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The Cambridge Press, 1638-1692: A Reexamination of the Evidence concerning the Bay Psalm Book and the Eliot Indian Bible as Well as Other Contemporary Books and People

By George Parker Winship | Go to book overview

CHAPTER X
PRINTING THE BIBLE IN INDIAN

ROUTINE PROGRESS

ELIOT'S translation of the GOSPEL OF MATTHEW was printed in the autumn of 1655. The first chapters of this, with such changes as the translator decided on four years later, were reset in the smaller type for which Usher was paid in September 1659, and these, making the two forms of a single sheet, eight pages, went through the press before the end of the winter of 1659/60. It was probably only a sample run, to show how the work would look and subject to criticism. The type pages were presumably then tied up to await further orders from London. These came in a letter dated April 28:

Concerning youer printing of the New Testament in the Indian language, a sheet wherof you have transmitted to us, wee concur with youer selves therin, and doe approve of that provision you have made for printing, conceiving and offering as our judgments that it is better to print fifteen hundred then but a thousand; hopeing that by incouragement from Sion Collidge, with whom wee have late conference, you may bee enabled to print fifteen hundred of the ould Testament likewise; knowing that the foundation of true religion is from the bible the ould and New Testament and that the furtherance therof is of principle concernment; and further considering the mutablenes of the times and the lives of those whose hartes are stired up in that worke especially Mr. Elliott whoe wee heare hath translated the whole bible into the Indian language wee have out of our desire to further a worke of soe great concernment haveing hopes that something will bee collected in particular with relation to the printing of the ould Testament, agreed with an able Printer for three yeares upon the tearmes and conditions enclosed and understanding by Mr Ushers agent that there is nothing wanting except paper wee have sent an hundred and four reames of every sume* the sheet that is now sent over to us is of; That soe there might bee nothing to hinder the dispatch of the whole bible hopeing that both presses being imployed and all other business layed aside that might hinder it,

____________________
*
The letter as received from London and read at the meeting of the Commissioners undoubtedly made sense, but the clerk who rewrote it in the record book of the Plymouth members of the board apparently did not understand one word that was used.

-208-

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