This gentleman, whose great learning and his zealous labours for the benefit of the native population of India during half a century have often been acknowledged, died some days ago at his residence in London nearly eighty-three years of age.


Mr. John Clark Marshman was the son οf Dr. Marshman, a well-known Baptist Missionary at Serampore, in Bengal.  He was educated there, and was very early introduced to the business management of religious missionary agencies in India: but soon turned his attention to secular works of social improvement in that country, and became an active journalist.  He established the first newspaper in the Bengalee language, and the Friend of India, which was the first English weekly paper in India.  He compiled a history of Bengal, and at a later period wrote the history of British India.  He was also the author οf a series of useful law-books for the Indian public.  He held, during ten years, the laborious post of official translator, but spent the whole οf its salary, with £30,000 οf his private fortune, or the profits of his literary and business undertakings, in building and maintaining a College for the higher education οf the natives. In 1852 he came home to live in England, but continued his researches, and produced several historical and biographical works οf standard value.  He was a candidate for a seat in Parliament at several elections, but did not succeed in that object.  The affairs οf the East India Railway Company still afforded him useful occupation.  The order of the Star οf India was conferred upon Mr. Marshman by Lord Lawrence as a recognition of his service to our Eastern Empire.


The Illustrated London News, July 28, 1877, p. 93.



Click here for the 1893 Dictionary of National Biography entry for John Clark Marshman.



John Clark Marshmanborn in Bristol, England, and son of Joshua and Hannah Marshmanmanaged many activities at the Serampore Mission and the Serampore Press for many years, before and especially after the death of Rev. William Ward in 1823.  Evidence of Marshman's management of the Press appears below in a receipt he gave to the Sheriff of Calcutta for the Sheriff's purchase of advertising space in the Bengali newspaper Sumachar Durpun [Mirror of News] (est. May 31, 1818), "the first newspaper ever printed in any oriental language" (John Clark Marshman, The Life and Times of Carey, Marshman, and Ward: Embracing the the History of the Serampore Mission, London, 1859, vol. 2, p. 163).  John Clark Marshman served as the editor of the newspaper, and as the document below indicates, his public title was "Superintendent of the Press."  The profits of the Press were reinvested in the Serampore Mission and Serampore College (est. 1818).


To enlarge, click on the image.


Marshman also engaged in many literary and cultural activities in Bengal before his return to England in 1852, five years after the death of his mother Hannah in 1847.  John Clark Marshman was an eminent journalist and historian, and wrote a definitive treatment of the Serampore Trio (The Life and Times of Carey, Marshman, and Ward Embracing the History of the Serampore Mission, 2 vols., London: Longman, Brown, Green, Longmans & Roberts, 1859).  Among the key works that he wrote are included:

Of interest, John Clark Marshman also was a member of the Agricultural and Horticultural Society of India, which William Carey founded on September 14, 1820.  The Serampore Press―under the management of John Clark Marshman―published Transactions of the Agricultural and Horticultural Society of India.  In the 1838 edition of the Transactions, the following facts about John Clark Marshman and the Serampore Mission appear:


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Created:    June 30, 2015            Updated:    July 1, 2015