Papers of Rev Dr Adam Clarke

Scope and Content

The papers consist of two translations from Buddhist paintings. These are:

  • Translation of the History of the Dharmapala Jataka which is painted in the Kaluwella Temple, 3 pages with descriptive note on the 4th.
  • Translation of the [Sambaive] Jataka or the history of the "King Dannanjaya Cooraw-wa", also painted in the Kaluwella Temple, 7 pages with descriptive note on the 8th.

Administrative / Biographical History

Adam Clarke was a Wesleyan minister and theologian, serving three times as the President of the Wesleyan Methodist Conference. Born in Ireland, he became a Methodist in 1778 and a minister in 1782, firstly in Bradford (Wiltshire). He also served in the Channel Islands, Cornwall, Ireland, rural Lancashire, and the Shetlands (where he was the effective planter of Methodism in the 1820s). He was a keen theologian with progressive views linking rationalism with spirituality. As a scholar, he studied a variety of subjects including folk tales, and romances, as well as Persian, Arabic, Ethiopian, Hindu, Coptic and Sanskrit texts, and subjects including alchemy and the occult, witchcraft, medical curiosities, astronomy, mineralogy, and conchology, while maintaining an overriding interest in the classics and the scriptures. He was involved in the conversion of 2 Buddhist monks from Sri Lanka.

He was elected a member of several learned including the British and Foreign Bible Society, the American Antiquarian Society, the Royal Irish Academy, the Geological Society of London, the American Historical Institute, and was a founder member of the Royal Asiatic Society. Clarke died from an attack of cholera on 26 August 1832.

Access Information

Open. Please contact the archivist. Details can be found here. The archive is open on Tuesdays and Fridays 10-5, and Thursdays 2-5. Access is to any researcher without appointment but it will help if an appointment is made via phone or email. Please bring photo ID.

Acquisition Information

The Translation of the history of the Dharmapala jataka was presented to the Royal Asiatic Society on 29 July 1828. The translation from the [Sambaive] jataka was presented to the Society by Clarke's son in February 1836.

Archivist's Note

These papers were catalogued by Nancy Charley, RAS Archivist, in 2022.

Conditions Governing Use

Digital photography (without flash) for research purposes may be permitted upon completion of a copyright declaration form, and with respect to current UK copyright law.

Custodial History

These papers were created by Dr Adam Clarke.

Related Material

Details concerning the papers coming into the Royal Asiatic Society can be found in the Society's Register of Communications, 1823-1846, p.58.

Our collections hold some books related to Dr Adam Clarke. Details can be found here.