" After this ordeal I was permitted to appear before their
** tribunal once more. The old priest said he was afraid they
** had judged me too hastily; but that there were some cir-
*< cumstances which he would now communicate as an apo-
** logy for their suspicions."
Dr. Buchanan then relates the account which the venera-
ble priest gave him of the various attempts of the Roman
Catholics to force the Syrian churches to join their commun-
ion, as the ground of their suspicions respecting his present
visit, and the manner in which he at length succeeded in re-
moving their fears and gaining their confidence.
He next proposed to send a standard translation of the
Scriptures in Malayalim to each of their fifty-five churches,
on condition that each church should multiply the copies,
and circulate them among the people. To this they thank-
" One of the elders named Thomas, or Didymus, stepped
"forward and said, < To convince you, Sir, of our earnest
Â« desire to have the Bible in the Malayalim tongue, I need
Â« only mention that I have lately translated the Gospel of St.
DR. BUCHANAN. 3gl
â€¢< Matthew for the benefit of my own children. It is often
" borrowed by the other families. It is not in fine language;
" but the people love to read it.'
" * But how,' said the old priest, * shall we know that your
<< standard copy is a true translation of our Bible? We can-
" not depart from our own Bible. It is the true book of
â€¢* God, without corruption ; that book which was first used
Â«' by the Christians at Antioch. >yhat translations you have
*< got in the West we know not ; but tjie true Bible of Anti-
<â€¢ och we have had in the mountains of Malabar tor fourteen
" hundred years, or longer. Some of our copies are from
" ancient times ; so old and decayed, that they can scarcely
^^ be preserved much longer.' I rejoiced when I heard
*< i But how,' repeated the aged priest, Â« shall we know
^< that your Western Bible is the same as ours?' < I have
"here,' said I, ^ a Western Syrian Bible, which yourselves
<Â« can read ; and I have an English Bible, which will be in-
" terpreted to you. Let some portion of Scripture, selected
'< at a venture, be accurately examined. You can compare
<< the whole at your leisure hereafter.' They turned over
" the leaves of my Bible with surprise, having never seen
" a printed Syriac Bible before. After some consultation,
<Â« they proposed that the 3d chapter of St. Matthew's Gos-
" pel should be critically compared, word for word, in the
Â« Eastern Syrian, Western Syrian, and English. St. Mat-
<' thew was selected, I believe, at the suggestion of Thomas,
" who had got his Malayalim translation in his hand.
<< It was an interesting scene to me to behold the ancient
'' English Bible brought before the tribunal of these simple
<< Christians in the hills of Malabar. They sat down to the
Â« investigation with great solemnity ; and the people around
Â« seemed to think that something important depended on the
Â« I held a Greek Testament in ray hand, and proposed
Â« that the sense of the Greek copy should be first explained,
Â« as the New Testament was first given to the worhl in
s 2 Â»
3^g MEMOIRS OF
Here a discussion arose respecting the comparative me-
rits of the Greek and Syriac Scriptures, which Dr. Bu-
chanan has given at length in his Researches'^. After which
he adds, ** Not thinking it prudent to proceed further in this
" argument, 1 proposed that Jona (the aged priest) should
<Â« first read his own Syriac as the standard, with which the
Â« other versions should he compared. We accordingly be-
â€¢' gan, and soon finished the collation of the chapter. Jona
â€¢â€¢ was satisfied that the English Bible was a faithful transla-
<Â« tion. As for the Western Syrian, it agreed with the East-
^< ern nearly word for word. Thomas's Malayalini transla-
â€¢< tion alone was faulty.
*Â« We next considered the establishment of schools; the
â€¢Â» proposal of which seemed very acceptable to them.
*< My business w as now done. The priests observed, that
<< it would he necessary that their Bishop and Metropolitan,
*< Mar Dionysius, now residing at Candenad, near Cochin,
Â« should be made fully acquainted with all that had passed ;
Â«< as without his concurrence nothing could be done with en-
i( e|.gy in so extensive a diocese. I told them I had already
<i ascertained that tlie good Bishop would willingly give his
<^ sanction to measures so beneficial to his people, and that
Â«< he would signify it to them officially in due time.
" The people now informed me they had determined that
" one of the priests, and one of the elders, should accompany
" me to the other churches; and that letters should be sent
Â«Â« before to announce our coming.
" Next day w<? took our departure from Mavelycar, and
" arrived in the evening at the church of Chinganoor. The
Â«< priests and people came out, women and children in their
*< holiday clothes, to meet us at a little distance from the
'* town. The church is a spacious building, far superior to
<^ any that I had yet seen. Near the altar are two shrines
*< of bishops who died here. I requested Jesua the priest
" to select four of the chief elders, as representatives of the
Â« people, to hear what had passed at Mavelycar. They re-
* Christian Researches, pp. 80, 81. Phil. ed.
DR. BUCHANAN. 323
Â«< ceived the proposal for diffusing the Scriptures and estab-
â€¢^Jishing the schools with the utmost cordiality.
" I was here told, that no European, or even Romish
<< priest, had ever penetrated farther into the country than
â€¢â€¢ this place. Bartolomeo was not here; for there is not a
" single Roman church in this district of Malabar.
*< Caliclierry was our next chui ch. It is built on the top
â€¢^of a hill. The chief priest is Matthew, aged eighty years.
" He gave me the history of ancient times ; and also a very
" accurate account of the present state of the Syrian church.
" The people here manifested the same favourable disposi-
" tion which had appeared at the former places.
^< Still journeying towards the East, we arrived at the
" church of Puttencow; from whence we had a view of the
*Â« delectable mountains, the utmost bound of the Syrian
" churches. The church of Puttencow was built by the pre-
^^ sent Bishop about fourteen years ago. At this place I met
** a greater number of aged persons than I had yet seen.
*Â« They suggested many useful improvements in the plans to
^Â« be adopted, and pointed out where they were most liable
<< to fail. Andrew, the priest, appeared to be very zealous
â€¢^ for Scripture translation.
" We came the next day to Maraman, a small church,
â€¢*over which presides the aged. Zechariah. I found him
" reading his Masmora (Psalms) in the porch of the church.
â€¢^ This part of the country is interspersed with hilis, round
'^ which the rivers from the Ghauts wind their course. The
Â«' Christians go from place to place in little canoes. Some-
*< times a woman may be seen with the oar in her hand;
<* sometimes a little boy ; some of the canoes being so small
*< as to admit of two persons only.
*< The church of Colancherry was next in our course. It
â€¢â€¢ is built in the bosom of the forest, but not far from a river.
" The people were poor, but very hospitable^. An old lady
<< wished me to make a promise tliat I would come back
â€¢'again in a year or two, or at least that I would write to
" them. She would take care that the Cassanars did their
3;g4 MEMOIRS OF
" Next day we arrived at Raiinielj the remotest church in
*' these regions, and the limit of my proposed tour. This
*< church is built on a steep hill, or rather rock, in which a
<* few steps are cut to ascend. The people assembled from
*' all quarters, and seemed delighted with the novelty of
" my appearance, and that of my attendants. The two
^Â« priests were Lucas and Matthew ; and the four elders,
" Abraham, Thoma, Georgius, and Philip.
" I found Abraham to be rich ; and to be withal deeply
^< interested in the success of our measures for the extension
^( of religion. He had travelled a little. He said there was
^< a great difference between the religion of the heart and
'^ the doctrines of the head ; and it was to be lamented
^* that many priests were ignorant of this. Â« You were
<Â« right,' said he * in taking a pledge of the four chief elders,
^Â« rather than of the young Cassanars. For want of colle-
â€¢ < ges^ and places of religious instruction, the young priests
Â«Â« are sent to teach us before they are taught themselves.
â€¢< They are obliged indeed to lead moral lives, for otherwise
Â« they would not be endured. But no man should go forth
" to the ministry until he has studied the whole Bible, and
'f can quote it fluently in his Christian discourse. For three
*Â« hundred years we have been quarrelling with the Romish
<* Church about supremacy, rites, and ceremonies, but the
<* Bible has been out of the question. The Bible, Sir, is
*^ what we want, in the language of our own mountains.
<Â« "With the Bible in his hand, every man can become the
Â»^ priest of his own family.'
<Â« While Abraham was thus discoursing, I thought of that
^< other Abraham, wlio was called < the friend of God' in a
Â« strange land. He gave me much useful information, and
<f conveyed it too with some authority ; for he seemed to con-
-^ sider me as a young man who professed a good purpose,
" but who was not likely to bring it to a happy issue, with-
a It maybe gratifying to the reader to know, that Major Munro, the present
British Resident in Trj^vancore, has succeeded in procuring the establishment of a
college for the better instruction of the Syrian priests.
DR. BUCHANAN. 3S5
Â«Â« out being well directed and well supported. < After you
^Â« are gone/ said he, < evil men will endeavour to frustrate
^< your counsel. Nothing will complete your success but the
Â« authority of the English government interposed in our be-
Â«Â« half. Before any thing can be done in India on a great
" scale, kings, and men in power, must range themselves on
<Â« God's side. When the Christian religion is left to itself, as
<^ a thing indifferent, the solid dominion of the devil will soon
Â« overwlielm it; unless indeed it should please God to send
" forth in these days his divine power in a miraculous way,
'' as in the first ages. But this we are not to expect, and
Â« therefore we ought to pray, as in our Syrian Liturgy, < that
^^ kings and ministers would work with God.' '
" I proposed to Abraham that he should correspond on
<< these subjects with the most learned and pious persons of
Â« his Church ; and requested he would inform me from time
*< to time what was proper to be done. At parting I put
*Â« a ring on Abraham's finger, before the people. He said he
<Â« should ever wear it, and it should be a memorial of what
Â« had passed. At the request of the priests I recorded my
" visit in the church books, in the Syrian language ; being
Â« willing that there should be the appearance of as much
<Â« solemnity as possible in my visit to this remote people ;
^< in order that the objects of it might not soon be forgotten.
'i At all these churches I passed some time in examining
Â« their Syrian books. At most places there are ancient
^' copies of the Scriptures, or of some parts of them ; for the
Â« whole Scriptures are with them seldom bound up in one
" volume. They are most generally in four : the Oreta, or
" former part of the Old Testament ; the Evangelion, the
Â« Praxeis, and the Egurta, The Prophets are rarest.
" In the vicinity of Ranniel, there is a high hill, from the
<* top of which the people told me I might have an extensive
Â«^ view of the country. The hill was steep, and of laborious
" ascent, and I left my servants below. When I had gain-
<Â« ed the summit, I felt myself much fatigued, and sat down
â€¢< to contemplate the delightful prospect. The mountains of
326 MEMOIRS OF
" the Ghauts were at some distance, but from their great
" height they appeared to be close at hand.
" In a few minutes I saw a man coming up from a village
^* below, with a cocoa-nut in his hand. I drank the cooling
Â« water, and was much refreshed. He said he was a Christ-
** ian ; that seeing me ascend, he thought the cocoa-water
** would be acceptable. I said I was a Christian too. He
" smiled doubtingly, looking at my English dress. He said
" he was never farther from home than the adjacent moun-
" tains, where he sometimes went to fell wood. He did not
" seem to understand that there were Christians in any
" other part of the world, than the mountains of Malayala.
" He pointed out to me by name the Christian parishes which
" I liad visited, but most of the churches were concealed by
^^ the trees. The Christians are forbidden to have steeples,
" as they would appear too preeminent among the pagodas
"of the heathens.
" While I surveyed the Christian districts all around, I
" reflected on the inscrutable counsels of God, in finding this
" assyluni for the Bible during so many ages ; and yet in
" confining it for so long a period to this region of the heathen
" world. 1 indulged the hope that the same Providence was
*' about to unfold itself by dispensing the Bible throughout
" the East, by means of this people.
" I passed two hours on the top of this hill. I do not
<Â«know its name. But I called it Pisgah ; for I believed
"that I had a sight of kingdoms promised to the Messiah
" in the second Psalm. < I will give thee the heathen for
" thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for
<* thy possession.'
" On my return from Ranniel, I visited most of the church-
" es a second time, and then proceeded to Nerenam, which
" was formerly the residence of the Syrian Bishops. The
" episcopal chair, covered with red velvet, and decorated
" with copper studs, is evidently the workmanship of a for-
" mer age. In a corner lay the pastoral staff". The church
" itself is supposed to be nine hundred years old. The
" chief Kasheesha here was Thoma> aged 62 years. He has
DR. BUCHANAN. 3^7
" five colleagues and one shumshana, (student.) The Christ-
Â« ians here are said to be wealthy ; but tliey must conceal
Â«' their wealth. Their chief elder is named Jacob Terra-
" gon ; the latter word is an addition conferred by the Rajah
Â«Â« on persons of condition. Jacob intimated to me, that he
" was ready to support the cause with money.
Â« Next day we arrived at Mavelycar, where I received a
" better welcome than on my first visit to that place.
" In all these churches which I visited, I found the same
^- zeal and affection for the religion of their forefathers. In
Â« every church the elders stepped forth with patriarchal
Â« simplicity and zeal, as the natural guardians of the peo-
" pie. The women in general were affable and courteous in
*< their manners, and appeared to be as much interested in
Â« the objects of my visit as the men. The children shewed
<Â« nothing of the Hindoo shyness and alarm at a stranger.
Â« They used lo mount my palanquin, and sometimes get
Â« into it. The manners indeed of the Nayrs of both sexes
<Â« have much of the same independent frankness. As to the
<< Brahmins, their families live in entire seclusion, as in
" a Romish convent ; unlike any thing that is known else-
^< where in Hindostan.
*Â« From Mavelycar I went to Aleppe on the sea-coast; and
Â« thence I returned into the interior of the country as far as
Â«^ Changanacherry, to visit the Romish churches in that
" quarter. At Pulingunne is a Syrian academy for the
" Cassanars of the Romish Church. It is under excellent
" management ; and if its objects were well directed, it
<^ would become an useful institution. The Romans were
Â«* surprised at my condescension, as they termed it, in visit-
" ing them, having understood that I had visited the Syrian
<< congregations, and favoured their religion. For it seems
<Â« the rumour of my progress to the mountains had already
" gone far abroad. Â« It is true,' said I, < I am a schismatic.
Â« Colonel Macaulay and the Governor General, and all the
" English are schismatics from the Romish Church.' The
<Â« priests were very polite, and would not allow that the En-
<Â« giish were either heretics or schismatics. < Indeed wc
^2S MEMOIRS OF
** are/ said I, * as much schismatics as the Syrians in the
^Â« mountains. It will be expedient for you, therefore, to
" change the name for the future, if you have any respect
** for the English.' This speech, as I afterwards heard, was
^' carried before me to the Romish Bishop at Verapoli, near
Â« Cochin ; for whose use, indeed, I chiefly intended it."
Dr. Buchanan next directed his course to Candenad, the
residence of Mar Dionysius, the Metropolitan of the Syrian
*Â« On my arrival," he says, " I found that a great numher
<* of his clergy had assembled from different parts of the
*< diocese in expectation of my coming. The old Bishop is
"infirm, being now 78 years of age, and received me in an
" upper chamber. He saluted me with Â« a holy kiss,' after
" the apostolic manner. He said he had learnt all that had
" passed in my progress through his churches. His fears
<Â« from the power of the Romish Church had now subsided ;
" and he was satisfied that the English were the friends
^< of his Church. * His joy was like that of the Jews, when
" Cyrus sent forth his mandate to rebuild the walls of Je-
" Next morning I delivered to him a paper containii^g
â€¢* some subjects for the consideration of himself and his
This related to their disposition to an union with the En-
glish Church, to such extent as should seem practicable
to both ; to tlie translation of the Scriptures into the Ma-
layalim language, and to the establishment of Christian
schools in all the parishes of his diocese. Upon these sub-
jects some very interesting discussions took place, the sub-
stance of which will be found in the Christian Researches,
pp. 128 â€” 134.
Â« At the close of the conference the Bishop added, < I am
*' in a declining state of health, and cannot expect to live to
" sec these pleasing prospects realized, which now open to
" our view. But I am the father of fifty-five churches in a
DR. BUCHANAN. 3^9
<â€¢ heatlÂ»cn land ; and I must soon give up my account to
*< the Bishop of souls. I have been thus explicit in decla-
" ring to you my sentiments before my clergy, that they
Â« may act wisely, and remember them when 1 am gone.'
<^ He then introduced me to two of the priests, whom he au-
<< thorized to communicate with me, as occasion miglit re-
" quire, on the subjects of the present conference.
" The next morning I visited the cliureh of Udiamper,
" which is only half a mile from Candenad. This is the
^< church in w hich the celebrated synod was held in 1599,
Â« by Menezes, Archbishop of Goa. It is a spacious edi-
From Udiamper Dr. Buchanan proceeded to Cochin.
" On my arrival," he continues, " I slept the first night at
"the house of Mr. V. the old Dutch governor. Next morn-
<Â« ing I went over to an island about two miles from Cochin,
<^ on which Colonel Macaulay has a house. He received me
" with great kindness, and has paid me much attention du-
" ring my stay in Malabar. Colonel M. is a man of letters ;
<^ and had, previously to my coming, collected various infor-
" mation and many manuscripts, Syrian and Syrochaldaic, for
<' my inspection. He had also procured a copy of certain
*i chapters of the Jewish Scriptures, which he understood I
Â« wished to see.
^Â« In a few days after my arrival, he accompanied me to
Â«< the Rajah of Cochin's palace, and thence to Udiamper and
^^ Candenad. The old Bishop was much gratified with this
" second visit, and considered it as a proof of our affection
Â«Â« for his church. Colonel M. intimated to him that he
" perfectly accorded with me in the measures that had been
<* proposed, and invited the Bishop to dine with us at Co-
" chin. This invitation his bad health would not allow him
Â« to accept; but he sent over two of his principal clergy to
â€¢< consult with me further on the aifairs of the Church."
From this place Dr. Buchanan visited Cranganore, the
spot on which the Apostle Thomas is said to have first land-
ed in India ; Paroor, the church of which place bears the
330 MEMOIRS OF
name of St. Thomas, and is said to be the most ancient in
Malabar ; and Vei apoii, the residence of a Romish bishop,
and the Pope's apostolic vicar.
Â« Before my arrival, the Bishop had lent some books to
<* Colonel M., one of which was ' La Croze's Christianisme
** des Tndes,' a book marked in the Bishop's library as Â« li-
<* ber hereticus ; prohibitus.' This book iie wished to get
" back, lest it should fall into my hands. Colonel M. re-
*< fused to give it, knowing it was his intention to burn it.
â€¢< I visited the Bishop at Verapoli, and explained to him
<< that I had not come to notice /lis church, but to take care
<Â« of a flock who seemed to have no church of its own. It
" seems that he and all the priests at Verapoli had taken it
â€¢Â« for granted that my purpose was to subjugate them to the
Â« Churcli of England. Â« How,' said I, < could I possibly think
"of effecting such a change?' I shall not soon forget the
Â« answer. < If the English government should desire it, and
" threaten to withdraw its protection if we did not comply,
Â« what alternative would be left?' I answered that I was
<< glad to find they were so compliant, but I had no proposi-
<<tion to make to them on that subject. Only I should be
*< much obliged to them to give the Scriptures to the people.
<' If they were afraid of the inquisition at Goa, I could pro-
" mise that not one of them should be burnt.
" The Bishop has opened his library to me, and shewn me
Â« many important records of his church. He is indeed very
Â« cordial in his assistance, if I may judge from his endeav-
<< ours to afford me information.
*< You will perhaps think that my mission to Malabar has
<< terminated very satisfactorily without noticing 7/ia7iwscnpfs.
<Â« These are certainly of but secondary consideration with
" me, though the learned will probably consider them to be
Â« of primary importance."
Dr. Buchanan then relates his success in obtaining both
Syrian and Hebrew manuscripts, and describes the brass
tablets, fac-similes of which he procured at Cochin, and on
which are engraved the privileges granted several centuries
since to the Christians and Jews by the native princes of
DR. BUCHANAN. 331
Malabar. But of all these circumstances a particular ac-
count is already before the public*.
In the course of his tour, Dr. Buchanan made drawings of
several of the Syrian churches on the spot; of which, though
extremely simple, and with one exception exhibiting only
the principal front of each building, it has been thought de-
sirable to obtain engravings, as an accompaniment to this
part of his Memoirs. They represent the old church of Pa-
roor, those of Candenad and Udiamper, and that of Alan-
gatta. The three former have been already particularly
mentioned. Of the latter it will appear, that Dr. Buchanan
merely states his intention of visiting it. It is said to be the
largest of the Syrian temples, and a very handsome and
noble building^. The church of Paroor, as Dr. Buchanan
remarked generally of the most ancient Syrian structures,
is not unlike some of the old parish churches in England.
The other three are more ornamented, and evidently in the
style of architect prevalent in Asia Minor and Syria. The
sketches of these venerable buildings can scarcely be con-
templated without exciting some tribute of applause to the
Christian zeal and energy which prompted Dr. Buchanan to
explore the recesses amidst which they had been for ages
concealed, and to shed around them that scriptural light
which poverty and neglect had well nigh extinguished.
The following miscellaneous extracts from his letter to
Mr. Brown, dated Cochin, may next be added.
" Colonel Macaulay has been fortunate enough to incline
<< the Travancore court to the belief, that all the Christian