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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

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fitted for the work he had undertaken, he found friends among
the Company's servants ; these obtained for him a subordinate
post in an up-country factory, and so he was able to maintain
himself during the time he was learning the languages and
preparing himself for his subsequent translation work.

The most important result of the reports was their effect
upon groups of like-minded men, who in the last decade of the
century formed themselves into associations for the prosecution
of mission work among the heathen abroad. First came the
Missionary Society, afterwards known as the London Mission-
ary Society. Among its original members were both Church-
men and Nonconformists. It was formed in 1794. Some of
its members were in favour of commencing work in India at
once ; the majority wished to begin elsewhere ; so it happened
that the first agents of this Society did not reach India till
December 1804.

One of them was William Tobias Eingeltaube ; he was
educated at Halle, and was intended for the Coromandel coast
mission of the S.P.C.K. For this purpose there can be no

' Lewis' Memoir of the Rev. John Thomas, 1871. Consult also with some
reserve Kaye's Christianity in India, chap. vii. Ka3'e blindly foUows J. C.
Marshman {Carey, Ward, dhc), who was filially too much of a partisan to be


doubt that, like other students intended for the same mission,
he studied Tamil while still at college to prepare himself for his
future work. The Society, however, wanted a man at Calcutta
in 1797 1 when he was ready to embark, and sent him there
instead of to the coast. This alteration involved the learning
of another language. Probably this difficulty had something
to do with his return home m 1799. In 1803 the London
Society engaged his services for work on the coast, and he
arrived at Tranquebar at the end of the following year. In the
same ship with him travelled George Cran and Augustus Des
Granges. These men are stated to have been two years in a
seminary at Gosport before being accepted by the Society for
work abroad, but their nationality is not given.^

In 1805 arrived at Madras W. C. Loveless and John Taylor,
sent out by the same Society. In 1806 John David Palm, a
German, who had travelled as far as Colombo with Cran and
Des Granges in 1805, joined his travelling companions at
Vizagapatam.3 In 1809 John Gordon and William Lee
arrived at Calcutta in an American ship from New York, and
went to Vizagapatam the following year. John Hands,
Edward Pritchett, and Jonathan Brain arrived at Madras in
1810, and John Thompson m 1812.^

Between 1790 and 1813 the following agents of the S.P.C.K.
arrived in Madras and commenced work at one or another of
the Society's stations : C. H. Horst, 1792 ; C. W. Paezold, 1793 ;
I. G. Holtzberg, 1797 ; J. P. Bottler, 1803 ; and C. A. Jacobi,
1813. No other English Society had agents working in the
Presidency ; but there were Roman Catholic priests, chiefly of
French and Portuguese nationality, pursuing their own work
under the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Mylapore according to
the regulations of the Fort St. George Government.

It is of interest to notice how these men were received and
treated by the Company, their Government on the coast, and

' J. C. Diemer, the colleague of Kiernander from 1775 to 1785, and in sole
charge from 1789, died in 1792. J. W. Gerlach, who joined Kiernander in
1778, died in 1791. See The Church in Madras, i. 691.

- History of the L.M.8., 1795-1895. Hough says that Cran was a Scotch-
man and Des Granges a Frenchman, iv. 253-60.

■' Pearson's Life of Buchanan, vol. ii. chap, v. p. 26.

■• Rerjistcr of L.M.8. Missionaries, 1796-189G, by J. 0. Whitchouse.


by their officials in different parts of the Presidency. It has
been represented i that the tide of hostihty on the part of
Europeans in India at this period ran strong against missionary
operations ; that the door of India was shut against them ; that
all possible discouragement was given to every effort to spread
the Gospel ; ^ and many similar statements have been made
by missionary historians following in the wake of Hough.^ It
is not to be denied that there was friction between the authorities
in Bengal and the Baptist missionaries during the year 1806
and for two years afterwards, owing to circumstances which
have been detailed ; but there was no similar friction in the south
of India, for the reason that the missionaries there gave no
cause for it. They obeyed all rules, fulfilled all conditions, and
in return they were welcomed and willingly helped by the best
of the Company's civil and mihtary servants. If the Court of
Directors had not plainly stated then* views on the subject of
mission work in their despatch * of September 7, 1808, to the
Government of Bengal, in which they affirmed as a principle
the desirability of imparting the knowledge of Christianity to
the natives of India ; said that they had no objection to the work
being done, no objection to the Scriptures being circulated,
no objection to public preaching in proper places of worship ;
and concluded by advising the Government of Bengal not to
interfere without necessity with the proceedings of the mission-
aries ;— if the Court of Directors had not written that despatch,
their policy with regard to missionaries could have been plainly
seen by the generous appreciation and assistance of their
servants in the Presidency of Madras.

It is unnecessary to refer again to the Eoman Catholic mission-
aries and to those sent out by the S.P.C.K., for the goodwill of
all the authorities towards them has been sufficiently demon-
strated in the former volume of this record. It remains only
to mention what kind of reception was accorded to the agents
of the London Missionary Society. Under the terms of its

^ Hough's Christianity in India, iv. 252.
- Eugene Stock's History of the CM. 8. 55.
^ Sherring's Protestant Missions in India, p. 78.

■• Public Department. See Appendix I of Buchanan's Apology for the
whole correspondence with the Bengal C4overnment.


Charter the Company might have directed its local Governments
to send them all back to Em'ope on arrival, since the Society
which employed them took no pains to obtain licences for them
before they went. The Directors were quite aware of this breach
of rule when they wrote the despatch mentioned above, and
determined to make no use of it. They said : ' You are of
course aware that many of the meritorious individuals who
have devoted themselves to these labours are not British
subjects nor living under om' authority, and that none of the
missionaries have proceeded to Bengal with our licence.' If
they had been writing to the Madras Government they would
have been able to say much the same thing of some of the
missionaries in the south. They took no decided action regard-
ing the absence of a licence, because they did not wish to do so
without a cause. The necessity of a licence remained as a rule
which could be put in force at any time if the local Government
considered it requisite. This policy explains their sympathetic
actions in the following cases :

Eingeltaube arrived at Tranquebar i in 1804 ; he visited
Madras in 1805 to take counsel with Dr. Eottler as to his
sphere of work. Probably in consideration of his knowledge
of Tamil he was recommended to take charge of the Tinnevelly
mission ; he arrived at Palamcottah that same year, having
visited Kohlhoff at Tanjore on the way and received his sanc-
tion of the arrangement. At Palamcottah he was most kindly
received by Colonel Charles Trotter, the commandant, and by
the civil and military officers of the station.^ He did what
former Lutheran missionaries had done before him ; he carried
on his mission work and ministered to the Company's garrison
at the same time. There is no doubt about the welcome given
to him by the Company's officers. He was a restless man, and
showed an inclination to commence a mission in the adjoining
Travancore country. He was accordingly invited by Colonel
Macaulay, the British Resident in that native state, to do so.
He made his headquarters at Maladi, and before he gave up

* This Danish settlement was captured by the Madras army in 1801 ; after
the Peace of Amiens it was restored to the Danes in 1803 ; on the resumption
of hostilities it was retaken in 1805.

- Caldwell's Tinnevelly Mission, and The Church in Madras, i. 633.


the work in 1815 he had established his catechists at several
stations, and had several hundred communicants. ^ Eingel-
taube received nothing but welcome from the officials.

George Cran and Augustus Des Granges arrived at Tranque-
bar 3 with Ringeltaube in 1804. In the following year they
were invited to Madras by Dr. Kerr, the Chaplain of St. Mary's,
Dr. Bottler, who was in charge of the S.P.C.K. Vepery Mission,
and other friends of the mission cause. They were recommended
not to interfere with existing missions, but to commence
work in the Telugu country where there were none. They
accepted the advice, and with the permission of the Governor
in Council they went to Vizagapatam with letters of introduc-
tion from ' gentlemen of the first respectabihty ' in Madras.
They arrived in July 1805, and were cordially received by the
Chief Magistrate, Robert Alexander. Kerr and Rottler advised
them to follow the policy of the Lutheran missionaries in the
service of the S.P.C.K., and to make themselves useful to the
English residents by conducting public worsliip according to
the Book of Common Prayer. By following this advice they
made themselves acceptable to the English officials and gentry,
and the act turned out to be a means of blessing to themselves,
which they acknowledged in a letter to Kerr. It seems to
have been their first introduction to the Liturgy of the Church,
for they expressed their admiration of it and of the Thirty -nine
Articles, as if they had never seen them before, and they com-
menced to translate them with the help of a Brahmin into
Telugu. In return for this regular Sunday service they obtained
from the Government on the apphcation of the Chief Magistrate
an allowance of ten pagodas 3 a month as lectors or readers of
divine service. It was the same amount as was given to Horst
and Holtzberg at Cuddalore for a similar purpose. They were
also given the privilege of franking their letters home, which
was enjoyed by the Company's officials and the senior S.P.C.K.
missionary. At the request of the Chief Magistrate the Zemindar
gave them a piece of land for their mission buildings ; the

1 Sherring's Protestant Missions, p. 321.

2 Pearson, Lije of Buchanan, i. 40 and ii. chap. v. p. 26 ; Hough's Christianity
in India, iv. 253-60 ; Buchanan's Colonial Eccl. Est. p. 165 note.

^ U.


Magistrate himself gave them permission to build ; the civil
and military officers of Vizagapatam were Hberal in their
linancial assistance, so that it was not long before they had
built a free school and orphanage for Eurasian children and a
house for themselves. Claudius Buchanan visited them on
his way to the south in 1806, when John Palm was paying them
a visit from Ceylon. He described them as ' three holy men.'
Their wives were with them ; but Buchanan only mentions
Mrs. Palm, who ' is a helpmeet in the Gospel. She learns the
language faster than her husband.'

Cran died at Chicacole in 1809 and Des Granges at Vizaga-
patam in 1810. All the European officers of the station attended
the funeral of the latter. In the old cemetery at Vizagapatam
there is a monument to his memory, on which he is described
as ' having faithfully served the East India Company for the
period of four years.'

In the year 1805 two more agents of the London Mission
arrived at Madras, John Taylor and William Charles Loveless.
They were on their way to Surat. Taylor eventually reached
the Bombay Presidency. He was a surgeon, and was persuaded
to enter the medical service of the Company i on the Bombay
estabhshment. The newcomers met in Madras Cran and Des
Granges, who had just arrived from Tranquebar, and were
introduced by them to their kind friends. By these they were
welcomed with cordiality.- The httle circle must have in-
cluded Dr. Kerr the Chaplain and Dr. Bottler the S.P.C.K.
missionary. At the time of their arrival the mastership of the
Male Asylum was vacant. Dr. Kerr, being favourably im-
pressed with Loveless, offered him the post, and he accepted the
offer. The Asylum was governed by a committee of persons
in high official positions in Madras with the Governor at its
head. Loveless, the L.M.S. missionary,^ could not have
obtained the post without their knowledge and consent. And
thus the highest officials in Madras are found to be consenting
to his arrival and conspiring to keep him. He is described by

' He is sometimes referred to as Dr. Taylor, but I cannot find that he had
a doctor's degree.

- Hough's Christianity in India, iv. 272.

^ William Taylor {Memoir, d-c, ]). 128) says he came out as a catechist.


William Taylor as very humbly talented and unpresuming.
His modesty found him friends, without whom he could have
done little beyond the bounds of the Asylum. He commenced
at once to hold religious meetings for the Eurasians of Vepery
and Black Town, among whom he officiated with great accep-
tance, using the Book of Common Prayer in his ministrations.
There was some opposition to his ministrations, i not from the
authorities, but from the S.P.C.K. missionary at Vepery, a
German whose knowledge of English was imperfect, whose
English congregation was sadly thinned by the effort of the
London missionary .^ Assisted by some of the European
officials, especially by William Harcourt Torriano of the
Madras Civil Service, he built within five years of his arrival
a chapel in Black Town for services in English without the
Prayer-book, with two schoolrooms attached for Eurasian boys
and girls. This chapel was opened with the consent of the
Government. He resigned the mastership of the Male Asylum
in 1812, opened a private school in Vepery, and retired in 1824.
Neither his arrival nor his occupation was in any way interfered
with by the Government. On the contrary he was assisted by
them and by some of the Company's officials individually.

The next agents of the L.M.S. to arrive were John Gordon
and William Lee, who reached Calcutta via New York in
1809.3 They had no difficulty in joining Des Granges at
Vizagapatam. In the words of Hough ' both were estimable
men, and they made a great impression on all.' Here without
molestation they pursued their peaceful labours of translating
portions of the Bible into Telugu, and carrying on the work
commenced by their predecessors.

John Hands of the same Society arrived at Madras in 1810,*
Like his predecessors he was without a licence. Owing to an
indiscretion on the part of the Serampore missionaries in
Bengal, the local Governments of India began now to demand
the production of the regulation licence from those who wished
to enter the country for missionary purposes. Hands would

^ Sherring's Protestant Missions, p. 411.

- Taylor's Memoir, p. 133.

^ Hough's Christianity in India, iv. 264.

^ Hough says 1809 ; but the L.M.S. Register says 1810.


have been sent back if Marmaduke Thompson, one of the
junior Ghaphiins, had not interceded with the Government for
him. He was allowed to land on the miderstanding that his
sole intention and object was to try and work somewhere as
Cran and Des Granges had worked at Vizagapatam. There
can be no doubt that he received the same advice from mission
friends in Madras as they did, and was recommended not to
interfere with missions already established, but to begin in
some new place or in some place which for want of workers
had been deserted. He actually tried to begin at Seringapatam,
a very mihealthy station where fever had struck down many
a British soldier as well as a notable missionary Chaplain, A. T.
Clarke. But he soon passed on from this place to Bellary.
Here was a brigade of European and native troops without
a Chaplain, He was welcomed by the Europeans, and worked
among them just as Cran and Des Granges did at their station ;
he used the Prayer-book in his ministrations, and was indebted
to this compliance with British prejudice for his English con-
gregation. At the instance of the Chief Magistrate he received
a grant from the Madras Government of eight acres of land,
rent free as long as the land was appropriated to the use of the
charity school and orphanage for Europeans and Eurasians,
which he established with the assistance of the officers of the
station. His efforts among the soldiers and their Eurasian
children, which were attended with happy results, were no
longer required after 1812, when the Government sent a Chaplain
to guide and watch over their spiritual welfare. He then
turned his principal attention to mission work, and began
translating the Gospel of St. Luke into Canarese. Being joined
by Joseph Taylor, a young man born of European parents in
Madras, he was able to devote even more attention to transla-
tion work, and commenced a Canarese Grammar and Diction-
ary. ^ He wrote several tracts in Canarese for his mission
purposes, and appHed to the Government for permission to
set up a printing press. Bearing in mind what had happened
at Serampore in connection with the vernacular printing press
there, the Government hesitated, and John Hands did not

' Hough's Christianity in India, iv. 280-90 ; Sherring's Protestant Missions,
p. 293.


obtain his desire till 1826. With this exception he was in no
way hampered in his work by the Government or by their
officials. In other respects he was greatly helped by both.
Joseph Taylor needed no licence because he was born in the
country. This accentuates the fact that the licence was not
one to do mission work, but to reside in the Company's

The next agents of the L.M.S. to reach Madras were Edward
Pritchett and Jonathan Brain. They arrived in 1810. The
latter died shortly after arrival. The former was intended for
Rangoon, and pursued his journey thither as soon as the ship
was ready. Military troubles in Burmah obliged him to leave
that country. By choice he went to Calcutta, where he
arrived in February 1811. Finally, he joined Gordon and Lee
at Vizagapatam in November of that year. The acknowledged
excellence of the missionaries on the Telugu coast saved him
from any objection or inquiry. He was a linguist of natural
ability, as some men are, and he was one of the principal
translators of the New Testament into Telugu, whose transla-
tion was pronounced at the time to be ' a plain intelligible
version.' ^ He followed quietly in the footsteps of Cran and
Des Granges, and died at Vizagapatam in 1820.

John Thompson arrived at Madras in March 1812. There
he lingered through illness. The authorities not knowing the
cause of his detention had some reason to doubt his missionary
purpose. He was therefore served with a notice on May 22
informing him that the Hon. the Governor in Council was
precluded by the orders of the Supreme Government from
permitting him to reside in any place under the Presidency,
and directing him to return to the Isle of France or to Europe
on the first opportunity .^ But he was sick unto death with
abscess on the liver, and he died in June within a month of
receiving the notice.

The order of the Supreme Government was the result of
the arrival of some missionaries in American ships, and of the
arrival of two missionary Americans early in 1812 at Calcutta.
These were Judson and Newell. They meant no more harm

^ Hough's Christianity in India, iv, 269, 290.
2 The letter is quoted by Sherring, p. 412.


to the Government than the missionaries aheady in the country ;
but they came at an unfortunate time. They and their country-
men were mostly of British descent and bore British names.
They had declared their independence of the mother country,
and were at this period of England's struggle with France
showing their independence by joining with their mother's
enemies against her. The circumstances of the expulsion of
Judson and Newell were thus exceptional ; they were more
political than missionary. As their country was in alliance
with France, which had been for some time trying to injure
Great Britain by stirring up strife in India, these men might
be secret agents of France for all the Bengal Government
knew to the contrary. As a matter of fact they were not ;
but in times of war no risks can be taken, and they became
the innocent victims of their countrymen's unnatural politics.
Judson went to Burmah and did a great evangelistic work
there. Three other Americans were deported in the following
year. In spite of these deportations it is sufficiently clear that
the East India Company and their officials were not antagonistic
to Christian mission work, as such, in the territories of the
Madras Government.

Neither the obligations of the 1813 Charter, nor the state-
ments made in the heat of controversy whilst its terms were
under discussion, made any difference to the Company and its
officials in their attitude towards the missionaries after the
new Charter was granted. The goodwill of all continued.
The Rajah of Tanjore was still kind and liberal towards Kohlhoff
and his assistants. If the Government had been in any way
unfriendly or hostile, a single word from the British Resident
would have put an end both to the liberality and the kindness.
With the consent of the Directors the Government continued
its contribution of 1200 pagodas a year to the Sullivan-Schwartz
Enghsh schools of Tanjore, Ramnad, and Combaconum.
Christopher Jacobi, a new S.P.C.K. missionary, was granted a
free passage to Madras in 1813 when the debate about the terms
of the Charter was going on. And the Company's servants
gave the same kind of protection, encouragement, and help
to the missionaries which they had given hitherto.

At this time a new society as far as India was concerned


came upon the scene. The Church Missionary Society from
the very beginning professed to consider the heathen and them
alone as the objects of its care. It has been stated that the
evangehcals of the period were excluded from participation
in the work of the S.P.C.K.i If this was the case it is a
sufficient proof that party spirit existed in a much more acute
form in England than it did in India, and that the East India
Company and their servants understood toleration better than
it was understood at home. Under such circumstances the
evangelicals had a perfect right to combine to carry on the
work by themselves. According to the Eev. John Venn the
projected mission was to be carried on on Church principles
but not on high Church principles. There were working in
India at the time the agents of the S.P.C.K., the Baptist, and
London Mission Societies, and not one of these were in Holy
Orders. Venn was a loyal Churchman, and probably intended
that the work of the new Society should be done by rightly
ordained men of his own school. But as soon as he began to
look for men he experienced the same difficulty as the S.P.C.K.
They were not to be found. Some of the old S.P.C.K. missions
on the Coromandel coast were languishing, not for want of
funds but for want of men. The Lutheran supply from Halle
had been cut off by the Napoleonic wars. The English clergy
were too few for the needs of their own country, so that a great
number of them had to take charge of more than one benefice.
Wilberforce tried to get over the difficulty by recommending
the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of London to
adopt a distinct ordination for missionaries, authorising them
to work abroad but not in England.^ The C.M.S. tried to
surmount it by resolving to send laymen into the mission field,
who were to work as catechists till called by the Society to be
ordained .3 Neither of these plans was found to bo feasible.
Thus it happened that they had to do what the S.P.C.K. did,
and employ Germans as their first Madras agents. In the first
seventeen years of the Society's existence they employed

1 E. Stock's History of the C.M.S. i. 63-66.

2 See his Charter speech in Parliament, 1813. This was the origin of the
difference between home and colonial ordination.

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 19 of 39)