Finding Number (Click this to view full catalogue structure)CMS/B/OMS/C I2 E2/103
TitleLetter from Pratt and Bickersteth to Thomspon and Mortlock: 21 January 1820: London
Extent1 doc.
DescriptionResolutions relating to Rhenius and Schmid are enclosed (missing); provision has been made for their transfer if necessaary, to Calcutta, though with no relaxation of the regulations relating to the relationship between them and the Corresponding Committee; the conduct of Schnarre and Barenbruck is in pleasing contrast to Rhenius and Schmid; the suggestion that Lambrick in Ceylon should change stations with Rhenius would not be good, as Lambrick's knowledge of Singhalese would be wasted, while, as there is not yet a corresponding committee in Ceylon, Rhenius would be left with too many opportunities for independent action; bear in mind however that the Committee would prefer them to work in Ceylon rather than return to Europe; introduce Rev. James Ridsdale "a young clergyman of a fine spirit, who has studied at Hull"; Mrs. Ridsdale is a sensible and devoted woman; it will be desirable for the Committee to consult the missionaries on matters to be discussed by the Committee, and, if opportunity offers, to let them take part occasionally in such discussions; another clergyman Rev. R. Kenney, is appointed to Madras mission; "he is about 40 years of age and has been a zealous and useful minister in Cheshire, for 8 or 10 years and was a principal instrument of bringing about for us an Association in that City and County, last year. He is married and has three children. It is right that we should tell you, that there is a bluntness in his address not adapted to conciliate immediate regard, and something of eccentricity in his turn of thinking. But is a tried, and we believe him to be a zealous and devoted man"; send books with missionaries; a library for the use of the mission should be set up in Madras, for all standard mission works there should also be small libraries at each of the stations, that at the Cottayam College being more extensive than the others; each missionary should also have his own collection of books, including Scott's Bible; a list of books needed for these libraries should be sent to headquarters each Michaelmas; books consigned to Madras include valuable sets for the Syrian College; the Corresponding Committee may reserve what they wish for the Madras Mission Library; sending out a stereotype plate and a number of labels for the Syrian College books; they are to be presented under conditions that shall always secure the free use of them for the Society's missionaries; a set of the Bible Society editions of the scriptures has been obtained for the college library; will send for the Sanscrit books and books on Hindu mythology and literature for Mr. Fenn; following Rhenius's suggestion request purchase of the vedas, shasters and puranas for the Madras Library; printing paper has been sent, also a second press, wooden but fitted up on the Stanhope principal and an assortment of types to augment the Pica Roman sent earlier; decision of district committee relating to schools is much to be lamented; Hugh Pearson is considering writing a life of Schwartz and would be glad of any information about him, committee indebted to Rottler for his disposal of copyright of Tamil book of common prayer; best plated communion sets are being prepared for Madras, Cottayam and Allepie also clocks for the latter two places; committee rejoice in Norton's return to a right spirit and feeling; approve Baker's location at Cottayam; fully approve letter from Travancore missionaries with plan of education at Cottayam College; that Latin need not be taught seems a questionable opinion, it is not only "the exclusive medium of access to much that a sound scholar should know, but ..... the study of the Western classics seems absolutely necessary to the formation of first taste in the minds of orientals"; also "the theological writings of the Continental Protestant divines, most of whom were ..... not episcoplians, are far less adapted to enlighten and direct an episcopal church rising from its ruins, than the writings of our own reformers. Foxe's 'Acts and Monuments' is a book which will speak home to the understandings and feelings of the Syrians"; Fenn had sent a copy of plan to Simeon for his opinion; he should have done this through the Committee; it is symptomatic of "that spirit of independent action ..... to which his natural temperament and pecuniary resources and prospects supply a temptation of which he is not sufficiently aware"; relating to the Syrians P. quotes from letter from Professor Lee, who rejoices at opportunities in India, but is afraid in one or two particulars; Fenn finds fault with rendering of Syriac epistles, but some of the best scholars in Europe have considered the translation as the best ever made; omissions in text compared with modern versions, do not necessarily make the Syriac version wrong; dreads likewise the introduction of Anglican liturgy which may contain "the seeds of future rupture and disunion with the missionaries"; the influence of the missionaries with the Rani make it impossible for the Syrians to object; why cannot the missionaires suggest to the Metran the translation into the vernacluar of the Syriac liturgies?".
Postscript: Resolutions referred to in this letter are pp.361-363 Committee of Correspondence 10 Jan 1820 (copy)
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