« PredošláPokračovať »
upon several occasions.
Gift R. P. Emerson gull- 31
PREF A CE.
$ this translation into the Mohawk Language of the Book of
and reprinted at the expense of the Company, commonly called the New England Company, a brief statement of the origin and objects of that Corporation and of their introduction to the present Cana. dian Mohawks, may form an appropriate preface.
The Company was originally constituted a corporation under the name of “ The President and Society for the propagation of the Gospel in New England,” by an ordinance issued in 1649. Under the authority of this ordinance a general collection was made in all the Counties, Cities, Towns, and Parishes in England and Wales, and lands were purchased with the money so collected.
On the Restoration a Royal Charter dated 7th February, 14 Car: 2d was issued, erecting the Corporation anew by a title which it still bears, “ The Company for the propagation of the Gospel in “ New England and the parts adjacent in America."
Amongst the purposes of this Society the Charter states it to be “ for the further propagation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ amongst " the heathen natives in or near New England, and the parts adjacent " in America, and for the better civilizing, educating, and instruct. “ing of the said heathen natives in learning and in the knowledge “ of the true and only God, and in the Protestant Religion already "owned and publicly professed by divers of them, and for the better
encouragement of such others as shall embrace the same, and of " their posterities after them, to abide and continue in and hold fast “ the said profession."
The Honourable Robt. Boyle, a man not more distinguished as a Philosopher than as a Christian, was appointed the first Governor, and held that office for about 30 years. Under his will a hand. some annuity was settled on the Company, and their means were subsequently increased by other pious and well disposed persons, especially by a bequest from an eminent dissenting minister the Rev. Dr. Daniel Williams.
It was this Company, composed as it always has been, partly of members of the Church of England and partly of Protestant. dissenters, which supported various missionary undertakings in New
England during the seventeenth century. Their endeavours were continued for the same purpose through the greater part of the eighteenth, until interrupted and for some time suspended by the war between Great Britain and most of her American Continental Col. onies, which ended in the acknowledgment of the independence of those colonies as the United States.
The operations of the Company have since been carried to the neighbouring Provinces of New Brunswick and Canada, latterly principally directed to that part of Canada formerly called Upper Canada, where, in addition to Schools and other establishments for the instruction of Indians in useful learning, this Company has contributed largely to the repairing of the Church at the Mohawk Village on the Grand River, and has caused another Church to be built lower down on the same River at the Tuscarora Village. In both service is now regularly performed by Ministers of the Anglican Church duly ordained, whose income is supplied from the funds of this Company. Through this connection with the Mohawks, Tus. caroras, and their neighbours, the Company is so far fulfilling the first intention of its foundation, for the six nations, of which they form a portion, were originally inhabitants of parts of North America, included in what was once called New England, and the present attendants upon the Grand River Churches may be regarded as immediate descendants of the first objects of the Company's labours.
The present revision of the translation of the Prayer Book has been undertaken in compliance with the pressing solicitations of several of the most attentive members of these increasing congregations, enforced by the special recommendation of their ministers, without whose zealous and diligent exertions it could not have been so properly executed.
Several translations of religious books into the Indian languages have been formerly made, about 20 years after the formation of this Company, the Rev. J. Elliot, called the Apostle of the Indians, translated Baxter's Call, the Psalter, Catechism and Practice of Piety, and afterwards the whole Bible. In his correspondence with the Honble. Robert Boyle, then the Governor, he expresses much anxiety about the completion of this work, which however he lived to complete.(a) But no translation of the Book of Common Prayer appears to have been made before that by the Rev. Mr. Andrews, a Missionary in the service of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, which was printed at New York, in 1714.
There was another dated at New York, 1769, containing the Communion office, with that of Baptism Matrimony and Burial, which bears the name of the Rev. H. Barclay.
In 1780, an Indian Prayer Book was published by direction of Gen. Haldimand, at Quebec.
Another was printed in 1787, in London, at the expense of the
British Government, to which was added for the first time, a translation of the Gospel of St. Mark, concerning which the following par. ticulars
may not be uninteresting. • During the winter of 1771," says the Rev. Dr. Stuart, then missionary to the six nations, in a letter to a friend, “I first became acquainted with Captain Brant, " he lived at the Mohawk Village, Canajoharie, about 30 miles dis“ tant from Fort Hunter, where I resided. On my first visit to the “ Village where he lived, I found him comfortably settled in a good “ house, with every thing necessary for the use of his family, which “consisted of two children, a son and daughter, with a wife in the “ last stage of a consumption. His wife died soon after, on which he
came to Fort Hunter, and resided with me a considerable time in “ order to assist me in adding some additional translations to the new Indian Prayer Book, when we had finished the Gospel of St. “ Mark, part of the Acts of the Apostles, and a short history of the “ Bible, with a concise explanation of the Church Catechism, I had “ orders from the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in For. “ eign Parts, to attend to the printing of the whole at New York, at 6 their expense.
* The American troubles prevented this, but I brought the “ Manuscripts which I had prepared for the press into Canada in " the year 1781, and delivered them into the hands of Col. Daniel “Clause, the deputy Superintendant for Indian affairs. This gentle. man carried them afterwards to England, and they were printed in
a new edition of the Mohawk Prayer Book, with a preface by the "late Bishop of Nova Scotia,that is the Gospel of St. Mark but very little besides."
More recently in 1837, a Prayer Book has also been published at New York in the language of the six nations, containing the Litany, Catechism, and some Collects compiled from various translations, and prepared for publication by request of the Domestic Committee of the Board of Missions of the Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States of America.
The Company was not aware of this publication when the present work was begun, and apprehend at present, that it would not supersede the use of a Mohawk translation.
The number of Copies of all the older editions was small, many of them were destroyed in the wars and disturbances which ensued, and more have been in different ways lost, so that they are now become scarce.
In this edition the convenient arrangement which was introduced into one of the former editions, of placing the English on one page and the Mohawk on that opposite, will be continued.
The particular superintendance of the work has been undertaken by the Rev. A. Nelles, the Company's Chief Missionary at their Mohawk Station, a gentleman extremely well qualified for the duty by his long residence among the Tuscaroras and Mohawks, and his con.
stant and friendly communications with them. Much credit is also due to Mr. John Hill, Junr., a Mohawk Catechist, who has devoted much time and attention in assisting to prepare the present work for publication, and has translated the Collects and some of the offices of the Church which were never before printed in Mohawk.
Objections have been made to any attempt to translate a work like the Book of Common Prayer into a language so rude and un. cultivated as the Indian, into which it is deemed impracticable to effect any satisfactory version. To remove from the Indians any motive to learn the English language, or to furnish them with any excuse for remaining content with their own, has been held by some inexpedient.
But the Company hopes to find from this partial interchange of languages a tendency to a different result, that a mutual desire and a mutual facility may be promoted for the acquisition of each, and that it may contribute to the accommodation, both of future teach. ers and learners. In the mean time, without regard to the merits or demerits of the Indian language, it seems an imperative duty to omit no opportunity of assisting those invited to join in acts of devotion, speedily and effectually to understand the language in which those acts are performed, and it is certainly desirable to remove any extraneous difficulty, that might, from the use of a strange idiom, arise in untutored minds to comprehending and satisfactorily adopting some parts of this much valued formulary. The Indian Cate. chumens in North America ought to be placed in this respect at least on an equal footing with their fellow christians on the eastern side of the Atlantic.
It only remains in consideration of the zeal, exertion and care exhibited on this occasion by Mr. Nelles and his worthy colleague Mr. Elliot, to express a cordial hope that in addition to the satisfac. tion arising from having so efficiently co-operated in what must be regarded as a good work, they may be further rewarded by imme. diately receiving the grateful acknowledgment and by long witness. ing the progressive improvement of their flocks.
(a) In a letter dated 1683, to Mr. Boyle, he says, “our slow progress needeth an apology, we have last year been much hindered by sick ness,—I desire to see it done before I die, and I am so deep in years that I cannot expect to live long-besides we have but one man the Indian printer who is able to compose the sheet and correct the press with understanding."