Frank Penny.

The church in Madras : being the history of the ecclesiastical and missionary action of the East India Company in the Presidency of Madras in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries (Volume 2) online

. (page 1 of 39)
Online LibraryFrank PennyThe church in Madras : being the history of the ecclesiastical and missionary action of the East India Company in the Presidency of Madras in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries (Volume 2) → online text (page 1 of 39)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook




i iii;i

iiili in:





















FROM 1805 TO 1835








[All rights reserved]

First Edition (Smith, Elder £ Co.) .... October, 1912
Taken over by John Murray ..... Jamcary, 1917

Printed in Great Britain by
Spottiaivoode, Ballantyne rf- Co. Ltd., Printer.s, New-street Sqiuire, Lmulon.

/1 70









This volume of ' The Church in Madras ' advances the story
from 1805 to 1835, when the first Bishop of Madras arrived
on the coast.

As was stated in the Preface of Vol. I, the book is not
intended to be an exhaustive ecclesiastical or rehgious history
of the period. Missionary effort is included ; but it is dealt
with principally from the point of view of the Hon. East India
Company, of the local Government of Fort St. George, and of
the servants of the Company in the Carnatic during the period.
Other ecclesiastical matters are recorded and discussed from
the same point of view. But in order that the record should
not be entirely one-sided, a great number of mission reports,
minutes of missionary society committees, and missionary
biographies have been read, and are quoted when necessary
to explain either missionary or Government action.

It seemed necessary to make a fresh inquiry with regard
to what took place in Parliament in 1813. Mr. J. W. Kaye, to
whose literary charm I make my bow, made such an inquiry
in order to produce his ' Christianity in India.' But he did
not do it very thoroughly ; and, in consequence, he never really
understood what the several parties were contending for. It
must be doubted if he read all the pamphlets of the period
on the subject of the so-called ' rehgious clauses ' of the Act
of 1813 ; and it is probable that he had not access to as many
documents as I have had the privilege of consulting. The
result was a misleading of pubhc opinion on the attitude
and the contention of the East India Company with regard to
missionary work in India.

No excuse is required for the defence of the moral character
of the Company's British servants in India during the period


dealt with. It is necessary to defend as long as attacks are
made. The latest defence, one of inspiring generosity, was
made by the present Metropolitan of India in 1910. It was
published by the Indian Church Aid Association.

The opinions recorded and expressed in the chapter on the
ownership of the Church buildings and the legal effect of con-
secration on ownership are those which existed during the period
under review. Neither the local Government nor the Court of
Directors showed any inclination to do otherwise than abide
by the law of England on the question. When the question
of ownership was raised it was referred to the law officers of
the Crown, and their decision was esteemed to be final. It
amounts to this, that a consecrated building is trust property,
held in trust for the purposes for which it is consecrated.

In giving a brief historj^ of the building of each Church for
the use of Europeans and Eurasians between 1805 and 1835, I
have ventured, as in the former volume, to bring the outline
of its history up to the present time, so as not to have to refer
to it again in the future. For the pictures of these Churches
I am indebted to amateur photographers in the different
stations ; if I mention especially the Ven. Archdeacon Cox and
the Eev. B. M. Morton, it is because they were able to render
me more aid in this matter than others equally kind.

For copies of the Archdeacon's records and the Bishop
of Calcutta's Act Books between 1814 and 1835, 1 am indebted
to the Ven. H. B. Hyde, formerly Archdeacon of Madras.

I desire to acknowledge with gratitude the courteous help
I have received from the officials connected with the records
at the India Office ; and especially from Mr. W. Foster, the
Superintendent of Eecords, who has been always ready to
place his knowledge and his services at my disposal.

I have throughout referred to letters written by the Court
of Directors to the Government of Madras as Despatches ;
and to those written by the Government of Madras to the
Directors as Letters. Strictly speaking they are all
despatches. It has been merely a matter of convenience to
call them by different names.

F. P.

Aitfjtiit l'>12


I. The Charter Renewal Contentions, 1793 to 1813 . 1

II. The Charter of 1813 27

III. The Building, Consecration, and Ownership of

Churches ........ 51

IV. Churches Built between 1805 and 1815 ... 68
V. Men and Manners 95

VI. Churches Built BETWEEN 1805 AND 1816 . . .115
VII. The Archdeaconry of Madras under the Bishops

OF Calcutta 131

VIII. The Archdeaconry of Madras under the Bishops

OF Calcutta (continued) . . ■ . .151

IX. Churches Built between 1805 and 1815 . . . 175

X. The Coming of the Missionaries 197

XI. Mission Property and Administration . . . 216

XII. Committee Eule in the Mission Field, 1824 to 1835 . 237

XIII. Churches Built between 1815 and 1825 . . . 247

XIV. Discipline and the Consistorial Court . . . 267
XV. Churches Built between 1825 and 1835 . . . 279

XVI. Eeligious, Social and Educational Progress, 1805 to

1835 297

XVII. Churches Built between 1825 and 1835 . . . 320

XVIII. Some other Ecclesiastical Matters, 1813 to 1835 . 338
XIX. Chaplains in the Honourable East India Company's

Service, Madras Establishment, 1805 to 1835 . 356

XX. The Missionaries . , 387


Appendix T. Correction of Errors, Vol. I . . . . 400

„ II. The Trichinopoly Vestry 405

„ III. The Tanjore Vestry 411

,, IV. The Bengal Government and the Missionaries,

1807 413




The Ven. Thomas Eobinson, Archdeacon of Madras

The Fort Church, Bangaxore

St. Mark's, Bangalore

St. Mark's Church, Bangalore, 1912 (heightened and
lengthened) .....

Cantonment Church, Bellary

Holy Trinity Church, Fort, Bellary .

St. G-eorge's Cathedral, Choultry Plain, Madras

St. G-eorge's Cathedral

St. John's Church, Secunderabad

St. Mary's Church, Argot (Ranipett) .

The Ven. Edward Vaughan, Archdeacon of Madras

St. John's, Masulipatam (the dismantled
the Fort)

Church in

St. Mary's Church, Masulipatam

Cantonment Church, Cannanore .

St. John's Church, Trichinopoly

St. John's Church, Trichinopoly

St. Mary Magdalen Church, Poonamallee

Church Mission Chapel, Black Town, Madras

St. John's Church, Tellicherry .

St. Thomas' Church, St. Thomas' Mount .

The Cantonment Church, Pallaveram

To face v.









Holy Trinity Church, Auraxgabad .... Tofacep. 288

St. Thomas' Church, Quilo.v (now in the Diocese of

Travancore) ........,, 292

Church Mission Chapel, John Pereiras, Madras . ,, 296

The Rev. R. H". Kerr, Senior Presidency Chaplain . „ 304

St. Stephen's Church, Ootacamund . . . . „ 322

St. Bartholomew's Church, Mysore . . . . „ 328

Christ Church, Kamptee (now in the Diocese of

Nagpore) ,,332

St. Peter's Church, Saugor (now in the Diocese of

Nagpore) „ 334

St. Peter's Church, Saugor „ 336

All Saints' Church, Nagpore (now the Cathedral of

the Nagpore Diocese) .....,, 338


Page 5, line 21, for 1794 read 1804.
„ 129, lines 23-25, for They belonged to the period . . . 1759 and 1760.
read They belonged to the period between the occupation of
the fort in 1760 and its gallant defence by Flint in 1780.
,, 132, line 7 from end, /or occufus read oculus.
„ 135, lines 6, 7, omit the eminent physician . . . Cathedral.
„ 185, line 1, for Tippoo Sultan read Hycler Ali.
„ „ ;, 6, for Hyder Ali read Tippoo Sultan.
„ 280, „ 6 from end, o?nit who had just raised the siege.
„ 304, „ 25, for Archbishops read Archbishop.
,,311, „ 2 from end, /or 1851 read 1815.
,, 354, ,, 12, /or practical read practicable.
„ 386, „ 1, /or establishment read department.
„ 402, lines 23, 24, omit Colonel Love, E..E. . . . Fort.
„ 422, add to Index Pettitt, G., 394.

The Church iu M£i4i'ai. Tol. ii




The Pam'phleteers, Petitioners, and Deputations

The Charter obligations of the Company, 1698. Altered conditions in the
eighteenth century made new obligations necessary a hundred years later.
The Wilberforce resolutions of 1793. Their omission from the Charter. The
cause of their omission. Mission work up to 1807. The indiscretion of the
Baptist missionaries in Calcutta in that year. The result and the Despatch
of the Directors on the subject. A question of method. Charles Grant's
scheme. Sir John Shore's scheme. Buchanan's scheme in 1805 ; its
two parts. The opposing pamphleteers, Waring, Twining, the Christian
Observer, Waring, Owen, Lord Teignmouth (Sir John Shore) ; missionary
reports, &c. Claudius Buchanan and his sermon. Chatfield and Barrow.
The general effect upon the public. Wilberforce's modified scheme, after
interview with Percival. Lord Liverpool's partial acceptance of it. The
Earl of Buckinghamshire and licences. The Quarterly Review on the
question. Meetings in London and in the country. Resolutions passed
thereat. The action of the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge.
Bebb's pamphlet. The meaning and necessity of the licence. The eccle-
siastical points were not really the most important part of the new Charter.

It is proverbially as difficult to see a large historic subject, as
it is to see a large building, if you are too near to it. Time
lessens the difficulty of seeing the large subject in all its various
bearings. Enough time has now elapsed to enable a juster
view to be taken of the charter controversy than has
hitherto been possible.

The Charter of 1698 ^ was renewed periodically during the
eighteenth century. Each time some alteration was made to

' The Church in Madras, vol. i. pp. 122-23.


suit the new conditions of affairs in policy and administration.
As the Company increased, more by accident than design, as
a governing power, it was brought more and more under the
control of the Government of Great Britain. It was inevitable
that it should be so. A private trading company could
not possibly be allowed to employ a powerful army, to
have the power of entering into treaties with Native States,
to exercise the power of hfe and death over miUions of subject
peoples and of making laws for their peaceable governance,
^^ithout some control from the central authority of the King-
dom. The changes that were made in the successive Charters
had reference to these matters. Two subjects only remained
unchanged durmg the century, those of trade and of eccle-
siastical procedure.

The Charter of 1698 obliged the Company to provide
Chaplains and schoolmasters for their factories, and Chaplains
for their larger ships ; and made it obhgatory on the part
of the shore Chaplains to learn the Portuguese language with
a view to ministering to those subordinates and residents in
the different factories who spoke the Portuguese language.
These obhgations remained all through the eighteenth century,
being renewed with the Charter from time to time without
alteration or dispute. But times had changed though the
obhgations had not. After the first quarter of the century
there was no necessity for the Chaplains to learn the PortU"
guese language in order to instruct and minister to the domi-
ciled Eurasians. They of Portuguese descent learned the
language of their rulers ; and they of British descent naturally
used the language of their fathers. The obhgation was therefore,
to all intents and purposes, a dead letter, and was regarded
as such by successive Chaplains. The other obligation to
provide Chaplains and schoolmasters for every factory was still
necessary and possible ; but even if it had been complied with
in the last quarter of the century, the purely military stations
which were not factories would still have been without both
the one and the other.

The alteration in the Charter ecclesiastically required in
1793 was the substitution of a clause obhging the Company to
employ Chaplains and elementary schoolmasters at all their


larger civil and military stations. This would have brought
the old obligations into line with the requirements of the time ;
for at all the larger civil and military stations there were children
of soldiers and other Europeans needing the instruction and
education which it was the covenant duty of the Company to

During the Parliamentary session of 1793 when the renewal
of the Charter was the subject of discussion, the House of
Commons went into Committee and resolved i on the motion
of William Wilberforce

' that it is the opinion of this Committee that sufficient means
of religious worship and instruction be provided for all persons
of the Protestant communion in the service or under the
protection of the East India Company in Asia, proper ministers
being from time to time sent out from Great Britain for those
purposes ; and that a Chaplain be maintained on board every
ship of 700 tons burthen and upwards in the East India Com-
pany's employ ; and moreover that no such Ministers or
Chaplains shall be sent out, or appointed, until they shall first
have been approved of by the Archbishop of Canterbury or
the Bishop of London for the time being.'

This resolution of the Committee was agreed to by the House.
There was nothing in it to show that the persons intended to
receive the benefit were not the same persons provided for in
the Charter of 1698, namely the Europeans and Eurasians
and their children. Three days afterwards it was further
agreed by the House to add two clauses to the Resolution :
(i) empowering the Court of Directors to send out school-
masters and persons approved by the Archbishop of Canter-
bury or the Bishop of London for the rehgious and moral
improvement of the native inhabitants of the British dominions
in India ; and (ii) requiring the Court of Directors to settle the
destination and provide for the decent maintenance of the
said several persons.

It is doubtful if the House understood the real drift of these
clauses, namely the establishment of Missionary Departments
in the three Presidencies. But the Directors and others

1 Commons' Journal, May 14, 1793, p. 778.

B 2


conversant \\ith Indian affairs understood, and at once took
alarm. It was one thing for them to assist in a quiet unosten-
tatious way the efforts of the Society for Promoting Christian
Knowledge and the Royal Danish Mission ; it was quite
another thing for them to establish departments for the official
prosecution of the work. And the result of their representa-
tion was that all the resolutions were omitted on the third
reading of the Bill.

Their omission was a great disappointment to Wilberforce ;
more especially as when the Bill went up to the House of Lords
the Bishops gave him no help to have the clauses reinserted.
He wanted the National Church to carry on mission work in
British India in a Church way, by means of approved Church
agents, not as it had hitherto been done by the Society for
Promoting Christian Knowledge ; he wanted the work to
be done systematically by men appointed by and under the
orders of the local governments ; and he wanted the work
to be paid for out of the trade profits or other revenues of the
East India Company.

They who opposed him were men who knew something of
the history of India, and remembered that the policy advocated
was the policy pursued by the Portuguese two centuries before
with disastrous results to themselves. They have been sub-
jected by successive writers to the severest criticism as persons
without morals, Oriental and Brahminised in their opinions,
without religion and almost without shame. i But it is impossible
not to see now that they were right in their contention, even
though they may have contended in the wrong way. When
Mr. Dundas paid a well-deserved compliment to Wilberforce
for the ability and restrained power with which he had put
forward his proposals, he added that he had difficulties as to
the wisdom of the course recommended, and that he could not
support it. Neither Mr. Dundas nor the best of the other
opponents were opposed to the prosecution of missionary work
in a missionary way ; all their efforts were directed against
the creation of a Government Missionary Estabhshment. A

' Hough's Ohriatianity in India, 1839, iv. 1-160 ; J. C. Marshman, Lives
of Carey, d-c, 1859, i. 38-40 ; and many subsequent writers who have followed
their lead.


distinguished writer, i whose history of this period has for fifty
years held the field, whose opinions and statements have been
copied by one after another of mission historians, says that
' the door of India was locked against the introduction of
Christian and secular knowledge by the House of Commons in
1793.' It is sufficient to say that at that time the great evan-
gelists Schwartz, Jaenicke, Gericke, Pohle, Kohlhoff, John,
were still alive and delivering their message to the Tamils,
not only without official opposition, but actually with consider-
able official sympathy and help.

It has been necessary to review what took place in 1793 in
order to understand the contention which took place between
1807 and 1813. For fourteen years after the renewal of the
Charter in 1793 missionary affairs in India remained in much
the same condition as they had been before that date. In the
south the Danes employed by the Royal Danish Mission of
Copenhagen continued their work in the Company's territories ;
the Germans employed by the Society for Promoting Christian
Knowledge did the same ; Roman Catholic missionaries had
the same liberty of action ; and the London Missionary Society
sent two men to Madras in 1794— George Cran, a Presbyterian,
and Augustus des Granges, a French Protestant— who worked
at Vizagapatam with financial assistance from the Government
and from the local officials till 1809 and 1810 respectively,
when they died. In the north the Baptist missionaries worked
from their centre at Serampore not only with the tacit approval
of the authorities, but with the active co-operation of Buchanan
and Brown, two of the Company's Chaplains, and with the
distinguished support of Sir John Shore - and the Marquis of
Wellesley.3 All seemed to be going on well, when, in 1807, an
indiscretion on the part of one of the Serampore missionaries
brought them into conflict \vith the Bengal authorities.* With
a httle tact Buchanan might easily have set matters right.
The Bengal Government had favoured the missionaries so long
that the missionaries must have known that the Government
had no objection to their work, as long as their methods were

' J. C. Marshman.

- Afterwards Lord Teignmouth, Governor-General 1793-98.

^ Governor-General 1798-1805. ■* Appendix IV.


not calculated to arouse ill feelings and to produce breaches of
the peace. ^Yhat the missionaries appear to have done was to
preach and distribute tracts in the Calcutta bazaars on the
want of wisdom, the foolishness, of the sacred books of the
Hindus, and to belittle the character of Mahomed the
prophet of Islam. No action so provoking could be permitted
by the Government. Buchanan's zeal outran his discretion.
He might easily have influenced the missionaries to adopt
other methods. Instead of doing this he sided with them against
the Government, and encouraged them to continue their un-
wisdom. The principal results of continued opposition to the
orders of Government were (1) a withdrawal of patronage from
the scheme i of translating the Holy Scriptures, (2) withdrawal
of permission to publish any more tracts or books for the
purpose of converting the natives, (3) a prohibition of bazaar
preaching. These distinct acts of opposition to the work of
the Serampore missionaries were brought about by the action
of the missionaries themselves, and by want of judgment on
the part of Claudius Buchanan. On November 2, 1807, the
Bengal Government reported " what they had done to the
Directors. At the same time Buchanan memorialised ^ the
Governor-General, Lord Minto, on the subject. On Decem-
ber 7, 1907, the Bengal Government forwarded this memorial
to the Directors with their remarks.

The Directors replied in 1808 ^- in a manner which should
be more generally known than it is ; they acknowledged the
receipt of the letters of November and December 1807, on the
subject of the publications which issued from the Serampore
missionary press, and of the proceedings adopted in conse-
quence. They lamented that circumstances should have
occurred to call for interference in the matter of the intro-
duction of Christianity into India. And they continued :

• We are anxious that it should be distinctly miderstood tliat
we are very far from being averse to the introduction of Chris-

' Pearson's Life of BucJmnan, i. 384.

- Parliamentary Papers relating to East Indian Affairs, 1813.
•• 'Bxichana.n'H Apology for Promoting Christianity in India (see Appendix IV).
■• Despatch to Bengal. September 7, 1808, Public. The letters and despatches
are printed in Buchanan's Apology^ Appendix I.


tianity into India . . . but we have a fixed and settled opinion
that nothing could be more unwise or impolitic, — more likely
to frustrate the hopes of those who aim at this object, than
any imprudent or injudicious attempt to introduce it by ^'^
means which should irritate and alarm the religious prejudices
of the Natives.'

The Directors then affirmed as a principle the desirability of
imparting the knowledge of Christianity to the natives ; they
said that they had no objection to the circulation of the Scrip-
tures ; they recommended the Government of Bengal to try
the effect of a private communication with the missionaries
if they were acting in the wrong way, instead of issuing pro-
hibitions ; but under the circumstances they approved of the
prohibition of public preaching, except in proper places of
worship. They continued :

' You are, of course, aware that many of the meritorious
individuals who have devoted themselves to these labours are
not British subjects, or living under our authority ; and that
none of the missionaries have proceeded to Bengal with our
licence. We rely on your discretion that you will abstain
from all unnecessary or ostentatious interference with their

The principles of the Directors are quite plain from this
despatch.! The kindliness of the Government of Bengal
towards the missionaries ^ and their work up to 1807 is equally
plain from their actions. Both the Directors and the Bengal
Government sympathised with the missionary intentions ;
but they objected to some of the methods, which in their
judgment ' exposed to hazard the pubhc safety without pro-
moting the intended object.'

In 1793 Wilberforce and his party were at issue with the
Directors on the question of method. In 1807 the Serampore
missionaries were at issue with the Bengal Government on the
same question. The great principle of the duty of promoting ^
Christian knowledge was common to all parties. They differed ^^

1 See also Despatch to Fort St. George, May 29, 1807, Political.
- Carey was made Professor of Oriental Languages in the Government
College with a salary of Rs.800 a month.


as to how the duty could best be done. When the news reached
India m 1794 of the failure of Wilberforce and his party to
get the establishment and payment clauses inserted in the
1793 Act of Parhament, Sir John Shore ^ was Governor-General
of Bengal. He was a personal friend of Charles Grant, who,
like himself, was an old mcml^er of the Bengal Civil Service.

Online LibraryFrank PennyThe church in Madras : being the history of the ecclesiastical and missionary action of the East India Company in the Presidency of Madras in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries (Volume 2) → online text (page 1 of 39)