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CHAP.

II.

PART II. friends of the Institution at Fort William were

subjected, with regard to the patronage and

encouragement of its plans in British India. 1810-11.

During the continuance of these impediments to an open and avowed co-operation, recourse was had to such measures as, without engaging the attention, and thereby exciting the displeasure, of the Government, might rescue the plan of translating the Scriptures into the languages of the East from the extermination with which it was threatened.*

The Baptist Missionaries at Serampore, who, from the period of their settlement in India, had, in addition to their missionary labors, occupied themselves in translating and printing the Scriptures, with a degree of talent, assiduity, and disinterestedness of which there have been few examples, continued their exertions, through this feverish interval of discouragement and perplexity, without deriving any other benefit from the liberal intentions of the British and Foreign Bible Society, than a nominal recognition as Members of the Corresponding Committee, and such protection as its friends at Fort William were enabled unostentatiously to extend to their important, though depreciated occupation. In what degree the publicity given to that recognition through the “ Proposals t” for translations, promoted the credit, and by cousequence * See Chap. v. p. 52.

4 Ib. 52.

Very mate

CH AP.

II.

augmented the resources, of the Baptist Mis- PART II. sionaries, it would not be easy, nor is it rial, to decide. Pecuniary contribution is not the only, nor the most effectual assistance which

1810–11. can be furnished to a public undertaking; and although, from difficulties which have been already described, the grants in favor of Oriental translations had not for a considerable time the intended operation, yet such aid was administered to these valuable laborers, as, under the circumstances in which they were placed, could not but have proved very advantageous to the progress of their work.

On the 1st of January, 1807, the reduction of the College of Fort William took place; and with their respective appointments of Provost and Vice-Provost expired those obligations by which the Rev. Mr. Brown and Dr. Buchanan were officially restrained from ostensibly promoting the translation and distribution of the Scriptures. As this was an event which had been for a long time anticipated, these excellent men had made every provision in their power to supply the loss which would accrue to sacred literature from the dispersion of so many learned natives ; and also to render their release from official restriction conducive to the propagation of Christianity on a scale of greater publicity and extent than had hitherto entered into the

CHAP.

II.

1810-11.

PART II. contemplation of its friends and promoters in

India.

On the termination, therefore, of the Collegiate engagements, Mr. Brown and Dr. Buchanan unitedly “ resolved to encourage individuals to proceed with their versions, by such means as they could command ; and to trust to the contributions of the public, and to the future sanction of the Government, for the perpetuity of the design. They proposed, at the same time, not to confine the undertaking to Bengal alone, or the territories of the Company; but to extend it to every part of the East, where fit instruments for translation could be found. With this view, they aided the designs of the Baptist Missionaries in Bengal; of the Lutheran Missionaries in Coromandel, belonging to the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge; and of the other Missionaries in the East, connected with Societies in England and Scotland: and also patronized those Roman Catholic Missionaries in the South of India, whom they found qualified for conducting useful works.”*

Things had reached this point, when, from a desire to concentrate as much as possible the various efforts for promoting Christianity in the East, and to restore to the common undertaking

* Buchanan's Christian Researches, Introd. p. 6.

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CH AP.

II.

· 1810-11.

that unity which the reduction of the College PART II.
had so unhappily destroyed, an Association was
projected, under the title of “ The Christian Insti-
tution.” As the design of this Institution origi-
nated in the expanded views which Dr. Buchanan
entertained of evangelizing the East, it will be
proper to introduce the account which he has
given of its nature and object.

Early in 1806, in the view of the translations of the Scriptures ceasing in the College of Fort William, Dr. Buchanan resolved to devote whatever influence he possessed in his official character as Vice-Provost of the College, to the aid of the translations in the hands of the Baptist Missionaries, and to endeavour to excite as much of public interest in their favor as possible. For this purpose, he drew up · Proposals for a Subscription for translating the Holy Scriptures into the following Oriental languages: Shanscrit, Bengalee, Hindoostanee, Persian, Mahratta, Guzerattee, Orissa, Carnata, · Telinga, Burman, Assam, Bootan, Tibet, Malay, and Chinese;' containing a prospectus of Indian versions, and observations on the practicability of the general design : signed by the nine Baptist Missionaries, and dated Mission House, Serampore, March, 1806. That paper was composed entirely by Dr. Buchanan, part of it from materials furnished by the Missionaries. But as it was apprehended that the name " Baptist” might not be auspicious

CH AP.

II.

PART II. to the design, in the general view of the public,

Dr. Buchanan did not admit that word, but

designated them • Protestant Missionaries in 1810–11. Bengal. Copies of the '

Proposals' were liberally distributed, both in India, and in England. To some of those distributed in England was prefixed a frontispiece, representing a Hindoo receiving the Bible, and · bending to the Christian faith.' Copies were also transmitted to almost the whole of the principal Civil Officers, and to many of the Military Officers in the Honorable Company's service throughout Hindoostan, from Delhi to Travancore, many of whom had never heard of the Serampore Mission before. Dr. Buchanan obtained permission, at the same time, to send the Proposals, in his official character as Vice-Provost of the College, free of expense, to all parts of the empire; and be accompanied them, in most instances, with a letter from himself. The design received encouragement from every quarter : and a sum of about 16001. was soon raised for the translations ; to which the late Rev. D. Brown contributed 2501.”

Without undertaking to pronounce on the wisdom or the practicability of Dr. Buchanan's design, it must at least be admitted, that it argued, in its pro ector, a mind vigorous and comprehenșive, and laudably intent on pressing into the service of Christianity all the resources which were accessible, and all the instruments which

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