HARDY, Robert Spence. Preston, Lancashire 1.7.1803 — Headingley near Leeds 16.4.1868. Rev. British Methodist Missionary in Sri Lanka. Son of John Hardy and Ann Spence. From 1819 printer in York, in 1825 ordained as Wesleyan minister and left for the first time as missionary to Ceylon where he worked three periods (1825-30, 1835-47, and 1862-65). In 1830 returned to England via Bombay, Egypt and Palestine, married and again left to Ceylon in 1835. In the end of the 1840s at Negombo. In 1848 his wife’s ill health forced them back to England. After the death of Gogerly again to Ceylon in 1863, last return in 1865. From 1865 until his death minister in Leeds. Married Mary Anne Turton (1809–1848), two daughters and two sons.
Hardy studied Buddhism and collected many manuscripts (Pāli, Sanskrit and Sinhalese). His viewpoint was strictly Christian and critical, but his books were much used by early Buddhist scholars in Europe.
Publications: The British Government and Idolatry of Ceylon. L. 1839, new ed. 58 p. L. 1842.
– Articles in JRAS-CB, e.g.: “On the Language and Literature of the Singhalese”, 1:2, 1846-47, 99-104; “List of books in the Pāli and Siṅhalese”, 1:3, 1847-48, 189-200 & 1:4, 1847-48, 198-208; .
– Eastern Monachism. An Account of the laws of the order of the order of the Mendicants. 443 p. L. 1850; A Manual of Buddhism in its Modern Development. 533 p. L. 1853, 2nd ed. 550 p. L. 1880; The legends and theories of the Buddhists, compared with history and science; with introductory notices on the life and system of Gotama Buddha. 56+244 p. L. 1866, 2nd ed. 1881.
– Christianity and Buddhism compared. 2+136 p. Colombo 1874.
– A few further writings.
Sources: Br. Biogr. Arch. 1st Series (Kirk, Boase); Harris 2006, 63ff.; *P.E.P[avolini], GSAI 17, 1905, 395f.; Payer, Materialien 5 with photo; gene.com.
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