Baptizing in the Ganges
at Serampore

Born: Oc­to­ber 10, 1769, Der­by, Eng­land.

Died: March 7, 1823, Se­ram­pore, In­dia.



One of the cel­e­brat­ed tri­um­vir­ate at Ser­am­pore, Mr. Ward…learned the print­er’s trade in his na­tive town, and subs­eq­uent­ly be­came ed­it­or of the Der­by Mer­cury. Af­ter­ward he ed­it­ed pa­pers in Staf­ford and Hull.

In Au­gust 1796, dur­ing his re­si­dence in Hull, he unit­ed with the Bap­tist church there. It was be­lieved that he could best pro­mote the cause of his mas­ter by de­vot­ing him­self to the work of the Chris­tian min­is­try, and a be­ne­vo­lent friend of­fered to pay his ex­pens­es dur­ing his pre­pa­ra­to­ry course. He ac­cord­ing­ly re­nounced jour­nal­ism and gave him­self to the­o­lo­gic­al stu­dy un­der the dir­ect­ion of Rev. Dr. Faw­cett, at Ewood Hall, York­shire.

A few months af­ter­ward, learn­ing that the Bap­tist Mis­sion­ary So­ci­e­ty wished to se­cure a miss­iona­r­y print­er, in or­der to pub­lish the Ben­ga­lee trans­la­tion of the Scrip­tures, Mr. Ward of­fered his ser­vic­es for the pur­pose, to­ge­ther with the preach­ing of the Gos­pel to the hea­then, as op­por­tu­ni­ty of­fered; and May 29, 1799, in com­pa­ny with Jo­shua Marsh­man, Will­iam Grant, Da­ni­el Brun­sdon, and their fa­mi­lies, he sailed for In­dia.

Mr. Ward print­ed, at Ser­am­pore, the Ben­ga­lee New Tes­ta­ment and oth­er trans­la­tions, and wrote An Ac­count of the Writ­ing, Re­li­gion, and Man­ners of the Hin­doos, which was pub­lished at Ser­am­pore in 1811, and was re­print­ed in Eng­land and Am­er­i­ca. It was a work of great val­ue, and such it still re­mains. In 1819, Mr. Ward vi­sit­ed Eng­land, where he was most heart­i­ly wel­comed as the first mis­sion­a­ry who had re­turned to tell the sto­ry of the tri­umphs of the cross in Ind­ia. He al­so vis­it­ed Hol­land, and sub­se­quent­ly the Unit­ed States, where he spent three months, deep­ened the mis­sion­a­ry in­ter­est in the church­es, and re­ceived for the college at Ser­am­pore con­tri­bu­tions to the amount of ten thou­sand dol­lars. He re­turned to In­dia in 1821, and died, af­ter a short ill­ness…aged fif­ty-three years.

Burrage, pp. 124–26

Ward died of chol­e­ra at Ser­am­pore, March 7, 1823. In Rip­pon’s Re­gis­ter, Vol­ume 3, Ward, paid trib­ute to the mem­o­ry of his com­pan­ion, who, it seems, had once been a scoff­er:

No longer now he doubts the word of God,
Nor madly tramples on the Savior’s blood;
He feels the power and majesty divine
Which shine in every page, in every line;
Wonders he ne’er beheld the scene before,
And longs to bear the news to every shore.

To prove the change divine, his prayer is heard;
To India’s shore he bears the heavenly word;
Jesus accepts the soul his grace has won;
On India’s plains arrived, his work is done;
Content, the way to heathen lands is shown,
He follows Mercy to the world unknown.