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D. Ben Rees, Y Cenhadwr Cyntaf o blith Cymry Lerpwl: Josiah Hughes (1804-1840) (Cyhoeddiadau Modern Cymreig, 2016) Price , 15 Clawr caled

 

Mawr yw ein dyled i'r Dr D. Ben Rees am lafurio i sicrhau nad aeth y cenhadwr Josiah Hughes (1804-40) yn angof yn ein dyddiau ni. Gwaith arloesol a thrylwyr a gyflwynir inni yma o ysgrifbin hynod o gynhyrchiol yr awdur toreithiog hwn. A sail yr astudiaeth hon yw'r casgliad sylweddol o ddogfennau a gohebiaeth sydd ar gadw yn archif sylweddol Cymdeithas Genhadol Llundain, ac yn eu plith ceir nifer o lythyrau dadlennol ac arwyddocaol o eiddo Josiah Hughes ei hun. Ceir tystiolaeth amlwg yma hefyd am ddarllen eang a manwl i ddod o hyd i wybodaeth am gefndir hanesyddol gwrthrych yr astudiaeth bwysig hon. A cheir yn yr l-nodiadau llawer iawn o ddarnau o wybodaeth werthfawr ychwanegol, gan gynnwys bywgraffiadau cryno o rai o'r cymeriadau sydd yn codi yn y stori ryfeddol hon, ac sydd o ddiddordeb mawr i'r darllenydd wrth iddo ddarllen ymlaen.

 

Disgrifir Josiah Hughes yma fel 'un o arwyr anghofiedig cymuned Cymry Lerpwl, a hyd yn oed Ymneilltuaeth Gymraeg' (tud. 7). Roedd ei dad John Hughes, brodor o Abergele, yn un o flaenoriaid amlycaf ei enwad yn Lerpwl o 1813 ymlaen ac addolai aelodau'r teulu yng nghapel Pall Mall yn y ddinas. A rhyfeddol o anodd iddynt ar y cychwyn oedd dygymod bywyd prysur ac ansicr dinas fel Lerpwl.

 

Cafodd Josiah Hughes ei ordeinio yng nghapel Great George Street ym mis Chwefror 1830. Ei uchelgais mawr oedd cael mynd i genhadu yn yr India, a theithiodd o Lerpwl i Bombay ym 1830, ar long a gymerodd saith mis ar ei hyd i gyrraedd pen y daith. Yna teithiodd ymlaen i Penang ac yna i Malacca, sef pen terfynol y daith, yn y mis Tachwedd. Disgrifir Malacca yma fel 'canolfan gweithgarwch Cymdeithas Genhadol Llundain yn rhan ddwyreiniol Asia' (tud. 15).

 

Ar l cyrraedd y lleoliad hwn, aeth Josiah Hughes ati i ddysgu o fewn yr ysgolion lleol, i efengylu dros y pedair cymuned ieithyddol a fodolai yno ar y pryd, ac i fugeilio'r cynulleidfaoedd a fodolai yno ar yr adeg honno. Aeth ati'n ogystal i weinidogaethu ac i ddysgu o fewn y Coleg Eingl-Tsieinaidd lle blodeuodd yn aruthrol gan wneud cyfraniad nodedig dros ben fel athro. Aeth ymlaen i fod yn gyfrifol am agor tair ysgol yno, gyda 83 o blant yn cofrestru ynddynt mewn fawr o dro.

 

Ond, yn l y dystiolaeth a gyflwynir inni yn yr astudiaeth hon, nid oedd bob amser yn llwyddiant mawr fel trefnydd a gweinyddwr, a bu perthynas lai na hwylus rhyngddo ef a'r awdurdodau yn Llundain ar adegau. Yn ogystal gwelwyd rhywfaint o wrthdaro rhyngddo ef a rhai o'r cenhadon eraill a oedd yno ar y pryd, yn fwyaf arbennig gŵr o'r enw John Evans (nid oedd hwnnw'n Gymro o unrhyw fath yn y byd er ei enw!) a anfonwyd yno gan y Gymdeithas Genhadol fel cenhadwr.

 

Gwynebai Josiah Hughes dalcen caled wrth geisio efengylu a chenhadu ym Malacca a chynyddu a wnaeth ei anawsterau yno. Ac mae'r ohebiaeth yn Llundain yn dyst huawdl i'r tensiynau sylweddol a godai yn enwedig rhwng unigolion fel Josiah Hughes, John Evans a Jacob Tomlin. Ac mae Ben Rees yn asesu'n ofalus natur y berthynas a fu rhwng Hughes a Tomlin yn arbennig. Er iddo ddod o hyd i dystiolaeth am berthynas gyfeillgar rhwng y ddau, ni allai Hughes wrthod y casgliad 'fod agwedd Tomlin yn gyfrifol am yr awyrgylch annifyr ymhlith cenhadon Cymdeithas Genhadol Llundain ym Malaysia, yn arbennig yn Penang a Malacca' (tt. 27-28). Yn ddiweddarach gwelwyd rhywfaint o gymodi rhwng Hughes a John Evans yn ogystal.

 

Erbyn diwedd y flwyddyn 1835 roedd Josiah Hughes yn rhydd o'i gysylltiad Chymdeithas Genhadol Llundain, ac roedd Jacob Tomlin a'i deulu (ac yr oedd ganddynt bedwar plentyn erbyn hynny) ar ei ffordd adref i Loegr ym 1836-37. Erbyn y pwynt hwn, roedd y Parch John Hughes, sef tad Josiah Hughes, yn ei anterth o fewn dinas Lerpwl ac 'wedi datblygu yn arweinydd medrus, galluog gyda phenderfyniad di-ildio tu l i'w ddadleuon' (tud. 30). Byth ers 1830, pan aeth ei fab yn genhadwr, ei nod oedd mynd ati i sefydlu tystiolaeth genhadol.

 

Pan adawodd Tomlin Calcutta er mwyn teithio nl i Loegr, roedd Josiah Hughes ar ei ffordd i Calcutta er mwyn trafod ordeiniad esgobol gydag Esgob Calcutta ar y pryd sef y Dr Daniel Wilson, sef cyn ficer Islington yn Llundain pan roedd yn gwrthod cefnogi'r Gymdeithas Genhadol. Ond gwnaethpwyd argraff anghyffredin o ffafriol arno gan bersonoliaeth a daliadau Josiah Hughes, ac ym 1838 aeth yr esgob mor bell ag ymweld Malacca o dan oruchwyliaeth bersonol Hughes. Cytunodd yr Esgob i ordeinio Josiah Hughes a John Evans fel ei gilydd, ond, fel mae'n digwydd, ni ddigwyddodd hynny. Bu rhagluniaeth yn ymyrryd mewn ffordd hynod greulon.

 

Bu farw Josiah Hughes o'r colera ar 25 Tachwedd 1840, ac yntau ond yn 36 mlwydd oedd. Ceir hanes eithriadol o drist hwn yn gryno yma o ysgrifbin D. Ben Rees. O fewn diwrnod i'w farwolaeth gosodwyd ei gorff i orwedd ym mhridd Malacca, gyda neb llai na John Evans yn gofalu am yr angladd. Ac yr oedd Evans yntau hefyd wedi marw o fewn cyfnod byr iawn. Yn dilyn marwolaeth y ddau gawr hyn, nid oedd rhyw lawer o ddyfodol i'r achos cenhadol yn y rhanbarth hwnnw, a daeth yr achos i ben yno ym 1843. A sonnir yma (gweler tud. 35 o fewn y llith hwn) am ymateb Esgob Calcutta i'r colledion erbyd hyn.

 

Ac, yn yr oes honno, nid oedd teulu John Hughes yn Lerpwl yn gwybod dim am yr hyn a ddigwyddodd am chwe mis arall, a marwolaeth Josiah yn sioc iddynt wrth reswm. Bu'r tad fyw ymlaen am wyth mlynedd arall, ac yn ei ewyllys gadawodd y swm o 83-19-6 i Genhadaeth Dramor y Methodistiaid Calfinaidd Gymraeg. Parhau fodd bynnag a wnaeth achos y Genhadaeth Dramor yn India o 1840 hyd at ddiwedd y 1960au. A thrwy ymdrechion clodwiw y Parch D. Ben Rees, ni fydd gwaith arloesol John Hughes, Josiah Hughes a Jacob Tomlin fyth yn mynd yn angof bellach.

 

Pleser yw gweld y llith hon wedi ymddangos mewn Cymraeg a Saesneg graslon a darllenadwy sydd yn bleser pur eu darllen. Ac mae'r gyfrol fach hon yn un arbennig o raenus a hylaw ei diwyg, yn bleser ei thrin a'i thrafod a'i gweld ar ein silffoedd llyfrau lle bydd yn derbyn cartref anrhydeddus ochr yn ochr chynifer o gyfrolau eraill o waith yr awdur dawnus a gweithgar hwn sydd bellach ar drothwy dathlu ei ben-blwydd yn 80 mlwydd oed ym mis Awst eleni.

 

J. Graham Jones  


D. Ben Rees, Josiah Hughes: the Reluctant Welsh Calvinistic Methodist Missionary of Malacca (Modern Welsh Publications, 2016), 15   Hard back

 

We are much indebted to Dr D. Ben Rees for his efforts to ensure that the missionary Josiah Hughes (1804-40) is not forgotten in our age. This is a pioneering and thorough piece of work from the exceptionally productive pen of a prolific author. And the foundation stone of this study is the substantial collection of documents and correspondence which is part of the large archive in the custody of the Missionary Society at London, and among them are a number of revealing, significant letters penned by Josiah Hughes himself. There is clear evidence here of wide, in depth reading to discover more information about the subject of this important study. And in the endnotes there are numerous snippets of valuable information, including brief biographies of some on the individuals who crop up in this wondrous story, and these are of much interest to the reader as he progresses through the text.

 

Josiah Hughes is described here as 'a reluctant missionary to Malacca for a number of reasons' (p. 7). His father John Hughes, a native of Abergele, was one of his denomination's most prominent elders at Liverpool from 1813 onwards, and members of the family worshipped at Pall Mall chapel in the city. And it was exceptionally difficult for them at the beginning to come to terms with the busy, precarious life of a city like Liverpool.

 

Josiah Hughes was ordained at Great George Street chapel, Liverpool in February 1830. His great ambition was to become a missionary in India, and he travelled from Liverpool to Bombay in 1830 on board a ship which took all of seven long months to reach its destination. He then travelled on to Penang and finally to Malacca, namely his final destination, by November. Malacca is here described as 'the centre of the eastern outpost of the LMS activities in Asia' (p. 16).

 

After reaching his destination, Josiah Hughes started to teach in the local schools, to evangelise amongst the four linguistic communities which existed there at the time, and to act as a shepherd to the congregations which existed there at that time. In addition he took to preaching and to teach within the Anglo-Chinese College where he developed mightily, making an outstandingly distinguished contribution as a teacher. He assumed responsibility for the opening of three schools there, and no fewer than 83 children had enrolled there within a short time.

 

But, according to the evidence presented to us in this volume, Josiah Hughes was not always a great success as an organiser and administrator, and his relationship with the authorities at London were at times less than harmonious. In addition there is evidence of something of a clash between him and the other missionaries who were there at the same time, especially one John Evans (he was no kind of Welshman in spite of his name) who was despatched there as a missionary by the Missionary Society.

 

Josiah Hughes faced an uphill task in attempting to evangelise and act as a missionary at Malacca, and his difficulties there increased. And the correspondence at London is powerful testimony to the high tensions which arose, especially between individuals like Josiah Hughes, John Evans and Jacob Tomlin. And Ben Rees assesses in particular the relationship which existed between Hughes and Tomlin. Although he came across evidence of a friendly relationship between the two, he could but fail to come to the conclusion that 'the attitude of Tomlin was responsible for the unpleasant atmosphere amongst the LMS missionaries in Malaysia, especially in Penang and Malacca' (p. 27). Later on the relationship between Hughes and Evans improved somewhat.

By the end of the year 1835 Josiah Hughes was free of his association with the London Missionary Society, and Jacob Tomlin and his family (and they had four children by this time) were on their way back to London in 1836-37. By this time, the Rev John Hughes, Josiah Hughes's father, was at the height of his powers within Liverpool and 'had been a very shrewd, capable leader, with a strong will and determination' (p. 29). Even since 1830, when his son had become a missionary, his ambition was to set up evidence of missionary activities.

 

When Tomlin left Calcutta in order to travel back to England, Josiah Hughes was en route to Calcutta in order to discuss  an episcopal ordination with the Bishop of Calcutta at the time, Dr Daniel Wilson, namely the former vicar of Islington in London when he refused to support the Missionary Society. But an exceptionally favourable impression was made on him by Josiah Hughes's personality and beliefs, and in 1838 the bishop went so far as to visit Malacca under Hughes's personal supervision. The Bishop agreed to ordain both Josiah Hughes and John Evans, but, as it happened, this did not happen. Fate intervened in an exceedingly cruel way.

 

Josiah Hughes died of cholera on 25 November 1939, at the age of only 36 years. This exceptionally sad course of events is chronicled here by D. Ben Rees. Within a day of his death, his body was laid to rest in Malacca's earth, with John Evans officiating at the funeral service. And Evans himself had died, too, within a very short time. Following the deaths of these two giants, there was very little real future for the missionary cause in that region, and the cause came to an end there in 1843. And reference is made here (see p. 35 in this work) to the response of the Bishop of Calcutta to these terrible losses.

 

And, in that byegone age, John Hughes's family at Liverpool knew nothing of what had happened for another six months, and Josiah's death came as a terrible shock to them of course. His father lived on for another eight years, and in his will he left the sum of 83-19-6 to the Foreign Ministry of the Welsh Calvinistic Methodists. But the Foreign Missionary cause continued in India from 1840 until the end of the 1960s. And thanks to the sterling efforts of the Rev. D. Ben Rees, the pioneering work of John Hughes, Josiah Hughes and Jacob Tomlin will never be forgotten in the future.

 

It is a pleasure to see this work appearing in graceful, readable Welsh and English which are both a real pleasure to read. And this little work is outstandingly sleek in its appearance, a pleasure to handle and hold on our bookshelves where it will find an honourable place side by side with so many other works penned by this talented, hard-working scholar who is about to celebrate his eightieth birthday in August of this year.

 

J. Graham Jones

 


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Rev Dr D. Ben Rees

- is an adopted Liverpudlian, who has served the city
 in social, religious, political and academic life with
 a great deal of enthusiasm.

 

32 Garth Drive
Liverpool
L18 6HW