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that time it would have extended much beyond the immediate sphere of his labors. Ile was young, decidedly pious, devoted and active, and must have been a blessing wherever he was stationed. He had an extraordinary facility in learning languages, and would have become an eminent oriental scholar, and, in all probability, India would have been eminently benefitted by his translations of the Scriptures into more than one of her vernacular tongues. But I do not think he would have exercised a commanding influence, nor formed any very comprehensive plans for the benefit of that vast continent, nor have entered at all in that almost boundless field in which Dr. Buchanan rendered himself so eminently conspicuous, and which he cultivated with such great advantage to the millions of India.
“Of all the literary and pious men which Cambridge at that time possessed, few, perhaps none, had the peculiarly appropriate qualifications of Dr. Buchanan for that important station. His mind was calm, intellectual, and comprehensive. His manners reserved, dignified, commanding. His literary attainments were considerable, and gave promise of great increase. He sought, acquired, and effectually sustairred a place in the society of the most learned men in the university : even whilst an undergraduate, there was an elevation about him which left younger men of inferior talents and attainment, but ill at ease in his presence. His very appearance conveyed the idea of a person destined to do things at which others would never aim, and to carry measures on a scale of magnitude to which few would find themselves equal, or dream of accomplishing. When it is added, that Dr. Buchanan was as eminent for his piety, as distinguished for his talents, as simple in his manners as he was dignified in his appearance, as single in heart as comprehensive in mind, as attentive in the discharge of very humble duties as he was active in planning and vigorous in executing schemes for christianizing the immense population of India, no doubt will be felt that the loss of Mr. Thomason's labors, at that particular crisis, was more than compensated by those of Dr. Buchanan.”
In the interval between taking an academical degree and entering into holy orders, Mr. Thomason pursued his studies with his accustomed earnestness. He read the original Scriptures, translated the book of Job, perused Josephus in Greek, studied Arabic under professor Carlisle, and again contended for the Norrisian prize. The spirit in which he received a disappointment, is thus described by Mr. Jerram :
“In the first of our attempts, Thomason obtained the prize, and in the second I was his successful rival. On the latter occasion, some considerable delay took place in announcing to whom VOL. I.
the medal was adjudged. We had heard, indeed, that it was again destined to our college, and we hoped it would find its way up our stair-case. I happened one morning to be looking out of my window, and saw one of the university beadles entering our court and approaching our part of it. He ascended our staircase, came near my door, passed by it, and proceeded to Thomason's. I will not conceal my feelings at that moment, nor deny that I instantly fell on my knees to beseech God to preserve me from envying the success of my dear friend and to enable me to rejoice in it. I had scarcely risen when Thomason hastened into my room, followed by the beadle, and with a gladness of heart which I shall never forget, told me that the prize was awarded to me, and that the beadle, not knowing my room, had called at his, and asked where he could find me.
I sincerely believe my friend could scarcely have rejoiced more had he a second time succeeded. I may add that on two or three future occasions, he wrote for and obtained the prize. Nor was this, in Mr. Thomason, the mere ebullition of the moment. In the same noble spirit of disinterestedness and affection he wrote to his mother and apprized her of the result. 'I have lost the prize: Jerram has got it. I am not mortified; it is still in the family, a young man of the same college, of the same church and profession. I have had it once, it ill becomes me to murmur.'"
On the 16th of October, 1796, Mr. Thomason was ordained as a deacon of the church of England. The curacy of Trinity church, Cambridge, and that of Stapleford, about five miles distant, were committed to him. He was also chosen to a fellowship and assistant tutorship in Queen's college. In 1798, the tutorship was consigned to him. Two public and two private lectures, consequently, were his daily allotment of duty, and in the necessary absence of Mr. Simeon, five sermons in the week also devolved upon him. At the close of the year, he was admitted to the office of a presbyter, by the bishop of Lichfield and Coventry. In January, 1799, Mr. Thomason was united in marriage to Miss Fawcet, of Scaleby castle, Cumberland. “One thing I may mention to the honor of Mr. and Mrs. Thomason, says Mr. Simeon, " that in all the ten years I lived under their roof, I never heard, on any occasion, an angry word from either of them ; nor ever saw a different countenance in either of them towards the other, or in either of them towards me."
About the same time, the excellent Mrs. Thornton died; a woman who manifested in her whole character, a striking
elevation and dignity, combined with great Christian simplicity in her manner and language. She received her first abiding religious impressions at the age of nineteen, from attending the daily prayers, at Westminster Abbey. By his marriage, Mr. Thomason of course lost his fellowship. He continued, however, to instruct as a tutor, mainly for the purpose of refunding the money which had been advanced to him for his education.
Remembering what a sum had been expended upon himself, calling to mind the wants of young men involved in those anxious exigencies which he had experienced, he resolved to repay the whole of what had been advanced for his support ; and long before he left England, these noble resolutions were fulfilled to the very utmost. Having saved above four hundred pounds, not to exonerate himself from the burden of an obligation, but to enjoy the luxury of performing what is lovely and of good report, he replaced the money in the hands of the managers of the Elland institution, with a willing consciousness that a debt still remained that could not be cancelled."
In 1805, two circumstances revived in Mr. Thomason a missionary spirit, which he had long before cherished. One was a review which he undertook for the Christian Observer, of Nott's Bampton Lectures, which necessarily led to a close consideration of Wesley's and Whitefield's devotedness in their Saviour's service; the other circumstance was the intended departure of Henry Martyn to India. It was not, however, till the spring of 1808, that definite arrangements could be made for him in India, nor the entire concurrence of some of his friends secured. Mrs. Thomason, who had been decidedly averse to the project, so as not to hear of it without tears, now counted it a privilege and an honor, to be exposed in such a cause.
In June, 1808, Mr. Thomason sailed with his family in the Travers for Calcutta. They had a singularly pleasant voyage, till they had nearly reached the shores of Hindoostan. Mr. Thomason thus describes their wonderful preservation from shipwreck.
“Early in the morning of the 7th, we approached Cape Negrais. Soundings were made, which left us no room to apprehend any immediate danger. At half past four they were twentyone fathoms ; which, being certified to the captain, he immediately came on deck, and gave orders for heaving the ship to.
The words were scarcely pronounced, when the ship struck upon a rock. At this time the Earl Spencer was so near, the captain hailed and cried out, they were amongst breakers. The Earl Spencer providentially escaped, and actually passed over the reef without striking, but our own ship, notwithstanding every exertion, continued to strike with violence. The first shock brought down the mizen top-mast; the wind then blowing fresh. In a moment a cry of distress was raised, which was heard by the Spencer, and which it very soon appeared was not made without
The passengers and all the ship's company were soon upon deck, and saw with the deepest anguish the danger in which they were.
I had previously gone down and informed Mrs. Thomason that the ship had struck, and that none but God could save us. The heeling of the ship was now tremendous, and the blows continued, till the rudder was broken with an awful crash, that seemed to portend that the ship should immediately go to the bottom. Who but those who have actually borne a part in such scenes can conceive the dreadful sensations thus produced. We endeavored to commit ourselves to the mercy of God, and then Mrs. Thomason snatching up our dear J. followed by Mrs. -, with 0
-, with 0-, repaired on deck.
Here the confusion was extreme. Through the mercy of God the wind soon moderated ; a circumstance which gave time to take proper measures for saving the crew. The main-mast was first cut down, which fell over the side. After, the fore-mast was cut away, and we were thus left a mere hull, which was momentarily coming to pieces; at this critical juncture, the cutter unfortunately went a-drift; the jolly-boat was dispatched after it, and in the mean time the crew were all employed in clearing and launching the long-boat. This was a long and difficult operation, but as all our lives depended on its success, the men exerted themselves to the utmost. Before they had fairly raised it from its place the ship's back was broken, and at this moment I felt that nothing but a miracle could save us. I lifted up my heart to God, and exhorted Mrs. Thomason to do so too. I committed myself and all my concerns to Ilim. Meanwhile, a squall of wind and rain caused the ship to beat violently; we all stood on the deck drenched to the skin, looking with anxious impatience to the launch of the long-boat. The ladies and children having been roused suddenly from their beds, were wet and half naked, and most pitiable objects. I ran down into my cabin to secure something from the wreck which I might preserve, if saved from destruction, as a memorial. In vain I sought in the confusion of the moment for my pocket-bible ; at length, hastily snatching up my Hebrew psalter, with a volume of the Greek Testament, and my mother's last and valued present, the Golden Treasury, I put them into my bosom, and flew to my dear Mrs. Thomason and the children on the deck. In passing through the cabin to the
ladder, it was painful to hear the rushing of the water in the hold, and to see the decks giving way, and the boxes floating about on all sides. Arrived on the deck, I remained with my dear B
and had the pleasure of seeing the long-boat launched into the water. The captain then called for the ladies, who were one by one conveyed into the boat by a rope. The gentlemen followed, and the crew, to the number of ninety-one : more could not be admitted with safety. In the cutter were eighteen, in the jolly-boat eleven."
Through the mercy of God, after having been three hours and a half in the boat, they reached the Earl Spencer, a ship which sailed in company.
The second Sabbath, after landing at Culcutta, Mr. Thomason commenced his ministry at the old church. Having made considerable progress in Persian during the voyage, he gave himself, in addition to his ministerial employments, to the study of Hindoostanee and Arabic. So favorably were his labors in the church regarded, that in six months it was found expedient to enlarge the house. Mrs. Thomason mentions the joy of meeting Martyn on the 3d of November, 1809.
“Dear, dear Martyn arrived, and we had the unspeakable delight of seeing his face. The agitation I felt during the whole morning was such as I never experienced in India. Joy and sorrow alternately. Joy to see him, sorrow for the occasion. In three or four weeks he leaves us to go to sea for his health. He is much altered, is thin and sallow, but he has the same loving heart. No tongue gan tell what a refreshment the sight of him has been to us. I should be thankful to be his nurse if he would remain with us; but one would wish him to try every means, hoping that God may yet spare him for a few years.—Martyn and I are both writing under the same roof.”
Mr. Thomason continued in his labors of love without serious interruption for several years. In addition to his church at Calcutta, and his translations, he was appointed by the governor general to perform stated service at his own country residence at Barrackpore, to accompany him as chaplain in a journey of state through the provinces, and to draw up and submit to the government a plan for the education of the Indian population. When Mr. Thomason left England for India, it was his fixed intention that the step should be final. He would have persisted in this resolution, if, in the year 1825, it had not been too apparent that Mrs.