Rachel S. Voight, 1842

Rachel Voigt was the daughter of Hannah and Joshua Marshman. She married the chief medical officer for Serampore and spent many years assisting in the educational work begun by her mother, who died in 1847. See W. H. Carey, ed., Oriental Christian Biography, 3 vols. (Calcutta: J. Thomas, Baptist Mission House, 1852) 3: 487-88; Ernest A. Payne, The First Generation: Early Leaders of the Baptist Missionary Society in England and India (London: Carey Press, [1936]) , p. 89.

Rachel S. Voigt, Serampore, to Joseph Angus, Secretary, Baptist Mission Society, 6 Fen Court, Fenchurch Street, London, 16 March 1842.

Serampore March 16th 1842


I trust you will pardon my taking the liberty to trouble you on a subject, so trifling perhaps as I need an apology for its introduction to your notice.

Towards the close of 1840, I observed in the Baptist Magazine for that year the entry of a Donation of one guinea to Serampore. And being Secretary to the Serampore Ladies Benevolent Society, whose object it is to aid the various Schools and other Institutions in this Town (particularly those founded by my now deceased Father Dr Marshman and his beloved associates) I wrote to Mrs Burgon of Bucklersbury requesting her to procure the above sum from Mr Dyer and remitt to me in a manner I specified—

Of the result of her application to Mr D, who was doubtless then suffering from the unhappy state of mind which is said to have been the cause of his melancholy end, she thus writes— “I called several times upon poor Mr Dyer and at last I saw him and ascertained that he had no money on behalf of the Serampore Mission in the name of Miss Angus”—You will find the entry in question in Page 219 of the Bap Mag for April 1840 placed among Receipts from Newcastle under the head of ‘Contributions’ thus “Miss Angus for Serampore 1£.1s.0d.”

It is perhaps right to mention that I forwarded by Mr [Flaxman?] of Adelaide a report of our Society in 1839 to Mr G Angus whom I knew to have been an old & dear friend of my late revered Parent—whence the Donation may have proceeded.

Should you on investigation deem me a just claimant I shall feel obliged by your forwarding the sum in question to my Sister Mrs Capt Havelock now in England who may be heard of at the Chambers of my brother Mr Marshman 1 Inner Temple Lane

I am


Your obedt Sert

Rachel S. Voigt

Secy S L B Socty

Text: Methodist Archives, MAW, Box 39, 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. 228-29. John Dyer (1783-1841), first full-time secretary of the BMS, experienced some mental instability at the end of his life, resulting in his death by drowning on 22 July 1841. In a box of autograph letters collected by Joseph Angus, now in the possession of the Angus Library, Regent’s Park College, is a letter from William Brodie Gurney (see letters 172, 184, 215), nephew of the bookseller Marha Gurney and treasurer of the BMS and Angus’s father-in-law. His letter is addressed to Angus, at that time in Cornwall, and dated 15 July 1841, just one week prior to Dyer’s death. In the letter Gurney pleads for Angus to return to London because of Dyer’s deteriorating mental condition:

You will wonder how I came to write but the fact is Mr Dyer is so unwell as to be unfit for business—He is in a nervous fever. He was here but unfit to come into the Come room and I had to go backwards & forwards to him. I think his mind is under some delusion which seems to haunt him but I do not drop this The medical man says nothing but complete rest will set him right as I have promised Mr Steane who is the only one who has seen him besides myself & who agrees with me that he sh.d be released from business for a season that I would write to suggest whatever you can make any arrangement by which you can be dispensed with in Cornwall Mr Sturgis says there is nothing of any importance claiming our attention here but still Mr Dyer will not stay away and the excitement is highly injurious to him— … If Mr Dyer is not better and you are out I think I shall not leave him at present but become Deputy Secy

(Autographs: Book II, Angus Papers, shelfmark 24.h.33, Angus Library, Regent’s Park College, Oxford.)

George Fife Angas (1789-1878) was originally from Newcastle and the Baptist church under Richard Pengilly, the same congregation in which Joseph Angus had attended. Angas was instrumental in the founding of the Colony of South Australia, serving as a director for both the South Australian Company and the South Australian Bank. He eventually emigrated to South Australia in 1851. John Clark Marshman (1794-1877), Rachel's brother, assisted for many years in the work at Serampore and became, like his father, a significant writer, linguist, and educator