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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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one scholars ; and in the following year, he re-
ported a small increase. Several of the pupils
could read well, and many had left the schools
with an education suited to their circumstances,
w^hile others had readily presented themselves to
fill up their places. This is the last report received
from Mr Carey in the present decade.

Several stations occupied for a short time it was
found desirable during this decade to relinquish
for the present. These were, Silhet, Guyah, Fur-
ruckabad, Jungipore, Soojunpore, and Surat. The
services of the missionaries and native " assistants


were transferred to places where there was better
promise of success. A similar report is to be made
of the eastern islands^ where little had been accom-
plished, except in the work of translation, and the
Society's missionaries at the present date were all

29. Ceylon is not included in this unfavourable ^l^^i^^ '"
report. Mr Chater continued to occupy the station
at Columbo ; Mr Siers was at Hanwell, a village
about twenty miles from Columbo, on the road to
Kandy ; and in 1818 a third missionary, Mr Grif-
fiths, arrived from England, and was stationed at
Point de Galle. But his health rapidly declining,
he returned to Europe in 1819, and his place was
not sup])lied during the remainder of this decade.

At Columbo Mr Chater persevered under many
trials of his faith. In 1820, when his prospects
seemed to brighten, it pleased God to deprive him
of his wife, who died at St Helena, on the voyage
homeward, leaving a numerous family. On receiv-
ing these mournful tidings, the father's heart natu-
rally yearned towards his nine children, now in
England, and his first thought was to join them, in
order to make arrangements for their future provi-
sion. But hearing that the Lord had raised up
friends to watch over them, he remained at his
post, where the work was growing on his hands.
At Columbo and in the neighbourhood he had three
places of worship under his care, Avhere the Gospel
was preached in English, Cingalese, and Portuguese.
In 1822 his schools had increased to seven, con-
taining two hundred and forty pupils. No restric-
tions were imposed by the parents on the kind of
instruction to be given, and the sacred Scriptures
were as constantly taught in them as in Christian
schools. Though the number of scholars fluctuated,
from sickness and other causes, yet these schools
were a great benefit to the neighbourhood.


CHAP. Hitherto the converts were ver}^ few. In 1824
^^' the missionary speaks of eight persons as forming
his Uttle flock, but it does not appear whether they
were natives or Europeans. In 1826 he reports
a considerable increase in their number, but again
without describing to what class they belonged.
Natives were employed to read the Scriptures to
their countrymen, which began to awaken their
attention .

At Hanw^elP a native congregation was formed,
under the teaching of Mr Siers, with two native
assistants. In 1820 he baptized three natives, and
erected, in the following year, a small place of
worship. He had, besides, two schools ; and though
he saw the Gospel make slow progress, yet appear-
ances were sufficiently promising to encourage him
to persevere. In 1826 several additions were made
to this flock ; and, among the converts, there was
a youth, named Carolis, who became a useful assis-
tant in the mission. A circumstance occurred about
this time, at a village called Ooggalla, nearer
Columbo, which shewed that the benefit of Mr
Sier's instructions was not confined to the spot
where he resided. The Mohandiram, the native
headman of the place, one of whose sons had been
baptized at Hanwell, was himself, together wdth
his wife and another son, induced to embrace the
Gospel. When baptized, he pubhcly assigned in-
telligent and scriptural reasons for renouncing the
errors in which he had been brought up. The sub-
sequent conduct of this family w^ell accorded with
their Christian profession ; and their conversion
awakened considerable interest in the neighbour-
hood — many inhabitants now beginning to inquire
what these things meant. This year Mr Siers

^ Sometimes spelt Haiigwell.

IN INDIA : BOOK Xlll. 181

removed from Hanwell^ his services being required
at Columbo ; but he left Carohs in charge of that
post, Mr Chater paying it an occasional visit.

30. Serampore.'^ — The senior missionaries, Messrs Establish-

111 en 1 oi 2i

Carey, Marshman, and Ward, were still diligently college at
occupied in their respective departments, and sup- ^^J.J^^
plying the means of active exertion at the distant
stations. At an early period of the present decade
they undertook a great work, the establishment of
a native college at Serampore. Their primary
object was to train up a native Christian ministry.
Of the numerous itinerants already employed, very
few were properly qualified for their important
duties. It was proposed, therefore, to select the
most pious and able youths in their schools, and
give them an education that should prepare them,
with God's help, to cope alike with the subtilty of
the Brahmin, and the blind superstition of the
vulgar. To those already employed in preaching,
who resided at convenient distances, opportunity
was to be given to extend their biblical and other
knowledge ; and it was expected that the establish-
ment would eminently conduce to the gradual im-
provement of the Oriental translations of Scripture,
by means of some of the young men whom they
should educate for the ministry. The missionaries
proposed to educate a second class of Christian
youths for the public service and other employ-
ments. These were to be the sons of natives,
reduced to indigence by the loss of property and
caste upon their embracing the Gospel. When the
education of these children was completed, they
would be competent to fill respectable situations,
and so be placed in circumstances to contribute
towards their parents' support.

^ For fuller particulars of this station, and those connected
with it, see " Periodical Accounts of the Serampore Mission."


CHAP. It was proposed also to admit European and
^^' native pupils to the benefits of this seminary, pro-
vided they supported themselves, and became in
no way burdensome to the institution. The at-
tendance of heathen or Mahomedan students upon
the biblical and Christian lectures was to be optional,
as there was no intention to do violence to their
religious prejudices. The secular education here
afforded would expand their views, and tend to
improve their character ; and the happiest results
might be anticipated for India, from different situa-
tions of responsibility in the country being filled
by men who should be trained in this establishment
for the public service. To fill the various stations
in the native courts, there were required for Bengal
alone nearly a thousand persons. The importance
of these posts being occupied by men of education
and legal science must be too obvious to every
considerate mind to. require further explanation.

The studies were to consist of English, Hebrew,
and Greek ; also Sanscrit, Arabic, Chinese, and
such other Oriental languages as might be found
desirable. Lectures were to be delivered on astro-
nomy and other branches of mathematics, medicine,
jurisprudence, ethics, and theology. In a country
where false and absurd notions of these sciences
prevail, and the most extravagant theories are in-
corporated with the religion of the people, the
importance of inculcating right views on the various
branches of knowledge comprised in this scheme
cannot be too highly appreciated.

The plan^ of this seminary receiving the sanction
and patronage of the Governor- General of India^

^ The fourth plan of this college submitted to the public was
published in the Appendix to the Baptist Missionary Society's
Report for TS19, pp. 54, &c.


and the Governor of Serampore, and the pubhc
having contributed largely towards its establish-
ment, a suitable spot of ground was purchased for
the erection of the college buildings, on the banks
of the river Hoogly, exactly opposite the Governor-
General's villa. Additions were subsequently made
to the first purchase ; and in a short time the
premises were increased to more than thirty begas,
or about ten English acres, forming nearly a square.
This unexpected accession of ground enabled the
missionaries considerably to enlarge the original
X^lan of the college. Accordingly they determined
to complete the buildings on a scale adapted to
accommodate nearly four hundred students . There
were also a chapel, library, rooms for the museum
for philosophical apparatus, and the accommodation
of the various classes ; commodious habitations for
four European professors ; a spacious hall for the
annual examinations, and every other erection
which such an establishment required . These build-
ings were expected to cost not less than ten thou-
sand pounds sterling ; and the Serampore brethren
made themselves responsible for the whole expense
of the erection. The Baptist Society, however,
and the munificence of the British pubUc in India,
materially relieved them of this burden.

On forming their plan, the committee^ appointed
to direct its execution addressed his Danish Ma-
jesty, entreating permission to erect the college in
his Majesty's settlement of Fredericksnagore. The
King not only granted them permission to estab-
lish the institution, and to conduct it indepen-
dently of the constituted authorities at Serampore,

'^ The Comiuittee consisted of the Hon. Colonel Kreeting,
Governor of Serampore, Drs Carey and Marsliman, and Messrs
W. Ward and J. C. Marshman.



CHAP, but also presented to the three senior missionaries

'__ the royal building and premises to the north-west

of the missionary premises^ containing more than
three acres^ the rent of which was to be applied to
the support of the college.
Com- 31. While the buildings were in progress, a com-

menrof menccment was made in the instruction of youth,
the stu- the students on the foundation being lodged in the
neighbourhood. In 1819, there were thirty-seven
scholars ; and at a public examination, conducted
b}^ Dr Carey, their proficiency was found to be very
satisfactory. Among the spectators about thirty
learned Hindoos, mostly Brahmins, from all parts
of the country, and speaking different languages,
were seen standing round the examiner — an inte-
resting spectacle, at the first examination of a
seminary designed for the diffusion of light and
happiness throughout the continent of India. In
the next report, the number of pupils was increased
to forty- five, of whom the greater part belonged
to native Christian families. They were frequently
examined, and received prizes according to their

The superiority of their plan of instruction was
soon apparent to all who watched the progress of
the students. In the study of Sanscrit, for ex-
ample, they acquired this language in about half
the time generall}^ devoted by native youth to this
IDreliminary branch of Indian philology. One
cause of this improvement was the great redemp-
tion of time which was obtained, by disregarding
all those notions relative to certain days and sea-
sons being ominous to study, which rob the natives
of nearly one-third of the year. The advantage of
thus shortening the period devoted to this intro-
ductory course, is sufficiently obvious. As the
institution advanced, the proficiency in other
branches of education was equally satisffxc^tory.


An establisment of this magnitude^ in a land of
ignorance, prejudice, and juvenile superstition, was
an exotic in on ungenial clime, and could not be
expected to advance forthwith to maturity. Effi-
cient instructors were to be brought from Europe.
In 1821, Mr John Mack went from England to
undertake the duties of the scientific department.
He took out with him an astronomical clock, and
other instruments requisite for an observatory. A
classical professor was obtained from the mission-
ary institution at Basle, Mr John Godfrey Al-
brecht ; but he died three months after his arrival,
and by this melancholy event the missionaries were
deprived of a coadjutor of much promise. Shortly
after, a Mr Swan, from the University of Edin-
burgh, went out as theological professor ; and a
Mr Williamson became the English teacher. This
gentleman was a native of Scotland, who went out
to India in the medical profession ; but having
there learned the value of the gospel for himself,
he relinquished all other pursuits to engage in
making it known to others. As a teacher of Eng-
lish, and in his o^vn profession, he proved a valu-
able acquisition to the college. Professors of the
native languages and laws were procured with-
out difficulty. But, notwithstanding the aid
affi)rded them by these instructors, the mission-
aries continued to devote a great portion of their
time to the college, and their personal superin-
tendence contributed materially to promote its

The progress of the students was communicated
to the pubUc in the Reports of their periodical
examinations. Their number at the close of the
decade was about fifty, of whom eight were Brah-
mins, one Mahomedan, and the remainder chiefly
Christians. Their general proficiency was such as
to prove already the advantage of the institution.




by the
King of

of general

For example^ it was stated in the Sixth Report^
that the head student had made great progress in
Sanscrit ; and that the next five had evinced such
an acquaintance with Sanscrit grammar^ during a
long and close scrutiny^ as would have done honour
to the pundits themselves.

32. In the year 1826^ Dr Marshman, having
proceeded to England^ visited Copenhagen^ for the
purpose of obtaining from the Danish Government
a royal charter of incorporation for the college, and
satisfactorily accomplished his object. By this
pri\dlege, the college possessed the power of confer-
ring literary and honorary degrees, and the pro-
perty was immutably secured for the objects con-
templated in its establishment.

33. But the other departments of this mission
were not neglected for the sake of the college, im-
portant as its business was justly considered. The
general work of education still went on, under the
superintendence of Dr Marshman's eldest son,
Mr John Marshman. The numerous schools de-
scribed in the last decade now contained about ten
thousand children. In the year 1820, the breth-
ren deemed it advisable to make some alterations
in their plan, and to aim rather at increasing the
efficiency of the schools existing among the natives,
than at multiplying their number.

Female education also was steadily advancing.
In Serampore and its neighbourhood there were
twelve schools, containing about three hundred
girls, who were all instructed in Christianity, by
reading books in which its doctrines and precepts
were explained. The Christian girls read the
Scriptures also, and learned several catechisms and
hymns, besides being instructed orally in the prin-
ciples of religion. As with tlie boys' schools, so
with these, the brethren did not contemplate open-
ing any new schools for the ]M'esent, owing to the



difficulty of superintending more. These twelve
were scattered through all the accessible parts in
the neighbourhood of Serampore ; and it was in-
tended, as much as possible, to increase the num-
bers in each school, and to make gradual but sure
advances in the system of instruction/

34. While proceeding with their extensive and Estabiish-
diversified labours, the brethren endeavoured to JJ^efuifn.
promote the temporal welfare of those around
them, hoping to prove thereby that '' godliness is
profitable unto all things, having promise of the
life that now is," as well as '' of that which is to
come," (1 Tim. iv. 8). With a view to counteract

the spirit of thoughtless improvidence, so general
in their neighbourhood, they established a Savings
Bank at Serampore, on a plan which received uni-
versal approbation. Not long after, Dr Carey in-
stituted an Agricultural and Horticultural Society,
of which the Governor- General accepted the pa-
tronage. Several of the most opulent natives
joined it ; and Dr Carey expressed the hope that
it would ultimately be of great benefit to the coun-
try, and contribute to prepare its inhabitants for
the time when '' they shall beat their swords into
plough-shares, and their spears into pruning-hooks,"
(Isa. ii. 4).^

35. But while thus engaged in devising new a Pastoral
modes of doing good, they attended with equal the con-''
dihgence to those more spiritual labours which grega-
constitute the peculiar and noblest employment of

^ An interesting Article, " On Female Education in India,"
was published in The Friend of India, No. V., May 1822.
The Friend of India is a periodical Eeview, published at Se-
rampore. A newspaper has since been published at Serampore
bearing the same title.

^ Dr Carey's Prospectus of this Society may be seen in the Ee-
port of the Baptist Missionary Society for 1821, A pp. No. II.




of conver-

the Cliristian missionary. In Jtuiiiary 1820, they
addressed a '^ Pastoral Letter" '' to the Churches
of Christ which " had '' been raised up amidst the
heathcxi in India." ^ This affectionate Address con-
tains much valuable instruction, and is said to
have been the means of diffusing a spirit of Chris-
tian zeal among all the members of their congrega-
tion. Under the influence of this impression, an
Auxiliary Missionary Society was formed, for the
purpose of spreading the gospel more widely around
them ; and five young men offered themselves,
gratuitously, to engage in these useful labours.^

36. Among the converts about this time, men-
tion is made of a Hindoo ascetic, Avho had main-
tained a vow of silence for four years, living among
the wild beasts in the Sunderbunds. His atten-
tion was first arrested by the perusal of a Bengalee
tract ; and he was led on by the instruction re-
ceived from the brethren, until they thought him
ready for baptism. They mention also, in the
same report, the conversion of the door-keeper of
their new college ; also a pundit of the Mug na-
tion, whose simple account of the manner in which
Divine truth entered his mind was particularly
pleasing. The increase of native Christians was
now becoming more rapid than at any former
period of the mission, and the whole face of so-
ciety, European as well as native, was assuming
an improved aspect.
Satisfac- 37. In the year 1822, several of the native Cliris-
o7con-^'^'^ tians were removed, and among them the venerable
verts. Krishnoo, who, for more than twenty years, had
been engaged in shewing to his countrymen the

^ Report of the Baptist Missionary Societv for 18:21, App.
No. I.

Ibid., No. Ill


way of salvation. It is satisfactory to know, that
in the solemn hour of dissolution^ these disciples of
the Lord Jesus evinced that composure and tran-
quil rehance upon a crucified Saviour, which are the
genuine fruits of evangelical principle. A mission-
ary wrote — '^ I myself witnessed the last moments
of Krishnoo, and heard his aged and quivering lips
speak of the preciousness of Christ. In this we
cannot but admire the Divine goodness, and consi-
der tlie strong consolation and heavenly maturity
which this first Hindoo disciple attained, as an ear-
nest of what God will do for India." The brief
notices repeatedly published^ of other natives also,
male and female, who died at this station, exhi-
bited the genuine influence of the Gospel of Christ,
and formed a refreshing contrast to the tales of
horror and of blood, which characterize the Brah-
minical superstition.

38. But while death was thus thinning the ranks Death of
of this little band of Christian soldiers, others were members
pressing forward to occupy the vacant places, and ^f the
join themselves to the people of God. In the same
year, Mr Felix Carey, eldest son of Dr Carey, the
eldest daughter of Dr Marshman, and several
junior members of the mission families, were re-
moved to their rest. In the year 1823, the brethren
were called to mourn over the loss of Mr Ward_,
with whom for four and twenty years they had been
closely united in affection and toil. This was an
unexpected blow. At the beginning of the week
he attended a prayer meeting in Calcutta, when
every one who saw him remarked how well and
how cheerful he looked ; but before the week closed

^ In the Missionary Herald. An interesting account of
Krishna Pall, a native preacher at Serampore, given hy himself,
in a letter to a friend in England, was puhlished after his de-
cease, in the Appendix to the Society's Report for 1823. No. 1.





Mr Ward's
tion for

he had finished his course, and entered into the
joy of his Lord. His complaint was the cholera
morbus, which seized him on the Gth of March,
and carried him off on the following day. The
disease was so violent and rapid that it incapaci-
tated him for conversation, so that he spoke but
little as death drew near. He had returned from
a visit to England not long before, having been
mercifully preserved in all his journeyings by land
and by sea ; and now he was taken away as in a
moment from the bosom of his family, a few hours
after he had been in the full enjoyment of health
and strength. How mysterious are the ways of
God ! Clouds and darkness are round about him :
''He holdeth back the face of his throne, and
spreadeth his cloud upon it," (Job xxvi. 9). But
his people must even then bow with silent and
adoring submission before him, acknowledging that
the Judge of all the earth doeth right. Great in-
deed was the shock ; and the event affected not
only the missionaries at Serampore, but all persons,
at home and abroad, who were watching with in-
terest the progress of Christianity in India. For
the name of William Ward, as a pious, humble,
and devoted missionary, had long been embalmed
in the hearts of Christians of all denominations,
and his loss was deeply and very generally deplored.
But this dispensation read an important lesson to
the Church of Christ. While the Lord appeared to
be preparing the minds of the heathen for a more
general reception of the Gospel, he removed one of
his most effective agents in the work, to teach his
people to ''cease from man, whose breath is in his
nostrils " (Isa. ii. 22) ; and to look only unto him
for the agency and the issue.

39. Though this stroke came suddenly as a
thunderbolt upon the missionaries, the Lord had
prepared his servant to depart. At the prayer


meeting which he attended at Calcutta on the
Monday before his death, he had used the follow-
ing expression, indicative of great humility, an
ardent desire for the salvation of the heathen, and
a mind ready, if such were God's will, to leave the
work to others : — ^^ Lord, if thou seest me unfit
for the carrying on of thy cause, and that it is in-
jured by my coldness and want of spirituality, oh
remove me, and put others more worthy in my
room ! But let thy kingdom come, and thy will
be done on earth, whoever be the instruments 1"
He little knew when he uttered this prayer how
nearly his work was done. Yet that was no mat-
ter. Death found him with his lamp burning, his
loins girded, and he himself waiting the coming of
his Lord. And of such it is written — ^' Blessed
are the dead which die in the Lord, from hence-
forth : yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from
their labours ; and their works do follow them,"
(Rev. xiv. 13.)

40. Mr Ward was permitted to complete a course Summary
of more than twenty- three years in the service of ^^^Jj^^^^
the mission ; and in his own, the printing depart- labours,
ment, he brought through the press twenty First
Versions of the New, and six of the Old Testament,
besides new editions of various former versions.
Several stations were founded and congregations
formed under his immediate superintendence ; and,
by the Lord's blessing on his instructions and ex-

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 18 of 54)