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LANGUAGES OF AFRICA AND AMERICA.
I. AFRICAN VERSIONS. - 1. Amharie and Tigré. — 2. Bullom.3. Susoo. - II. NORTH AMERICAN Versions. - 1. Virginian.
VERSIONS 2. Delaware. - 3. Indian Massachusetts. - 4. Mohauk.-5. - Mohegan. — 6. Esquimaur.—7. Greenlandish. - $. Creolese. - Ill. SOUTH AVERICAN VERSIONS. 1. AFRICAN VERSIONS. --- Amharic and Tigre, or rernacular tongues of Ibyssinia. - The version in the ecclesiastical or antient language of Ethiopia, noticed in pp. 192-195. being confined to the churches
, and understood by few comparatively besides the clergy, M. Asselin de Cherville, French consul at Cairo, was induced to undertake a version of the entire Bible in the Amharic, the royal dialect spoken at the court of Gondar, which is the dialect prevalent in the eastera parts of Africa bordering on the equator, and through which a considerable intercourse is maintained between the natives of Abyssinia and the Arabians and Negroes of the interior. For ten years M. Asselin employed an intelligent Ethiopian, named Abu Rumi, (who had been the interpreter of Mr. Bruce in Abyssinia, and the teacher of Sir William Jones in India), on this important work, to which he devoted two entire days in every week. In order to ensure correctpess be read with this person slowly and with the utmost attention, every verse of the sacred volume in the Arabic version, which they were about to translate. M. Asselin then explained to him all those words, which were either abstruse, difficult, or foreign to the Arabic, by the help of the Hebrew original, the Syriac version, or the Septuagint, and also of some commentaries. After they finished the translation of one book, they collated it once more before they proceeded further. This version was purchased for the British and Foreign Bible Society by the Rev. Mr. Jowett; who undertook a voyage into Egypt from Malta, for the express purpose of completing the purchase. The printing of the four Gospels in Amharic and in Ethiopic, in two separate volumes was completed in 1822, under the editorial care of the Rev. Samuel Lee, professor of Arabic in the University of Cambridge. During Mr. Jowett's residence in Egypt, in 1819, he employed the late Mr. Nathaniel Pearce, who had lived many years in Ethiopia ; and who commenced a translation of the Gospels into the Tigré, the vernacular dialect of the extensive province of Tigré. The Gospel of Mark and John has been completed, together with a version of the Gospel of Mark in Amharic, which is now superseded by the more accurate entire Amharic version of M. Asselin. These
2 In Ludolph's Grammatica Linguæ Amharicæ (pp. 54, 55.), there is an Amharic translation, by Abba Gregorius, or thirteen verses of the eleventh chapter of Saint Lukiss Gospel
three versions are now in the possession of the British and Foreign Bible Society.
2. Bullom Version. - The Bulloms are a numerous people on the western coast of Africa, among whom the missionaries sent out by the Church Missionary Society, laboured for several years. Into the language of this people, the four Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles, have been translated by the Rev. G. R. Nylander," a distinguished labourer in the service of that Society. The Gospel of Saint Matthew was printed at the expense of the British and Foreign Bible Society in 1816.3
3. Susoo Version. - The Susoos are also a numerous tribe on the western coast of Africa, in the vicinity of Sierra Leone ; among whom the same Society's missionaries laboured for several years. By these missionaries the four Gospels, Acts of the Apostles, and other parts of the New Testament, together with several books of the Old Testament, have been translated into the Susoo language. But their further benevolent and pious labours are at present suspended among the Susoos and the Bulloms, by the revival of the nefarious slavetrade on those coasts. II. AMERICAN VERSIONS. - Although the multiplicity of dialects
spoken by the Indian tribes of North America seemed to interpose an insuperable bar to the labours of those benevolent individuals who were desirous of communicating the Scriptures to them; yet this obstacle has been diminished by the discovery, that so close an affinity subsists among them, that a young unlettered Indian of good capacity can (it is said) make himself master of them all. The following are the dialects into which the whole or part of the Bible has been translated.
1. The Virginian Bible was translated by the Rev. John Elliot, who has justly been denominated the apostle to the Indians, from his unwearied labours to diffuse the blessings of Christianity among them. The New Testament was published at Cambridge in New England, in 1661, and the Old Testament in 1663. The entire Bible was reprinted at the same place in 1685.
2. The Delaware language is spoken through a very considerable portion of North America. Into this language part of the Scriptures was translated by the Rev. Mr. Fabricius, one of the Moravian missionaries to the Delaware Indians, but it does not appear to have been printed. In 1818, the three Epistles of John were translated into the Delaware language by the Rev. C. F. Dencke, a missionary from the United Brethren or Moravians. It was printed at the expense of
Sixteenth Report of the Bible Society, p. 169. Jowett's Christian Researches in the Mediterranean, pp. 197—213.
2 The Rev. Mr. Nylander has also rendered an additional service to such of the Bulloms as have embraced the Christian faith, by translating select portions of the Liturgy of the Anglican church into their vernacular language. These were print. ed in Bullom, and in Roman characters (that people having no characters of their own), in 1816, at the expense of the Prayer Book and Homily Society.
3 Owen's Hist. vol. iii. p. 126.
where it is stated that another missionary, Schmiek, translated a portion of the Gospels into the Mahican language.
the American Bible Society, and is entitled Nek Nechenneawachgissitschik Bambilak naga Ġeschiechauchsit panna Johannessa Elekhangen. Gischitak Elleniechsink untschi C. F. Dencke. That is, The Three Epistles of the Apostle John, translated into Delaware Indian, by C. F. Dencke ; New York, 1918, 18mo. The translation is printed on the left-hand page,
on the left-hand page, and the English authorised version on the right. As copies of this Delaware Indian translation are not common, the following specimen of it from 1 John m. 1–4. may not be unacceptable to the reader.
Pennamook! elgiqui penundelukquonk Wetochwink wdaoaltowoagan, wentschi Juwilchgussiank Gettanittowit wdamemensemall. Guntschi matta woachgussiwimeen untschi pemhakamixitink, eli penshakamixit taku wohaq' Patamawossall.
2. Ehoalachgik! juque metschi ktelli wundamemensineen Gettanittowitink, schuk nesquo majawii elsijankstch. Schuk ktelli majawelendamenneen nguttentsch woachquake, ktellitsch linaxineen, elinaxit, ktellitsch newoaneen elinaxit.
3. Woak wemi auwen nechpauchsit jun nhakeuchsowoagan, kschiechichgussitetsch, necama Patamawos elgiqui kschiechsid.
4. Auwen metauchsit, necama ne endchi mikindank matta weltoq', woak eli machtauchsit wuntschi mikindamen matta weltoq'.
3. The Psalms and Gospel of Saint John were translated by the exemplary missionary, Mr. Experience Mayhew, into the IndianMassachusett dialect. They were printed at Boston in New England in the year 1709.
4. The Mohawk language, besides the tribe from whom it takes its name, is intelligible to the Five Nations, to the Tuscaroras, and to the Wyandots or Hurons. In the early part of the eighteenth century, a translation was made of the Gospel of Matthew, and also of several chapters both of the Old and New Testament, into this language, by the Rev. Mr. Freeman. Some portions of the latter were printed at New York, and reprinted at London with the English Liturgy, and the Gospel of Mark (translated by Captain Brant) in 1787, for the use of the Mohawks, who have a chapel at Kingston in Upper Canada, where divine service is performed in their native tongue, by a missionary supported by the venerable Society for promoting Christian Knowledge. This edition was printed at the expense of the English government. To these portions of the Scriptures was added the Gospel of John, translated in 1804 by Captain Jolin Norton, a chief of the Six Nation Indians in Upper Canada. This version was printed at the expense of the British and Foreign Bible Society, and its accuracy was, shortly after, attested in the most favourable manner by the interpreters in the Indian villages.'
i Brown's History of the Propagation of Christianity, vol. ii. pp. 57, 58. Second Report of the British and Foreign Bible Society. Appendix, p. 118.
Capt. Norton was adopted by the Confederacy of the Six Nations, in 1791, and in 1-04 appointed a chief, under the title of Teyoninhokarawen. His father was a Cherokee, and served in the British army.
3 Owen's History, vol. i. pp. 126-135.
5. The New Testament, together with several portions of the Old Testament, was translated, towards the close of the eighteenth century, into the Mohegan language, by the Rev. John Serjeant, sen., a missionary at Stockbridge. No part of this version appears to have been printed'.
6. In the Esquimaux language, a harmony of the Four Gospels was made by the missionaries of the Moravian Brethren many years since. From this version the Gospel of John was selected by the Rev. Mr. Kohlmeister, and printed by the Bible Society in 1809. To this was added, in 1813, a translation of the other three Gospels, which had been made by the venerable superintendant of the Labrador mission, the Rev. C. F. Burghardt, who possessed an intimate knowledge of the Esquimaux dialect, and finished his revision only a short time before his death, in 1812 : and in the year 1819 the Acts of the Apostles and the Epistles, were printed in the same dialect, by the Bible Society, and received (as the other portions of the New Testament had been) with the decpest sentiments of gratitude.
7. In 1759, the Greenlanders received from the Moravian Brethren, a translation of their harmony of the four Gospels ;9 in 1799, the whole of the New Testament, and in 1922 a new translation of the entire New Testament in the language of Greenland was printed at the expense of the British and Foreign Bible Society.
8. Lastly, the New Testament was translated into Creolese for the use of the Christian negroes in the Danish West India islands, and was published at Copenhagen, in 1781, at the expense of the king of Denmark. In 1818, the Danish Bible Society printed an edition of 1500 copies, which have been transmitted to the Danish West Indies. 4
III. It does not appear that the Portuguese ever gave any translation of the Scriptures to the natives of South AMERICA, who were subjugated by them; and the barbarous cruelties of the Spaniards in Mexico are recorded in the page of history. Towards the close of the sixteenth century, however, some of the ecclesiastics and missionaries adopted a different plan from that pursued by their predecessors, by translating some parts of the Scriptures into the language of the country. Benedict Fernandez, a Spanish Dominican friar, vicar of Mirteca in New Spain, translated the epistles and gospels into the dialect spoken in that province. Didacus de S. Maria, another Do
Brown's History of the Propagation of Christianity, vol. ii. p. 630. 2 Owen's History, vol. i. p. 460. vol. ii. pp. 289. 359. vol. iii. p. 483. Sixteenth Report of the Bible Society, pp. Ixxxiii. Ixxxiv. Seventeenth Report, p. lxxix.
3 Crantz's History of Greenland, vol. ii. p. 299.
4 Adler's Bibliotheca Biblica, Part IV. p. 116. Sixteenth Report of the Bible Society, p. 127. Besides the particulars recorded in the preceding sections, there are many interesting circumstances relative to the history of translations and translators, which the limits of this work do not allow to be detailed. For these, and indeed for every thing relative to the literary history of the Holy Scriptures, we refer the reader to the Rev. James Townley's “ Illustrations of Biblical Literature, exhibiting the History and Fate of the Sacred Writings from the earliest period to the present century ; including Biographical Notices of Translators and other eminent Biblical Scholars." London, 1821, in 3 volumes, 8vo.
minican, and vicar of the province of Mexico, (who died in 1579,) was the author of a translation of the epistles and gospels into the Merican tongue, or general language of the country. The Proverbs of Solomon,
and other fragments of the Holy Scriptures were translated into the same language by Louis Rodriguez, a Spanish Franciscan friar: and the epistles and gospels, appointed to be read for the whole year, were translated into the idiom of the Western Indians, by Arnold à Bassaccio, also a Franciscan friar: but the dates of these latter versions have not been ascertained. The entire Bible is said to have been translated into the Brazilian language by an English minister, who accompanied the Dutch to Recife, when they acquired it from the Portuguese. This version has never been printed.
1 Townley's Ilustrations of Biblical Literature, vol. iii. pp. 46. 355. note