James Hough.

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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which is connected with native schools. His loss,
therefore, is peculiarly to be deplored at the present
moment ; but the Society humbly trusts that new
labourers will be raised up to supply his place, and
to gather in the fruit which is evidently ripening
for the harvest,"

5. Under M. Haubroe's able and active super- improvc-
intendence, the mission soon began to assume Jhrschoois
another aspect. The increase in the schools was and con-
such as to call for a larger building ; it was there- s''®s<^^ion-
fore determined to erect one capable of accommo-
dating two hundred children. This spacious room
was divided into two parts, the larger being appro-
priated to the Tamul scholars, and the smaller to
the English and Portuguese. At the close of 1819,
they contained together one hundred and fifty chil-
dren,^ which went on gradually increasing until the
schoolroom was filled. Other schools were soon

« S. p. a K.Eeport 1821, pp. 130-132.

' Ibid. 1824, p. 41 ; 1825, p. 55.

^ In the English school there were — Boys,




— 58

In the Tamul school, Boys




— 92

— loO


CHAP, established in the neighbourhood, and one as far
"^- off as St Thomas's Mount. The National System
was adopted in the schools, which at the close of
1821 contained nearly three hundred scholars.
Of a public Examination held, Dec. 22. 1821,
the Madras Government Gazette thus reports : —
^^The children were all remarkably clean and
healthy ; their rapid progress and orderly behaviour
reflected the highest credit on their venerable pastor,
the Rev. Dr Rottler, and his indefatigable coadjutor
the Rev. M. Haubroe. The revival of this late
neglected institution, with the great improvements in
the system of tuition and the increase of the school,
cannot fail to prove a blessing to the populous
neighbourhood in which it is situated."

The report, given in the same journal, of a pub-
lic examination of the schools in December 1824,
will shew the progress which the scholars had
made : — ^^ The children acquitted themselves with
great credit, shewing a readiness in replying to
questions on the subject of their lessons, a correct-
ness in reading, and a quickness and accuracy in
their arithmetical exercises, which evinced at once
the aptness of the scholars, and the diUgence and
exertions of the teachers."

Subsequent reports speak of their grooving im-
provement. Their numbers were now increased to
about four hundred, nearly one-third being girls.
There were forty- one heathen children, and the
remainder were Christians, belonging, with the ex-
ception of a few Romanists, to the Vepery congre-
gation. Of the English pupils, sixteen were entirely
maintained from the mission funds, the others were

The improvement of the congregation also was

' S. P. C. K. Report 1824, p. 43.


equally satisfactory. Upon Dr Rottler's taking
charge of the mission, the people became more
regular in their attendance on Divine worship, and
conversions from Romanism and Paganism soon
began again to take place. In 1821 the numbers
had so considerably increased, that it became neces-
sary to enlarge the church.

6. The building, however, soon proving insuffi- ^ "ew
cient. Bishop Middleton strongly urged on the ciSd.
Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge the
erection of a new church. In recommending this
measure, he thus spoke of the rapid progress of the
Vepery mission : —

'^ These increasing demands on your funds arise
out of the highly flourishing state of your mission-
ary concerns in that quarter. I question, indeed,
whether in the history of Christian missions from
any Church, it will be found to have been sur-
passed. The congregation and schools, which were
lately in so distressed a condition, have increased
three or four fold."

Accordingly, in August 1823, it was deter-
mined to build a church large enough to accommo-
date one thousand persons. The foundation-stone
was laid December 8th of the same year, with the
usual ceremony, when, besides a numerous attend-
ance of persons of the first respectability, there
were present one hundred boys and seventy girls
of the English schools, and eighty boys and forty
girls of the Tamul. The Gothic style of architec-
ture was adopted ; and it was estimated that the
building would cost three thousand four hundred
pounds, towards which the Society had already
advanced two thousand pounds, and the govern-
ment of Madras consented to make up the deficiency.
The church was completed in 1825, and it was
generally admired as a great ornament to the neigh-
bourhood, being almost the only specimen of the


^nt^ ' Grothic order in the country, except the chapel of

'— Bishop's College, near Calcutta. At its opening,

many prayers were offered that it might prove an
extensive blessing to the surrounding inhabitants/
the MiV '^- Such was the general state and prospect of

sion in the Vcpcry mission at this period, when transferred,
^^^^' with the other missions of the Society, as will soon
be noticed, to the Society for Propagating the
Gospel in Foreign Parts. Bishop Heber's view of
the state of this mission, in March 1826, is thus
given by his private chaplain, the Rev. Thomas
Robinson. ''^At Vepery the Bishop visited the
missionary establishment, examined all the schools,
and addressed the children and other Christians who
were present. His Lordship's sentiments respect-
ing the general conduct of that mission, and his
admiration of the order and arrangement that pre-
vailed there, under those venerable and excellent
men, Dr Rottler and Mr Haubroe, who preside over
it, were publicly expressed at a meeting of the
district committee, previously to his departure from
Madras. He had at that time, though he had
visited several native congregations in the north
of India and Ceylon, seen nothing that gave him
so much pleasure, or that appeared to him so full
of hope." ^ The congregations of native Christians
in the neighbourhood of Madras, which were esti-
mated upon good authority at twenty thousand
souls, owed their existence, in great measure, to
the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge ;
and the appearance of their villages, when con-
trasted with that of the Pagan towns by which
they were surrounded, presented a most affecting
proof of the good that had been actually accom-

' S. P. C. K. Reports 1824-1827.

' Ibid. Report 1822, p. 22. S. P. G. F. P. Report 1827, p. 53


plislied, and proved an encouragement to the mis-
sionaries to persevere in their labours."^


8. This station remained about ten years in the cudliSor^^
same condition in which the Rev. Marmaduke under tile
Thompson had left it in 1808. M. Holzberg, in- J!,^;^^^;
deed^ of whose conduct Bishop Middleton received
a more favourable report, was permitted to return ;
but his health was too much impaired to permit of
his entering upon any active service. * The mission
was reduced to a very low state/ when, in Sep-
tember 1817, it began to revive under the care of
an active chaplain, the Rev. Charles Church. He
had the charge of about twenty Europeans, and
between forty and fifty European pensioners who
had been disabled in the Company's service. Among
these he laboured with assiduity and success. Of
his efforts for the native population, many thou-
sands of whom were around him, he wrote a few
months after he had been at the station : —

'' I have opened two schools for them, in which
are now about 120 boys. In one school, English is
taught ; in the other Tamul. These schools are
chiefly under the superintendence of a native Chris-
tian, a Tamulcan, of high caste. He has been much
delighted with my coming to Cuddalore, and has
been indefatigable in getting forward the schools.
Though a Christian, his conduct is such that he is
much respected by the natives, and hence becomes
a very useful man to me. Thus privileged, and,
I may say, blessed, on every side, how thankful
should I be ! "

^ S. P. C. K. Eeport 1825, pp. 46, 47. * Ibid. Eeport 1818.
^ First Report of Madras District Committee, pp. 52, 53.


CHAP. These schools Mr Church supported at his own

'_ '_ expense. Of the scholars^ he says —

'^ They all seem anxious to learn^ and thankful
for the opportunity afforded them/'

Hence it appears how soon he had obtained the
confidence and esteem of the natives ; for until this
point is gained^ they are very backward in attend-
ing schools instituted by an European in Avhich the
Scriptures are read ; but when they feel persuaded
that he is a good man^ and has no object in view
but their advantage^ their prejudices give way, and
they receive his instructions with little or no

Before Mr Church had been twelve months at
Cuddalore, he had the satisfaction of witnessing a
striking improvement — not only in some of the
Europeans, all of whom now attended Divine service
on Sunday, and many at a Wednesday-evening
service, but also in the pensioners. His schools,
too, continued to flourish, and he began to feel at
home and to take pleasure in the study of Tamul.

How warmly he anticipated the pleasure of
preaching to the people in their own tongue, will
be seen from the following extract : —

^^ I have made some progress in the native lan-
guage. I have read St John's Gospel in it, and
am now busy with the Acts of the Apostles. What
if I should be able to declare to the heathen in
their own tongue the wonderful things of God !"
Declines 9. But wliile his prospects of success were thus

iifsre- brightening, he was appointed to Yizagapatam, a
movai. regular station, for a chaplain, which had now
become vacant. Thus were his labours interrupted,
and his designs for the natives, so judiciously and
successfully commenced, in danger of proving abor-
tive, while his knowledge of Tamul would be of no
service at his new station ; yet he could say —
^^ After labouring more than a year at the


Tamul^ and reading in it the chief part of the New
Testament^ I must begin with the Teloogoo. This
is somewhat discouraging ; but the will of the Lord
be done."-^

After this little is recorded of Cuddalore during
the present decade. M. Holzberg died in 1825 ;
but the congregation and schools were kept to-
gether by an occasional visit from M. Haubroe^ of
Vepery. When the station came under the stated
care of the Society for the Propagation of the
Gospel in Foreign Parts, it soon began again to
revive ; but it was some time before they had a
missionary to take sole charge of the schools.



10. M. KohlhofF still continued in sole charge Arrival oi
of this mission. The Kev. Henry Baker, of the l^'^'H
Church Missionary Society, who was destined for Tanjore.
Travancore, was permitted, at the request of the
Madras District Committee of the Christian Know-
ledge Society, to assist M. KohlhofF for a few
months, until the arrival of a colleague from Europe,
in March 1819, the Kev. J. G. P. Sperschneider.
In the year preceding, the three senior catechists
received Lutheran orders — Pakiyanaden, Nulla-
tambi, and Wisuwarsanarden — the last being sent
to Combaconum, and subsequently to Tinnevelly.
With this additional aid the usual business of the
mission proceeded without interruption ; but no
incident worthy of special notice is recorded for
some years.

11 The proposed transfer of the country con- state
gregations of the Tranquebar mission to the Chris- Mjgg\o,i.
tian Knowledge Society, mentioned in a former

' Missionary Register 1824, pp. 202, 203.


CHAP, chapter/ being acceded to, the Tanjore missiou

'_ received an addition of nearly two thousand souls.

Messrs KohlhofF and Sperschneider expressed their
satisfaction at this airangement, but added —

^^ Yet when we rejoice with our fellow-labourers,
in seeing at once the field of missionary labours so
much extended, we cannot conceal the apprehen-
sion that our strength will be unequal to the exer-
tion required. The congregations already belong-
ing to the mission are so numerous, and many of
them at such distance from Tanjore, that the exer-
tions of even the missionaries would find full em-
ployment, especially as we have lost the assistance
of an able native priest, and Palamcottah is still
dependent on our care."

At these stations, which now amounted to four-
teen, there were eleven schools, containing two
hundred and sixty-six scholars, of whom fifty-four
were girls. In 1823 the missionaries remarked —

^^ The number of heathens and Koman Catholics
added to the congregations during these four years
is small indeed ; but, considering the difficulties
and disadvantages under which the Christians of
that part of the country in particular labour, it is
an increase deserving notice. We found those con-
gregations where schools were established, usually
in a much better state than those where there were
none ; so that it would seem very desirable to have
a school establishment in each of them. To the
catechists, it is impossible to attend the children ;
they being obliged to go often fifteen miles in order
to see the Christians of their district. Should the
inhabitants, however. Christian as well as heathen,
see their children freely instructed and improving
in useful knowledge, it would undoubtedly contri-

Book X. c. ii. s. 14.


bute greatly to endear to them our holy religion,
and prepare their minds for the faithful labours of
the catechist."

At some of the stations the poor Christians had
suffered much oppression from their heathen mas-
ters, m being prevented from attending divine
worship on Sundays by compulsive labour, and in
being obliged to frequent heathenish feasts and
draw the cars of the idols. The late collector of
Tanjore, Charles Harris, Esq., issued, when re-
quested, an order for their relief. The missionaries
state —

^' A renewal of this order would be highly bene-
ficial. Many heathens, who, by the ill-treatment
and oppression which Christians usually met with,
have been hitherto frightened from embracing
Christianity, would be thereby encouraged."^

Thus the business of the mission went on quietly
to the end of the decade, without anything further
worthy of remark. No reports of the annual in-
crease in the congregations and schools had been
sent home for some time ; and the funds at the
missionaries' disposal being already appropriated,
they were unable to augment their establishment
of catechists so as to increase their operations
beyond their present limits.^


12. On the 28th of January 1818, M. Pohle, the ^t?o^^
senior missionary of the Society, was called to his at Trichi
rest. His death was greatly lamented, both on

"" S. P. C. K. Reports 1822-1825. In the Appendix (p. 103)
of the Keport for 1825, is given the missionaries' last return at
this period.

^ The author is now writing from his private journal written
on the spot in 1821, when on a visit to this and the neighbour-





Arrival of
a succes-

account of his experience^ and also because there
was no missionary of the Society at the time whose
services were available to succeed to his labours.
He had been anxious to receive favourable accounts
of missionaries being sent out to their assistance ;
and before his departure^ the thought of leaving
the world without seeing his mission provided with
an able and faithful labourer deeply afflicted his
mind. M. KohlhofF undertook to visit the station
until the arrival of a successor ; and^ in the mean
time^ he placed the native congregation and schools
under the care of a country priest^ with the local
catechists and schoolmasters ; and the temporal
concerns of the charitable institutions he committed
to the care of Mrs Pohle^ who had been accustomed
to this service for many years. The funded pro-
perty of the mission amounted to twenty- two thou-
sand rupees. The interest of this money^ with the
rent of a house at Warriore^ the property of the
mission^ and a monthly collection at the churchy
formed the available funds, which were appropriated
to the education and support of eleven children of
European extraction, to the payment of the salaries
of the mission servants, and to the repairs of the
church and other buildings. There were two houses
adjoining the church, one of which Mrs Pohle
continued to occupy.^

13. The chaplain of Trichinopoly, the Rev. H.
C. Banks, rendered assistance to the mission until
the arrival of a missionary. Rev. David Rosen,
mentioned above, in January 1820. M. Rosen
found its institutions requiring immediate atten-
tion. The two English and Tamul schools did not
contain quite ninety scholars. The Portuguese

' S. P. C. K. Report 1818, pp. 165-7,
mittee's 1st Roport, pp. 33, 06.

Madras District Cum-

IN INDIA : BOOK xrii. 135

and Tiimul congregations amounted to four hun-
dred and forty-five ; and the communicants to one
hundred and thirty- two. In 1821^ the author
visited this station, which he found in the same
state. There is scarcely any account pubUshed of
the mission until the year 1826, when M. Rosen
continued to occupy it, and the congregation had
increased to near five hundred ; but the schools
were very little improved.

14. But though so little information is given of Christians
the operations at this station during the present Jatoor"
decade, the catechists were not inactive in the
country round, and in some directions they pro-
ceeded to a considerable extent. The congrega-
tions at Madura and Dindigul have been frequently
mentioned in a former chapter, and the converts
were dispersed far and wide through the country.
One instance may be given, which came to the
author's knowledge. In 1825, being at Coimba-
toor, about one hundred miles west of Trichinopoly,
he was informed that at Pollachy, about thirty
miles to the south, a native Christian, of great re-
spectability, was residing with his family, without
another Christian near them. He was the tasildar,
the highest revenue officer of the taluk. The au-
thor paid him a visit, and, after a long conversa-
tion, had reason to think him possessed of true
faith, and of love to the Saviour. The following
account of his visit is copied from his journal,
written after his return to Coimbatoor : — '' The
gentleman under whom he is placed informs me
that he is a most faithful servant, and that his
taluk forms an exception to every other in the col-
lectorate ; for that, when he visits the other taluks,
he hears innumerable complaints against the tasil-
dars, and other officers under them ; but here, all
is harmony and satisfaction. At his hist visit he
heard not a single complaint. The good man has




been attacked with fever, caught in the perform-
ance of his duty in unhealthy parts of his taluk,
but is now recovered, though greatly reduced. It
was indeed encouraging to hear him describe his
views and feelings under his affliction, and his in-
ward enjoyment while taking the blessed sacra-
ment, which I administered to himself and his family,
eight persons. There is every reason to believe
this man to be another triumph of the gospel in
this benighted land."^ Such cases, incidentally
discovered, encourage the hope, indeed, warrant
the conclusion, that much more was effected by
means of the earlier missionaries and their cate-
chists than appears on the face of their reports.

State of
the Palam-
Mission in


15. The appointment of the author as chaplain
of this station in 1816, and the state of the mission
at that time, have already been recorded.^ The
report in which he communicated this information
to the Madras District Committee was written in
September 1818. In the following year he made
a tour of those parts of the district where the Chris-
tians resided ; and as his report of this visitation
was published by the Madras Committee, he will
transcribe it in this place. It is dated September
2. 1819 :—

" Having just returned from a visit to the Pro-
testant churches in the district, I hasten to report
their present condition.

^ In his reply to the Abbe Dubois, in 1824, the author gave
a similar instance of native piety in a Protestant, whom, in
1821, he found at Combaconum, midway between Trichinopoly
and Tanjore. He was the English interpreter of the Court at
that station, and he, with his family, adorned his religion in the
midst of idolaters. — Reply, pp. 203-206.

2 Vol. iv., B. X. c. 4. See App. C. of this Volume.


'' There is a church at every station ; but^ with
only two exceptions^ they are built with raw brick
and covered with palmyra leaves. The ground, on
which these churches stand, was given to the mis-
sion by the Nabob's government, nearly twenty
years ago ; and most of the buildings were erected
at the same time. Those which I have seen are
in very good repair, and it requires but a small sum
annually to keep them so.

'^ The mission has received an important acces-
sion, since the last Report, in another native priest,
named Wisuwarsanarden. He seems to be a man of
respectable abilities and genuine piety ; and the
discourse, which I heard him preach to his own
congregation, would have done credit to a minister
possessed of the advantage of a superior education
to that which he has received. He is stationed at
a village called, by the Christians, Nazareth, about
twenty miles to the south of this ; and Abraham,
the other country priest, is at Mothelloor, a few
miles further.

'^'^ If T may judge from appearances, during my
short stay among the people of these two villages,
they are much attached to their priests, as are the
Christians of the surrounding country ; and, I
am persuaded, they only require to be well sup-
ported and encouraged, to prove of the most essen-
tial service to the congregations entrusted to their

'' Even from my hasty visit, the joy diffused
through all classes was indescribable ; and the peo-
ple flocked in from the neighbouring villages, in
every direction. On catechising such as were in-
troduced to me as the principal people, I found
them much better taught in their religion than I
had anticipated ; and, considering the space of time
that the}' have been without a missionary, it was
highly gratifying and encouraging to find the


CHAP, benign and peaceable genius of Christianity still
keeping them at unity among themselves.

^' The two villages named above consists entirely
of Protestants^ nor is there an idol or heathen tem-
ple any where to be seen ; while the stillness that
prevailed, contrasted with the tumult of heathen
abodes_, seemed to invest these favoured spots with
a degree of sanctity, and made one forget, for the
moment, that they were in the midst of a pagan land.

^^ One of the priests led me to a part of the vil-
lage, where was seated, under the shade of cocoa-
nut trees, a considerable company of women spin-
ning cotton, and singing Lutheran hymns to the
motion of their wheels.

^^ After service, a great part of the congregation
shewed no disposition to disperse ; and, seating
themselves around the door, sung their hymns to
a late hour. There were two old men among the
group, who were converted to the Christian faith
by your missionary Jgenicke, about twenty years
ago, and they sung to me several hymns which he
had taught them ; what they sung or said was not
so intelligible, indeed, as the language of younger
men ; but you will readily imagine them to have
been among the most interesting of the company.

'^ I state these, perhaps trifling particulars, to
shew that there appears to be something more than
the bare name of Christianity here ; and that the
enemies of missionary exertions mistake in assert-
ing, as many have asserted, that there is not a
genuine convert to Christianity among the native
Protestants. No, Sir, if the Society for Promoting
Christian Knowledge had no other fruit of their
cares, their exertions, or their expenditures for
^ the Promoting of Christian Knowledge' in India
to produce, they might point triumphantly to these
two villages, in proof that their labour has not been
in vain. 1 have seldom witnessed so much religion

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 14 of 54)