discussions with persian sufis.
SARGENT, John. A Memoir of the Rev. Henry Martyn ... Thirteenth Edition. London, Seeley and Burnside, 1837.
Small 8vo. Contemporary full calf, spine with raised bands and gilt-stamped red morocco lettering-piece; overall richly decorated in gilt and blind, all edges gilt; pp. [iii]-xii, 435, steel-engraved portrait frontispiece by Finden, wood-engraved vignette on title, bound without half-title; minimal rubbing to binding; light offsetting from endpapers, marginal spots to frontispiece and title; presentation inscription, dated 1838, on initial blank; a good copy, decoratively bound, of a scarce title.
First published in 1816, this is an account of a Christian missionary's life, activity and philosophical debates in Northern India and most importantly, Persia. The Truro-born missionary and translator Henry Martyn (1781-1812) was prolific in Arabic, Persian and Urdu, into which languages he translated biblical texts. In India 'he decided that Arabia and Persia would provide a more congenial environment, free of colonial restraints, to improve his translations of the Bible into the languages of the Islamic world. Having obtained leave to travel via Calcutta and Bombay, he left north India in October 1810. Martyn was proved correct, for the revised Persian manuscript of the New Testament was rapidly completed in 1811–12 in Shiraz, where he also engaged local scholars and Sufis in discussions about the nature and proofs of religious truth. He compiled two tracts in Persian in reply to the evidences for Islam, particularly from miracles, proposed by these scholars, and a third work entitled ‘On the vanity of the Sofee system and on the truth of the religion of Moses and Jesus’. Yet despite the seemingly more receptive atmosphere, resistance to conversion was just as strong as in India, leading within a few months to Martyn's departure. Apart from his anxiety to complete further revisions of the scriptures and to ensure their publication in the Arab world as well as in India and Persia, Martyn's by now frenetic journey westward was impelled by hopes of a further meeting with Lydia Grenfell. However, on 16 October 1812 he died a lonely death from tuberculosis at Tokat in Anatolia, en route for Constantinople. He was thirty-one. He was buried in an Armenian graveyard; his grave monument is now in Tokat Museum' (ODNB).