Obrázky stránek

"The ORTHOGRAPHY of the copy prepared for the press is very much changed and altered, and makes the language a different dialect from that of the Bible in present use. I judge of it by the specimens which I have seen in some other Welsh publications. This measure I consider pregnant with many bad consequences, and methinks should not be suffered to be carried into effect."


The charge brought was, solely and simply, an attempt to correct the system of ORTHOGRAPHY. And the communication was not made by a "Welsh Bishop," but by a very respectable Welsh Clergyman the Rev. John Roberts, the present Rector of Tremerchion: who, it may be added, is now an active member of the Flintshire Auxiliary Bible Society.

Again, no edition of the Welsh Bible was ever sUPPRESSED. The discussion above mentioned took place while the copy was preparing for press. No fault has ever been found with the Welsh Bibles and Testaments which have been actually printed; and the number of these has been, up to the present time, 97,598 Bibles, and 156,697 Testaments.

[ocr errors]


One Welsh Bishop was, at the time, a Vice-President of the Society; and this Prelate, at least, saw nothing so objectionable in the proceedings of Mr. Charles and the Committee, as to withdraw from them his patronage and support. On the contrary, he did all in his power to assist in deciding the course that ought to be fol lowed. This Prelate was the Bishop of St. David's (the present Bishop of Salisbury); and it was in consequence of a communica tion from him that the edition of 1752 was adopted. In reference to the imputation against the Committee, of neglecting to take advice from " ecclesiastical authorities," the following passage, from a Letter of Lord Teignmouth to the Bishop, deserves notice:

"The Bible Society (notwithstanding the intimation in the Report of the Committee to the Subscribers at large, that it has been determined to follow the example of the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, in printing from the edition of 1746') would, I imagine, consider themselves at liberty to adopt the suggestion of your Lordship, as it must be their wish to pay every respect to so high an authority. But, as the Act of Uniformity subjects the Welsh Bible to the revision and approbation of the Bishop of Hereford and the Welsh Bishops, it would, in my opinion, be most satisfactory to the Bible Society (considering the preceding circumstances) if your Lordship would condescend to nominate some person or persons to prepare such a copy for the press as would be likely to meet your Lordship's approbation, and that of the other Welsh Bishops-a sanction which would preclude all possible objection."1

It being afterwards found that the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge intended to print from the edition of 1752, not from that of 1746, as they had at first proposed-and that

'Dealtry's Vindication of the Bible Society, (1811.) Appendix, p. xxvi.

their edition would have that approbation from the Welsh Bishops for which Lord Teignmouth in the above Letter expresses his desire-the same copy was ultimately followed by the Bible Society, without alteration; and the edition was printed at the Cambridge University Press.

It may still be said-But why was the "apostatized Clergyman," Mr. Charles, employed at all?-Mr. Charles, it is true, was no longer officiating as a Clergyman of the Established Church: but the man who labored, without earthly gain or reward, for thirty years, in travelling, in preaching, and in setting up Schools among his then ignorant countrymen in Wales-who himself prepared and sent forth Twenty Teachers fitted to instruct in those Schools, whence afterwards the light of religious education spread over the whole face of the country-such a man, surely, may rather be called an Apostle, than an Apostate. And "what recommended him to the Managers of the Society," those who have read its early history know well; for it was from his urgent calls for a supply of the Welsh Scriptures, that the Society itself first took rise. But this story need not here be repeated. It has been told long since, by Mr. Owen and Mr. Dealtry.'

And, after all, supposing even that some considerable degree of mismanagement had appeared in the case, let it ever be remembered, that it was but the First act of an infant Institution-an Institution driven into action, I cannot but add, by the inactivity of others. Nor did the Society shun the aid of dignity and learning; though, too often, men of dignity and learning shunned the Society.

We come next to the IRISH TESTAMENT.—

Here, "again, the same evil genius which introduced Mr. Charles to their favor, led them (the Committee of the Bible Society) to fix on one Mr. M'Quig, who had formerly been a preacher among the Wesleyan Methodists, and who had been expelled from this connexion for repeated misconduct; and again, the results were such as might have been expected. The principal object of The Irish Society is, as every one knows, to promote the culti vation of the Irish language. Most of the members composing this Association are also Subscribers to the Bible Society; none of their proceedings can, therefore, be represented as flowing from dislike or jealousy of that institution. At a meeting of the Irish Society, held in Dublin on the 22d November 1822, a Resolution was proposed by John Leslie Foster, Esq., seconded by the Right Honorable George Daly, and carried, we believe, without one dissentient voice, stating, 'That, after a full inquiry, the members of this Society feel satisfied that material and very numerous errors exist in the Irish Version of the New Testament edited by the British and Foreign Bible Society."-Review, p. 8..

Now here it is important to observe, for the sake of those who

1 See Owen's History of the British and Foreign Bible Society, I. 138150; and Dealtry's Vindication of the Society (1811), pp. 1-17; and Appendix, i-liv.

may be entirely unacquainted with the subject, that it was no New Irish Version which the Society printed, but the Received Version of Archbishop Daniel, or O'Donnell. This work Mr. M'Quige was employed to edit; but his instructions were, to adhere strictly to the text as he found it, except in case of typographical errors. And, when he afterwards pointed out some passages in which he thought a change necessary, these instructions were repeated and confirmed to him; and he was informed, that if any such change should be indeed found, by competent judges, to be absolutely needful, they should be inserted in a separate page, at. the end; but into the text itself no innovations whatever were to be introduced. Whether any, or what misconduct, was charged against this Editor, by the Wesleyan Methodists, I cannot ascertain; but this is certain, that it was by one of the most distinguished Members of the Wesleyan Body, Dr. Adam Clarke, that he was introduced to the Committee of the Bible Society: nor has any complaint been brought against him since he was so introduced to them, though he has been laboring in the work of the Society, as will presently appear, in close connexion with Gentlemen of the highest respectability in Ireland.

But it is stated, that the Members of the Irish Society in Dublin passed a Resolution, five years since, expressing their conviction that "material and very numerous errors exist in the Irish Version of the New Testament edited by the British and Foreign Bible Society." This matter requires a full and distinct explanation.

And first, the Resolution in question ought to be given at length. It will thence appear, that there was no intention, even in the very outset, to impute wilful carelessness to the Bible Society, or, in fact, any fault into which other Societies might not be equally liable to fall.

Copy of Resolutions passed in the Committee of the Irish Society in Dublin, Friday, Nov. 22, 1822.

"RESOLVED, (on a Motion by John Leslie Foster, Esq. Vice-President, seconded by the Right Hon. St. George Daly, Vice-President)—

"That, after full inquiry, we feel satisfied that material and very numerous errors exist in the Irish Version of the New Testament edited by the British and Foreign Bible Society; and that we are not without apprehensions that the Translation which, we are informed, is in progress under the direction of the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge may eventually prove liable to similar objections. That it further appears to us, that Bedell's and Daniel's Version of the Scriptures into the Irish Language (now out of print) is, with comparatively few and unimportant exceptions, a literal and faithful translation, and which has been received with approbation for nearly 140 years; and that the only course which we can recommend to this Society, is, to adopt the Translation of Bedell and Daniel, subject to such specific corrections as may be proposed and adopted by this Pam. NO. LVI.


2 A

Society, and which this Society will not in any case be disposed to adopt
without being first convinced of an absolute necessity for so doing.
"H. C. SIRR, Chairman.



"That this opinion of this Society be respectfully communicated to the British and Foreign Bible Society, and to the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, accompanied by the expression of our anxious desire to assist those Societies in the editing of the Irish Scriptures, by undertaking the task of revision and correction on the principle above referred to, in case it should be the wish of those Societies to have recourse to us for this purpose. JOHN L. FOSTER. ST. GEORGE DALY."

"H. C. SIRR, Chairman.

The Testament here referred to, differed in one important respect from the first edition, which has been already mentioned as edited by Mr. M'Quige:-that was in the Roman, this in the Irish Character: and on various points occurring in the use of that character, as to orthography, the use of aspirates, and similar matters, it is known that difference of opinion exists among Irish Scholars.

[ocr errors]

An intimation had been received by the Committee of the Bible Society, before the passing of the above Resolution, that the Irish Society would furnish them, if desired, with a List of Errata which had been observed in the Irish Testament then in circulation. In consequence, the Assistant Secretary of the Irish Society was immediately requested to furnish such a List of Errata, before a new edition, which had just been ordered, should be put to press; from which edition a grant of 5000 copies had been already voted, for the use of the Irish Society. This took place in Sept. 1822; and in November, a copy of the Resolution above quoted was received in London. Now the Version already adopted was the very same as that recommended by the Irish Society in their Resolution; and all that could be done, therefore, was still to continue the suspension on printing the new edition, till the proposed List of Errata, or some statement of the corrections required, should arrive. Nothing further, however, having been heard on the subject, and applications for the Irish Scriptures being urgent, the Committee were at length induced, in May 1823, to order 2000 copies to be printed off, from the same stereotype plates as the former edition, for a temporary supply.

On the 6th June a Letter, of which the following is an Extract, was written by H. J. Monck Mason, Esq., Secretary to the Irish Society :


"Irish Society, 16, Sackville Street, Dublin, 6th June, 1823. "The Committee of the Irish Society having reason to suppose that any inquiry respecting the correctness of the Stereotype Edition of the New Testament in the Irish Language, by the British and Foreign Bible Society, is likely to take up some time-and fearing that the great demand for the

book which now exists in this country will very soon exhaust the stock of copies at present in their hands-have determined to request of your Society to cause immediately to be printed an edition equal to the amount of the grant so kindly voted by them to the Irish Society.

"They are strongly induced to urge this to your Committee, because they think, that, in the present promising state of things, it would be the worst of all evils were the efforts of this Institution to be checked in any way, especially by the want of the Holy Scriptures.

"To the Secretary of the British and Foreign Bible Society."

The following is from the Rev. J. D'Arcy Sirr, also one of the Secretaries of the Irish Society :


"Dublin Castle, August 12, 1823. "A generous grant of 5000 Testaments was made to us, we understand, long since. One thousand has been received: two more, we now hear, have been ordered to be struck off. But why suffer us to languish for these tardy driblets? Why defraud the longing aborigines of this island, many of them daily dropping into eternity, of the important residue? My Lord, I may speak strongly, but the case is most affecting. Our countrymen are imploring us for the Records of Salvation, but we are compelled to dole them out with the most distressing parsimony. We have often expressed our gratitude for the assistance you have already rendered us: nothing can efface the sense of it: I only wish to have it deepened.

"To the Right Hon. Lord Teignmouth."


After these appeals from the very quarter from whence alone any complaints respecting the Irish Testament had been received, there appeared to the Committee no reason for further delay; and it was finally Resolved, on Oct. 6, 1823

"That the edition of 2000 Copies of the Irish New Testament, in the Irish Character, now in the press, be augmented to 11,000; making the whole number printed, including former editions, 20,000 Copies."

On the 14th November 1823, Mr. Mason forwarded a collation of the first ten pages of the Irish Testament, made by Edward O'Reilly, Esq. author of the Irish Dictionary. It appeared, on examination of this collation, that of thirty-five variations in the Society's Testament from the edition of 1685 with which it had been collated, twenty eight were allowed to be unnecessary, or, at least, immaterial; and the remaining seven only are disapproved of by Messrs. Mason and O'Reilly. And on the 9th of January 1824, Mr. Mason writes again, urging "every possible expedition" in preparing the edition of the New Testament from which the grant to the Irish Society was to be supplied, and making no further mention of corrections.

The edition was completed accordingly, and put into circulation; and the Irish Society received the number granted to them. They have since received other large supplies, but no further complaint of errors has been heard. any


But we shall better show both the caution with which the Committee of the Bible Society have acted, and their friendly connexion

« PředchozíPokračovat »