The Book of Common Prayer
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    The Book of Common Prayer
among the Nations of the World




BURMA is composed of Upper and Lower Burma. The former, annexed to the British Empire, January 1, 1886, comprises the late kingdom or empire of Burma; the latter consists of all the country below the twentieth degree of north latitude as well as the Tenasserim provinces and the present mission station in the ancient kingdom of Arakan, and the Shan-land[1] in the East. The whole territory constitutes now the most eastern portion of the British-Indian empire. In 1897 Burma became a lieutenant-governorship.

Previous chapter

The modern Burmese language belongs to the Tibeto-Burman group of non-Aryan or Indo-Chinese languages of Asia, which have been termed by Nisbet and others the poly tonic languages of Indo-China. It is the group to which also belongs the speech of the Annamese, Siamese and others speaking monosyllabic tongues.

The Burmese alphabet is borrowed from the Aryan Sanskrit, through the Pali of Upper India. It is written with its own peculiar character from left to right in what appears to be an unbroken line. The rounded form of this writing was brought about gradually, and is due to the fact that all the manuscripts were made by graving with a style on leaves of the Talipot palm.

The Burmese Mission of the Church of England, as represented by the S.P.G., is comparatively young. But the work has been and is excellently manned, and has been extended as widely and is, at least, as full of promise as any missions of the same age in any part of the world.

[1] The Shan race is so called from the Chinese word Shann — “mountains.” It was transliterated by the French conquerors as Sciam, whence by corruption the English Siam. The Shans are a people distinct from the Burmans, which latter are traced to tribes dwelling in the eastern Himalaya, and the adjoining region of Tibet. The Tai or Siamese branch of the Indo-Chinese people, called Shan by the Burmese, are supposed to have migrated from their original seat in Central Asia towards the south, and to have settled along the rivers Mekong, Menam, Irrawaddy and Brahmaputra. See, further, Sir Charles Crosthwaite, The Pacification of Burma. London, 1912; Chaps. XV and XVI.

The first Burmese translation of the Order for Morning and Evening Prayer, according to the Use of the United Church of England and Ireland, was published by the S.P.G. Burma Mission at Moulmein (Maulmein), in 1863, 66 pages, 12mo. It was printed at the expense of the S.P.C.K., by the Mission Press at Rangoon.

The work was begun by the Rev. T. A. Cockey, an Eurasian, educated at Bishop’s College. He spent two years, 1854-56, at Moulmein acquiring the language. He was ordered deacon at Calcutta in 1856, and was stationed at Howrah from 1857 to 1859. In February, 1859, he was sent to Burma as the first S.P.G. missionary to that country, and worked at Moulmein, in Lower Burma, 1859 and 1860. He was then transferred to the north-west provinces, where he worked at Cawnpore from 1861 to 1864, in succession to his brother, Henry Edwin Cockey (born 1822), who was killed in 1857 at Cawnpore, during the Indian Mutiny.

After Mr. Cockey’s departure from Moulmein the translational work was carried on by the Rev. Augustus Shears. The latter was born in 1827; graduated M.A. from St. John’s College, Cambridge; was ordered deacon and ordained priest in 1851 by the bishop of Peterborough. In 1859 he took the principal charge of the Moulmein mission; opened a boys’ school, but soon fell sick and retired. His successor, the Rev. John Ebenezer Marks, carried on the work left off by Shears and finished the translation of the Order for Morning and Evening Prayer as quoted above.

Marks was one of the most remarkable and successful missionaries. He was born in London; 1832, and came to Moulmein in 1860, originally as a teacher, a vocation in which he was most successful. He was ordered deacon in 1863, and ordained priest 1866, at Calcutta. He was stationed at Rangoon, 1863-69; and, again, 1875-92, as principal of St. John’s College from its very beginning. From 1869 until 1875 he was at Mandalay, to which place he had been sent by the king of Burma, Mindon Min (died 1878), to establish Christian schools. What a change here in the forty years since Adoniram Judson (1788-1850), the Apostle of Burma, and translator of the Bible into Burmese, had been cruelly imprisoned, in 1825, during the first Burmese war. In 1879 Archbishop Tait conferred upon Marks the Lambeth degree of D.D., “in recognition of the services which he has rendered to the cause of Christian education at Burma.” In 1895 he was compelled to resign owing to ill-health. According to latest reports he is still living on the retired list. (See, also, The Guardian, May 30, 1913, p. 678, col. 3.)


not listed by Griffiths

In 1876 a revision of the portions published in 1863 and considerable additions appeared, edited by a committee of the S.P.G., in which Dr. Marks took a prominent part. Another revision and enlargement was made by a committee consisting of Archdeacon (now Bishop) Blyth, the Revs. J. Fairclough, J. Colbeck, T. Rickard, J. Kristna, C. H. Chard, sub-deacon Hypo Khin and T. W. Windley, all working under the S.P.G. The revision was published in 1882.

Mainly responsible for this new edition was George Francis Popham Blyth. He became chaplain at Allahabad in 1866. The following year he was transferred to Calcutta Cathedral, and was stationed at Barrackpore, from 1868 to 1874; at Naini-Tal from 1874 to 1877, and at Fort William’ from 1877 to 1878. He was archdeacon and chaplain of the pro-cathedral of Rangoon, Burma, from 1879 until 1887. Since then he has been bishop in Jerusalem and the East, resigning his office in the early months of 1913. — John Fairclough was born in 1840, at Kirkham, England; was educated at St. Augustine’s College, Canterbury; ordered deacon 1866, Bombay, and ordained priest 1867, Calcutta. He was stationed successively at Rangoon, Moulmein and Mandalay. He was founder and first principal of the Kemmendine Training Institution, which sends forth native clergy and catechists. He returned to England after a stroke of paralysis had put an end to his active work. Here he died, February 11, 1897. — James Alfred Colbeck was born in 1851 and died March 2, 1888, of fever contracted in visiting Madaya. He likewise studied at St. Augustine’s; was ordered deacon in 1874, and ordained priest three years later, at Calcutta. He was stationed at Rangoon, Mandalay and Moulmein. He published through the S.P.C.K. a Burmese translation of “An Explanation of the Apostles’ Creed” — Thomas Rickard was born in 1849, at Buttevant, Ireland; studied at St. Augustine’s College; was ordered deacon 1881, and ordained priest 1883, at Rangoon. He was vice-president of St. John’s College, Rangoon, from 1881 to 1883, after which time he held several mission posts at Rangoon. and Poozoundoung. In 1893 he was put in charge of the Kemmendine Training Institution, which had been established on the principles of the Vepery College at Madras. He died in harness, May 17, 1903. — Thomas Wilson Windley graduated B.A. from St. John’s College, Cambridge, in 1873, and proceeded M.A. in 1876. He was ordered deacon 1873, and ordained priest the year following by the bishop of London. He was S.P.G. missionary at Tounghoo, in the mountains of then independent Burma, from 1876 to 1882, acting most the time as the head of the mission. On account of ill-health he retired and returned to England in 1882. In 1877 he published a translation of the Order for the Morning and Evening Prayers into Karen; and saw through the press a revised and enlarged edition of the same only a year later, in 1878. — Charles Henty Chard was born at Wells, Somersetshire, England, in 1845. He studied at St. Augustine’s College, was ordered deacon 1869, and ordained priest 1870, at Calcutta. He was S.P.G. missionary in Burma from 1868 to 1878; chaplain at Thayet Myo, 1878-82; Port Blair on Ross Island, one of the Andaman group, 1882-85 and 1888-90, and at the pro-cathedral, Rangoon, 1885-88, 1892-96 and 1897-99. He was archdeacon of Rangoon and bishop’s commissary, 1893-1900, and chaplain of Rangoon Cathedral, from 1897 until his death, a few years ago. — John Kristna (Kristnasawmy), a Tamil, was educated at St. John’s College, Rangoon; ordered deacon 1879, and ordained priest 1881, at Rangoon. He was stationed at Tounghoo 1879-87, and at Thayet Myo 1888 until his death, at Tounghoo, on Michaelmas Day, September 29, 1897. He was an excellent teacher, whose hundreds of pupils were proud to have learned from him.



Griffiths 16:1 (1884)

A revised, tentative and incomplete edition, translated and published by the missionaries of the S.P.G., was brought out in 1894 at Rangoon by the Church Press.

Griffiths 16:2

In 1910 the Burmese Prayer Book underwent another revision. The S.P.G. Report for 19II, p. 124, states that:

“The revision of the Burmese Prayer Book has got beyond the committee stage. The services of Matins and Evensong, the Litany, and Holy Communion, are now in the press, and the rest will follow in a few months. . . . One of the chief revisers was the Rev. George Whitehead. . . . The new Prayer Book will be a great boon. The old was issued twenty-nine years ago, when the Mission was in its infancy.”

Whitehead was born in 1862, and graduated from the University of London in 1884. He was ordered deacon 1886, and ordained priest the following year, at Mandalay. He was S.P.G. missionary at Mandalay, 1888-95; officiating principal of St. John’s College, Rangoon, 1895-97; missionary at Prome, Burma, 1899-1900; principal of the Kemmendine Training Institution and missionary at St. Michael’s, Kemmendine, 1900-06; and, again, missionary at Prome, 1908, to the present time. In 1909 he compiled and issued a Christian Handbook in Burmese. It contains instructions on the Creed, the Decalogue, Holy Scriptures, points of faith and practice, preparation for Communion, Prayers (private) and Intercession. It is one of the most valuable additions to the scanty Burmese Church literature which has been produced since the Bible and the Prayer Rook were translated. The S.P.G. report for 1912, p. 134, states: “The first edition of the revised Burmese Prayer Book has been issued, also the new Burmese Hymn Book.”




Griffiths 16:3, 16:4



KAREN (Burmese Kareng, Siamese Karieng) is “the equivalent of the Burmese Kayen, signifying ‘aboriginal’ or ‘barbarian,’ a term applied to all the tribes — except the Shans — occupying the highlands of Burma.” The Karens are a people belonging to the Siamese-Chinese sub-family of the Indo-Chinese family. They are related to the Burmese by physical characteristics as well as by language, but are of a more primitive type. They inhabit the mountainous regions of Arakan, Pegu and Tenasserim, and large districts in Upper Burma, numbering all together more than a million, of whom about a quarter are said to be Christians. According to their own tradition they came from Lower China during the fourth or fifth century of our era. They are assumed to have been driven southwards by the pressure of the Shan races, before they were again made to retire into the hills by the expansion of the Mon power. The Karens could be called” the Scotch of the East.” They are industrious, taciturn and religious.

The Karen language belongs to the Tibeto-Burman group of non-Aryan monosyllabic languages. There are three main dialects, viz., the Sgau (Sgaw), the Pwo, and the Bghai (Bgway, Bwe). Of these three dialects the first is spoken by the most numerous Karen tribe, sometimes known as the White Karens, who inhabit the provinces of Pegu and Tenasserim. Pwo is spoken by the Karens who. are found from Mergui up the Tenasserim coast to the Sittang river and westward to Henzada and Bassein. Bghai is spoken by the Karens who occupy the plateau between the Sittang and Salween rivers. The Sgau (i.e., “male”) and Pwo (i.e., “female”) Karens collectively are known as “White” Karens, thus called from the colour of their clothing. The Bghai are called “Red” Karens, according to some from the colour of their clothing; while according to Nisbet and others from the fact that every male belonging to any sept or clan of this tribe has the rising sun tatooed in bright vermilion on his back, stretching from side to side across the shoulders. They are also called Karenni, and constitute an independent hill state in Lower Burma[1]. The various dialects so far resemble each other that missionary work is carried on mainly through the use of two — the Sgau and Pwo dialects.

[1] See also Sir Charles Crosthwaite, The Pacification of Burma (London, 191Z), Chap. XVII, “The Karennis, or Red Karens, and Sawlapaw,” pp. 188-208.

Having no religion except spirit worship, and only ancient traditions strangely like those of the Jews as recorded in the Old Testament, and a legend that their lost sacred books would come to them again from the West, the Sgau and Pwo Karen have become willing converts to Christianity, and are now in part rapidly settling down to permanent cultivation on the plains. While it is admitted by the missionaries themselves that Christianity has progressed very slowly among the Burmese, it has made rapid strides among the Karens. It is among the Sgau Karens that the greatest progress has been made, and the number of spirit-worshippers among them is decreasing rapidly.

The Karen was unwritten until the arrival of the missionaries, who adapted the Burmese alphabet to its use. There is now, since the reduction of the language to writing, an increasing literature in Karen. The Sgau Karen was reduced to writing by the American Baptist missionaries, Jonathan Wade and Francis Mason; about the year 1833. The Bghai Karen has never yet been satisfactorily reduced to writing, and both the American Baptists and the English Church have always worked solely through the medium of Sgau Karen, which adds considerably to the difficulty of the work.

Most of the Karen mission publications were printed at the Mission Press at Tounghoo. This place stands on the western bank of the Sittang river, midway between Rangoon and Mandalay. Extending for miles to the north-west, east and south-east, are the Karen districts. Beyond them are the Shans; the Chinese-Shans, and, lastly, the Chinese.

The earliest translation of portions of the Prayer Book into Sgau Karen was the Order for Morning Prayer, made, under the direction of the Rev. Charles Warren, by native teachers of Tounghoo and a native Christian government magistrate. It was not printed, but used for divine services in manuscript. Warren was born in 1837 at Sutton Waldron, England. He was educated at St. Augustine’s College; ordered deacon 1868, and ordained priest 1869, at Calcutta. He was stationed at Rangoon from 1868 to 1873, and at Tounghoo from 1873 to 1875, originally to work among the Burmese and the Shans. Here he died, June 3, 1875, from fever and an epileptic fit, caused by overwork and anxiety.

Griffiths 75:1

In 1877 appeared the printed edition of the Order for the Morning and Evening Prayer translated by T. W. Windley, to which the same translator published additions in 1878-79. The 1877 edition was printed at Tounghoo, Karen Institute Press, Moung Phoo, 12mo. It contained title, reverse blank; Order for Morning and Evening Prayer throughout the year (pp. 3-16); pp. 17, 18 blank. The Litany (pp. 19-29); pp. 30-32, blank.’ The Holy Communion (pp. 33-52); the Public Baptism of Infants (53-58) ; Questions in the Bway dialect (59-64); Holy Marriage (65-75); the Burial of the Dead (76-84); the Church Catechism (88-96); the Churching of Women (97-8); Visitation of the Sick (99-100); the Order of Confirmation (101-104); the Form and Manner of Making Deacons (105-112).
Griffiths 75:2
Windley’s work was revised by the Rev. Wordsworth Everard Jones in 1883. Jones was born in London, 1856; educated at St. Augustine’s College; ordered deacon 1879, and ordained priest 1881, at Rangoon. He was stationed at Tounghoo from 1879 to 1890, when illness compelled him to give up his work. In 1882 he had published a translation of “Church Hymns into Sgau Karen.”
Griffiths 75:3 (1883, reissued 1887)

A new translation of almost the whole Prayer Book was printed in 1892 at the English Church Mission Press, Tounghoo, for the S.P.C.K., 34, 422 pages, 8vo. It contains an English title (p. 1); reverse having the words: “Tentative and incomplete edition sanctioned by the bishop of the diocese.” Follows on p. 3 the title in Karen, which, transliterated by the Rev. Samuel R. Vinton of the Karen Baptist Mission, reads as follows:

* Pgha ghaw mü | Lee tah bah tü K’pah. | Daw tah mah sa-kra-may daw tah a’th’noa’gha | Daw tah boo taw bah taw a’do a’ teh dee | È-K’-lee a’ tah o pgho | a’ lü a’lah o wè a’ tho | daw Saw Da-wce a’-tah see taw p’trer t’naw | way Taw-oo | È-K’-lee a’tah o pgho poo nee tah a’ law | (1892) | t’k’ to Khaw K’yah kwce see chee.

Reverse of this title-page is blank, except for a vignette. P. 5 table of contents; p. 6 blank, except for the ligature of the letters J. H. S.; p. 7 begins the text of the preface. The individual headings are in English and in Karen, but the running head lines only in Karen.

The translator was the Rev. Alexander Salmon, a master builder of the Karen Mission, assisted by Tharah Tah Keh. Salmon was born in 1859 at Finborough Magna, England. He received his education at St. Augustine’s College; was ordered deacon 1884, and ordained priest 1885, by the bishop of Rangoon, the Right Rev. John Miller Strachan. He was stationed at Tounghoo as soon as he was made deacon. In 1899 this “translator, printer, teacher, administrator, physician, chaplain, missionary, friend and adviser of the Karens far and near, reached England, to die in the Southern hospital at Liverpool on May 5, 1899, within only a few hours of his landing.”

Griffiths 75:4
The S.P.G. report for 1905, p. 105, states that: “The [Karen] hymn book is being revised, and the Sgau Karen Prayer Book will be soon ready.” It was published from the printing press at Tounghoo in 1909. The main translational work for this edition was done by the Rev. John Hackney, who died at Coonoor in 1911, after a residence among the Karens of thirty-three years. In 1892 he compiled the Karen hymn book, the revision of which is mentioned in the report of the S.P.G. just quoted. The report for 1912, p. 134, states that; “Owing to the death of Mr. Hackney the revised Karen Hymn Book still awaits commpletion.”
Griffiths 75:5
An abridged version of the Liturgy into Pwo (Bway) Karen was made by Mr. Jones and a native assistant, Shemone, in 1884.
Griffiths 73:1

Into Karenni a portion of the Liturgy was translated by a native assistant, Shah Poh. But as yet Christianity has made little impression upon the clans inhabiting the semi-independent territory of Karenni.



Griffiths 74:1



THE Malayan languages are a linguistic family of great simplicity of structure and of sounds, used by the natives of the Malay peninsula, of Madagascar, of the islands of the Dutch East Indies, the Philippines, Polynesia and New Zealand. The Malay language proper is the lingua franca of the East Indian archipelago.

An Arabic alphabet is used for writing Malay, this having been introduced at the time of the Mohammedan conquest. A great number of Arabic words have also been added to the vocabulary.

The earliest recorded use of a Malayan language for evangelistic purposes was in 1629, when St. Matthew’s gospel in Dutch and Malay was published, the Malay translation being the work of Albert Cornelisson Ruyl (Cornelisz Ruil), a merchant in the employ of the Dutch East Indies Company. A few years later, in 1662, ·Daniel Brouwer (Brouwerius, Brouerius), one of the Dutch ministers in Java, began a translation of the Bible, using roman letters in writing and printing it. Roman letters have been used for writing and printing the Malagasy and the Polynesian Malayan

languages. But in the Malaysian islands, the Arabic letters having become naturalized long before the time named above, the use of the roman letters for writing Malay has not widely found favour.

The mission to Borneo is wholly a mission of the English Church, and in particular of the S.P.G. The population of Borneo, the fifth largest known island of the globe, connsists mostly of Dyaks (the aborigines), Malays, and Chinese (or Dyak-Chinese). The principal languages spoken are the Malay, Sea Dyak, Land Dyak, Milanow and Chinese.

The earliest translation of portions of the Liturgy, consisting of the Order for Morning and Evening Prayer, daily throughout the year, was published in connection with a translation of the Book of Psalms into Malay, of which a third edition appeared in 1836, 37, entitled: The Psalter, or Psalms of David, with the Order for Morning and Evening Prayer daily throughout the year. Penang: Prayer-book and Homily Society. 306 pages, 8vo. This, however, must have been intended for use among the Malays in other parts than Borneo, for Rajah (Sir) James Brooke (1803-68) did not land at Kuching (or Sarawak) until the year 1838. The appointment of Brooke in 1842 as Governor of Sarawak opened Borneo to the English, and in 1848 the island of Labuan, on the north-west coast of Borneo, and now the see of a bishopric, became part of the British empire.

not listed by Griffiths

The first translation into Malay of considerable portions of the Prayer Book was made by the Rev. (later Bishop) F. T. McDougall. The book was in Malay-Arabic characters, and was published in 1857 at Singapore, from lithographed plates, 8vo. It included the Psalter. The expenses were borne by the S.P.C.K.

Francis Thomas McDougall was born at Sydenham, England, in 1817. He was ordained in 1845 by Bishop Stanley, of Norwich. In December, 1847, he set out for Borneo, to do mission work under the auspices of the newly-constituted Rajah of Sarawak, Sir James Brooke. In the part of Borneo where McDougall settled all three races were to be found, viz., the Malays, who had come over from the Malay peninsula on the opposite shore and were the ruling class, the native Dyaks, and the immigrant Chinese.

The fact that the young missionary was a graduate in medicine assisted him greatly in his work, although the idea of medical missions was not then understood, and was even frowned on by many. As early as 1850 McDougall speaks of the Malay translation of the Catechism, from which he proceeded to the translation of the entire Book of Common Prayer. The “Borneo Church Mission Fund” was set up in 1846, in answer to Rajah Brooke’s request for help. Under its auspices McDougall had begun his work. In 1853 the mission was transferred to the S.P.G. and McDougall became the Society’s first missionary to Borneo. A few years later he was elected the first bishop of Labuan and Sarawak. In his work as bishop he was very successful. Converts, both among the Dyaks and the Chinese, increased. He re-wrote in the roman character the Malay Prayer Book, which he had published in 1857, and prepared, together with Zehnder, A Catechism of the Christian Religion in Malay and English, for the use of the missions in the Church in Borneo, to assist and guide the native teachers in catechising. This was published by the S.P.C.R. in 1868. It contained the Malay in roman characters on the one side, and the English on the opposite page. Ill-health compelled the bishop to return to England in 1867 and to resign his bishopric the following spring. He died in 1886.


Griffiths 100:1

One of the most faithful co-labourers of Bishop McDougall was William Henry Gomes, a Sinhalese, from Bishop’s College. He was ordered deacon in 1850, Calcutta, and ordained priest in 1856, Labuan. He was stationed at Lundu, among the Dyaks, from 1853 to 1868; at Singapore, on the southern extremity of the Malayan Peninsula, from 1872 until 1892. For his practical work and his literary productions Gomes was made a Lambeth B.D. in 1878. He died at Singapore, March I, 1902, the crowning work of his life, the Hokkien Colloquial Prayer Book, having just been published[1]. In 1864 he edited Malay portions of the Prayer Book, consisting of the Morning and Evening Prayer and the Communion Services, in the revision of which Bishop McDougall participated. About five years later, in 1869, the Collects, Epistles and many of the Sunday Gospels were published, translated by the Rev. Johann Ludwig Zehnder. The translator was born at Stallikon, Switzerland, in 1827. He studied at the University of Zurich, went out to Borneo, was ordered deacon 1862, and ordained priest 1864, by Bishop McDougall. He was stationed at Quop [Kuab] and Murdang, 1862-68, and at Lundu, among the Dyaks, 1868, until his retirement in rB97. He died at Lundu, February 10, 1898.

[1] See Chap. XL, toward the end.

Griffiths 100:3 (1864, apparently untraced)

Griffiths 100:4 (1869, apparently untraced)

An enlarged edition of the Liturgy was brought out by Gomes in 1882, at Singapore; and, again, in 1893, entitled: The Order of Morning and Evening Prayer, and Administraation of the Sacraments, and other rites of the Church, in Malay. St. Andrew’s Church Mission, Singapore; American Mission Press, 1893. 150 pages, 8vo. The book is printed in roman character. It does not contain the Psalter nor the Ordinal.
Griffiths 100:5 (1882); 100:6 (1893)

In 1895 another edition was published at Sarawak, conntaining the whole Prayer Book in Malay, except the Psalter, Athanasian Creed, the Epistles and the Gospels. It was translated by Bishop George Frederick Hose and Zehnder. It was brought out by the S.P.G. Mission Press at Kuching.

Hose was graduated B.A. from St. John’s College, Cambridge, in 1861. He was ordered deacon the same year, and ordained priest 1862, by the bishop of Ely. On Ascension Day of 1881 he was consecrated in Lambeth Palace Chapel third bishop of Labuan, etc., under the title of bishop of Singapore, Labuan and Sarawak[2]. He had been Archdeacon of Singapore from 1875 until 1881. In 1908 he resigned his bishopric and returned to England.



Griffiths 100:7

[2] Since 1909 Singapore is a separate diocese, with the Right Rev. Charles James Ferguson-Davie as its first incumbent.





DYÁK (Dayak) is a name applied by the Malay invaders to the people inhabiting the interior and a considerable portion of the coast of the great island of Borneo, who seem to be its aborigines. Physically and linguistically they all belong to the Malayan race. The traditional home of the Dyaks is in the mountains of the central interior, from which the so-called Sea-Dyaks, once famous as pirates; have wandered farthest. The great work done by the first Rajah of Sarawak, Sir James Brooke, seconded by the teachings of Christian missionaries, has made the Dyaks a different people. Head-hunting, slavery, piracy and infanticide have come to an end to a large extent, and the number of Christians is greatly increasing. The Sea-Dyaks, to be correct, retain to this day the hereditary energy of predatory habits. The Land-Dyaks are a milder race, but inferior to the former in civilization and impressibility.

The pioneer work among the Dyak tribes begun by Bishop McDougall was continued by the Rev. Walter Chambers, who arrived from England in 1851. He had been ordered deacon in rB49, and ordained priest the following year. He went to the Sea-Dyaks on the Batang-Lupar, to the east of Sarawak, and its branches, working at Banting from 1851 to 1868. He was the pioneer in the work of committing the Sea-Dyak to writing, using for this purpose the roman characters. The chief contributor, however, to the written language for these people has been the Rev. John Perham, who is also the author of some papers on the religion and the folklore of the Sea-Dyaks published in the Journal of the Straits Branch of the Asiatic Society.





Griffiths states that the language of the Sea-Dyaks is now called Iban, and that of the Land-Dyaks Bideyuh.

Of the Liturgy, Chambers translated The Morning and Evening Prayer, the Litany and the Communion Service, in 1865. This was followed by a translation of the Prayer Book Psalter (Surat Zabor, 178 pages, 8vo) by Perham, published by the S.P.C.K. in 1880. Eight years later the Mission Press at Sarawak sent out the translation of the Collects, Epistles and Occasional Services and revision of other portions of the Prayer Book, published before, by Perham and others. Finally, in 1892, a revision of the whole Prayer Book, excepting the Psalms, the Athanasian Creed and some of the Occasional Offices, was published.

Upon the resignation of Bishop McDougall, in 1868, Archdeacon Chambers became the new bishop, in accordance with the express desire of the new Rajah of Sarawak, Sir Charles Johnson Brooke (1829- ), nephew of the first Rajah, and the well-known wishes of the Dyaks, to whom the archdeacon had endeared himself by his faithful work among them. Bishop Chambers resided at Sarawak from 1869 until his resignation in 1879. On his consecration, in 1869, the Straits Settlements were added to his jurisdiction. After twenty-eight years of faithful work among the Dyaks and in Borneo generally Chambers resigned in broken health. He died in London, December 21, 1893.

John Perham, the scholar among the missionaries to the Sea-Dyaks, was born in 1844. He was educated at St. Augustine’s College, Canterbury; ordered deacon, 1867, and ordained priest in 1870 by Bishop McDougall. He was stationed at Banting from 1868 to 1870 and from 1884 to 1889. From 1870 until 1883 he was at Krian, Straits Settlements. At Singapore he ministered from 1890 to 1892. In 1891 he became archdeacon of Singapore, a position which he held until 1901, when he resigned and returned to England. He came back to the mission a few years later, and was stationed at Kuching during the absence on furlough of Archdeacon Arthur Frederick Sharp. Of late the venerable archdeacon had been stationed at Banting, in the diocese of Sarawak, where, in spite of advancing years and not too robust health, he laboured strenuously; and again at Kuching until the state of his health made it necessary for him to return to Europe (S.P.G. Report, 1912, page 146).

William Chalmers received his education at St. Andrew’s University and at St. Augustine’s College. He was ordained deacon, with Hackett and Glover, on Trinity Sunday, 1858, by Bishop McDougall, and priest the following year. He was selected to open the mission among the Land-Dyaks. He worked faithfully for three years, from 1858 to 1861, and translated, together with James Glover, in 1860 portions of the Prayer Book. In 1861 he was transferred to Victoria, Australia, and was for many years stationed in different places. In 1892 he was consecrated bishop of Goulburn in Goulburn Cathedral, New South Wales. He died November 13, 1901.


Griffiths 28:1 (1880)

Griffiths 28:2 (1891)
These are Sea-Dayak (Iban) translations; others not listed by Griffiths.

A 1914 Sea-Dayak translation (Griffiths 28:3) is online

The Morning and Evening Prayer and the Communion Services, were translated by the Rev. Frederic William Abé, and published in 1865. The translator, Friedrich Wilhelm Abé, was born at Offenbach, Germany, in 1829. He was a Lutheran, and received his education in the fatherland. In 1862 he was sent out by the S.P.G. to work under Bishop McDougall. He laboured hard and faithfully for almost fourteen years, being absent on leave but once, 1872-73. He died June 11, 1876. He was a very skilful musician, an accomplishment that proved most serviceable in his work, and he had been one of Bishop McDougall’s “most faithful co-labourers.”

A revised and enlarged edition of Abé’s translation was brought out by the Rev. Charles William Fowler, at Kuching, 1885-86. The reviser was born in 1859, and was educated at St. Augustine’s College. He was S.P.G. missionary, stationed at Quop, from 1882 until 1892. He also translated the Collects, Epistles and Gospels (Quop, 1888). From Quop he was transferred to Banting, 1892-97, was precentor of Bermuda Cathedral, 1898-99, and then returned to England.


Griffiths 27:1 (1889); others not listed by Griffiths. These are Land-Dayak (Bideyuh) translations.


The Nicobar Islands are a British group of twelve inhabited and seven uninhabited islands in the Bay of Bengal, between Sumatra and the Andaman Islands, to which latter they are administratively appended. Car Nicobar, the most northerly island, is by far the most densely populated, having, in 1901 over 3,500 native inhabitants out of a total population of 6,000. The Nicobarese are a Far Eastern race, having generally the characteristics of the less civilized tribes of the Malay Peninsula and the south-eastern portion of the Asiatic continent. They speak varieties of the Môn-Annam group of languages, though the several dialects that prevail are mutually unintelligible.

The credit of starting a Church of England mission at Car Nicobar belongs to a Tamil catechist, V. N. Solomon. With great courage, skill and devotion he worked on that island since 1896. He lived to see a church of 128 living converts, of whom the first were confirmed in December, 1907. He made a thorough study of the Nicobarese language,. customs and habits, and his reports thereon were considered so valuable ethnologically as to be sent to the Royal Society for publication. He reduced the native language, the “Car” dialect of Nicobar, to writing, and translated into it, in roman characters, a portion of the Prayer Book, consisting of The Order for Morning Prayer (London, S.P.C.K., 1908, 15 pages), and a part of the Gospel of St. Matthew. He passed away in 1909, November 22.

Solomon’s work on Car Nicobar is now continued by John Richardson, a pure Nicobarese, who had been trained since 1907 at Mandalay. He took up his work in 1912, accompanied by Canon Whitehead. The latter, while at Car Nicobar, translated the whole of St. Luke and the most frequently used parts of the Prayer Book. The Prayer Book (with Psalms used in the offices) he had cyclostyled and taught the congregation to read it in church. Whitehead found Solomon’s translation work of not much use, and has done the work all over again with a more careful adaptation of the roman alphabet to the sounds of the Nicobarese language. (S.P.G. Report, 1912, p. 138.)

Griffiths 120:1 (1914?)



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