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.