CAREY, William

CAREY, William. Paulerspury, Northamptonshire 17.8.1761 — Serampur 9.6.1834. British Missionary and Pioneer of Indology, in India 1794–1834. Son of a village schoolmaster he became in the age of 14 apprentice to a shoemaker in Hackleton. Became interested in religion and joined the Baptists in 1783. In 1781 he married Dorothy Plackett and 1789 became the minister of Moulton’s Baptist congregation in Leicester. During his leisure hours he studied Latin, Greek and Hebrew in order to better understand the Bible. In 1789 he joined the movement, which developed into Baptist Missionary Society, and in 1794 was sent to India. Arrived in Calcutta he lost all his property and had difficulties with the E.I.C., and was thus impended from the missionary work. Instead he settled down as a superintendent of an indigo factory near Malda. Started now learning Bengali and Sanskrit, and built a church for the villagers in 1795.

In 1800 WC got the permission for permanent residence in India and moved to Serampur (the E.I.C. still forbade all missionary activity in its territory, but S. was then a Danish settlement), where he founded a Baptist mission station and a printing press, together with Marshman and Ward. Together they started Bible translations (first into Bengali) and other philological work. In 1801 WC was appointed the Professor of Sanskrit, Bengali and Marathi at College of Fort William (Calcutta), and five years later he published the first Sanskrit grammar written in an European language. It was founded on Vopadeva. He also published several text editions, grammars of modern Indian languages and translations of (parts of) the Bible, and headed the growing Baptist mission. His great linguistic collections were destroyed in the fire of the Serampore press in 1812. He suffered long time from the malaria, and in July 1833 he was paralyzed. He was three times married and had three sons, among them —> Felix C. In 1807 he was made D.D. by the Brown University in the U.S.A.

Publications: edited: Hitopadeśa. Serampore 1803.

A Grammar of the Mahratta Language. 1805.

A Grammar of the Sungskrit Language. 908+108+24 p. Serampore 1806.

edited with J. Marshman: The Ramayuna of Valmeeki, in the original Sungscrit with a prose translation and explanatory notes. 1-3. 656+???+493 p. Serampore 1806-10 (major part of vol. 2. was destroyed in a shipwreck and is extremely rare).

A Grammar of the Punjaubee Language. 1812; A Grammar of the Telinga Language. 1814.

A Dictionary of the Mahratta Language. 1810; A Dictionary of the Bengali Language in which the words are traced to their origin and their various meanings given. 1-3. 1818, 2nd ed. 1825, 3rd ed. 606+1544 p. Serampore 1827-30 (c. 80 000 words).

Bible translation in various Indian languages.

edited Schröter’s A Grammar of the Bhotanta Language. publ. as a preface to his Tibetan Dictionary (edited by Marshman) 1826.

Sources: *v. Biernatzki, GGA 1859, 1361-1380 (review of Marshman 1859); M[ohl], JA 2:15, 1835, 206; Buckland, Dictionary; S. L[ane]-P[oole] in D.N.B. 9, 1887, 77; *D. C. Sen, History of Bengali Lang. and Literature; Windisch 53f. ; Wikipedia with portrait and further references.

*S. Pearce Carey, W.C. 16+477 p. L. 1934; *A. K. Majumdar, “William Carey and Pandit Vaidyanath”, JASB 4:1, 1959, 233-244; *J. C. Marshman, Life and Times of the Serampore Missionaries. 1–2. 537+540 p. L. 1859; *J. B. Middlebrook, W. C. (Serampore 1804-1834). 112 p. L. 1961; *G. Smith, The Life of W. C., Shoemaker and Missionary. 362 p. L. n.d. [1887]; *P. M. Stevenson, W. C. 96 p. L.–Edinburgh 1956.


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