Search      Hot    Newest Novel
HOME > Biographical > A Lady of England-The Life and Letters of Charlotte Maria Tucker > AUTHOR’S PREFACE
Font Size:【Large】【Middle】【Small】
The principal mass of materials for this Biography was placed in my hands last summer by the Rev. W. F. Tucker Hamilton, nephew of Charlotte Maria Tucker (A. L. O. E.), and since then many other relatives or friends, both in England and in India, have contributed their share of help, either in the way of written recollections or of correspondence. A paucity of materials exists as to the early part of the life; but in later years the difficulty is of a precisely opposite description, arising from a superabundance of details. Hundreds of letters, more or less interesting in themselves, have had to be put ruthlessly aside, to make room for others of greater interest. From first to last the long series between Charlotte Tucker and her own especial sister-friend, Mrs. Hamilton, takes precedence of all other letters in point of freedom, naturalness, and simplicity. The perfect trust and unshadowed devotion which subsisted between these two form a rare and beautiful picture.

It has seemed to me, and it may seem to others, that the main question in the Life of Miss Tucker is, not so[iv] much what she did here or there, in England or in India, as what she was. Many a discussion has taken place, and doubtless will again take place, as to the wisdom of her modes of Missionary work, and as to the degree of success or non-success which attended her labours. I have endeavoured to give fairly certain opposite views upon this question, even while strongly impressed with the conviction that no human being is capable of judging with respect to the worth of work done in his own age and generation. Subtle consequences, working below the surface, are often far more weighty, far more lasting, than the most approved ‘results’ following immediately upon certain efforts,—results which are, not seldom, found after a while to be of the nature of mere froth. Nothing can be more unprofitable, usually, than the task of endeavouring to ‘count conversions.’ It is of infinitely greater importance to note with what absolute self-devotion Miss Tucker entered into the toil, with what resolution she persevered in the face of obstacles, with what eagerness she did the very utmost within her power.

In writing the story of Miss Tucker’s life at Batala, it has been impossible not to write also, in some degree, the story of the Infant Church at Batala. My main object has of course been simply to show what Charlotte Maria Tucker herself was; and Mission work, Mission incidents, Missionaries themselves, come in merely incidentally, as[v] part of the background to her figure. Mention of them is accidental and fragmentary; not systematic. At the same time there is no doubt that nothing would have gratified Miss Tucker more than that any use should have been made of her letters likely to help forward the great work of Missions among the Heathen. Some years before the end, when in severe illness she thought herself to be passing away, she spoke of the possibility that her long correspondence about Batala might be so employed, and earnestly hoped that, if it were so, no one-sided account should be given, but that shadow as well as sunshine, the dark as well as the bright aspect, should be frankly presented. I have endeavoured to carry out her wishes in this particular.

It is to be regretted that at least a few letters from Mrs. Hamilton to Miss Tucker cannot be interspersed among the many from Miss Tucker to Mrs. Hamilton. None, however, have come to hand. Before Miss Tucker went to India she destroyed the bulk of her papers, after a ruthless fashion; and it does not appear that while in India she kept any of the letters that she received.

After some hesitation I have decided to give generally the names in full of those Missionaries, with whom she was most closely associated. I have also decided not to give the names of Indian Christians, with very few[vi] exceptions,—as of the Head Master of the Native Boys’ School at Batala, whom she counted a personal friend; also of one or two Ordained Native Clergymen, and one or two contributors of slight material towards this Life. In many instances it would be very difficult to decide wisely at so great a distance, and without a knowledge of the individuals themselves. It is therefore best to be on the safe side. Many of the initials are the true initials; but many are not even that,—especially in the case of those who are still Heathen or Muhammadan.

In the spelling of Indian words and names I have endeavoured to follow mainly the more modern plan, adopted of late years, except in the case of a very few words which are practically Anglicised. Miss Tucker’s own spelling of Indian words and names varies extremely; the word being often given differently when occurring twice in a single page. The spelling has therefore been altered throughout her correspondence. To avoid confusion in the minds of English readers, I have also taken the same liberty with letters from some others who have not adopted the modern mode.

In conclusion, I have only to express my sincere thanks for the most kind trouble taken by many friends of A. L. O. E. in contributing materials for my guidance.

All The Data From The Network AND User Upload, If Infringement, Please Contact Us To Delete! Contact Us
About Us | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Tag List | Recent Search  
©2010-2014, All Rights Reserved