1806 HENRY MARTYN. Rare Missionary Letter to David Brown, Missionary in Calcutta.
1806 HENRY MARTYN. Rare Missionary Letter to David Brown, Missionary in Calcutta.

1806 HENRY MARTYN. Rare Missionary Letter to David Brown, Missionary in Calcutta.

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A very, very rare original 3.5pp manuscript letter by one of the most influential missionaries of the late 18th, early 19th century, Henry Martyn [1781-1812]. His memoir, edited by John Sargent in 1816, has been almost continuously in print for over 200 years and is considered a devotional classic on par with the Diary of David Brainerd, Memoirs of M'Cheyne, etc., 

The present letter was penned, between 1806-1809 during his residence at Dinapur [here, Danapore], after leaving Serampore. It is addressed to David Brown [1763-1812] of Calcutta. Brown worked with William Wilberforce and Charles Simeon [who also sponsored Martyn] for the establishment of a mission in Bengal. Martyn was a long-time friend and he lived at a house in Serampore. 

Letter discusses a missionary problem, challengingly referes to an Arab as "half savage," discussing Bible translation, printing at Serampore with William Ward, etc., 

A wonderful piece of missionary history. 

"Danapore, Decem 4

My dear Sir

With a grieved spirit I write to you, perplexed but not in despair. Your letters to us came today. Sabat had shewn such increasing marks of attachment to me of late that I did not hesitate to give him your letter immediately. He begged me to explain its contents, which I did, and endeavored to shew how happy I felt that his first unfavourable opinion had changed. But he could not conceal his chagrin at my knowing what he wrote to you. But your refusing to allow him house rent made a still deeper impression on his mind. He began to speak in a way that made me tremble for his soul, complained of the injustice of sending him so long a journey with the loss of 7 or 800 Rs to no purpose - of your having dealt deceitfully with him &c. & said that he should wait till Ameena was delivered & then give up the work. I reasoned with him temperately, tho it was not without difficulty that I kept my temper. I gave him to understand that we did not consider him as a hireling, but a brother beloved, who had the cause and work at heart as ourselves & who would assist us in bearing our burdens. Nothing assuaged him but my promise to pay the rent, as also the expense of his journey when able. It is really surprising that with so much an feigned piety  there should be so little sense of propriety & delicacy in him. But as you say, he is an Arab, half savage. The allowance he receives is in my opinion very handsome. But his own account his expenses do not exceed 150 Rs on an average, but the idle vanity of having his wife well dressed leads him into greater expense. Not not mention this to him on any account. He mentioned incidentally his dissatisfaction at Lapais [?] receiving so much more than himself. The low state of the fund which I have now learned for the first time makes me greatly regret that I was so urgent for Mirza - as I fear I may have pained Dr. Buchanan's [Claudius] mind. I shall continue to keep him at my own expense & my only reason for not having determined to do so at first, was the debt I have incurred in buying this house. I must trouble you in about a month to take up for me 3000 Rs from some ******.

I am in perfect amaze at your children. They leave me far behind. Yesterday the ***** were finished in Hindue. As soon as Mirza was from Benares whither he is gone for his wife, we shall (DV) begin to revise & correct the whole N Testament. He has corrected the parables in the Pers. Char. so that I think that the next bangy shall bring them to you. Be so good as to learn from Mr. Ward the prices of printing in Nagree & the other, also of the diff't papers. Mirza is sure that his translation of the Acts is with Dr. Buchanan's secretary. 

What changes do you expect in consequence of Dr. Stacey's Dec?

Dear Sabat since the night of the 4th seems anxious to make amends for his conduct - more humble & more affectionate than ever. Blessed be God! My mind is at rest again!

The 1st part of the Polyglott New Test will be of use to us if the mission? can spare it. 

Dear Sir, Yours in most Affection,
H Martyn

What is become of Thompson's last report?