CLOUGH, Benjamin

CLOUGH, Benjamin. Bradford, Yorkshire 1791 — Southwark, Kent 13.4.1853. British Methodist Missionary and Pāli Scholar in Sri Lanka. Joined the Methodists in the age of 17 and became a preacher. Ordained priest and went to Ceylon among the first Methodist missionaries in 1813. Worked as teacher, first in Galle, from 1815 in Colombo, and in Bible translation, after —> Tolfrey’s death in 1817 he headed the Sinhalese Bible translation committee. Remained 25 years in the island, mostly in Colombo and Negombo, after return had a circuit ministry in England. Retired in 1852 and settled in London. Married Margaret Morley (1803–1827) on a furlough in England 1825, two children.

Clough was one of the very first Western Pāli and Sinhalese Scholars. His grammar was still used in the middle of the 19th century e.g. by Fausbøll. During —> Rask’s visit to Ceylon he became friend with him and helped him in Pāli studies. He participated in the translation of the Bible in Sinhalese and of the New Testament in Pāli. He liked to engage monks in discussion and learn about Buddhism, but his motive was always to expose the “absurdity and sinfulness” of Buddhist beliefs.

Publications: English-Singhalese dictionary. 1821 (?).

Compendious Pali Grammar with a copious Vocabulary in the same Language. 4+147+4 p. Colombo 1824.

– “The Ritual of the Budd’hist Priesthood, translated from the original Pálí work, entitled Karmawákya [Kammavācā]. 30 p. Miscellaneous Translations from Oriental Languages. 2. L.: Oriental Translation Fund 1834.

A Sinhalese-English Dictionary. 24+852 p. Colombo 1830, new and enl. ed. 828 p. Colombo 1892.

Sources: *Extracts from the Journal and Correspondence of the late Mrs. M. Clough. London 1829 (now in Google Books) – some extracts from this in Th. Timpson, Memoirs of British Female Missionaries. L. 1841, 66-84;; Harris 2006, 14.

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