledge 
of science ? " And as to family aggrandizement, he goes 
on: "Where is the family elevation you speak of ? If 
it be real, it can be discerned ; but where is it ? Dr. 
Marshman is as poor as I am, and I can scarcely lay by 
a sum monthly to relieve three or four indigent relatives 
in Europe. I might have had large possessions ; but I 
have given my all, except what I ate, drank, and wore, 
to the cause of missions ; and Dr. Marshman has done 
the same ; and so did Mr. Ward." With this reply, Dr. 
Staughton and his co-trustees were left to act as they 
judged right 



1 Dr. Staughton was descendant of a Baptist minister, who was 
imprisoned in Northampton jail three years and a half at the time 
when Bunyan was imprisoned at Bedford. 

2 The following is a statement, from the books of the mission, of 
the sums expended by the Serampore missionaries for various pur 
poses, from the outset to 1826. With the exception of ,10,795, 



200 WILLIAM CAREY. 

The trial which resulted from the misunderstand 
ings with the Society at home was aggravated by the 
failure of Calcutta merchants to the extent of two 
millions of pounds, and a consequent draining of 
resources from which supplies for the work had come. 
To make matters worse, the Burmese war proved so ex 
pensive, that in 1830, for economic reasons, Government 
abolished the professorships in Fort William College, 
and thereby at once reduced Carey s income by ;6oo 
a year ; and, shortly after, they also abolished the office 
of translator to Government, from which he had derived 
an income of ^360 a year. His only regret at this 
reduction of income was that it limited the missionary 
operations, to which everything beyond necessary 
expenses Md been devoted. Under such an accumula- 

the whole had been contributed by the missionaries themselves. 
Subsequent to 1826 they added many thousands. 

Purchase of premises, which they vested in the 

Society 3,050 

Repairing, enlarging, and repelling river en 
croachments ... ... ... ... ... 9,500 

Expenditure for twenty years, including support 

of various stations, printing tracts, etc. ... 18,385 

Expended on European missionaries from 1805 - 

1812 6,378 

Erection of college buildings, and library of four 

thousand vols. ... 15.400 

Subscription to native schools (3 J^ears) ... ... 900 

For Lall Bazaar Chapel ... 2,000 

For printing six versions of New Testament ... 3,000 

58,613 



FRIENDS IN NEED. 201 

tion of troubles, the spirit olf many a man might have 
been crushed ; but he retained his calmness and serenity. 
"The good man," says Marshman, "about to enter on 
his seventieth year, is as cheerful and as happy as the 
day is long; he rides out four or five miles every 
morning, returning home by sunrise, goes on with the 
work of translation from day to day, gives two lectures 
on divinity and one on natural history every week in the 
College, and takes his turn of preaching both in Bengali 
and in English." The circumstances and needs of the 
mission were laid before Christian friends in England in 
a special appeal, which was followed soon after by pam 
phlets, one of them written by Carey, vindicating the 
integrity of the missionaries. The result was that money 
flowed in to meet all present requirements, and the work 
at all the stations went on. " With respect to myself," 
Carey writes, in acknowledgment of the supplies from 
England, " I consider my race as nearly run. The days 
of our years are threescore years and ten ; and I am now 
only three months short of that age, and repeated bilious 
attacks have weakened my constitution. But I do not 
look forward to death with any painful anticipations. 
. . . How shall we sufficiently praise and glorify 
God, who, in the time of our great extremity, appeared 
and stirred up His people thus willingly to offer their 
substance to His cause? My heart goes especially to 
those faithful and constant friends who have stood by 
us and defended us when our integrity was called in 
question, when our veracity was doubted, our motives 



202 WILLIAM CAREY. 

misrepresented, our characters traduced." After much 
delay and many painful words spoken and written, a 
final arrangement was concluded respecting the Seram- 
pore property, and Carey hoped " that this troublesome 
affair will be brought to a close, and that calumny may 
cease, and our hoary heads go down to the grave in 
peace." Throughout this whole sad period the mission 
ary energy of Serampore had been unabated, and never 
had the missionaries exhibited a nobler example of 
Christian fortitude and patient continuance in well 
doing. 

The year 1829 is memorable in Indian annals for the 
abolition of suttee. One of the dreadful scenes wit 
nessed by Carey, and described in one of his letters, in 
the earlier part of his missionary life, was the burning of 
a widow with the corpse of her husband. The horror 
of the scene never faded from his mind. During Lord 
Wellesley s tenure of office, he had given in a careful 
report on the subject, showing the number of these 
religious suicides during the preceding six months 
within a radius of thirty miles from Calcutta, amounting 
to one hundred and sixteen, 1 and demonstrating that, 
although the rite was certainly countenanced, yet it was 
not prescribed by Hindoo canon law. Wellesley s de 
parture from India interrupted his plans ; and his suc- 

1 The previous year the number had been two hundred and 
seventy-six. One was a girl eleven years of age. It was calculated 
that, from 1756 to 1829, seventy thousand women had been burned 
alive within the British dominions. 



THE ABOLITION OF SUTTEE. 203 

cessors in rule left the evil untouched for more than a 
quarter of a century, to the time of Lord William Ben- 
tinck, who, immediately on his arrival, took the question 
up. Calmly and deliberately, but with unswerving pur 
pose, Lord William held on, till in December, 1829, a 
regulation was passed prohibiting suttee throughout 
Bengal. The practice was declared to be criminal, and 
every person aiding and abetting was to be deemed guilty 
of homicide. It was thought advisable that the original 
and the translation should be issued simultaneously and 
at once ; and the regulation was accordingly sent to 
Carey to be translated into Bengali It was the day of 
rest when the order reached him, and he was just pre 
paring for morning service. Throwing off his quaint 
black coat, he exclaimed : " No church for me to-day. 
If I delay an hour to translate and publish this, many a 
widow s life may be sacrificed." Summoning his pundit, 
and leaving the pulpit to be occupied by another, he 
completed the translation before night. It was an hour 
for which he and his colleagues had pleaded and prayed 
for one-third of a century. For the first time during two 
thousand years, 

"The Ganges flowed unblooded to the sea." 

A very vivid glimpse of Carey about this time is given 
in the " Life of Dr. Alexander Duff." Duff came to India 
in 1830, just over four and twenty years of age, tall and 
handsome, with flashing eye, quivering voice, and rest 
less gesticulation. He immediately set himself to ascer- 



204 WILLIAM CAREY. 

tain facts relative to missionary enterprise in the country, 
and for this purpose visited every missionary and every 
mission station, school, and chapel, in and around 
Calcutta, spending hours in noting both people and 
preaching. He arrived at two conclusions : first, that 
Calcutta must be his mission centre ; and second, that his 
method of working must be different from that of all his 
predecessors. With a single exception, all the mission 
aries opposed his conclusions. The exception was 
Carey, whom he did not call upon till the very last. 
The interview is thus described by Dr. Smith : " Land 
ing at the College ghaut one sweltering July day, the 
still ruddy Highlander strode up to the flight of steps 
that leads to the finest modern building in Asia. Turn 
ing to the left, he sought the study of Carey in the house 
built for angels, said one, so simple is it where the 
greatest of missionary scholars was still working for 
India. There he beheld what seemed to be a little 
yellow old man in a white jacket, who tottered up to the 
visitor of whom he had already often heard, and with 
outstretched hands solemnly blessed him. A contem 
porary soon after wrote thus of the childlike saint : 

Thou rt in our heart with tresses thin and grey, 

And eye that knew the Book of life so well, 
And brow serene, as thou wert wont to stray 
Amidst thy flowers like Adam ere he fell. 

" The result of the conference was a double blessing ; 
for Carey could speak with the influence at once of a 
scholar who had created the best College at that time in 



NEW DISASTERS. 205 

the country, and of a vernacularist who had preached to 
the people for half a century. The young Scotsman left 
his presence with the approval of the one authority 
whose opinion was best worth having." 

The work of the mission had of late been prosecuted 
with ardour and hopefulness ; but in the opening of 1833 
new disaster smote them. On the 3rd of January one 
of the great Calcutta houses suspended payment, with 
obligations exceeding ^"3,000,000; and this disaster 
was followed oy crash after crash of falling firms, till 
;i 6, 000,000 were buried in their ruins. The cata 
strophe affected every interest throughout the Presidency. 
The Serampore mission suffered most of all, a large part 
of its funds being invested with bankrupt houses. In 
this extremity one generous-hearted friend, Mr. Garrett, 
stepped forward and supplied immediate needs ; and 
when the state of matters became known in England, 
friends there again met the emergency, so that Serampore 
was saved, with its sixteen stations and forty-seven 
labourers. In the darkest hour the old man held fast 
the conviction that every event was "under the manage 
ment of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all in 
earth and all in heaven ; " and so he " fully expected the 
accomplishment of all the promises." 

A few extracts from letters written during these closing 
years will show the man as he was in his old age. 

Speaking of the illness that followed his fall in landing 
from the boat, when he was brought so near to death, he 
says : " I had no joys, nor any fear of death, or reluc- 



206 WILLIAM CAREY. 

tance to die ; but never was I so sensibly convinced of 
the value of an atoning Saviour as then. I could only 
say, Hangs my helpless soul on Thee, and adopt the 
language of Psalm li. i, 2, which I desired might be the 
text for my funeral sermon. Through the gracious pro 
vidence of God, I am again restored to my work, and 
daily do a little as my strength will permit. . . . 
There are now many of other denominations employed 
in missions, and I rejoice to say that all are workers 
together." 

On hearing of the death of Dr. Ryland, he writes : 
"There are now in England very few ministers with 
whom I was acquainted. Fuller, Sutcliff, Pearce, Faw- 
cett, and Ryland, besides many others whom I knew, 
are gone to glory. My family connections also, those 
excepted who were children when I left England, or 
have since that time been born, are all gone, two sisters 
only excepted. Wherever I look in England, I see a 
vast blank ; and were I ever to revisit that dear country, 
I should have an entirely new set of friendships to form. 
I, however, never intended to return to England when I 
left it, and unless something very unexpected were to 
take place, I certainly shall not do it. I am fully con 
vinced I should meet with many who would show me 
the utmost kindness in their power; but my heart is 
wedded to India ; and though I am of little use, I feel a 
pleasure in doing the little I can, and a very high interest 
in the spiritual good of this vast country, by whose 
instrumentality soever it is promoted." 



THREESCORE YEARS AND TEN. 207 

He writes to his sisters on June sth, 1830 : " For the 
last year and a half I have had a succession of attacks 
of fever, which have greatly reduced me. ... I 
frequently thought that the time of my departure was at 
hand ; and I believe, so far as I am able to judge, I did 
cast my eternal interests on the mercy of God, through 
our Lord Jesus. I felt that He had made a full atone 
ment by the sacrifice which He offered up ; and that, 
eternal life being promised to every one who believes in 
Him, I might look forward with humble expectation to 
the time when all who are accepted in the Beloved shall 
be declared pardoned, justified, and made meet for the 
inheritance of the saints in light." 

To his son Jabez, in a letter " intended to be princi 
pally an affectionate birth-day remembrance," he says : 
" I am this day seventy years old j a monument of 
Divine mercy and goodness ; though, on a review of my 
life, I find much, very much, for which I ought to be 
humbled in the dust. My direct and positive sins are 
innumerable; my negligence in the Lord s work has 
been great ; I have not promoted His cause nor sought 
His glory and honour as I ought. Notwithstanding all 
this, I am spared till now, and am still retained in His 
worlc. I trust for acceptance with Him to the blood of 
Christ alone ; and I trust I am received into the Divine 
favour through Him. I wish to be more entirely devoted 
to His service, more completely sanctified, and more 
habitually exercising all the Christian graces and bringing 
forth the fruits of righteousness to the praise and honour 



2o8 WILLIAM CAREY. 

of that Saviour who gave His life a sacrifice for sin. 
Through the goodness of God, I am now quite well ; but 
I have, within the last three months, had five or six 
severe attacks of fever, which have greatly weakened me ; 
indeed, I consider the time of my departure to be near ; 
but the time I leave with God. I trust I am ready to 
die, through the grace of my Lord Jesus ; and I look 
forward to the full enjoyment of the society of holy 
men and angels, and the full vision of God, for ever 
more." 

Nearly two years later he writes to the same son : 
" My mind is tranquil. I think I never had a greater 
sense of my sinfulness, and of the evil nature of all my 
sins, than I have had for some time past ; but I see the 
atoning sacrifice of Christ to be full and complete, to 
have been accepted of God, and to be a ground for the 
bestowment of all spiritual blessings ; and I trust I do 
daily and continually trust in Christ for acceptance into- 
the Divine favour, for pardon and justification and the 
entire renovation of my nature." 

He was so far strengthened as to be able, at the 
monthly prayer meeting, forty years after being devoted 
to mission service, to deliver an interesting address to the 
assembled friends, encouraging them to persevere in 
their work. He referred particularly to the atonement 
of Christ as the basis on which all hope of success must 
be grounded ; to the guilty, depraved, and wretched 
condition in which the world was still lying, so loudly 
demanding redoubled exertion ; to the promises of God, 



HIS LAST LETTER. 209 

which not only include a supply of all the instruments 
and means necessary for carrying on the work, but also 
that influence from on. high which can alone secure 
success; and concluded by exhorting them not to be 
discouraged by difficulties and disappointments, which 
indeed were to be expected, but could all, by the bless 
ing of God, be overcome. 

The last letter he wrote home was to his sisters, and 
runs thus : 

" SERAMPORE, 

Sept. 2$th, 1833. 

" MY DEAR SISTERS : 

" My being able to write to you now is quite un 
expected by me, and, I believe, by every one else ; l but 
it appears to be the will of God that I should continue 
a little time longer. How long that may be I leave 
entirely with Him, and can only say, All the days of 
my appointed time will I wait till my change come. I 
was, two months or more ago, reduced to such a state 
of weakness that it appeared as if my mind was 
extinguished ; and my weakness of body, and sense of 
extreme fatigue and exhaustion, were such that I could 
scarcely speak, and it appeared that death would be no 
more felt than the removing from one chair to another. 
I am now able to sit and to lie on my couch, and now 
and then to read a proof-sheet of the Scriptures. I am 

1 In his previous letter to them, two months before, he had 
bidden them "Adieu, till I meet you in a better world." 

P 



210 WILLIAM CAREY. 

too weak to walk more than just across the house, nor 
can I stand even a few minutes without support. I 
have every comfort that kind friends can yield, and feel, 
generally, a tranquil mind. I trust the great point is 
settled, and I am ready to depart ; but the time when, I 
leave with God. 

" Oct. $rd. I am not worse than when I began this 
letter. 

" I am, your very affectionate brother, 

" WM. CAREY." 

He had continued to labour on at his desk till his 
strength was spent, and the weary brain could not com 
mand the fingers; and now, when no longer able to 
totter out into his beloved garden, he was wheeled 
thither in a garden-chair. His mind continued perfectly 
tranquil : it " was everything to him that the Gospel is 
true" In his extreme weakness, when his thoughts 
wandered, he unconsciously exhibited the simplicity and 
guileless sincerity which had characterized his whole 
career. All classes of the community, whether native or 
European, manifested an affectionate interest in his con 
dition. Lady Bentinck, wife of the Governor-General, 
visited him repeatedly; Bishop Wilson, of Calcutta, came 
to ask his parting blessing ; the native Christians never 
forgot to pray for him. By slow degrees life ebbed 
away, till it could only be said that he breathed. 

Among those who visited him in his last illness was 
Alexander Duff, the Scotch missionary. On one of the 



CROSSING THE BORDER. 211 

last occasions on which he saw him if not the very last 
he spent some time talking chiefly about Carey s 
missionary life, till at length the dying man whispered, 
Pray. Duff knelt down and prayed, and then said 
Good-bye. As he passed from the room, he thought he 
heard a feeble voice pronouncing his name, and, turning, 
he found that he was recalled. He slept back accord 
ingly, and this is what he heard, spoken with a gracious 
solemnity : " Mr. Duff, you have been speaking about 
Dr. Carey, Dr. Carey; when I am gone, say nothing 
about Dr. Carey, speak about Dr. Carey s Saviour" 
Duff went away rebuked and awed, with a lesson in his 
heart that he never forgot. 

Brief flashes of revival would occur at intervals, when 
his strength seemed to return. Thus when news came 
of the bill introduced into Parliament for the emancipa 
tion of the West India slaves, his heart filled, and with 
tears in his eyes he blessed God, and proposed that 
special thanks should be offered in all their meetings. 

A month or two later not more than eight-and-forty 
hours before his death letters arrived from England, 
telling of the fresh interest that was felt in the mission, 
of the prayerful spirit that was awakened, and of the 
willing and liberal offerings that were being brought. 
Mr. Mack communicated the news to him gently and by 
degrees, as wine is given to dying lips ; and the exhausted 
strength seemed to revive, and his eye beamed with 
gratitude for the goodness thus manifested to the cause 
he loved. Mr. Leechman saw him shortly after, and re- 



212 WILLIAM CAREY. 

lates how the feeble old man lifted his trembling hands 
to heaven, and faintly breathed out his thankful joy. 
The last chord that vibrated in his heart was gratitude 
to God and His people for the favour shown to India. 
Soon after, his mind began to wander, but this was still 
uppermost even in his incoherent thoughts. 

The eternal gates were opened for him at sunrise on 
June gth, 1834. About eighteen hours before, Marsh- 
man, his aged brother and companion in tribulation and 
in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, knelt and 
prayed with a full heart beside his couch, blessing God 
for the goodness of more than forty years ; and when he 
concluded, Mrs. Carey asked, "Do you know who is 
praying with you ? " " Yes, I do," the dying man 
whispered, and pressed his beloved brother s hand. 
Thus they parted " at eventide," to be divided only 
for a little season. Before Marshman s return, he had 
passed within the veil. 

He was buried early the following morning in the 
mission burying-ground, where the dust of nearly three 
generations of native converts now reposes. There 
followed him to the grave his brother missionaries, the 
native Christians, men and women, the Danish Gover 
nor and his wife, and the members of Council, besides 
many representative men from Calcutta. Lady Ben- 
tinck, wife of the Governor-General, gazed across the 
river from Barrackpore. As the procession moved 
slowly along, the road was lined with a throng of natives, 
Mussulman and Hindoo, while the Danish flag was 



SEED FOR GOD S ACRE. 213 

hoisted half-mast high. On arrival at the grave, they 
united in singing the resurrection hymn, beginning : 

" Why do we mourn departed friends ? 

Why shake at death s alarms ? 
Tis but the voice that Jesus sends 
To call them to His arms." 

Marshman then delivered an address, in which he briefly 
told what God had done in bringing Dr. Carey to India, 
enabling him to accomplish so great a work, preserving 
him during so many years, and at last crowning his long 
and laborious life with so peaceful and blessed an issue. 
After prayer by Mr. Robinson, the dust was committed 
to its kindred dust, with mingled tears and joy, " in the 
sure and certain hope of a blessed resurrection and a 
glorious immortality." The service was very solemn; 
and as they went away, no man spoke a word. 

On the following Lord s Day, Dr. Marshman preached 
the funeral sermon, in the Danish Church, from the text 
" By grace are ye saved ; " and on the Monday evening, 
in the chapel of the native Christian village, Johnnuggur, 
they sang the Bengali hymn, " Paritran Krister 
morone? "Salvation by the death of Christ;" Pran 
Krishnu, the oldest disciple, prayed; and Mack spoke to 
the weeping company from Carey s Bengali translation 
of the words, " For David, after he had served his own 
generation by the will of God, fell on sleep." 

The grave is to the left of the entrance gate into the 
native Christian burial-ground. It is marked by a tall, 



314 WILLIAM CAREY. 

square block, supported by pillars at each corner, and 
domed. In his will he directed that this inscription, 
" and nothing more," should be cut in it : 



WILLIAM CAREY, 

BORN AUGUST 17, 1761, 
DIED [JUNE 9, 1834]. 

" A wretched, poor, and helpless worm, 
On Thy kind arms I fall." 



It is not necessary to add more : with the blessed 
dead he rests from his labours and his works do follow 
him, until the "promised hour" of the Redeemer s 
triumph, 

" When at His feet shall lie 
All rule, authority, and power, 
Beneath the ample sky."