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In his late Discourses before the University of Cambridge, the Author noticed incidentally some general circumstances of the darkness of Paganism, and of the means which are now employed to diffuse the light of Christianity in the East. This awakened a desire in some members of that learned body to know the particulars; for if there were a just expectation of success, and if the design were conducted in consonance with the principles and order of the Church of England, it might be a proper subject for their countenance and co-operation. A more detailed account, therefore, will probably be read with interest. Many, doubtless, will rejoice to see the stream of Divine knowledge, and civilization flowing to the utinost ends of the earth. And even those who have hitherto heard of the progress of Christianity with little concern, may be induced to regard it with a humane solicitude.
In the college of Fort-William, in Bengal, there was a department for translating the Scriptures into the Oriental languages; and, so early as 1805, (the fifth year of its institution) a cominencement had been made in five languages. The first version of any of the Gospels in the Persian and Hindostanec languages which were printed in India, issued from the Press of the college of Fort-William. The Persian was superintended by Lieut. Colonel Colebrooke, and the Hindostanee by William Hunter, Esq. The Gospels were translated into the Western Malay by Thomas Jarrett, Esq. of the Civil Service; into the Orissa language by Pooroosh Ram, the Orissa Pundit; and, into the Mahratta language by
Vydyunath, the Mahratta Pundit, under the superintendance of Dr. William Carey.*
The college was founded on the 4th of May, 1800. After it had flourished for almost seven years, during which period it produced nearly one hundred volumes in Oriental literature, the Court of Directors resolved on reducing its establishment within narrower limits on the 1st of January, 1807. In consequence of this measure, the translations of the Scriptures and some other literary works were suspended.
As this event had been long expected, the Superintendants of the college, who were sensible of the importance of restoring Sacred learning to the East, had begun, some time before, to consider of the means, by which that benefit might yet be secured. Much expense had already been incurred. Many learned natives had come from remote regions to Calcutta, whose services could not be easily replaced and who never could have been assembled, but by the influence of the supreme government, as exerted by the Marquis Wellesley. The court of Directors were probably not fully aware of the importance of the works then carrying on, (although, indeed, their objection was not so much to the utility, as to the expense of the Institution) and it was believed that a time would come, when they would be happy to think that these works had not been permitted to fall to the ground. It was not, however, their causing the expense to cease which was the chief source of regret; but that the unity of the undertaking was now destroyed. The college of Fort-William had been identified with the Church of England; and, under that character, had extended a liberal patronage to all learned men who could promote the translation of the Scriptures. But now
• See “ Fürst Foar Years of the Celezo of Fort-William:" p. 230. Cad-Il a no Davies.