H. Hope, 1842

The Society for Promoting Female Education in China, India and the East was formed in 1834. Its purpose was to send women teachers to various English schools already established in India. These missionary teachers were contracted to work for a minimum of five years; if not, they were obligated to repay certain expenses related to their work. Six months' notice was required of an intention to quit, or, as this letter reveals, a marriage, in this instance, the one between James Thomas and Martha Wilson. Miss Hope’s letter to Angus is the result of information she has learned from a letter by “Mrs Thomas.” the former Miss Wilson. Given the time that would elapse for a letter to travel to England from India (as much as six months), we can assume that the marriage of Miss Wilson and Thomas occurred shortly after the situation described in the unsigned letter by Martha Wilson in this set of letters. If so, then Miss Wilson’s fifteen months of service to the society had come to an end. Miss Hope’s letter was read before the BMS Committee on 4 August 1842; a resolution was then passed requesting that Angus meet with Miss Hope and discuss the matter further. See The History of the Society for Promoting Female Education in the East (1847); also BMS Committee Minutes, Vol. H (Oct. 1841-Dec. 1842), f. 157.

H. Hope, Secretary of Society for Promoting Female Education in the East, to [Joseph Angus, Baptist Mission House, London], 14 July 1842.

July 14.42

Revd Sir,

I am requested by Mrs Thomas, wife of your Missionary at Calcutta, to apply to you for payment of her debt to the Society for promoting Female education in the East. Before Miss Wilson was sent out as their agent she signed an engagement binding herself, in the event of her marriage within five years after her arrival at Calcutta to refund the sum expended by the Society, on her account a fifth part being deducted for every year that shd previously elapse—

The sum expended was £150, & she married Mr Thomas fifteen months after her arrival, consequently the sum due to the Committee is £82—May I request you to have the goodness to pay this sum to Messys Williams Deacon & Co Birchin Lane, on account of the “Society for promoting female education in the East” & to address a line to our assistant secretary, Miss Webb, 61 Stafford Place, Pimlico, informing her of your having done so—she will then return to you Miss Wilson’s bond—

I am Revd Sir

Yours truly

H. Hope. Secy

Attached to the above letter is a printed account of the History, General Regulations, Bye-laws and List of Subscribers to the Society for Promoting Female Education in the East, July 1842.

Text: Methodist Archives, MAW, Box 39 (no BMS number), John Rylands University Library of Manchester; Timothy Whelan, ed., Baptist Autographs in the John Rylands University Library of Manchester, 1741-1845 (Macon: Baptist History Series, Mercer University Press, 2009, pp. 239-40.