AT ABOUT SIX in the evening on this day, 11 March 1812, fire broke out in a print shop at Serampore, India. The mission staff there were able to rescue a few deeds and financial records, but could salvage little more. Around midnight, the roof caved in, sending a pillar of fire high into the sky.
Twelve years of missionary toil went up with those flames. William Carey, pioneer Baptist missionary to India, had produced a polyglot dictionary of several Indian languages. It burned. The conflagration also consumed Scriptures already printed in Indian tongues, Bengali and Sanskrit grammars, and twelve thousand reams of paper. Melted by the fire were fourteen special fonts of Asian typefaces.
Carey was in Calcutta when the disaster struck. When fellow-missionary Joshua Marshman took him the news in the morning, he was so stunned he could not say a word for a several moments.
Keep reading this brief account from William Carey’s Work Went up in Flames: