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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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•* Hough's Hidory, iv. 167.
VOL. u. p


twenty-four missionaries, of whom seventeen were Germans.
As far as Church principles were concerned they might, with
advantage to the cause, have joined and strengthened the
missionary effort of the S.P.C.K.

Between 1814 and 1836 the Society sent twenty -nine
missionaries to southern India ; nine of these were Germans.
There was a difference between the Germans employed by the
S.P.C.K. and the C.M.S. The former were distinctly Lutherans,
the latter were not. The difference was a more important one
than that of mere ritual and furniture and ornament.

Before the arrival at Madras of theirfirst agents, Schnarre and
Ehenius, they had begun to assist the work that was going on
at Tranquebar through a committee of their friends at Calcutta,
which was to all intents and purposes a corresponding com-
mittee. In 1812 this committee made a generous grant to Dr.
John of Tranquebar to enable him to continue the Enghsh
schools which he had founded on the plan of the Sulhvan-
Schwartz schools. This grant was the occasion of their sending
Schnarre and Ehenius from Madras to Tranquebar in 1814.
WTien they were recalled to Madras in the following year,
Marmaduke Thompson w§nt through the form of asking the
Government to permit them to reside in the Presidency town.
The Governor granted the request ' with words of kindness and
encouragement.' i Schnarre returned to Tranquebar in 1816,
and Ehenius went to Palamcottah in 1820 ; not because of
any want of welcome in Madras, but because their services
were required elsewhere.

On the departure of Eingeltaube from South Travancore
the work was taken up b}^ the two London missionaries, Charles
Mead and Eichard Knill. At the suggestion and by the advice
of Colonel John Munro, the Eesident, the headquarters of the
mission was moved to Nagercoil in 1818. Here by the influence
of the same British official a house was provided by the Eanee,
who also gave 5000 pagodas for the purchase of rice fields for
the endowment of the mission.

In 1815 Colonel Munro wrote to the newly formed corre-
sponding committee in Madras, and invited them to send one
of their missionaries to Travancore to work among the Syrian

* Hough's History.


Christians of the State, who for want of education were in a
sad condition of ignorance. The Committee sent for Thomas
Norton, who was stationed in Ceylon, for the jjurpose. Two
years later he was joined by Benjamin Bailey, Henry Baker,
and Joseph Fenn. In 1818 Colonel Mmiro wrote to the Madras
Government about these faithful priests and said : ' They are
respected and loved by the people ; and the further resort of
respectable missionaries to this country will be productive of
eminent advantage.'

Another society commenced work in Madras in 1816.
Wilham Taylor gives an account i of its commencement, which
though ridiculous has an air of truth. The result was the
arrival from Ceylon of Mr. Lynch of the Wesleyan Mission.
He was instrumental in building the mission house and chapel
at Eoyapettah, one of the districts of Madras, where no other
mission work was being done at the time. James Mowatt
arrived in 1820. After staying a short time at Bangalore he
went to Negapatam, where the old S.P.C.K. Mission was in
charge of a young German catechist. The chief magistrate,
Mr. John Cotton, and the other English residents at once asked
him to conduct service for them in the old S.P.C.K. Church.
He did this so acceptably that at the request of Mr. Cotton the
Government made him an allowance of 20 pagodas a month for
his services as Eeader.

With him came in 1820 Elijah Hoole, who was quite a
remarkable man. On his return home in 1829 he pubHshed
an account of his mission to India. From this book the reader
can see for himself the kindly spirit in which he was received
by the Company's servants wherever he went. One of the
first things he recorded on arrival at Madras was ' the opening
of the Black Town chapel, erected by the munificence of the
Government for the Church Missionary Society.' This act of
munificence must have astonished him, in the hght of all he
must have heard and read about the Government before leaving
England. He travelled to Negapatam and was welcomed by
John Cotton the Collector. Here he found that the English
residents assembled in the old Dutch Church every Sunday
morning for divine service, which was ' performed by our

* Taylor's Me?mif, die, p. 235.

p 2


missionary.' At Salem be received a welcome from the
Collector, Montagu Cockburn, and conducted a service for the
residents there. At Bangalore he was the guest of the Chaplain,
the Rev. W. Malkin, by whom ho was entertained for several
weeks. From this place he went to Seringapatam, and was
received with friendly politeness by the Resident, the Com-
mandant, and other ofdcers. The Europeans and Eurasians
of the garrison had just completed the building of a chapel for
themselves, large enough to accommodate a hundred persons.
Here at their request he conducted service on Sundays, using
of course the Church Prayer-book.

He dined with the Commandant at Seringapatam and with
the Resident at Mysore, and he mentioned that he was treated
by the latter— the Hon. Arthur H. Cole— with kindness and
affabihty. At the Mysore Durbar he was treated by the
Resident just as if he had been an English official.

Thence he went to Chittoor, ' the happy valley,' where
he was most kindly received by Joseph Dacre, who was the
District Judge and a zealous promoter of Christian knowledge.
Here he stayed ten days ; he conducted service for the English
residents in the Court House on Sunda}^ and, finding that Mr.
Dacre employed catechists and schoolmasters and managed
a small mission of his own among the Tamil population of the
place, he paid particular attention to the work that was being
done and preached to the Tamil Christians also. At Arcot he
was entertained by the Company's Chaplain, the Rev. Richard
Smyth, and so he returned to Madras.

Speaking of the Wesley an chapel in Popham's Broadway he
mentioned that Rs.7000 out of the total cost of Rs. 10,000
were raised locally with the kind assistance of ' many
of the servants of Government and other highly respected
residents in Madras.' The following comment was without
doubt the result of observation during his tour, that the
Em'opeans and Eurasians in all stations where there was no
resident Chaplain were in need of Christian teaching and
ministration, and showed their need by welcoming his services
and those of other missionaries ; he said : ' Were no other ends
to be answered by missions to India than the maintenance of
Christian Knowledge and feeling among those who akeady


profess our holy religion, it is an object worthy of the beneficent
liberality of the public at home.'

With very few exceptions i these early missionaries were
careful not to make confusion by establishing themselves where
others were already working. The London Mission went to
Vizagapatam, Bellary, Nagercoil, and Bangalore, where none
had worked before. The Wesleyans went to Mysore and
Eoyapettah. The Church Mission equally disclaimed any
intention of interfering with any existing society. They would
have been content to commence by themselves as they did in
Travancore, but they were invited to assist the old S.P.C.K.
Mission at Palamcottah and in the Black Town of Madras,
and they cheerfully complied. This peaceful division of labour
and the entire absence of politics were the two main reasons
why the Government and the servants of Government were
able to give the different missionaries so warm a welcome.
There was no prejudice against missionaries in a Presidency
where missionaries had been working for over a hundred years ;
no restraint nor interference was necessary with men who had
such an experience to guide them, and who had learned by its
means that the circulation of tracts abusing the religions of the
country was not a wise missionary method. In addition to this
they appeared to have left all their angles and politics behind
them. Thus the Government was able to welcome and assist
them, and Elijah Hoole was able to say :

' The union of spirit and affection generally exhibited in
Madras by the missionaries of the different societies, whilst it
is quite compatible with a conscientious preference for their
own religious communions, affords a pleasing proof of their
Christian temper as well as zeal, and has often been to each
other a rich source of gratification and comfort.'

On his return to Madras Hoole commenced work at Myla-
pore, three miles from the Fort. Here he was assisted by a
'respectable English inhabitant, who was educated at Harrow,'
who lent one of his houses for mission purposes. But Hoole
liked itinerating best, and was soon off again to the up-country

' Loveless, L.M.S., at Vepery and Squance, W.M.S., at Negapatam.


stations, where he received the same kind of welcome from the
civil and military officers which he had received on his first
jom-ney. At Trichinopoly he opened a small chapel in the
cantonment, which had been built by some of the men of the
1st Royals with the assistance of the Chaplain, the Rev. H. C.
Bankes. At Wallajahbad, where the 69th Regiment was, he
was given quarters by the commandant, Major Leslie ; he
conducted service for the regiment on two occasions, once in
the barrack square and once in the fives court. He was also
invited by the officers to preach in the evening in the mess
house. Later on, that is in 1824, a Chaplain was posted to the
station, the Rev. James Boys ; the officers and men of the
regiment showed their appreciation of Hoole's ministrations
when they had no Chaplain by subscribing Rs.450 towards the
liuilding of a schoolroom and chapel for his separate Wesleyan
use, the Commandant giving the site, and the Collector the
materials. At Cuddalore he was welcomed by the officers of
the garrison and the civil officials, and he preached in the
S.P.C.K. mission Church. Among the officials was one, Mr.
Sim, whose name has been for the three generations held in
honour in the Presidency. Hoole visited several other places,
and recorded the same kind reception and welcome everywhere.
He was far from thinking that the Government was hostile,
or that the presence of Europeans was detrimental to the
advance of Christianity. He bore witness that there was no
political hindrance to missionary work, and added that stations
occupied by Europeans were in many respects the best centres
of missionary effort. In saying this he was only repeating
what the German missionaries of the S.P.C.K. had been saying
during the previous hundred years.

It is only necessary to mention three other evidences of
Government goodwill to the mission cause.

(i) After the arrival of the first Bishop of Calcutta in the
country, the system of committee administration and committee
rule in the various mission enterprises was commenced. The
committees of the S.P.C.K., the C.M.S., and the Bible Society
were composed of officials of high standing in Madras, who
willingly gave their time and attention to matters of missionary
detail in order that financial difficulties should be guarded


against, property securely held, and the work vigorously

(ii) When Dr. Eottler had translated the English Liturgy
into Tamil in 1814, he appealed to the Governor in Council
for assistance towards the heavy expense of printing it. In
reply the Secretary to Government wrote :

' As the Governor in Council is confident that the Hon.
Court of Directors will entertain a high sense equally of the
motives and of the design of your undertaking, and will feel
desirous that it should receive due encouragement, I am directed
to acquaint you that the Sub-Treasurer will be authorised to
pay you on your receipt the sum of 500 pagodas ; for which
you will hereafter deliver to Government the number of copies
of your work which may cost that sum at the price at which
it may be sold.'

Later on Dr. Eottler reckoned that the equivalent amounted
to 125 copies, and the Government made a free gift of these
copies to the Madras District Committee of the S.P.C.K. for
the use of the native Tamil Christians in Madras.^

(iii) The Government erected a Church in Black Town in
1819 for the native Christians 2 of that quarter, and gave it to
the C.M.S. The cost was over Rs.18,000 ; but of this more

' Taylor's Memoir, Appendix E.

- The term -native' included at that time the Em-opeans and Eurasians born
in the country.



The Origin and Development of Committee Bule

The beginning of the S.P.C.K. missions. The rules for missionaries, 1735.
Their inapphcability and failure. The accumulation of property. Its
misappropriation. The Kiernander lesson. The Society's inquiry, 1787.
The missionary system of using missionary funds. Paezold at Vepery.
Schwartz and his trustees. Gericke and his trustees. The omission of
Paezold. The inclusion of Rottler. Rottler goes to Vepery. Formation
of the Madras District Committee, 181G. Its members and its original
functions. Increase of its power during Paezold's life and after his death.
The M.D.C. in power in secular matters. Thanks of the Society. Its
inquiry about the Vepery mission property, 1818. Proposals to transfer
the trust funds to the M.D.C. ; the M.D.C. refer to the Society. The
Society consults the Bishop of Calcutta. Rottler leans on the Committee,
who advise under protest. Their disinclination to rule the affairs of the
mission. The trustees of the Vepery and Tanjore funds invest their funds
in Government bonds. The M.D.C. in power, 1824.

The long story of Committee rule begins with the coming of the
first Bishop of Calcutta. There is nothing like it in any other
part of the mission field of the Church, the reason being that it
arose from circumstances peculiar to the Presidency of Madras.
In the year 1728 the S.P.C.K. determined to follow the
example of the Royal Danish Mission, and to employ mission-
aries, with the consent of the Hon. East India Company,
responsible entirely to themselves, within the territories of the
Company. At that time the Company had two forts on the
Coromandel coast and no possessions inland. With the consent
of the men themselves, of their emjDloyers in Denmark (with
whom the S.P.C.K. were always in friendly correspondence),
of the Danish and English East India Companies, and of their
local representatives at Fort St. George and Tranquebar, the


two stations of Madras and Cuddalore were occupied as
mission stations by men of the Royal Danish Mission, who
transferred their services from the Danish to the Enghsh

Seven years afterwards^the Society issued a paper of ' instruc-
tions for the Protestant missionaries in the Enghsh colonies
of Madras, Cuddalore, &c., to be observed by them in the
discharge of their respective functions.' It consisted of ten
sections, of which the following are the headings :

1. Of the good disposition and behaviour necessary.

2. Of the direction and business of the mission.

3. Of the behaviour of the missionaries towards each other.

4. Of the ministerial functions of a missionary.

5. Of the journeys of a missionary.

6. Of the servants of the mission.

7. Of the schools of the mission.

8. Of the money belonging to the mission.

9. Of the books to be printed and published.

10. The instructions to be read annually in conference.
After a careful study of the instructions one is bound to
confess that if they had been faithfully observed there would
not have been any need for the interference of a District
Committee. At the same time it is abundantly evident that
the non-observance was not due entirely to carelessness, but
partly to the growth of the mission to places far distant from
the first two stations, which rendered the observance of three of
the rules impossible in practice. Take, for example, the direc-
tions of section 2. They contemplated a state of affairs which
never existed, namely, that the missionaries would be suffi-
ciently near one another to enable them to hold a weekly
general conference, the senior missionary presiding, for the
administration of the whole affairs of the mission.

The section ordered the catechists and the schoolmasters
to attend the conference. All matters for consideration —
which might include the discipline of the converts, the appoint-
ment of servants, the staffing of schools, the purchase, repair,
exchange, or sale of property — all such matters were to be
debated and voted upon ; and the resolutions passed were to be
entered in the minute book and subscribed by each missionary


present. A copy of the minute book was to be sent to the
Society annually.

Besides this general weekly conference the missionaries
were to hold a special weekly one among themselves to arrange
the division of labour, to discuss such matters as did not concern
the catechists and schoolmasters, and as a means of ' continuing
their good correspondence Avith the missionaries at Tranquebar.'

If the mission had never extended beyond the boundaries
of Madras and Cuddalore, it would have been impossible to
keep the rule of this section ; but when the work of the mission
extended, as it did before the end of the century, northward to
Pulicat, westward to Arcot and Vellore, and southward to
Tanjore, Trichinopoly, Ramnad, Palamcottah. and Tuticorin,
the rule became a dead letter, and administration had to be
carried on in some other way.

In drawing up section 8 the S.P.C.K. took particular
care to guard the financial affairs of the mission. The mission-
aries were cautioned to account for all the money they received
for the use of the mission, to spend it only in the manner
intended l)y the donors, to husband their resources with care
and fidelity, and to send an exact account of all receipts and
disbursements to the Society yearly. The missionaries were
to choose every half-year a treasurer, who was to keep the cash
and the accounts, and to acquaint his colleagues at the end of
his term of office of the exact financial condition of the mission.
Without their consent he was to incur no new expense ; he was
neither to do repairs, nor invest capital, nor purchase land.
The mission property in money was to be at the disposal of the
missionaries in council and them alone.

Section 9 in a similar way provided for the control of the
Mission Press. The Society decreed that the missionaries as a
body should decide what should and should not be printed.
They did their best to prevent it falling under the control of
any one man.

But all these provisions were rendered inoperative by the
extension of the work and the scattering of the workers. There
was no half-yearly meeting to receive and pass the accounts.
It was not possible. The good intentions of the Society were
frustrated by circumstances, and for convenience sake each


S.P.C.K. missionary managed the affairs of the mission where
he was stationed by himself, and left his colleagues to do likewise.

The senior missionary at Madras had a duty which the other
missionaries had not, a duty which came to him by reason of
his being stationed at the seat of Government. He received
from the parent Society all the Society had to send year by
year, the pay, collections, special gifts, stores, books, and press
requisites. It was his duty to deal with these and to account
to the Society for everything he received. The Madras mission-
ary sent his receipts ; but there was no making up of accounts
in committee according to rule, nor did the receipts show that
the mission money was used either in Madras or elsewhere, nor
how the other things were distributed.

The accumulation of property and the failure to render
accounts were the foundations and sole justification of com-
mittee rule. At various times during the ministry of Fabricius
and Gericke at Madras sums of money were bequeathed to the
missionaries for the benefit of the mission. In 1777 Mr. Hollis
left £700 ; ahttlelater Captain Eckman left £100, Mrs. Isabella
Croke £60, Mr. Ziegenhagen £400, and others bequeathed
smaller sums. As these did not come from the Society, the
missionaries did not consider that they were under an obligation
to account for them to the Society. This decision was obviously
wrong ; the mission was the S.P.C.K. Mission, so that whatever
property the mission had or acquired was the property of the
Society in whose name it was carried on.

The rules of the Society provided for the accurate keeping
and auditing of the mission accounts by the missionaries in
conference. In practice the missionaries mixed up the mission
accounts with their private accounts. Speaking of Gericke,
W. Taylor says : ^

' I have seen his account books. When at the top of one
page a balance in favour of several thousand pagodas was
visible, there were in the item of disbursements a school bill for
one of his children, a dozen of wine, a payment for mission
catechists and schoolmasters, common household expenses,
charitable payments or donations, indiscriminately mingled

' Memoir, p. 95.


The danger of this was that in case of financial failure, such
as overtook Fabricius in 1787 and Kiernander in Calcutta
at about the same time, the creditors might seize mission
property to satisfy their claims as well as the private property
to which they were entitled. This actually happened at
Calcutta. The only reason why it did not happen at Vepery
was that the Church and gromids had been made over to the
mission by the local Government of Fort St. George, and no
creditor would have been allowed to attach them in satisfac-
tion of a personal debt. There was no trust deed. The Govern-
ment Order by which the property was handed over was a good
title, and it was sufficient in the case of Vepery to protect not
only what the Government had given, but what had been other-
wise acquired as well.

When Kiernander of Calcutta failed, his creditors took
possession of all his property ; in this category they included
the mission Church, the schools, the bmial-ground, and the
mission bmigalow. They had not been legally conveyed to
the Society, nor locally registered in the Society's name. The
creditors could only regard them as the private property of the
missionary who l3uilt and used them for his own purposes.

This incident conveyed an alarming lesson to the mission-
aries in the south, and to those who sympathised with them and
their work. After seventy years of work the missionaries
were faced by an old problem, which they appear to have
thought they had left behind them in Europe, the problem of
property. In various places they had property in land, houses,
and burial-grounds. Whether these were held securely and
legally was a question they had never troubled themselves
about. In their simplicity they regarded it all as ' mission '
property, and they looked upon the funds as entirely at their
owTi disposal. The S.P.C.K., and they who gave their money
to further the mission cause, could not look at the question in
the same artless way. They saw the necessity of safeguarding
the property of the cause they had at heart.

The mission property in Madras, Cuddalore, Tanjore, and
Trichinopoly was held under sanction of a Government Order.
In some other military stations such as Palamcottah and
Velloro it was protected by the co-operation of the Government


when it was originally acquired. There were, however, pro-
perties in other places not similarly held and protected. Land
and buildings had been acquired in many villages ' for the
mission,' especially in Tinnevelly. Mission funds had come
into existence at Madras and Tanjore, and at other places
which were actually in private trust, whose trustees were
accountable to no one for their administration.

Shortly before the arrest of Fabricius for debt, it was
known that through ignorance of business matters he was
incurring risks. Some one seems to have written home to the
Society on the subject. The Society therefore in 1787 made
inquiries about the property of the Vepery Mission. Fabricius
rephed i that ' the property or funds belonging to the Madras

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 20 of 39)