28 September 1842

This letter by Parsons concerns Henry Beddy and his wife, both of whom were appointed in 1831 as BMS missionaries to India, working primarily in Patna; the Beddys retired in 1849. See the previous letter for more on Beddy; also E. Daniel Potts, British Baptist Missionaries in India, 1793-1837 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1967) 246.

Sophia Parsons, 19 Colet Place, [London], to [Joseph Angus, Baptist Mission House, London], 28 September 1842.

Dear Sir

I called on Monday at Fen Court hoping to have an opportunity of representing to you the case of the Patna Orphan School—but I was disappointed in seeing you and I venture to address you on that subject by letter —You are aware that at the close of last year a Boarding School in connection with the Baptist Mission was commenced, for Native Female Orphans at Patna—It was commenced under a deep conviction of the necessity of such an Institution to afford a home for the destitute beings who deprived of their parents, generally become slaves in Native Families—and with the prayerful hope that the children thus gathered under Xtian instruction and influence with the superadded grace of God might hereafter become blessings in the midst of the Heathen—It was commenced without any definite means of support—and before any dwelling had been prepared for the accommodation of the Children. The liberality of Friends in the neighborhood has hitherto provided them with food and clothing—but they are accommodated rather inconveniently in a room at Mr Beddy’s—On the subject Miss Beddy who has the superintendence of the School there writes—May 30/42—“Our 8 Orphan girls are making progress and in every respect afford satisfaction &c—I should feel quite happy on their account if a dwelling were provided for them—they are now constantly in my room and the heat is suffocating—but this is preferable to their sleeping in the small room at first assigned them”—Since my return to England I have been endeavoring to raise money for the erection of a building for them, and the Xtian Native Female who instructs them in their domestic duties—in the hope of its being completed this coming cold season to be ready for their reception before the hot season again begins (which is as early as the Month of March—) I have not succeeded in my attempt as I could wish in Consequence of the extraordinary efforts made for the Jubilee Fund this year—The Store I have collected does not exceed 20£’s—a sum scarcely sufficient to authorise the commencement of a building which it is estimated would cost between a 150 and 200£’s—In a letter received by the last overland from Mr Beddy it appears that the trouble, fatigue, and anxiety, necessarily connected with building in an Eastern Clime might be dispensed with if money could immediately be obtained He says “The Native Hospital to the north of my house is now for sale—it would make in every respect a most desirable place for the Refuge and having been offered the refusal I have made an offer under certain reservations of 200£s for it, about 1 fourth its real value I have got no definite answer but rather think they will not let it go for so small a sum—“ The House I remember it is near Mr B’s—and is in every respect well-suited to the purpose—being a plain airy building—standing in a compound of considerable size—I once named it as a desirable abode for the children but at that time there was little prospect of obtaining it—it has been suggested to me that one object of the Jubilee Fund is to aid in the Establishment of Schools wherever needed—and this has encouraged me to lay before you the claims of Patna and to entreat aid for its orphan Institution from that Fund were it a subject that admitted of delay I might have shrunk from making the appeal—but nothing has yet been done to raise the Native Female fund in that part of Hindoosthum of which Patna is the Chief City—and an Institution of this kind is the only means of promoting that object to any extent—The children taught in this school may in all probability become teachers of those who secluded in their own houses have not the opportunity of gaining instruction—or hereafter at the heads of their own humble households—be patterns of domestic order and social enjoyment—a dwelling is at present the principal thing needed—their future support admits not of a doubt even should the children be multiplied to 10 times their present number—Annual subscriptions have been charitably promised toward the object from friends in this country but hitherto they have been maintained without aid from England—That the Committee may be disposed to consider the case and generously to respond to the appeal is the sincere desire dear Sir of

Yours most respectfully

Sophia Parsons

Septr 28/42

19 Colet Place

Text: Methodist Archives, MAW, Box 39 (BMS 1468), 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, 253-55.