WARD, William. Derby 20.10.1769 — Serampur 7.3.1823. Rev. British Baptist Missionary in India and Precursor of Indology. Son of John W., carpenter and builder. Apprenticed to a printer, worked as printer and editor (of the Derby Mercury, Stafford Advertiser, and Hull Advertiser). Baptized in 1796, preached in villages and in 1797 studied at John Fawcett’s theological institute. In 1798 he volunteered to Indian mission and was sent there in May 1799 together with Marshman. Together with M. and Carey worked in Serampur, where he was in charge of the printing press, in the beginning also made preaching tours. In 1812 the press was burnt, but renovated with money sent from England. After an illness he returned to England in 1818 to collect money for the mission and the Serampore Collehe he had founded with Carey and Marshman. He toured in the Netherlands and Germany, and, in 1820-21, in the U.S.A. In 1821 returned to India, where he died in cholera. Married in 1802, two daughters.
WW was an missionary enthusiast, whose ideas and knowledge of Hinduism were distorted and defective. The only importance of his scholarly work lies in the fact that it was so early.
Publications: Account of the History, Litterature and Religion of the Hindoos, including translations from their principal works. 1-4. 1811, 2nd ed. named A View of the History, Literature and Mythology of the Hindoos: including a minute description of their manners and customs, and Translations of their pr. works. 3rd ed. 1817-20, abridged 5th ed. as Account of the Writings, religion, and Manners of the Hindoos. Madras 1863.
– Brief Memoir of Krishna-Pal, the first Hindoo, in Bengal, who broke the Chaiu of the Cast by embracing the Gospel. 2nd ed. L. 1823; Farewell Letters in Britain and America on returning to Bengal in 1821. L. 1821.
Sources: S. Lee, D.N.B. 59, 1899, 342f.; Buckland, Dictionary; *Marshman, Carey, Marshman and Ward. 1864; *Simpson, preface to the 1863 ed. of Ward’s work; G. Oddie, Imagined Hinduism. British Protestant Missionary Constructions of Hinduism, 1793–1900. N.D. & L. 2006, 159-183; *Stennett, Memoirs of the Life of W.W. 1825; Wikipedia with portrait.