London: W.M. Watts, for the British and Foreign Bible Soc. 1859. First Edition. 8vo (19 x 12 cm). Contemporary calf. Collation: , 612 pp. Only minor wear to corners and small loss at bottom of spine. No labeling on spine or boards. Sicker for “Watkins Bindery, Gravel Land, Sowthwark” is present on rear paste down. There isusual fore edge foxing of end papers. Text is clean and brigh with double column printing. Item #0000708
This is a very scarce copy of the New Testament translated into Cree Syllabary. The text is printed entirely in syllabic chacters, except for imprint on title page. Mason was sent by the Wesleyan Methodists Missionary Society in Britain to northwest of Canada (Prince Rupert s Island) for ministerial work with the Cree people. He shortly met James Evans, the first Methodist missionary sent to the Cree people, who had invented and interoduced into use syllabic chacters for the cree language. This Syllabary invention spread rapidly among the native communities. Evans most notable and lasting contribution was to take his invention and prepare a dictionary for the Cree language. His syllabic characters are still used today. Mason most certainly benefited from the close contact with Evans and use of his dictionary to translate the New Testament for preaching to the Cree people. Mason s biblical translations into the cree Syllabary was assisted by his wife, an Indian Pastor, and several native speakers (c.f. Siebert, Pt. I, p. 65). Mas published a shorter edition of the New Testament in 1862 and combined a translation fot he Old Testament with this New Testament in a publication that came out between 1861 and 1862. (OCLC lists 4 institutions that have a copy of this work.) (Peel, B.B., Prairie provinces, #206; Pilling, J.C., Algonquian, p. 339.).