Marshman, Joshua


b Westbury Leigh, nr Bath, Som 1768, d Serampore, India 1837. Largely self-educated owing to his family’s poverty, he worked first for his father in the weaving trade. He taught for a time at a Baptist school in Broadmead, Bristol, and although by now he had a growing family (eventually 12 children), he offered for missionary service with the fledgling Particular Baptist Missionary Soc in India. In 1799, together with Wm Ward (1769–1821), they joined Wm Carey (1762–1834, who wrote the first Christian hymns in Bengali) and with his wife Hannah he ran a school to support the work of preaching, teaching and his own speciality of Bible translation. Unlike Carey he returned to England once, in 1826–29. With him he rendered parts of the Scriptures in several Indian dialects, helping to establish Serampore College and together with his son John running local newspapers. He also translated the works of Confucius, and published the first-ever complete Bible in Chinese. In June 1813 the work of Marshman and his colleagues was praised in the House of Commons, in a remarkable speech ‘of extraordinary fulness and power’ by Wm Wilberforce outlining and defending (against official detractors) the faith, scholarship and achievements of ‘these great and good men; for so I shall not hesitate to term them’. From 1826 to 1829 Marshman’s furlough proved an exhausting one from which he returned, according to Carey, looking 15 years older. But he outlived his leader by 3 years, being with him at Serampore on the day (Sunday) before he died in June 1834. He had preaching duties that day, and returned to find that Carey had passed away at sunrise on Monday. No.736.

Hymns and songs by Marshman, Joshua

Number Hymn Name
736 Now, O my soul, forget no more