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The history of Christianity in India : from the commencement of the Christian era : second portion: comprising the history of protestant missions, 1706-1816 / by James Hough (Volume 5) online

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tions prevented the completionof his projected work.^

^ A fragment of the Bishop's MSS., all that was preserved


69. Ill the year 1820 tlie British and Foreign Grant

from the
ble So-


Bible Society resolved to place the sum of five g,
thousand pounds at the Bishop's disposal, to be ^^jj;^^;;/''®
applied, at his discretion, in the Mission College,
in furtherance of translations of the Scriptures into
the native languages of India. He received in-
telligence of this grant while at Columbo, and im-
mediately acknowledged it by letter to Lord Teign-
mouth, the President of the Society.^ After his
return to Calcutta, he took into consideration the

from the flames after bis decease, is published in bis Life,
App. No. iii. pp. 407 et seq. The perusal of this document can-
not but cause the deeper regret for the loss of the remainder,
and that he did not live to publish the whole.

^ The following is the Bishop's letter : —

'' Golumho, )5th3Iay 1821.
" My Lord — I have been honoured with your Lordship's
letter of the 10th July 1820, which has been sent after me on
ray visitation, enclosing a vote of the Committee of the British
and Foreign Bible Society, of the sum of £5000, to be appro-
priated to that department of labour, in the Mission College
near Calcutta, which relates to versions of the Holy Scriptures
in the native languages of India, and to be drawn for as I may
require it. I beg leave to acknowledge the distinguished
liberality of this proceeding ; at the same time it may be proper
to apprise your Lordship that a considerable period may yet
elapse before the College will be enabled to avail itself of the
Committee's grant : the building, though in progress, will not
probably be completed till the next year is far advanced ; and
the work of translation, of the Holy Scriptures at least, will not,
I conceive, be undertaken until the persons connected with the
establishment shall have attained an intimate acquaintance
with some of the native languages, and even then will not pro-
ceed with very great rapidity.

" I would further be permitted to thank your Lordship for
the obliging manner in which your Lordship has done me the
honour to make the communication, and for the good wishes
which attend it.

" I have the honour, my Lord, to be, with the highest
respect, your Lordship's most obedient servant,

" T. F. Cai.citta."




Third visi-
tation at


best way of appropriating the money, and con-
cluded that it could not be better employed than
in bringing within the sphere of the college all the
ability and talent that could be obtained. But
nothing could be done for the present, owing to
the incomplete state of the college, as explained in
the Bishop's letter to Lord Teignmouth.

70. On the 17th of December 1821, he held his
third visitation at Calcutta, when he delivered a
charge to his clergy of considerable length, and
increased interest and importance, embracing his
own views, now enlarged by extensive observation,
of missionary enterprize as connected, in India,
with the duties and exertions of the clergy. After
a devout acknowledgment of the mercy of Provi-
dence in permitting him to meet his clergy for the
third time, notwithstanding the ordinary havoc
made by the climate, and even amidst the wide
devastations of an epidemic disease — the cholera
morbus, — he proceeded to call their attention to the
peculiarities which at that time marked the con-
dition of the Christian ministry in India, never
wholly unmixed with missionary interest.^

71 The day after this visitation the Bishop held
a confirmation, when he gave a long address to
the candidates. On the following day he went to
Dum-Dum, seven miles distant ; and there held
another confirmation, repeating his address. On
the 20 til he gave full seven hours to the examina-
tion of the boys at the Free school. On Christmas
day he preached to one thousand and fifty-five
persons — for in those days it was the practice in
Calcutta to count the congregation — and had a
large attendance at the sacrament. The people.

' Tlio substance of (his cliaige is given in the BishojiV Life,

)1. ii. chap.


even among the educated classes, seemed to have
some superstitious notion about Christmas ; for
many shewed themselves at church on that day
who never came again till the return of the anni-
versary. The Bishop preached also on New Year's
day to a smaller congregation. With this incessant
occupation in his public duties, he had no time for
the indulgence of repose in the interval. His table
was generally at this time almost covered with
letters on business, which he was often obliged to
let stand over for want of time to attend to them ;
and some of them were upon matters of a very
troublesome and embarrassing kind. In the midst
of so much work, it is not surprising to find him
remarking to a friend, that he had indeed but
Uttle time for reading.

72. But he allowed nothing to interfere with the Encourag-
attention he deemed it necessary to give to the onife mL-
cause of Christianity among the natives ; and it was ^'7,"^''^'
a source of great satisfaction to him to find that
the designs to which he could give his unreserved
sanction were in a state of prosperity and promise.
On the 7th of January 1822 he presided at the
Diocesan Committee of the Christian Knowledge
Society, to settle the last year's report, in which
he saw much to encourage him. They were print-
ing the parables, miracles, and discourses of our
Saviour in three different native characters — two
thousand copies of each, eighteen thousand in the
whole; also a translation of ^^Sellon's Abridgment,"
in two native characters. At Madras, likewise, he
was rejoiced to learn, from their first report, pub-
lished last year, that the press was 'Agoing on
admirably; never j^^^^^^^^l^^ ^o loell, even in the
golden days of the mission.'' Adverting to this
report, he remarked — '^ It was much wanted ; but
they are very modest. Tliey have done a great
deal, of which they are not ostentatious." ^' 1 cut


CHAP. Qut from a Madras paper, and enclose, an account

of the schools at Vepery. What a change in the

state of that mission since the days of Poezold ! 1
think it probable, that if you had not had a district
committee at Madras, your whole missionary estab-
lishment would by this time have been dissolved."
'' I lately wrote to the Vepery missionaries a letter
of encouragement and thanks. I hope to be able
to go to Madras this spring. There is a great deal
to do there ; and so, indeed, there is almost every-
Bishop 73. These statements he immediately followed

miSrona^y up by an urgent application for a powerful rein-
^^^- forcement to the missionary strength of that station,

and by a fresh inculcation of his favourite position,
that no operations on a dwarfish scale ever escape
disregard, and even contempt, in India ; a country
where all the various denominations of Christianity
appeared to be engaged in an emulous prosecution
of their respective designs. Adverting to his recent
communications to the Society for Promoting Chris-
tian Knowledge, he remarked — '^ I fear they will
think I am no preacher of economy ; which, in
truth, I am not. They cannot act in this country
on a narrow scale ; they have all the world for their
rivals, and I am anxious to maintain their efficiency."
The Calcutta Free School, also described above, ^
continued to give him unqualified satisfaction ; so
unvfearied was his attention to its progress, that
during six years he had not been absent once from
the monthly meetings of the governors, which he first
suggested, except when upon his visitations. And
at this period he pronounced the establishment
'^one of the best bulwarks of Christianity in the

Section 52.


74. In March 1822^ lie addressed an interesting English
letter to the Society for Promoting Christian Know- ^^ief "'
ledge^ offering some useful suggestions for the supply required
of future labourers for their missions. ^^ I am sorry^ "
he remarked, ^' that you still find any difficulty in
procuring missionaries ; I cannot account for it. I
think, however, it may be advisable to look out for
young men in England, to be brought up as clergy-
men, and ordained under the act for the colonies.
This act affords the Society a facility much wanted
some years since ; and though the Danes and Ger-
mans are often very laborious and able men, still
your missions, I apprehend, should, under the
present establishment, be really from the Church
of England. There are many reasons — some of
them obvious, and others more remote — which
prompt me to this suggestion, though, I believe, I
have offered it before. I rejoice, therefore, to find
that Mr Falcke has been ordained by the Bishop of
London, and very glad shall I be to hear of his
arrival at Madras." '^ I would take leave to sug-
gest that more missionaries must be sent out by
the Society ; or it will be impossible, amidst the
great number of missionaries now sent out to India,
and the manifest preference which is given, in the
choice of stations, to those at which Christian con-
gregations are already formed, to maintain the
ground so honourably gained by our Society in for-
mer times. When Mr Falcke arrives, your mis-
sionaries in the south of India will be still only sixy
Then, after naming them, he adds — '' Supposing
either of these, or any one of the number, to make
a vacancy, without having a successor at hand, very
serious inconvenience must be sustained, and I
could not provide a remedy."

^^ My hope and earnest recommendation is, that
the Society, who have so munificentl}' conti'il)uted to
the erection of the college, will found therein five


CHAP, scholarships, to be filled up always according to the
^' statutes, in which I have suggested a reservation
in favour of the sons of missionaries — the very
idea of the college is to favour the missionary
designs of the Church." Then after stating that
six thousand pounds ^Svould ceHainly for ever
endow in the college five scholarships and a Tamul
teacher/' he proceeds — ^^ This would not, I admit,
relieve the Society entirely from the necessity of
selecting missionaries at home. I hardly contem-
plate such a change in the state of things as to
make the aid of European talent and energy super-
fluous, but it would greatly reduce the demand.
The sons of missionaries from Europe would, if
well educated in the college, be quite as good as
Europeans." ^^Your having always five students
in the college will give you a command of agents,
both missionaries, catechists, and schoolmasters,
such as in due time, and with the Divine blessing,
will infuse new vigour into your missionary sys-
tem, and, above all things, contribute to its per-
manency ; and I should even suggest my convic-
tion that you cannot, in the altered state of things,
long go on upon the present plan. I should remark,
that there are two other boys — a son of Mr Kohlhoff,
and of the late Mr Horst, both of them your mis-
sionaries — whose views are directed to the college,
and respecting whom Mr Kohlhoff writes to me with
very great interest. It will be a boon to your
missionaries, and an encouragement to them, to
know that their sons, if suitable in point of dis-
position and talents, will be received into such an
asylum, and be enabled to carry on, with every
advantage, the pious labours of their fathers."-^

^ Vol. ii. pp. 294, 290.


75. In the month of June the Bishop notices a cimrch
munificent offer from the Church Missionary So- ^.j,"'"''""
ciety, who^ in November 1821, had crowned their Society's
generous benefjxction of five thousand pounds granTof
towards the erection of the college, by a farther ^^"^^^^ ^^
vote of one thousand pounds for the use of the legc!^^
college for the year 1822 ; the Committee in Lon-
don, by their Secretary, Rev. Josiah Pratt, adding
the expression of their confident expectation, that
an annual repetition of the same grant would be
obtained from the liberality and resources of the
Society. In communicating this vote, the Society
requested permission to educate students at the col-
lege at their own cost, professing an earnest desire
to place all their ordained missionaries under the
Bishop's direction.^ The Bishop, though deeply
sensible of the Society's liberality, yet felt himself
under the necessity of declining it for the present,
until the college statutes, which he was anxiously
expecting from England, with the sanction of the
Society for Propagating the Gospel, should first be
examined by himself, as well as the Church Mis-
sionary Committee, since otherwise it would be im-
possible to know, he said, whether the grant could
consistently be made or received.^

^ Missionary Register, 1821, p. 449 ; Church Missionary Ke-
port 1822, p. 107.

^ Though the Bishop did not consider himself at liberty im-
mediately to comply with all that the Society proposed concern-
ing their missionaries, yet he saw that it would not long be
possible to resist their wish. The following is an extract from
the Bishop's letter to the Church Missionary Society, dated
May 29. 1822 :—

" It is gratifying to me to believe that the design of the col-
lege continues to be approved, when its plan of operations has
been somewhat more developed. This second munificent vote
of your Society affords strong evidence to that effect ; and I
would not be thought to be insensible of their distinguished
liberality, if I forbear to consider this gift definitely as a part


CHAP. 76. But we are now abruptly brought to the
^- close^ the lamented close of this miportant career
Bishop's of the first Protestant Bishop in India, just as the
andXath. ^^1^ ^f his cxcrtioHS Seemed to be ready for him to
gather. The following are the circumstances con-
nected with his last days. On the Monday preced-
ing his death, he received the clergy, as was his
custom, at dinner. In the early part of that even-
ing, he was severely agitated by some information
respectmg certain proceedings which had been in-
stituted against him in the supreme court, by one
of his own clergy, on whom he had been under the
necessity of inflicting censure. This depression,
however, he soon shook off, and became unusually
cheerful and animated, and exhibited, with much ap-
pearance of satisfaction, some improvements which
he had recently made in his residence. For some
time past he had been very anxious about the slow
progress and increasing expenditure of the college
buildings, owing to the death of the original archi-
tect, and the little attention which the gentleman
who undertook to carry on the work could give to
it, in consequence of his numerous engagements

of the college resources, till the system under which the insti-
tution will be administered, shall have been completely settled
and clearly understood. That system, as I conclude, will be
sufficiently detailed in the college statutes. Your Society
express their desire to educate students in the college. T can-
not, therefore, consistently with correct feeling, though no stipu-
lation is attached to the grant, proceed to appropriate it, until it
shall be known with certainty that their wishes on this head may
be justified, and what will be finally the conditions of admission.
You may, however, be assured, that a copy of the statutes shall be
forwarded for your information, whenever they shall be received
from England ; and I have reason to expect them very soon.''

These statutes, which did not reach India till after his death,
met the wishes of all friends of union, by opening the college
indifierently to all societies of the united church. Gospel Pro-
pagation Society's Report 1822, p. 1C8 ; Bishop's Life, vol. li.
pp. 311, 312.


upon government buildings. These circumstances
made the Bishop's visits to the spot more frequent
than heretofore^ with a view to accelerate the pro-
gress of the work ; and on the day after the violent
agitation of his feelings just mentioned, Tuesday,
July 2d, he persisted in visiting the college, at an
earl}? hour in the afternoon, in spite of the remon-
strances of his physician, who strongly represented
the danger of the proceeding. All that could be
obtained from him was a promise that he never
would venture thither again at that period of the
day ; little thinking that he was about to place his
last footsteps on that favourite and delightful spot.
On the same day, he received a visit from Mr
Bayley, the Chief Secretary to Government, who
found him, to all appearance, in perfect health,
and with whom he conversed, in a tone of great
animation, respecting the various means of diffus-
ing knowledge and truth throughout India — his
own plans and intentions, if Providence should spare
his life, his past cares and anxieties, and his future
hopes and prospects.

On the Wednesday he was occupied for eight
hours together in writing to government respecting
the proceedings in the supreme court above alluded
to. He then declared that he was quite exhausted,
and proposed to Mrs Middleton that she should
accompany him in the carriage before the sun was
gone down. They had not proceeded far, when,
turning a corner, the oblique beams of the sun,
which are always dangerous, and especially at the
damp and sickly season of the year, shone full
upon him. This slight cause, acting upon a shat-
tered frame of nerves, was sufficient to produce
fatal effects. He immediately declared that he was
struck by the sun, adding that he was sure he
should suffer from it. The carriage immediately
returned home. Severe pain in the head soon came


CHAP, on, and in the course of the evening the symptoms
^' became aggravated to an alarming degree, when
nothing could allay the restless eagerness of his
mind. He laboured under the impression that a
load of business lay upon him, and was with great
difficulty prevented from rising from his bed to
write. Hitherto he had refused to see the physi-
cian ; but he became so much worse on the follow-
ing day, Thursday, that he allowed him to be sent
for. The fever seemed at first to yield to the
remedies used ; on Sunday, he desired to be prayed
for in the cathedral ; and on Monday, the appear-
ances of amendment were such as even to give hopes
that the danger was passing away, and that a
favourable crisis was at had ; but these hopes were
delusive. Under them, indeed, the physician ven-
tured to leave him : but he had not been gone long
before the favourable anticipations of his friends
were dissipated by an alarming accession of fever
and irritability, which came on towards the even-
ing. He then quitted his library, and walked in-
cessantly up and down his drawing-room, in a state
of the most appalling agitation. About nine o'clock,
his chaplain, Mr Hawtayne, was admitted to see
him, and was inexpressibly shocked to find him on
his couch, in a state, to all appearance, of violent
delirium, his thoughts wandering, his articidation
gone, his faculties, in short, a melancholy wreck.
The archdeacon was now sent for, whom he knew,
and made strong attempts to speak to him, but was
unintelligible. The Rev. Daniel Corrie, senior chap-
lain, the physician, and another friend, were also
present, and united in prayer, commending the dy-
ing prelate and his afflicted wife to the God of their
salvation. The severity of the conflict, as though in
answer to their supplications,now appeared wholly to
abate. A smile of unspeakable serenity and peace
was spread over the sufferer's features, and, in a few


minutes, he gently expired. Such was the tran-
quillity of the last moment, that it was not marked
by a single struggle, or even a movement. He
breathed his last at eleven o'clock on Monday night,
July 8th, 1822.^ At sunrise on the following
morning, the tolling of the cathedral bell announced
to the community of Calcutta the loss of their chief
pastor ; and the mournful event was communicated
to the public, in a Government Gazette extraordi-
nary, by command of the Governor- General in Coun-
cil, in terms as honourable to the Board whence it
emanated, as to the memory of the deceased prelate.^

^ The fever of which the Bishop died is said to be of rare oc-
currence. Though known to the medical profession, its cause
and cure have hitherto escaped research. Under the restless
anxiety which it causes, the patient, though conscious of every-
thing that passes, loses all control of his mind. Life, vol. ii.
pp. 320-322. Missionary Eegister 1822, pp. 513-515.

' The following is a copy of this document : —

'' Calcutta Government G-azette Extraordinary.

'' Fort William, July 10. 1822.

" With sentiments of the deepest concern, the Governor-Ge-
neral in Council notifies to the public, the demise, on the night
of Monday last, of the Eight Eev. the Lord Bishop of Calcutta.

" His Excellency in Council, adverting to the unaflected
piety, the enlarged benevolence, and the acknowledged modera-
tion of the late Bishop, conceives that he only anticipates the
eager and unanimous feeling of all classes of the Christian
inhabitants of this city, when he announces his desire, that
every practicable degree of respect and veneration should be
manifested, on this most distressing occasion, to the memory of
this excellent and lamented prelate.

" His Excellency in Council is pleased, therefore, to request
that the principal officers of government, both civil and mili-
tary, will attend at the melancholy ceremony of the Bishop's
interment ; and that every other public demonstration of atten-
tion and respect, consistent with the occasion, be observed on
the day appointed for the funeral.

" By command of his Excellency the most noble the Gover-
nor-General in Council,


" Acting Chief Secretary to the Government."




His lune-

his cha-
racter a



77. Friday evening, July 12th, was fixed upon
for the solemnity of the funeral, which was con-
ducted in a manner conformable to the wishes ex-
pressed by the Government, and, at the same time,
consistent with that simplicity which the deceased
had himself enjoined. The funeral procession was
long, and moved amidst every public demonstration
of sorrow, the whole Christian inhabitants uniting
to pay this last tribute of respect to the remains of
their departed Bishop. Minute-guns were discharged
from the ramparts of Fort William from the moment
of the departure of the procession till its arrival at
the cathedral, which was hung with black and
lighted, and crowded with a mute audience. The
entrance of the corpse was marked by a solemn
dirge from the organ. The proper psalm was read
by the archdeacon, and the lesson by Mr Corrie ;
after which was sung Handel's anthem, '^ When the
ear heard him, then it blessed him ; and when the
eye saw him, then it gave witness to him. His body
is buried in peace, but his name liveth for evermore."
The body was then lowered into the grave within
the communion rails, while the archdeacon con-
cluded the solemn service. On the following Sun-
day, the archdeacon in the morning, and the Eev.
J. Parson in the evening, in the pulpit of the ca-
thedral, paid a just and impressive tribute of respect
to the memory of their late diocesan, which seemed
to leave a deep impression on the hearts of the
Christian community of Calcutta.

78. We must not close this brief narrative of the
episcopate of the first Protestant bishop in India,
without a few remarks on his character and his
exertions for the promotion of Christianity through-
out his vast diocese. We think enouoh has been
said to illustrate the actual benefit of Episcopacy in
India, and to shew how completely the first incum-
bent of the See carried out what he from the first


proclaimed to be his primary object in undertakino-
the responsible office — ^' To set in order things that
were wanting." What the disorders were^ his hin-
drances and success in his work, have been suffi-
ciently explained to prove that his episcopate was
a benefit to the country to be contemplated with

Online LibraryJames HoughThe history of Christianity in India : from the commencement of the Christian era : second portion: comprising the history of protestant missions, 1706-1816 / by James Hough (Volume 5) → online text (page 11 of 54)