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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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Benares, yet they anticipated greater advantages,
on the whole, from his counsels and assistance at
the head-quarters of the mission. There were
several points of view in which his character and
experience seemed to fit him for most extensive
usefulness at the presidency. His peculiar habit of
mind would lead him to give himself to receive
inquirers after truth, to cherish the missionary
spirit among the younger members of the Church,
and to raise up labourers in this department of
service. These anticipations were fully realised.

^ His proceedings at Benares will be given in the account of
that station.


CHAP He also relieved Mr Thomason, who was already
^^' overworked, of much missionary correspondence,
and by their united efforts they rendered the whole
of their exertions more efficient. In 1823, he was
appointed Archdeacon of Calcutta, but the increased
responsibilities of this station did not divert his
mind from the missionary work, as will be seen in
the sequel.
Amission- 4. Mr Dcocar Schmid, who was originally des-
poUed tined for Bengal, but was left by Mr Corrie, as we
to the have seen, at Madras, Avas removed in 1818 to Cal-
Asyium. cutta. One chief object of his removal was the
superintendence of a periodical work, connected
with the plans and exertions of the Society. He
had particularly applied his attention to this sub-
ject, and had drawn up a prospectus of the work,
which induced the Corresponding Committee to in-
vite him to Calcutta, that he might there mature
his plan.

About the time of his arrival in Calcutta, a va-
cancy occurring in the situation of mistress of the
Female Orphan Asylum, Mrs Schmid was appointed
to that office, a charge for which she was well qua-
lified ; and she entered on her duties with the ear-
nest hope of becoming a blessing to the poor orphans,
thirty-four of whom were committed to her care.
Mr and Mrs Schmid resided at the asylum, in the
suburbs of Calcutta. Mr Schmid conducted the
daily worship and the Sunday services at the asy-
lum ; and his assiduous attention to the children's
religious improvement was followed by the happiest
results. In a few years he was able to report of
several, that he had reason to believe them truly
converted to God, and that not less than six had
left them for direct missionary employment, for
which they were found to be well prepared. Upon
this he remarked, that they had six others in train-
ing for the same work, and that he and Mrs Schmid


considered themselves highly rewarded for all their
labours^ by seeing themselves thus made instru-
mental in training a succession of female mission-

Mr Schmid's residence in the asylum afforded
him an opportunity to pursue his studies without
interruption^ and we shall soon see the result of his
literary exertions.

5. The Society's school at Kidderpore^ mentioned ^^^^^"^^^J^
in the former chapter/ contained, in 1817, about tion.
thirty scholars, who were receiving a Scriptural
education without awaking any suspicion in the
minds of their friends. Indeed, the natives, and
even Brahmins, of other villages requested that
similar schools might be established for their chil-
dren also. In consequence of this application, Mr
Greenwood, accompanied by Mr Adlington, made
an excursion in the neighbourhood, to ascertain
what prospect there might be of extending their
schools, and how the inhabitants generally stood
affected towards their plans. The result was fa-
vourable, and the Corresponding Committee, con-
curring in Mr Greenwood's suggestion, resolved to
establish three more schools. That at Kidderpore
was about this time converted into an English
school, at the request of Colly Shunker, the Brah-
min who originally gave the ground for it, and was
its chief support, until the year 1820, when he re-
moved to Benares, and the expense devolved on the
Church Missionary Society.

Mr Greenwood being transferred to Chunar, a
Mr Sandy, a gentleman residing at Kidderpore,
volunteered to take charge of the schools in his
neighbourhood until the appointment of a regular
master. Shortly after one of the schools was made

B. xi., C. iv., established 1815.




inent at

over to the Diocesan School Committee^ being
found more convenient for their agents to visit ;
and in 1821 three schools, together with the pre-
mises and other property, were transferred by the
Calcutta School Society to the Church Missionary
Society. These new schools made the Society more
acquainted with the native population, applications
soon came in from other villages, one school was
added after another, according to the Committee's
means of superintendence and support, until, in
1826, there were thirteen boys' schools in Calcutta
and its vicinity, containing upwards of eight hun-
dred scholars. The whole received Christian in-
struction when sufficiently advanced to read, and
the upper classes were periodically examined in the
presence of the Committee and their friends. The
account of the examination in 1826, before Arch-
deacon Corrie and man}^ other friends of native
education, was very satisfactor}^

In the midst of facilities which presented them-
selves on all sides for more extended labours in this
department, the Calcutta Committee wrote : — ^"^The
applications for schools have been so pressing, and
the willingness to listen to Christian instruction so
manifest, in some villages near Calcutta, that it has
been very painful to the missionaries to be obliged
to refuse the aid which has been sought for."^

6. The home Committee wished to have a
Christian institution formed in Calcutta, comjDrising
a mission-house, a mission-church, a seminary, and
a printing and book-binding establishment. In
1821 they communicated this design to the Cal-
cutta Committee, together with their intention to
send out two ordained missionaries to take charge
of such an establishment. This communication led

1 Missionary Register 1827, p. 66 ; C. M. S. Report 1828. p. 71.


the Committee to purchase an estate in a part of
the native town every way suitable to the views of
the parent Society. It contained a space of three
acres of ground, with an upper-roomed house, con-
sisting of eight rooms below and five above, a square
enclosure comprehending about half an acre, with
a broad piazza all round, and an open area in the
middle, after the plan of a college quadrangle.
For this property they paid about three thousand
pounds,^ but it required a further expenditure to
render the premises available for their purpose.
Thus was procured the station of Mirzapore, which
was soon established as the head-quarters of the
mission. In the following year an additional piece
of ground was purchased, to render the estate of a
regular form, and the necessary repairs and altera-
tions were made in the buildings for the accommo-
dation of the missionaries and other members of
the establishment.

The first missionary placed in charge of the insti-
tution, was Rev. John Andrew Jetter, a German,
who arrived in Calcutta in 181 9, and had since been
stationed at Burdwan. While the premises at Mir-
zapore were in progress, he visited Calcutta for the
restoration of his health ; but when about to return
to Burdwan, the Committee deemed it advisable to
detain him at Calcutta to watch over their rising
establishment. In 1822 he was joined by another
German missionary, Rev. Theophilus Reichardt,
and for some time the educational department con-
tinued under their superintendence.

7. One of the first objects attended to at Mirza- f^^^'^^'''^
pore was the seminary projected by the Society for opened.

^ Some idea may be formed of this purcliase if we mention,
that the price was only about £200 more than the Committee
was asked for one acre of ground in another part of tlie native
town, without any building materials.






training native youths for the service of the mis-
sion. They desired that it should be so conducted
as not to interfere with Bishop's College^ but^ on
the contrary, it was to be rendered subservient to
it. We have seen that Mr Corrie, for some time
past, had been training native youths for the in-
struction of their countrvmen, and several of his
pupils were now usefully employed at different sta-
tions. In the month of April 182*2, a central
school was opened on the premises at Mirzapore,
for the instruction of the most attentive scholars
in the Bengalee schools ; and in November it con-
tained fourteen boys. The numbers continued to
increase from time to time, until, in 1826, they
amounted to fifty. Although only five of these
were native Christians, yet the Bible and various
Christian works were taught alike to all. The
lessons in natural philosophy were occasionally
illustrated by experiments, and the good effect of
such studies was soon apparent, in the improve-
ment of those whose minds had been so completely
entrammelled by ignorance and superstition.

8. In the educational department, a great tri-
umph was achieved at this period. We have
already noticed the native prejudice against female
education, and the partial success attending the
efforts made even among the Christians of South
India ; and these obstacles were found to exist in
North India also. When schools were first pro-
jected in Bengal, the state of society seemed to
preclude females from the immediate benefits of
such exertions. Yet, in the progress of the expe-
riment, it was found that the female mind also
could be roused to seek the blessings resulting from
education ; and the success of the Calcutta Baptist
Society, as seen above,^ in establishing native

Chap. iv. sec. 33. Besides the C. M. S. Reports and the


schools for girls, encouraged the friends of religion
to endeavour to carry out the plan to a wider

While the way was thus preparing for them in
India, the British and Foreign School Society^ on
the representation of the Rev. W. Ward, of Seram-
pore, and in concert with some members of the
Calcutta School Society, then in England, had
solicited and obtained from the public funds for
sending to India a suitable teacher, who might de-
vote herself exclusive^ to the education of native
females. The lady who consented to undertake
this interesting service was a Miss Cooke, who, to
a sincere love of her sex, and fervent piety toward
her Saviour, united long acquaintance with the
work of education. She accordingly sailed from
England, recommended more especially to the Cal-
cutta School Society ; but the Committee of that
Institution, being composed partly of native gentle-
men, were not prepared, unanimously and actively,
to engage in any general plan of native female
education. Their funds also were inadequate to
the due support of the plans contemplated. Under
these circumstances, they resigned their claim on
Miss Cooke's services to the Corresponding Com-
mittee of the Church Missionary Society, who cor-
dially agreed to make every practicable exertion to
assist her to improve such opportunities as might
offer for promoting the object which had brought
her to Calcutta. They entered upon this engage-
ment, trusting to the liberality of the Christian

Missionary Eegister, from which this statement is drawn up,
an account of Hindoo female education was published by Pris-
cilla Chapman in 1839. " A Prize Essay " on the same sub-
ject, by a converted Brahmin, the Kev. K. M. Banerjed, was
published in Calcutta in 1841. See also The Friend of India,
No. 5, Art. on Female Education in India.


CHAP, public in India to supply the means of carrying on
^^' their operations ; and they were not disappointed.
Many, indeed, thought the plan visionary and
hopeless, but there was encouragement enough to
Opening 9. While engaged, in studying Bengalee, and
schooLs!''^^^ scarcely venturing to hope that an immediate
opening for entering upon her work would be
found. Miss Cooke was advised by Archdeacon
Corrie to attend one of the boys' schools, in order
to observe their pronunciation. Besides convers-
ing with the boys, she hoped to be able to in-
duce them to bring their sisters also to learn to
read. This circumstance, trifling as it may appear,
led to the immediate establishment of her first
school. Unaccustomed to see a European lady in
that part of the native town, a crowd collected
about the door, which annoyed the school pundit,
who began to drive them away. Miss Cooke de-
sired that they would not send away the girls, as
she wished to speak to them. Among them was
an interesting-looking child, whom she desired to
be called, and, by an interpreter, asked her if she
wished to learn to read. The pundit answered for
her, saying, that she had for three months past
been daily begging to be admitted to learn with
the boys ; but that he could not teach her, not
having received any orders to instruct girls. Miss
Cooke said that she would teach her, on which the
child looked pleased and surprised. Two more
little girls then came forward, and she was told,
that if she would attend next day, twenty girls
should be collected.

In consequence^ on the following day, January
26. 1822, Miss Cooke attended, accompanied by a
female friend, who spoke Bengalee fluently. They
found fifteen girls, accompanied, in several cases,
by their mothers, who kept up a long and ani-


mated conversation^ with Miss Cooke's friend,
which ended in the school being estabUshed forth-

^ The following few particulars of this conversation, given
by the lady in question, will afford some insight into the modes
of thinking prevalent among the native women : —

" As soon as the first salutations were over, I conversed fa-
miliarly with the children in Bengalee ; on which they all
appeared delighted. I asked them if they would attend regu-
larl}' for instruction from that lady (looking towards Miss
Cooke), who is taking so much trouble as to learn the language
for the purpose of instructing them. They said that they
would most gladl}^ ; and their little countenances were light-
ened up with joy. Two of them, whose names are Monachee
and Ponchee, said that they wished I also would come with
Miss Cooke and talk to them.

'' While speaking to the children, many of their female re-
latives stood without the lattice-work, looking in.

" The children then repeated their Bengalee alphabet to Miss
Cooke ; and, after they had gone over a few of the first letters
several times, we moved to come away. Little Ponchee took
iiold of my clothes, and said, ' Stop, my mother is coming;' by
which I found that some intelligence had been conveyed to the
nearest neighbours of our being there. While Miss Cooke was
speaking to Mr Jetter, who had a boys' school in the place,
two or three of the mothers approached close to the lattice-
work ; and the children, particularly Monachee and Ponchee,
pointed out theirs, and Ponchee her grandmother also, begging
I would speak to them.

" The mothers of the children were neatly dressed, in clean
white clothes ; but drew their upper coverings so much over
their faces, that I should not know them again. I drew close
to them, and said, ' I hope you will be pleased that your chil-
dren should be instructed by us ; that lady. Miss Cooke, is
come to this country solely for the purpose of instructing
the children of the natives of this country.' Monachee's
mother inquired, if she could speak their language. I told
them that she had begun to learn it on her way hither, and
could read and write a little ; and, in a short time, I hoped
she would be able to converse with them familiarly. She then
asked why I could not come also with Miss Cooke. I told
them that I had my own to instruct at home, but that I would
often accompany Miss Cooke. They inquired whether Miss
Cooke was married. I answered ' No.' Had she been, or was
she going to be? I said, 'No; she is married, or devoted, to
your children. She heard in England that the women of this


CHAP, with, the women consenting to send their girls to
1_ be instructed.

This development of Miss Cooke's plan seems to
have prevented much suspicion from being enter-
tained as to her motives, and the effects of her
intercourse with the children was encouraging ; for
petitions were subsequently presented, from time
to time, from different quarters of the native town,
and in a few months no less than ten schools were
established, containing two hundred and seventy-
country were kept in total ignorance ; that they were not
, taught even to read or write ; and that the men alone were

allowed to attain to any degree of knowledge ; it was also
generally understood tliat the chief objection arose from your
having no female who would undertake to teach. She, there-
fore, felt much sorrow and compassion for your state, and
determined to leave her country, her parents, her friends, and
every other advantage, and come here for the sole purpose of
educating your female children.' They, with one voice, cried
out, smiting their bosoms v/ith their right hands, ' Oh ! what
a pearl of a woman is this ! ' I added, ' She has given up
greater expectations to come here ; and seeks not the riches of
this world, but that she may promote your best interests.'
' Our children are yours — we give them to you,' replied two or
three of the mothers at once."

In another conversation, held two days after, Monachee's
mother asked. What will be the use of learning to our female
children, and what advantage will it be to them ? The lady
replied — " It will enable them to be more useful in their fami-
lies, and increase their knowledge ; and it is to be hoped that
it will tend also to gain respect to families and increase their
affection." " True," said one of them, " our husbands now look
upon us as little better than brutes." " And," added Mona-
chee's mother, " what benefit will you derive from this work?"
I replied, " The only return that we wish is to promote your
best interests and happiness." " Then," said the woman, " I
suppose this is a holy work in your sight, and well pleasing to
God." As they are not yet able to understand our motives, I
only said, in return, " God is always well pleased that we should
love and do good to our fellow- creatures " The women then
spoke to one another in terms of the highest approbation of us.
— C. M. S. Report, 23d, pp. 107-109. Missionarv Register,
1822, pp. 481-485; 1823, pp. 355-360.


seven girls. Not that the natives were wholly
without fear of the consequences of this innova-
tion ; and one instance may be given of the suspi-
cion with which untutored minds are apt to view
disinterested labours for their good.

The first girl who presented herself, after having
attended daily for some weeks, was withdrawn ;
and, under the pretext of going to a distance, was
absent about a fortnight. iJaily inquiry being
made for her, the father at last promised to send
her back, provided Miss Cooke would sign an
agreement, binding herself to make no claim upon
the child hereafter on the score of educating her,
and that her parents should be at liberty to take
her away when they chose. This was imme-
diately done ; the child returned to school ; and no
further interruption, except what the indolence
and ignorance of the parents sometimes occasioned,
arose in any quarter.

10. The Marchioness of Hastings rendered the Their
most important aid to these schools in various ways, ^^p"^ "^"
but especially by visiting them in person. The
parents were much attracted by her ladyship's ap-
pearance in the lanes and gullies where Europeans
were seldom seen, and by her condescension to their
children. Under such distinguished patronage, the
schools were increased, in 1823, to twenty-two, and
the scholars to four hundred. It was still found
difficult to bring them into the same order
as the boys' schools, but a growing sense of the
benefits likely to arise from education was evident,
and the most sanguine hopes of the patrons of the
schools were already more than realised. An exa-
mination of the first and second classes was held
June 23. 1823, in the presence of a numerous
assemblage of ladies and other friends, at which
upwards of one hundred girls were present, and
they acquitted themselves highly to the satisfaction


^^^' of the company. A wealthy native addressed the

children at the conclusion of the examination, on

the advantage of education both for time and eter-
nity ; and assured them, that as soon as they were
qualified, the native gentlemen would employ them
to instruct their daughters/

This short address encouraged the hope that the
houses of the rich, and even the Brahmins, would
ere long be opened to the female teacher. These
expectations, however, were only partially realised,
though the prejudices of several were evidently
giving way. Some of the respectable natives who
declined, as members of the Calcutta School Com-
mittee, taking part publicly in female education,
privately assisted in procuring ground for erecting
schools and other buildings for the purpose. This
year 1823, Miss Cooke wrote thus on the subject,
to the Church Missionary Society —

'' I have, this morning, it being a holiday among
the Hindoos, been exploring some parts of the native
town, which I had not before seen. Mr Jetter
accompanied me : he is now pretty well known, and
is much liked by the natives. We met with a per-
son who was my pundit for a short time. He is a
high Brahmin, with a most profound contempt for
the Bengalee females. He used daily to assure me
that I should never succeed : their women were all
BEASTS — quite stupid — never could or would learn ;
nor would the Brahmins ever allow their females
to be taught, &c., &c. To all this I answered,
' Very well — we shall see.' This morning I told him
that I MUST begin with their ladies now, and he
must assist my plans ; and he has promised to get
some girls collected in a large verandah within the

' In tlje Missionary Eegister 1824, p. 312, is given some par-
ticulars of another examination in December.


compound of a rich native ! I am thankful for this
step gained : surely the next will be to the ladies'
apartments !"^

11. The great difficulty in the progress of this Need of
work arose from the want of suitable female teachers.
Several women had entered the schools, and Miss
Cooke endeavoured to encourage them with the
promise of appointing them to teach when suffi-
ciently qualified ; but they frequently disappointed

her. It was found almost impossible to rouse them
from their habitual apathy, or to keep up any
little interest at first awakened in their minds. The
want of teachers, however, was in some measure
supplied from the Female Orphan Asylum, over
which Mr and Mrs Schmid presided. Several of
the elder girls, who had given evidence of piety,
having cheerfully begun the study of Bengalee, in
order that, under Miss Cooke's instructions, they
might be prepared to act as teachers of the female
schools. It will be remembered that this Asylum
was established by Mr Thomason in 1815. He had
always hoped that it might be rendered subservient
to the interests of Christianity in India ; but he
could scarcely look for such a gratifying fulfilment
of his wishes.

About this time. Miss Cooke was married to Rev.
Isaac Wilson, a missionary of the Church Missionary
Society, who arrived at Madras in 1821, and was
now transferred to Calcutta, with the sanction of
both committees. Miss Cooke having accepted his
proposal on this condition. Mr Wilson, besides
performing his own missionary duties in Calcutta^
made himself useful in the female schools, especially
in conducting their public examinations.

12, With a view to awaken a more powerful Ladies'

Society for

^- female


» Miss. Register 1823, pp. 194, 359, 360.


CHAP, interest among all classes of benevolent persons in
^^' India in favour of female education^ and also to
improve more extensively the opportmiities open-
ing for its extension^ it was deemed expedient to
assign this department of the Society's labour to
a separate association of ladies. In consequence,
a Society was formed in March 1824, entitled

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 25 of 54)