Letter from Pliny Fisk to Isaac Bird, April 29, 1822



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Malta, April 29. 1822.

Dear Br. Bird, For several reactions & especially for the sake of meeting with Br. L Sister Temple & have come to reside a short time at this place. Your letter of Nov. 13. reached me a month ago. I will now attempt to answer some of your enquiries. The first anguage to be learned is Italian. Next, if Smyrna is to be your station, modern Greek, but if Syria, Arabic. Whatever your field may be the more you know of neb. the better. If you read some in the Targums & the Talmud it will be useful, also in the writings of the Rabbis & of the Greek & Latin Fathers. As to a library I would not advise you to purchase many miscellane= =ous works. Take what you have & accept such as are given you. Purchase anything you may find that will be particulary useful in dating with Musselmans, Jews or these Oriental Christians. As it respects medicine I know not how to answer your enquiry without knowing what is to be your field. If you are to go to Smyrna it will be of little or no use. There are good European Physicians there. But if you are to join me in Syria, as I hope you are, a tolerable knowledge of the Theory & Practice of Schysic would be very desirable & might be of great use. I ap= =prehend few able physicians are found there. Nothing perhaps would give a man more

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more influence & safety in that region thats ap= pearing in the character of Hakeensor Doctor. It might enable him to do something at least toward his own support. It would be desir= =able to have so much skill in practice that if you should happen to be called for by a Pasha or man of rank you would be able to answer his expectations. There are a few disorders in these countries with the nature & treatment of which some particular knowledge would be desirable. The first is the Plague. It may be well to learn what you can respecting it & other disorders that resemble it, as yellow fever &c. The small pox often prevails in Turkey. The knowledge of this disorder & the mode of treating it as well as the methods of preventions would be desirable. Disorders of the liver & bowels are very common & often fatal, especially to For= =eigners. In Egypt, where you may possibly have occasion sometimes to go, the Oph= =thalmia is very frequent. In this country more probably than in any other on carth would a Physician be employed in business that concerns directly or indirectly the propagation of the human race. Should you spend some time here or at Smyrna as probably you will before going into Syria you will have opportunity to improve your knowledge of medicine & to learn something of the diseases of these countries

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It would no doubt be better to come into the Mediterranean in the autumn than in the spring or summer. There is however no serious objection against coming at any season. Merchants & Travellers come & go whenever they have occasion without regard to the season of the year. At Smyrna particularly you will become acquainted with several families who are rich, fashionable & gay & fond of amusement & pleasure, who will be very friendly to you. In your intercourse with them you will perhaps have occasion to remember Gal. 2.2. At this place you will find some just such society as your soul loves, but you must not expect it elsewhere until God shall be pleased to pour out his spirit on went on which all our hopes of usefulnes de= =pend, an event for which we cannot pray too often or too earnestly.-

I need not tell you, my dear Br., what are the qualifications that a Missionary needs, but it is never amiss to remind each other of them. We need piety, faith, & benevolence, firmness, & humility, zeal, & prudence, activity & diligence, perserverance & discretion, a pure heart, spiritual views, a spirit of self-denial & con= =stant love to God & man. May we be fur= =nished more & more for the work before us.

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P.S. I congratulate you sincerely on your happy prospects as to a help-meet. May I re= =quest a particular remembrance to your friend. I recollect distinctly some interviews with her & shall be very happy in an opportunity try to revive our aquaintance. - May I take the liberty to say that if she finds it convenient to study Italian before having America it will be of great use to her?

Rev. OP. Fisk Malta Ap. 29. '22 Recd. Sept. - Boston

Rev. Issac Bird

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