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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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mission, and consequently to the Society,^ and for whose security
the missionary or missionaries residing there must be answer-
able,' were as follows : ^

(a) The Church, mission house and garden.

(&) The burying-ground adjoining the garden.

(c) The burying-ground in the Black Town.

(d) Schoolmasters' houses near the garden.

(e) Small house near the garden (Bonwyn legacy).
(/) Piece of paddy-field.

The first three properties required no trust deed ; the latter
three required one or something of the nature of one.

When Fabricius was imprisoned, the remaining missionaries
determined that by a deed of resignation Fabricius should
transfer to Gericke all the mission property. It was not a
very wise arrangement, for it obscured the fact of ownership
by the Society, though it did not deny it, and it gave to Gericke
complete control over the property of the Vepery Mission, which
by the S.P.C.K. regulations ought to have been exercised by
the missionaries jointly.

Between 1750 and 1800 landed property in and around
IVIadras was acquired, exchanged, and alienated without any
reference to the Society. John Pereiras garden was purchased
by one of the early missionaries. It was not included in the

1 Taylor's Memoir, p. 54, and S.P.C.K. Records (London).

- This opinion of Fabricius is noteworthy.

^ There is no mention of the property at John Perekas.


list of property made by Fabricius. There was a piece of
land at Seven Wells, which was exchanged in 1777 for a piece
at Korukapettah, as the Government required the wells for
their new water supply. The paddy-field bought by Fabricius
was exchanged by Gericke for a piece of land near Washerman's
gate, where he required a bmial-ground. The exchange was
effected with the Government, who wanted the paddy-field for
building purposes. There was no disadvantage to the mission
in what was done, as far as is known ; but the transactions
without the knowledge of the Society were surely and clearly
improper. In 1799 Gericke found a difficulty in the cultivation
of the paddy-fields, the padre-kotagam, at Cuddalore; so he
requested the Company's District Officer to manage them for
him, and handed them over. Only with difficulty were they
subsequently recovered for the mission.

The wealth of some of the S.P.C.K. missionaries at this
period has always been a cause of wonder to the admirers of
their devoted work. They acted as bankers and money-lenders ;
they were trusted with money for these purposes by persons
who knew more of their honesty than of their business capacity.
They used the mission funds as their capital. The pay they
received from the S.P.C.K. was only £50 a year until 1798, when
it was doubled. On the recommendation of Bishop Middle ton
it was increased to £150 in 1818, and to £200 in 1819, and it
was subsequently increased to £250 in 1821. It is easily under-
stood that up to 1798 they were obliged to look to some other
source of income to add to their mission pay. They who were
not able to obtain allowances from the Government as Chaplains
or interpreters, employed the mission money for this purpose.
But the system was as clearly wrong as it was contrary to the
Society's regulations. A proper representation of the inade-
quacy of the pay would have probably resulted in its increase.

The fact is that the S.P.C.K. neither guided nor governed.
They maintained a fixed number of missionaries, as many as
their resources would permit ; they encouraged them, blessed
their efforts, published annual accounts of their doings, sent
them gifts of money, books and press necessaries for the
furtherance of their work, and left the administration of the
mission entirely to their accepted nominees. They had for-


gotten the existence of their own regulations as completely as
the missionaries themselves.

This negligence would not have mattered much if all the
missionaries had been such unselfish Christian gentlemen as
Schwartz. Unfortunately, there came to Vepery a missionary
who was over-sensitive and hasty, and different in some impor-
tant particulars from any of his predecessors. In one fit of ill-
temper he gave up the English service in Vepery Church ; in
another he quarrelled with his Tamil congregation and called in
the police to overawe them ; in a third he closed the Printing
Press, dismissed the workmen, shut up the book depository, and
left the stores of books, bindings, and printing paper to take
their chance among the various tropical agencies of destruction.
This was the last straw which broke the back of the old system.
There were several gentlemen among the Company's servants
at the time, who were interested in mission work on principle,
who could see that it would be better not to do the work at
all than to do it in such a way and in such a spirit. They were
for guidance and government.

When Schwartz died in 1798 he left all his possessions,
including the mission funds, for the upkeep of the Tanjore
Mission, including Palamcottah and other distant stations.
He is said to have nominated C. W. Gericke and Christopher
Breithaupt as his executors and trustees.i

When Gericke died he left nearly all his possessions, includ-
ing the mission fmids, to five trustees, to be held by them in
trust for the upkeep of the Vepery Mission and its out-stations,
with special reference to Negapatam and the buildings there
which had been handed over to him ' for the mission ' in 1785.^
The executors were Mr. John Hunter, his son-in-law ; ^ Mr. C.
Breithaupt,^ his co-trustee in the Schwartz trust ; J. C. Kohlhoff
of Tanjore; and the three Tranquebar missionaries, Eottler,
Caemmerer, and John. He said in his will :

' I beg the above mentioned four missionaries to administer

^ His will has not been found.

- The w ill has not been found. It is quoted in Taylor's Memoir, App. xxx.
^ Of the firm of Hunter, Hay & Co.

'' Of the firm of Parry, Pugh & Breithaupt ; son of J. C. Breithaupt the
S.P.C.K. missionary of Vepery, ^\ho died in 1782.


together with Mr. Christopher Breithaupt the Tan j ore mission
fund made b}^ the late Eev. Mr. Schwartz for the support of the
mission of Tanjore and Palamcottah, agreeably to the late Rev.
Mr. Schwartz' will ; and see that there be a succession of faithful
administrators both to the Tanjore mission fund and to that
of Vepery.'

The irregularity of this appointment of fom* fresh trustees
to administer the Schwartz fmid will be seen at once. By
introducing three Tranquebar missionaries into the trust he
introduced an element of financial and administrative confusion,
but probably without intention. All the German missionaries
on the coast looked upon one another as brothers in the same
holy cause. They were of the same nationality ; they were
mostly educated in the same place ; and they belonged to the
same (Lutheran) denomination. They consulted one another
and lived in great friendship. But in financial and adminis-
trative matters they were in reality separated by their em-

They at Tranquebar were employed by the Royal Danish
Mission, and received their pay from the King of Denmark.
Whatever mission property in buildings or land they possessed
they owned as agents of His Majesty's Copenhagen Mission.
They in the East India Company's territories were employed by
the London S.P.C.K. ; they were not Danish but British mission-
aries.i Whatever mission property they possessed they owned
as agents of the S.P.C.K. Schwartz appears to have under-
stood the property difficulty ; he appointed as his trustees a
British missionary and a British born subject. Gericke either
did not understand it, or he purposely tried to brush it aside.

When Gericke made his will at Vepery in 1803 his assistant
Paezold was preparing to take up an appointment at Calcutta
as Professor of Tamil in Fort William College. Perhaps this
was why he was not made a trustee. At the same time there
is evidence ~ to show that there was a want of sympathy and a
consequent barrier between the two men.

Whether the omission was intentional or not, Gericke
appointed as his executors and trustees a merchant in Madras,

' The Church in Madras, i. p. 278.
- Taylor's Memoir, d^c, p. 97.


three missionaries in Tranquebar, and one missionary at
Tanjore to manage the finance of the S.P.C.K. Vepery Mission.
It was obvious that one of the missionary trustees ought to
be stationed at Vepery for combined missionary and finance
purposes. Dr. J. P. Eottler was asked by the remaining
S.P.C.K. agents, at the urgent request of the Vepery congrega-
tion, and was permitted by his Tranquebar brethren, to take
charge of the Vepery Mission. He arrived in December 1803,
and having a good knowledge of the three languages required,
English, Portuguese, and Tamil, he was welcomed by all. He
was at once appointed Chaplain and Superintendent of the
Military Female Orphan Asylum. This appointment alone
gave him a higher salary than he had hitherto enjoyed. The
transfer was made subject to the approbation of his superiors
at Copenhagen, and the S.P.C.K. in London approved of it
and took him into their service subject to the same provision.

Paezold's appointment in Calcutta came to an end in August
1804, and he returned to Madras. Bottler gave up the mission
house to him, assisted him in the work of the mission, and
remained at Vepery to fulfil his new duties as trustee of the
funds and superintendent of the Asylum. The finance was
managed in this way. Kohlhoff received all the income of the
Schwartz fund, and applied it to needs of the Tanjore Mission.
Caemmerer was paid by Rottler what Gericke had been accus-
tomed to send to Negapatam for the needs of the agents and
the poor, and took the responsibility of superintending the
Negapatam Mission from Tranquebar. Paezold superintended
the Vepery Mission ; but instead of trusting Paezold with the
mission expenditure Rottler remained paymaster himself,
which Paezold deeply resented.

In 1807 letters arrived in Madras from Copenhagen in
which the transfer of Dr. Eottler from Tranquebar to Madras
was disapproved, and his return directed. Dr. Eottler liked
his new position and his increased emoluments, and resigned
the service of the Eoyal Danish Mission in order to retain them.
Soon after his resignation came letters from the S.P.C.K.,
saying that under the circumstances of disapproval at Copen-
hagen they could not keep him in their service. There had
always been extreme friendliness between the S.P.C.K. and the



Boyal Danish Mission at Copenhagen. It would have been an
unfriendly act to have done otherwise than they did. The
result was that Dr. Eottler remained m Madras, unconnected
with either mission, but the paymaster of one of them.

This state of affairs continued until the formation of the
District Committee in 1815. Eottler pursued his literary
tastes in the translation of the Praj^er-book, and in the compila-
tion of a Tamil dictionary. At the Female Asylum he met the
Company's Chaplains, and some of the more important official
and imofficial residents in Madras. Having pleasing manners
he made them his friends, and obtained by their influence the
post and the pay of Visiting Chaplain to the Dutch at Pulicat,
and of assistant to the Chaplain of Black Town. His time
was full}^ occupied, and his work at the Female Asylum was
much appreciated. But his relationship to the S.P.C.K. was
quite extraordinary. There is no record to show what the
S.P.C.K. in London thought of it, nor if his anomalous position
caused them to make any inquiry about the various properties
held in their name on the coast. They seem to have had souls
above bricks and mortar, rice fields, and rupees, and if it had
not been for Bishop Middleton and a few interested Madras
laymen, they would probably have lost their ' mission ' property
m the south altogether.

Bishop Middleton before his consecration as first Bishop of
Calcutta was vicar of St. Pancras, London, and a prominent
member of the S.P.C.K. He knew some of the difficulties
at Madras. Soon after his arrival at Calcutta he communicated
his desire to the Archdeacon of Madras that a District Com-
mittee of the S.P.C.K. should be formed at the Presidency
to-^Ti on the plan adopted by the Society in Great Britain. The
connnittee was formed in August 1815. It consisted of the
Archdeacon, the three Chaplains in Madras, Messieurs John
Hodgson, John Gwatkin, and Richard Clarke of the Company's
Civil Service; Major de Havilland of the Madras Engineers,
and Captain Ormsby. the Presidency Magistrate. The chief
function of district committees was the distribution of the
Society's books. The Vepery missionary, C. W. Paezold,
resented the formation of the committee as an interference
witli his own work. There had been no intention to hurt his


feelings, but they were hurt. The closing of the book depository-
was one result of his resentment.

Paezold had had quarrels and litigation with his Portuguese
and Tamil congregations, and had alienated his English-speak-
ing parishioners. He had shut up the mission press, stored
away the S.P.C.K. books and printing paper in a careless way,
and was manifestly inspired by quite another spirit than that
which had animated his predecessors.

Tlie Bishop arrived at Madras on visitation in December
1815. He found the press shut up, the S.P.C.K. books perishing
from insects, and general ill-feeling in the Vepery Mission. He
ordered Paezold to place all the books sent out by the Society
at the disposal of the District Committee, and to obtain an
estimate of the cost of putting the press in working order.
When he wrote to the Society he reported the Vepery Mission
to be ' in a very moderate condition,' and he blamed ^ Paezold,
' under whom its operations had been languid and its resources

Up to this time the committee had merely received the
remittances sent out by the Society. Now it was endowed
with the charge of some of the Society's property. There is
ample proof that the committee regarded Paezold with suspi-
cion,2 and were prepared to take charge of all the property he
was neglecting. In 1815 Dr. Rottler had completed his trans-
lation of the Prayer-book into Tamil. It was for work of this
kind that the Vepery Mission Press existed, and that the
S.P.C.K. sent out stores of paper, type, and binding. But
neither press nor paper was available, and Rottler appealed
to the committee.

Paezold died in November 1817. The property and the
accounts of the mission were found to be mixed up with his
own, and all were in great confusion. His executors applied
to the Vepery catechist for assistance to separate them. The
catechist wrote to the surviving S.P.C.K. missionaries, Pohle
and Kohlhoff, for advice and support. They recognised the
necessity of having some person connected with the Society
in charge of the mission and its property at Vepery. They

1 Le Bas' Life of Bishop Middlefon, i. 200.
- Taylor's Memoir, Appendix E.



themselves had more work than they could do where they were,
for in addition to their work at Trichinopoly and Tanjore they
had the oversight of the work at all the mission stations south of
the Coleroon, There was only one missionary at Tranquebar ;
it was impossible to borrow his services, even temporarily.
They knew that Dr. Rottler was in Madras. There was a
difficulty in asking him to take up the work. He had done so
by their request in 1803, but the Society had been prevented
from retaining his services by the disinclination of the Danish
Society to part with him. They determined therefore to ask
the Madras District Committee to undertake the charge,
probably in the hope that they would appoint or obtain the
appointment for Rottler. They accordingly wrote to the
Secretary of the M.D.C. ^ and said :

' The mission being deprived of a fit person to take charge
of the properties belonging to the same, and to minister to the
spiritual concerns of the native Christians, we humbly beg that
the M.D.C. will be kindly pleased to take charge of the Hon.
Society's mission at Madras, till a representation be made to
his Lordship the Bishop of Calcutta, and his pleasure be made
known. Trusting that the benevolence of the Committee will
relieve us of our concern for the mission by their kind com-
pliance with our request,' &c.

This letter was dated November 15, 1817.

A special meeting of the M.D.C. was convened to consider
this request. On December 4, 1817, a series of resolutions was
sent to Pohle and Kohlhoff :

1. Under the circumstances to accept the trust delegated
to them.

2. To ask Dr. Rottler to resume the clerical duties of the
Vepery mission Church.

3. To appoint a special committee to ascertain the nature,
extent, and condition of the property of the mission at the
Presidency ; to take measures for its preservation, arid for the
temporary administration of the several charities connected
with it.

4. To send a report of their proceedings with information

' Taylor's Memoir, p. 136.


of the present state of the mission and its concerns to the
parent Society and to the Calcutta Diocesan Committee of the

5. To send a report also to the Right Hon. the Governor in
Council, ' as the mission of the Venerable Society has ever
been favoured with the special regard and protection of the
local Government, and of the Hon. the Court of Directors.'

Dr. Eottler undertook the charge subject to certain financial
conditions ; i and he undertook to co-operate with the com-
mittee, and to give all the information he could regarding the
Gericke trust. He immediately began to lean on the committee
for support ; he wrote on December 26, 1817, asking for in-
structions about the re-opening of the press and receiving orders
for books, and the committee gave him loyal support in every
way. They issued the following notice to the various agents
and native Christians of the mission :

* The Rev. Dr. J. P. Eottler having been put in charge of
the clerical superintendence of the mission concerns at Vepery,
you are directed to attend to his orders as your pastor and

The Bishop of Calcutta heartily approved of what had been
done. He wrote to the Society in London in 1818 and said
that the M.D.C. deserved the Society's warmest thanks, and
especially Mr. Richard Clarke, the honorary secretary ;3 he
considered it a providential circumstance that the committee
existed.^ The Society approved of all that had been done,
gave the committee their best thanks, and re-appointed Dr.
Rottler to their staff.

The special committee of inquiry commenced their work by
overhauling the press and book store. They found abundance
of books, dictionaries, grammars, Bibles, hymns, and other
Tamil books ; they found a binding press which only required
to be fixed and set up, and a large supply of binding materials.
There was abundant cause for the intervention of the M.D.C,
or of some similar body of Christian gentlemen interested in
the prosecution of the Society's work.

1 W. Taylor's Memoir, pp. 138-39.

- Minutes of the East India Committee of the S.P.C.K., May 8 aud 9, 1818.

3 S.P.C.K. Report for 1818, p. 163.


Having taken this first step in the direction of conserving
the mission property, the special committee proceeded to inquire
fm'ther about the property m land, houses, and funds. With
the assistance of the civil authorities they obtained a correct
list of all the mission houses and lands. i

In January 1818 Christian Pohle of Trichinopoly died.
J. C. Kohlhoff thus became the only missionary of the Society
in the Carnatic."^ He could confer with his co-trustees ^ on
matters concerning the Schwartz and Gericke trusts ; but by
the Society's regulations he was the sole manager and super-
intendent of all the Society's concerns in the south. Wisely
he declined so great and extensive a responsibility. He made
the necessary arrangements for carrying on the work at Trich-
inopoly, and he wi'ote to the M.D.C. reporting what he had
done. It seems only a little matter, but it was one of the several
steps by which the M.D.C. were led from their original position
of book distribution to the more important position of general

The special committee were much concerned at the state
of the Vcpery mission buildings. They obtained from Major
de Havilland an estimate of the cost of repair ; and they wrote
to the Gericke trustees and asked them to co-operate with the
M.D.C. by placing fmids at then disposal to meet the cost.
Bottler not only advised compliance, but expressed the desira-
bility of placing the whole Gericke fund at the disposal of the
committee, and of seeking release from the responsibility of
fm'ther trusteeship. Breithaupt agreed and went further still ;
he proposed that the committee should be asked to take over the
Schwartz fund also. Caemmerer agreed with both proposals ;
he had received inquiries from the committee about his ad-
ministration of the grant allotted from the Gericke fund to
Negapatam, ' by which it seems they are considering me under
their authority ' ; he desired to be relieved of connection with

^ This list was a more complete one than that of 1787 ; it included the
burial-ground and garden at John Pereiras. Taylor's Memoir, p. 164.

- The news of Rottler's and Holtzberg's re-employment had not reached

' Caemmerer of the Danish Mission, Rottler of Vcpery, and Christopher
Breithaupt the merchant.


the fund. Kohlhoff agreed with all the others ; the trusteeship
was a source of great anxiety to him.

The M.D.C. were not prepared to take so much responsibiHty
on their own shoulders. They were interested in mission
concerns, and were appointed by the Bishop of Calcutta to
promote them ; their desire was to make the mission work as
effective, and the mission cause as successful as possible. At
the same time they were officers in the Company's service,
professional men and private merchants, who had their own
work to do, and were not anxious to have their daily labours
largely increased.

They therefore replied that they were not authorised by
their constitution to interfere in any way with the Society's
missions, and that there did not appear to be the same urgent
call to accept the trust now proposed, as there was for taking
charge of the Vepery branch of the mission when it was left
without superintendence.! They added that they had referred
to the parent Society on the subject, and would resume consider-
ation of the proposal on receivmg a reply to their reference.

The proposal of Bottler was merely to unite the sources
of income of the Vepery Mission into one fund for the general
good of the mission. If the income of the Gericke trust fund,
the rents of houses and lands, the profits of the printing press,
and the profits on the sale of books were all put together and
kept in one account, he thought it would be better for the
mission. Breithaupt's proposal was that the M.D.C. should
take charge of all the fmids and keep the accounts themselves.

The question was considered by the S.P.C.K. in July 1819.
They agreed that it would be a very desirable measure to have
the legacies brought under the management of the M.D.C.,^
whom they heartily thanked for their laborious care of the
mission concerns. And they went further still ; they asked
the Bishop of Calcutta how far the M.D.C. might with
advantage manage and direct the Society's mission on the
coast. The Bishop doubted 3 if the dhection of missionary
proceedings by the M.D.C. would be expedient, but considered

' Taylor's Meynoir, p. 171.

2 Minutes of the East India Committee, S.P.C.K., July 2, 1810.

» Minutes of the East India Committee, S.P.C.K., July 24, 1820.


that the financial concerns might very fitly be vested in

Besides the registration and repair of all the mission property
in Vepery in 1818, the M.D.C. did a useful service to the
missionaries in that year in connection with their pay. At the
end of the yeav 1817 the Society sent out a draft for £500 to
Paezold, being the salaries and gifts for that year ; this arrived
after his death, and foil into the hands of his executors, who
refused to give it up.i The M.D.C. acted promptly and obtained
the suspension of payment by the Government. They also

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 21 of 39)