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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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in a town in England^ an is conspicuous here ; and
some heathen in the neighbourhood of one of the
villages told me candidly, that it was a very quiet
and good place.

'^ I spoke with the priests of the Tamul liturgy
that you propose sending hither ; and recommended
them to adopt it in all the churches, in room of the
German form of worship now in use ; and they
readily acceded to the proposition. I concluded this
to be the wish of the Committee, from their sending
five-and-twenty copies of the work ; but if I have
misconceived their intention, I beg they will let me
know in time, to prevent any alterations being made.

^^ By the statement of baptisms, &c., during the
last year, the Committee will perceive that the
mission continues to spread.

Children baptized, . . 117

Converts from heathenism, . 52

Deceased, . 115

Total increase for the year 1818, 54
Marriages, 34 — Communicants, 127.

^^ In communicating this report of the present
state of the Society's mission in this remote corner
of the Indian continent, I feel that I have not done
justice to the subject ; but am especially persuaded,
that it is not possible for me to convey the impres-
sion, that the sight of so many native Christians
congregated together must impart to every bene-
volent mind ; and I could not help wishing, whilst
among these interesting people, that the Commit-
tee were present to witness the scene. "^

1 S P.C. K. Keport 1810, Appen. pp. 161-164; 1821, pp.
120-124. Madras Dis. Com. 1st Report, y\). ^)?y et seq. Life
of Bp. Mildluton, vol. ii. pp. 125 et sr<p Memoirs of Swartz,
vol. ii. pp. 484 et seq.


CHAP. 16. This letter concluded with the following sug-
^^^- gestions for the improvement of the mission :—-
Measures That a school should be established in the princi-
im rove- P^^ viUagcs ; that a good supply of books should be
S?""^ sent for the schools and all classes of the congrega-
tions ; and that a missionary should be appointed
to the station as soon as one could be procured.
These suggestions being approved by the Dis-
trict Committee and the Bishop of Calcutta, the
books required were sent immediately ; forty rupees
a month were granted for school purposes, from
the 1st of May 1820 ; and the Bishop wrote home
in urgent terms for a missionary to be sent out
without delay.

Previous to this, the Madras Corresponding Com-
mittee of the Church Missionary Society had
granted permission to establish schools on their
account throughout the district. Seven of the
schools opened in consequence of this grant, were
at stations occupied by the Christian Knowledge
Society, to whom they were immediately trans-
ferred, with the consent of the Madras Correspond-
ing Committee. Two more were opened shortly
after, and the whole contained together nearly
three hundred children. Two of these schools were
for girls, which, after much persuasion, the Chris-
tians at Mothelloor and Nazareth permitted to be

In a visit to the churches in 1820, the distribu-
tion of books, the assembling of the congregations
for public worship, and the establishment of schools,
seemed to revive the poor people's spirits, and
their heathen neighbours began to look upon them
with more respect than when they supposed them
to be left to themselves. One object of this journey
was to teach the priests and catechists the use of
the Tamul Liturgy, for which purpose they were
assembled together, and the author went through


it with them, each taking a copy of instruction
which he had drawn up, in Tainul, for the use of
the whole book. They seemed at once highly to
appreciate the work, and it proved of great ser-
vice to the churches.

17. In the following year the author was re- its pro-
moved, by Government, to a larger European sta- i82l '"
tion in the neighbourhood of Madras ; and two or
three extracts from his last report to the District
Committee, dated Palamcottah, March 1. 1821,
will suffice to shew the continued progress of this
mission : —

The baptisms for the year 1850 were two hun-
dred and sixty- seven. The communicants were
increased to two hundred and forty-five. Five new
schools had been opened, and the w^hole fifteen
contained nearly four hundred children. Upwards
of three hundred books had been distributed among
the churches this year, but they were greatly in
want of the whole Bible, of which only one copy
had yet been sent for the priest. Several more
copies were now applied for, as many of the people
were very intelligent, and desirous of studying the
whole Scriptures.

After entering into various statistics, which it
is unnecessary to repeat, the report concludes with
an earnest recommendation of the mission to the
Committee's special attention, adding, ^*^I am thank-
ful to learn that a missionary is expected for this
district ; but think me not extravagant when I
say, that one is not enough to attend to the seven-
and- twenty churches already established, much
less to cherish the infant congregations rising up
in several quarters. The fifteen schools also will
employ a considerable portion of the time of any
person, and leave him but little to devote to the
adults. The country priest is most anxious for a
missionary, for he but too justly anticipates the


CHAP, repetition of molestations from the heathen, when
^^^' there shall again be no gentlemen on the spot to
whom he can look up for protection. I trust, how-
ever, that he will not be kept long in suspense, and
that one, if not two, will soon arrive to dissipate
his fears, and strengthen his hands to labour. For
a native, he is a valuable man ; but he cannot be
expected to do more than preserve things in statu
quo until supported by a European."^

A few days after the date of this letter, the
author quitted this interesting and promising scene
of labour. The day before his departure, he re-
ceived an application from a village a few miles
off, to baptize the whole of its inhabitants. As
there was no time to comply with their request.

^ The following statement will shew the increase of the con-
gregations during the last four years : —

Christian children baptized,
Heathen baptized,
Converts from Popery,

136 169 142 267=714
About this time, the Madras Government desired the collector
of Tinnevelly to ascertain what land the Christian Knowledge
Society had registered in the district. The author was applied
to for the information required, and it may be useful to put on
record here the result of his investigation. He examined the
deeds of sale of seventeen plots of ground, which were purchased
between October 1791 and October 1810, by the missionaries
Jenicke, Kingletaube, Kohlhoff, and Horst, and by the priest
Sattianaden ; and one by Mr Sawyer, the benevolent inhabitant
of Palamcottah mentioned above (Book x. chap, iv.), which
was named after him, Sawyerpooram. These grounds were
accurately described in the deeds, which were regularly wit-
nessed ; but only two of them, Bethany and Kylausapooram,
purchased by Sattianaden, were in the name of the mission,
without specifying what mission. The rest were in the names
of the parties by whom they were purchased ; and none of them
were registered, as they were bought before the regular estab-
lishment of the English court in the district.



















the country priest^ Wisuwarsanarden, was directed
to go and examine them, and to give them what
instruction they might require preparatory to their
baptism. From this time to the end of the decade,
no report of this mission appears to have been sent
home ; and some years elapsed before the Society
for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts
were able to send a missionary to this distant


18. The bequest of M. Gericke, mentioned above, state of
towards the support of the missionary establish- patam^^^
ment at this station, continuing to be paid by his mission,
executors, under the superintendence of the Rev.
Dr Coemmerer of Tranquebar, the Madras District
Committee wrote to that gentleman, in 1818, to
ascertain the present state of the mission. After
briefly recapitulating the information already given
in this History,^ he stated that the clerk, Mr
Younker, performed divine service every Sunday
in the Portuguese language, and read the English
prayers in the afternoon ; that a catechist per-
formed the service at the same time of the day in
Tamul ; that Mr Younker was authorised to bap-
tize, to marry, and to bury the dead of the native
Christians ; that he himself went to Negapatam
once or tmce a year to administer the Lord's
Supper, and to visit the schools ; that the congre-
gations, Dutch, Portuguese, and Tamul, amounted
to two hundred and sixty, but that these numbers
were decreasing, either by casualties, or by re-
movals to other quarters in search of livelihood ;
and that the school contained sixty children, who

Book viii. cliap. ii. sects. 4-




in Bengal,

were taught English and Tamul by the clerk and a

Such was the state of this establishment in the
year 1818 ; and^ as the Society had no one to
appoint over it^ the accounts did not improve dur-
ing the remainder of this decade. In publishing,
in 1821^ the information which they had collected
respecting their South India missions, the Madras
District Committee, after stating that these mis-
sions had gradually fallen into decay from want of
proper superintendence, and expressing their con-
viction that they might yet be preserved, thus close
their report : — ^^ Let us then conclude with the
prayer that God may continue to bless the under-
taking we have in hand, and that this remote branch
of the venerable Society for Promoting Christian
Knowledge may be supported in proportion to the
importance of its object."

19. In the other archdeaconries the district
committees, besides their extensive distribution of
religious books in English, were now actively pro-
moting native education. We have seen with what
interest Bishop Middleton encouraged the estab-
lishment of schools at Calcutta f and by the year
1826 the Society's schools in that district were in-
creased to sixteen, in which twelve hundred and
eighty native boys were receiving a Christian edu-
cation. The Rev. Thomas Robinson, secretary to
the Calcutta Committee,^ thus described their pro-
gress at this period : — '^ I can assure the Society
that their native schools in Bengal hold out most
encouraging prospects of success in converting the
heathen to our holy faith. I have visited these
seminaries, and am satisfied that no human means

^ First Report of the Madras District Committee, pp. 68-71.
"" B. xiii. c. 1, s. 35.

Subsequently Archdeacon of Madras.


can be so effectual in sapping the foundations of
idolatry as they are. The work may not imme-
diately be followed by brilhant results^ but there
can be no doubt of the ultimate effect. Prejudice
and alarm are rapidly subsiding, and difficulties
which, a few years ago, presented a formidable bar-
rier, are now unknown. We are at liberty to intro-
duce the Scriptures and other religious books with-
out a murmur. The word of God is taught daily,
the Lord's prayer is committed to memory, while
treatises, calculated to convey useful knowledge,
are received and learnt with avidity. We entertain
a well-grounded hope that some of the native
teachers are themselves impressed with the truth
of our religion, and though they are at present
afraid to confess Christ openly, we look forward to
no distant day when their faith will triumph over
their fear of reproach and temporal degradation. A
beginning has been made among the female part of
the community on a limited scale, for want of funds
to extend it. We require nothing but pecuniary re-
sources and missionaries, to assemble the whole
youthful population of our Indian villages, wher-
ever a tree can afford its shade, or a thatched roof
give shelter." ^

* S. P. C. K. Report 1827, pp. 28, 29. An instance occurred,
in 1817, of the freedom of the native mind from apprehension
in the use of Christian books. The wealthy Hindoos of Cal-
cutta established a college, the superintendent of which was a
military officer, the only Englishman connected with the estab-
lishment. As no grammar, or other school-book, could be found,
into which the subject of religion did not enter, the superin-
tendent was obliged to adopt the books used in English schools.
But, to avoid all appearance of seeking to make converts, he
tore out, or pasted over, the passages which related to Chris-
tianity. This was observed by the managers, who were all
Hindoos of wealth and consequence ; when one of them wrote
to the superintendent the following note : —

" I have looked over the accompanying two books, and found

at Bombay
and Co-


CHAP. These schools were at present superintended by

"^- the missionaries residing in Bishops College; and

as the number of missionaries increased, and new

stations were occupied, new schools followed in

their train.

20. At Bombay the District Committee conti-
nued to lend their cordial support to the Education
Society, resolving to supply gratuitously all schools,
any way connected with that Society, with such
books and tracts as they possessed. The number
of scholars in these schools in 1818 exceeded six
hundred.^ Hitherto they appear to have been
taught principally the English language ; but in
1820 the District Committee, finding that they
w-ere not yet able to fulfil '' their anxious w^ish to
take some steps for the institution of native schools
under their own superintendence," recommended
the Education Society to take up the education of
natives in their own languages, as a separate branch
of the institution. In this proposal the Education
Society fully concurred, and soon afterwards adopted
some resolutions for providing suitable school-books
in the native languages and for the general im-
provement of native schools.^ No time was lost in
carrying these resolutions into effect ; in 1824 the
scholars in the schools of all descriptions were
twelve hundred ; ^ and a considerable increase of
the children in the native schools was reported for

nothing to be struck out ; but felt very much for the passages
pasted over, and consequently beg of you not to spoil any other
books in a similar way, as the boys, whose parents are averse to
allow them to read whatever alludes to the Christian religion,
may leave out the same." — Life of Bp. Middleton, vol. i. pp.
391, 392.

1 S. P. C. K. Keport 1819, pp. 103, 104. Bombay Dis. Com.
Second Keport for January 1820.

^ S. P. C. E. Report 1823, p. 84. ^ Ibid. 1825, p. 67.


1826, without the exact number bemg stated/
School-books also were sufficiently suiDplied, and
the prospect presented great encouragement to pro-

Similar plans were adopted for the archdeaconry
of Columbo, where the distribution of books, and
the education of all classes, proceeded with great

21. In the year 1824, at a general meeting of Transfer of
the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, sions tV
holden on the 1st March, the Board, having taken ^^^^^'p^.^ ^°''
into consideration the present state of their East gation of
Indian missions, and being desirous of adopting {Jj^j^o°j,7n
measures for providing more effectually than could Parts,
be done by the Society, for the extension of mis-
sionary objects in British India, referred it to the
Standing Committee, to consider the expediency of
transferring the management and superintendence
of the missions to the IncoriJorated Society for the
Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts. The
Standing Committee, after mature deliberation, ac-
ceded to the proposal ; and the following are the
principal reasons which they assigned for the adop-
tion of this measure. The Society, notmthstanding
the success of its missions in South India, felt un-
able to extend its care, as was desired, to the whole
of Hindostan. In the improved facilities at length
afforded by the erection of the See of Calcutta, for
the extension of missionary operations, it was con-
sidered advisable to be ready to improve the first
opportunity of promoting Christian Knowledge
upon a larger scale. The Society for the Propaga-
tion of the Gospel had founded and endowed a
mission college at Calcutta, which was already in
active operation. Missionary stations were selected ;

S. P. C. K. ■Report 1827, p. 32.


CHAP. European missionaries and native catechists and
^ • teachers were engaged ; others were under educa-
tion in the college ; translations of Scripture and
various works in the Oriental languages were be-
gun ; and the Institution^ even in this early stage^
mighty it was thought^ fairly be considered the
greatest Protestant establishment that had been
formed for the conversion of the East. For these
reasons^ it was determined to place the South India
missions under the care of the Incorporated Society.
And this Society expressing their readiness to un-
dertake the important trusty it was unanimously
resolved^ at a general meeting of the Christian
Knowledge Society holden on the 7th of June^
" that the management and superintendence of the
Society's missions in Southern India be transferred
to the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in
Foreign Parts J'

At the same time, the Board resolved to devote
their undivided attention to the support of its dio-
cesan and district committees in the East ; and
through them to disperse the Scriptures, the Li-
turgy, and other religious books, among the inhabi-
tants of every class, and to contribute to the main-
tenance of schools, both for the European and native
population. It also undertook to continue the pay-
ment of the salaries of the present missionaries
during their lives, in consideration of their long and
faithful services.^

When the Society for the Propagation of the
Gospel entered upon this important trust, it had
three missionaries connected with Bishop's College,
Calcutta, besides the principal, two professors, and
a printer. In 1825 another missionary was sent,
who was followed by two more in 1827. A district

' S. P. C. K. Reports 1825, 1826, 1827.


committee was formed in each archdeaconry to
superintend the Society's operations ; and the wis-
dom of these measures soon appeared in the revival
of the old Southern Missions, and the estabhsment
of new missions in other parts of India.^

2 S. P. G. F. P. Eeports 1825, 1826, 1827. It will give some
idea of the activity of the Society to state, that in eighteen
years from this time, they had —

In the diocese of Calcutta, a Principal and three Pro-
fessors at Bishop's College, . 4
Missionaries, ... 8
Madras, a Head Master and an Act-
ing Superintendent at Yepery, . 2
Missionaries, . . .23
Bombay — Missionaries, . . 3
Ceylon — Missionaries, ... 3

These missionaries occupied 32 stations. — S. P. G-. F. P. Ke-
port 1844.



1817 TO 1826.

Separa- 1. PREVIOUS to entering upon the Baptist mission-
Semmpme ^^J Operations of the present decade^ notice may
]\iission be taken of an alteration made about this period
Baptiir ill the management of the mission. In 1818 the
Society. Society pubhshed a ^^ Circular Letter/' explanatory
of the circumstances which led to this change.
After adverting to the formation of the family
union at Serampore in 1799^ which was noticed in
this History at the time/ the letter went on to
state^ that the brethren had adhered so conscien-
tiously to the terms of this compact^ that^ although
their receipts individually had far exceeded the
amount of contributions for the mission sent out
from England, their families had derived no pecu-
niary advantage from their united income. The
whole had constituted one common fund, which,
after supplying their own necessities, had been con-
secrated to the service of God in the propagation
of the Gospel around. By the blessing of Divine
Providence on their exertions, they had been able
hitherto, not only to support themselves and their

Book ix. c. XX. s. ]7. See Appendix D of this vol.


families, but also to expend large sums of money
upon the great object for which alone they desired
to live.

A considerable part of the funds derived from
their personal exertions was employed in the pur-
chase and enlargement of the premises at Seram-
pore on which they resided. These premises, to-
gether with the mission property upon them, were
now valued at about seven thousand pounds. Con-
sidering the uncertain tenure of European life in
India, together with their own increasing years,
the Serampore brethren began seriously to antici-
pate the period when they would be called to rest
from their labours, and were desirous of securing
the permanent appropriation of their property to
the propagation of the gospel among the heathen.
For this purpose tliey constituted themselves a
distinct Society, denominated *^^The Baptist Mis-
sion at Serampore ; " and in September 1817 they
executed a deed, whereby the said property was
declared to be held in trust by themselves, and
such persons, and such only, as they should there-
after associate with them in the trust. It was
distinctly stated, that the said parties were to hold
the property " in trust for propagating the Gospel
in India, agreeably to the original design and insti-
tution of the said Baptist Missionary Society."

The Society at home, deprecating any apparent
want of union between themselves and the mis-
sionaries at Serampore, did not immediately ac-
quiesce in all that was proposed. They consented,
indeed, to resign everything at Serampore to the
sole management of the senior brethren ; but they
objected to this division of interests, as tending to
shake the public confidence, and to injure the cause
which both parties had so much at heart. During
the whole of the present decade negotiations were
going on between them, with a view to obviate the


CHAP, inconvenience apprehended from their separation ;
^^- but they ended in the adoption of the arrangements
which the missionaries desired. Though the parent
Society did not approve of the measure to which
they saw they had no alternative but to assent,
yet they still maintained a cordiality of feeling
towards their brethren, continued to report their
proceedings with undiminished interest, and subse-
quently relieved them of five or six stations which
they were unable to maintain. Thus did they shew
the sincerity of their prayer, that it might please
God to overrule the event, ^^ however undesirable
in itself, to the furtherance of the Gospel of His

As the stations of the Baptist mission mentioned
in the last decade were now divided between that
Society and the Serampore mission, in the present
account of them we shall depart from the order
hitherto followed, and take each division separately,
commencing with that of the parent Society.

Arrival of 2. Calcutta. — The brethren at this important
station, Yates and Eustace Carey, were variously

aries at

^ A full account of the circumstances which led to this sepa-
ration is given in the Baptist ^lissionary Society's Report for
1827, and in Appendix I. See also Missionary Register for
1819. p. 68. As the Baptist and Serampore missions were
happily re-united in 1838, it is deemed unnecessary to dwell
longer on the subject in this place. Persons who may desire
to enter more into the details, may consult the Society's Report
referred to above, and that for 1838 ; also the Missionary
IJerald for January and June, and the Missionary Register for
February and December, of the same year. The 3Iissionary
Herald just mentioned is a periodical commenced by the Baptist
Society in 1819, and published monthly. It contains intelli-
gence at large of their own proceedings and operations, and
briefly records the principal transactions of other similar insti-

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 15 of 54)