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Another difficulty arose out of the circumstances of his companion. He was in pecuniary embarrassment; and, though he candidly avowed this in a very early, if not the first, of his communications to the committee, it yet proved to be of more serious inconvenience than they seemed to be then aware of. Mr. Thomas was brought up to the medical profession; and, for some years, practised in London. “But finding it,' as he expressed himself, ‘more easy to give than to obtain credit,' he was compelled to sell all off, and wait in lodgings until an offer was made him of going to Bengal as surgeon, in one of the Honourable Company's ships, in 1783, which he accepted. In 1785, he returned to London, was received into church-fellowship by Dr. Stennett, and, soon after, began to exercise his talent as a preacher. In 1786, he again proceeded to India, when he made the acquaintance of some pious episcopalians, who, witnessing his fervent piety and ‘aptness to teach,' prevailed upon him to remain in India, engaging to contribute to his support, while he should be making the acquisition of the language, and communicating, as he might be able, the gospel to the natives. He also laboured hard in attempting to translate the New Testament into the Bengali language. In the course of two or three years he and his friends separated their connexion. Upon this he revisited England, designing, should he be able, to realize sufficient encouragement from the religious public, to return to Bengal, and spend the residue of his life as a missionary. His attempt to compass this object, and the formation of the
Baptist Missionary Society in Northamptonshire, were consentaneous events, which, becoming known to the respective parties, Mr. Thomas relinquished his purpose of forming any distinct agency on his own account, and became the Society's missionary. This arrangement becoming known to Mr. Thomas's former creditors, one of them came to Ryde, while the missionaries were there awaiting the summons of embarkation, to enforce his claims. Mr. Thomas was out when the unwelcome visitor made his appearance for this purpose. His companion was, as it may
supposed, in no small measure annoyed at the occur
But another disaster followed, far more withering to his hopes. The missionaries having obeyed the summons for embarkation, and gotten their baggage on board, an anonymous letter was received by the captain, admonishing him at his peril to proceed with persons unlicensed by the company. They were forthwith compelled to disembark. The anxiety and desolation which seized the mind of Mr. Carey cannot be described. The strong sturdy heart of Mr. Fuller upon this intelligence sunk within him. The feelings of each of them are best conveyed in their own words.
* Ryde, May 21, 93. · MY VERY DEAR FRIEND,
'I have just time to inform you that all our plans are entirely frustrated for the present. On account of the irregular manner of our going out, an information is laid against the captain (I suppose by one of Mr.
T.'s creditors) for taking a person on board without an order from the
The person not being specified, both he and myself, and another passenger are ordered to quit the ship, and I am just going to take all my things out.
"Our venture must go, or it will be seized by the Custom-house officers. Mrs. Thomas and daughter go.
I know not how to act, but will write you more particularly as soon as I get to some settled place. I leave the island to-day or to-morrow, and on Thursday the ship sails without us. All I can say in this affair is, that however mysterious the leadings of Providence are, I have no doubt but they are superintended by an infinitely wise God.
*I have no time to say more. Mr. T. is gone to London again on the business. Adieu.
Mr. Fuller transmitted the foregoing letter to Dr. Ryland, and wrote on it as follows :
'Kettering, May 24th. 'MY DEAR BROTHER,
*Perhaps Carey has written to you—We are all undone-I am grieved—yet, perhaps ’tis best—Thomas's debts and embranglements damped my pleasure before—Perhaps ’tis best he should not go—I am afraid leave will never be obtained now for Carey, or any other-And the adventure seems to be lost-He says nothing of the £250 for voyage—'Tis well if that be not lost-Yours, ever,
Mr. Carey and his companion returned to London, depressed and almost overwhelmed with their disappointment. In the course of a few days, however, the scene began to brighten, and their spirits to rally. The elasticity of Mr. Thomas's mind, his alacrity and enterprise, and the self-denial he manifested at this trying juncture, were astonishing, and justly entitled him to the grateful remembrance of all who feel an interest in the welfare of this mission. And so speedy and evidently propitious were the interpositions of Providence, that before the various friends of the institution could well be apprised of this apparent frustration of their counsels and their hopes, they saw it resolved into one of the most beneficial dispensations that could have been conceived of, circumstanced as it then was. Immediately a ship is heard of bound to Bengal, under a foreign flag, and therefore not subject to the control of the company. Mrs. Carey, too, contrary to all expectation, is prevailed upon to accompany her husband. A passage is secured on most advantageous terms; and, in a few days, after being forcibly rejected from the Earl of Oxford, they reembark, and actually set sail for the distant East.
These remarkable circumstances are vividly detailed by Mr. Thomas, in the following letter to Mr. Fuller.
• Buddaul, March 10, 1794. · REV. AND DEAR SIR,
* This place is about sixty miles to the eastward of Malda. I am come hither on a journey with Mr. Udney's family. Mr. Carey and his family are about
300 miles off, to the eastward of Calcutta; and my own family are on a journey from Calcutta to Malda, where Mr. Carey and all will meet, we hope, in a short time. We have been greatly distressed with difficulties, troubles, and fears on every side; but the Lord is making room for us, and compassing us about with songs of deliverance.
*You remember what I told you at Kettering of my being in debt, though having sent home muslins, camphor, &c., to the amount of 18,000 rupees, which sold, when the market was very low, for little more than £1,100. This was distributed among my creditors as far as it would go, and this was £500 short of their demand. I entertained some hopes of a computation with my creditors when I saw you, by paying them a sum, which I found afterwards I was not able to raise. Having nothing to offer by way of payment, I neglected waiting on them, till they came after me. I then told them all the truth; appealed to my own experience, testifying my intention of paying them, but now I was very poor. Still, as they saw me bent on an expensive voyage, they could not believe this. I had a secret hope that money would come from some quarter or other, just to help us over the sea, through the kind providence of God, but had no assurance or possession of money, yet was as fully bent on going as if I had. My creditors could not see through all this, and suspected my integrity. They began to hunt, and I to flee as a partridge, yet still continuing to preach publicly wherever I was asked. Every day I had fears without that I should be arrested, and hopes