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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'' The Ladies' Society for Native Female Educa-
tion IN Calcutta and its Vicinity/' of which Lady
Amherst, the Govenor-General's lady, consented
to become the patroness. In devolving the care
of the female branch of their operations on this
Society, the Calcutta Corresponding Committee
reserved to themselves the riglit of resuming that
charge should circumstances ever render it advis-

Under the direction of the Ladies' Society the
work continued steadily to advance ; and at the
close of 1826 the number of female schools had
increased to thirty, containing above six hundred
children. Mrs Wilson had introduced the Scrip-
tures into half the schools, and the remainder, it
was hoped, would soon be ready for the sacred
volume. Many more schools might have been
established, with theprospect of being well attended ;
but as no dependence could be placed on the na-
tive teachers, without vigilant superintendence, the
Ladies' Committee did not judge it advisable, even
had the funds admitted of it, to extend their sphere
at present in Calcutta.^
Public 13. An examination of two hundred of the school

tioronhe children took place on the 23d of December 1826,
schools. in presence of about two hundred ladies of the
settlement, and several English and native gentle-
men ; and all were satisfied with this exhibition of

^ Secciul and Third Reports of the Ladies' Association.


the progress that had been made in the appear-
ance and acquirements of the scholars.^

^ The following account of this examination was given by
the ladies in their Second Report : — " The appearance of the
scholars was more favourable than on any former occasion ; a
considerable proportion were of an age capable of benefiting by
the instruction imparted — thus manifesting, on the part of the
native population, an increased confidence in the teachers. Of
about 540 girls who are in daily attendance in the different
schools, 200 were examined. They are taught generally in
the elementary books supplied by the School-Book Society.
Some of them were examined in the little work on Geography,
and pointed out, on the beautiful map now bound up with that
work, the countries and places resjiecting which they were
questioned. They were examined also in the Gospels, which
are given them in separate copies ; in Watt's Catechism ; " Con-
versations between a Mother and her Daughter," which con-
tain questions on the Creation, the Ten Commandments, and
on the Way of Salvation as taught in the Christian Scriptures.
They also read and learn by heart short prayers and transla-
tions of hymns, which have been prepared chiefly for their use.
Many of the girls manifest great readiness in explaining the
meaning of words which occur in their lessons, and the mean-
ing of the passages which they read. A poor, blind girl, about
thirteen years of age, excited considerable interest. She has,
from listening to the other children, got by heart many passages
from the Gospels ; and repeated very correctly the greater part
of the second chapter of the Gospel of St Luke. The exami-
nation commenced by the girls singing the hymn, " Come, ye
sinners, poor and wretched," according to their own tune,
which had been taught them by the blind girl. At the close
of the examination the girls repeated the Lord's Prayer, which
they had all committed to memory. On the whole, the pro-
gress in the state of these schools is manifest, both in respect
of the appearance and acquirements of the children.

Several persons, conversant in Bengalee, engaged in examin-
ing separate classes, by which means the whole was got through
in moderate time ; and the company separated with a general
feeling of satisfaction with the measures adopted by the Ladies'
Society, and anticipations of solid advantage to the objects of
their benevolent exertions.

Among the specimens of work performed by the school girls
was also a sampler, very well executed by a native Christian
woman, who has been taught at the Church Mission premises.




A central

14. Encouraged by the circumstances which
favoured the growth of female education, in 1823
the Corresponding Committee circulated proposals
for the erection of a central school, for the special
improvement of the first classes of all the other
schools. Considerable contributions were in a short
time collected for this object, but they did not
amount to a sufficient sum before 1826, when the
ground was purchased ; and, on the 18th of May,
the foundation-stone was laid by the lady of the
Governor- General, when solemn prayer was offered
by Archdeacon Corrie for the Divine blessing on
the institution. Many natives, particularly women
and their daughters, were present. A native rajah,
Budinoth Roy, who had contributed twenty thou-
sand rupees, addressed Lady Amherst in terms of
deep gratitude for the obligation bestowed on his
countrywomen, and congratulated her and the other
ladies on the success attending their exertions.
The buildings were not ready for occupation before
the autumn of the following year.

Such was the success, within five years, of the
endeavours of female energy to overcome a pre-
judice in the native mind which almost all persons
had hitherto deemed insuperable. The salutary
influence of education on the moral and maternal
character of the Hindoo female was already ap-

It is intended as a present for Lady Hastings, and the follow-
ing inscription is wrought on it : —






About 1000 rupees were added to the funds of the Society
by subscriptions and by the sale of fancy articles.


parent ; and it was anticipated at the time that
female education would not remain stationary in
Calcutta ; that it must pervade the whole continent
of India ; that that city would only be the centre
whence light and information, diffused over the
country, would animate and elevate the women of
Hindoos tan. Raised to her proper rank in society,
it was seen that the Hindoo female would modify
and improve that society ; that the appalling forms
of cruelty and pollution would disappear under her
influence, and gradually yield to the gentleness of
feminine manners ; that the woman of India, be-
come the companion, not the slave of man, could
no longer consent to sacrifice her offspring from
superstition, or herself in despair : but would find
means to counteract that superstition, by the light
poured into her mind by education ; and to shake
off that despair by employments suitable for her
rank, her sex, and her character.

15. Although in the infancy of this mission Themis-

T,. ^ . 1 ' ^ , •, i.xi sionaries

education occupied so prominent a place, yet the preaching.
ministry of the Word was constantly kept in view
as the appointed ordinance of God for the salvation
of men. Shortly after the opening of the institu-
tion at Mirzapore, Mr Jetter held Divine service
in Bengalee, every Sunday morning, in the spacious
school-room. He also preached to the natives, as
opportunities offered, in different parts of the town.
On Monday evening he explained the Scriptures
at Kidderpore, and on Friday evening he preached
in a small building near the mission premises. In
the following year a Sunday evening lecture also
was delivered at this place. Mr Reichardt usually
accompanied him in these visits, though not yet
sufficiently acquainted with Bengalee to take part
in the services. Mr Wilson also, from Madras,
soon joined them ; but, for the same reason, could
not yet assist in the native department. In 1825,


CHAP, however, when sickness obhged Mr Jetter to return

1_ home, they were both able to conduct the services

in their several chapels.

These chapels were temporary structures, of
which they had three in the year 1826, at Mirza-
pore, Potuldunga, and Semlya, about two miles
apart. At Mirzapore, besides the regular morn-
ing and evening services on Sundays, the Christians
residing on and near the mission premises met
daily for morning and evening worship, to the
number of about fifty, on which occasions some of
the passers-by were usually attracted to hear a
portion of Scripture read and explained. In this
and the other chapels together, the missionaries
preached from ten to fifteen times in the course of
the week. Two native converts, also, were oc-
cupied in distributing tracts among their country-
men, and conversing with them on subjects con-
nected with Christianity. The willingness to listen
to Christian instruction was so manifest in some
villages near Calcutta, that it was quite painful to
the missionaries to be obliged to wave these op-
portunities. The congregations at the chapels
varied from eighty to two hundred. The mission
flock residing at Mirzapore consisted of thirty-two
adults and twenty children. About twelve were
regular communicants ; and the rest gave good
hope respecting their state. Some of them were
brought to the knowledge of Christ in different
places by the preaching of other missionaries.
Several jQ Q^^ ^f ^j^g f^^^^ couvcrts, uudcr Mr Jetter s

converts. . . t-» i • i

ministry, was a young Brahmin, who gave a satis-
factory account of the progress of truth in his
mind. Having heard from one of his Gooroos
that one way of salvation was by Jesus Christ, he
went to Calcutta to inquire concerning it. His
assiduity in reading the Scriptures and other books
of religious instruction — his diligence in attending


to the explanations given him of religious truth —
and his conscientious regard to the workings of
his own heart, as exhibited in his conduct and
inquiries, led the missionaries to hope that the
grace of God was with him ; and on the 24th of
August 1823, Mr Jetter baptized him, in com-
pliance with his earnest request.

The Corresponding Committee mention another
interesting and encouraging circumstance in their
last report for this period. There were '^ among
the candidates for baptism a Hindoo and his wife,
who were led by their daughter, a little girl, who
was a scholar in one of Mrs Wilson's schools, to
inquire into the truth of Christianity. The child
had imbibed very soon the doctrines taught in the
books introduced by Mrs Wilson, and refused to
bow down any more to idols, saying that she had
read that it was wrong. By her entreaties the
parents were led to converse with Mr and Mrs
Wilson ; and after a long time they yielded, with
apparent sincerity, to the arguments in favour
of Christianity."

Some of the adult converts w^ere employed by
the Society, and others were permitted to reside
on the mission premises, which were now consider-
ably enlarged and improved. An improvement
had been made in the neighbourhood also, which
increased the value of the property to more than
double its original price, and afforded ample space
for a large church for the native converts, when-
ever necessary. The whole was now enclosed with
a brick wall.

17. The Press formed the third division of the Themis-
Society's operations at Calcutta. In 1820, a prin- ^ion press.
ter. Mi Thomas Brown, was sent from England to
take charge of this department, which he conducted
for about four years. Besides printing numerous
works for the Society's use, the press was employed


CHAP, for other parties, and its proceeds soon repaid the
^^' expenses incurred. But in 1824 the Society was
deprived of Mr Brown's valuable services. A pul-
monary complaint had for some time prevented
him from pursuing his usual occupations, and on
the 20th of August death terminated his labours.
Mr Eeichardt, with the assistance of a printer
obtained at Calcutta, named De Rozario, an active
and intelligent man, undertook this department for
the present ; but finding it interfere too much
with his more appropriate duties, he was very
urgent with the Society to send out an able prin-
ter to relieve him. Such a man, however, it was
difficult to obtain, and the press continued for
some time to be conducted, under his superinten-
dence, by M. De Rozario.^ The books required
for the schools, beyond their own publications, and

^ The following books, printed at the Society's press, were
kept on sale : —

English : Martyn's Sermons — Outline of Ancient History,
for the use of Native Youths — Geography of Europe, 12mo —
Murray's Spelling Book — Address to Young Persons on the
Lord's Supper, by a Clergyman — Cecil's Friendly Visit to the
House of Mourning Anylo- Bengalee : Ellerton's Dialogues on
the Book of Genesis — Collection of Divine Sayings — Sum-
mary of the Holy Scriptures. Bengalee : Ellerton's Dialogues
— Book of Common-Prayer — Spelling Book — History of Joseph
and his Brethren. Hindoostance : Book of Common-Prayer —
Oordoo Spelling Book — History of Abraham ; besides numer-
ous tracts in English, Bengalee, and Hindoostanee.

An idea may be formed of the extent of its operntions from
the following statement : — From June 1824 to February 1826,
there were printed fifty-two different books and tracts, forming
a total of 122,344 copies. These works were of various sizes,
from a tract of four pages to a book of 432 ; and the editions
varied from eighty copies to 6000, but produced a total of
nearly six millions of pages. Of these pages, more than one
half consisted of single Gospels, the Acts, and the Book of
Isaiah ; printed for the Bible Society^nearly one -twelfth of
the whole were for other societies and individuals — and the re-
mainder were printed for the use of the Society's Missions.


before these were ready, were furnished by the
Diocesan School Committee and the Calcutta
School-Book Society.

18. In August 1823, a Calcutta Church Mis- S?"''^

o ' ^ JMissiori-

sionary Association^ was formed, and in December aryAs-
the affairs of the North India Mission were placed ^°*^' ^uxi-
under the charge of an Auxiliary Society. The iiary so-
Bishop of Calcutta, Dr Heber, soon after his '''^^^•
arrival, in the autumn of that year, lent his sanc-
tion and aid in placing the Society's concerns in
that state of organization, and in that relation to
the Episcopate, which gave the best promise of
extensive and permanent usefulness. The Cal-
cutta Auxiliary Society was formed on the 1st of
December, the Bishop in the chair. His Lord-
ship accepted the office of President, and Arch-
deacon Corrie undertook that of Secretary, which
he had held under the Corresponding Committee.
This Committee now transferred to that of the
Auxiliary Society the powers heretofore vested in

The Committee, at a meeting held December 3d,
adopted such standing regulations as appeared best
adapted to promote the efficiency of the Society ;
and, more especially, that of obtaining the Bishop's
licence for all their Episcopal missionaries, the
difficulties which Bishop Middleton had found in
the way of licensing them being removed. By
these regulations it will be seen how fully the
Society's missionaries in Bengal would enjoy the

^ The preparatory measures for forming this Association,
and the rules for its government, may be seen in Appendix
IT. of the Church Missionary Society's twenty-fourth report.
The nature and advantages of such an association are explained
in the Missionary Register for 1824, pp. 229, 230.

^ The proceedings on this occasion are given in the Church
Missionary Society's twenty-fourth report, Appendix II F., and
in the Missionary Register for 1824, pp. 280, 231.






church at

patronage and superintendence of the Bishop.^
They would bear a relation to their diocesan in
India similar to that existing between the pa-
rochial clergy and their diocesans in England.
The advantages of this relation are too well under-
stood to require explanation here. In Bishop
Heber the missionaries found a friend and a
father, who animated them by his example,
guided them by his counsels, and supported them
by his prayers.

These improvements related to the Bengal mis-
sion generally, and will be adverted to again. We
will here conclude the account of its progress at
Calcutta with the testimony of Mr Wilson, who
says, '' I cannot but look back with thankfulness
for what I have been allowed to witness during
three years in Calcutta ; and cannot but hope,
from my own observation, that things are changing
for the better. Considering how little compara-
tively has been yet attempted for the salvation of
the heathen, there is abundant fruit ; and if more
activity, more faith, and more prayer were em-
ployed in this holy cause, we should no doubt
speedily reap a tenfold harvest."

19. Agra. — The difficulties of Abdool Messeeh,
after Mr Corrie's departure from this station, were
mentioned in the last chapter ; also the subsequent
improvement of his schools and congregation under

^ Church Missionary Society's twenty-fourth report, Ap-
pendix IV.; Missionary Register, 1824, p. 232. The follow-
ing is the regulation referring to the missionaries' licence : —

" 1. That all the Episcopal missionaries of the Society at
this presidency, who have not obtained the Bishop's licence,
be directed to apply to him for the same ; and that every
missionary of the Society, Episcopally ordained, be directed,
on his arrival from England, to present himself to the Bishop of
the Diocese for his licence."


the patronage of a British officer.^ This gentle-
man, being called away from Agra in 1817, en-
gaged a Mr John Lyons to superintend the schools,
and render aid to Abdool ; but as his situation
admitted of his giving only a small portion of his
time to this object, it was necessary to place the
schools under the exclusive care of an English
master. Accordingly, in 1820, a Mr Crowley was
appointed to the situation, and the number of scho-
lars was soon doubled. Several of the British re-
sidents took a lively interest in the schools, and
contributed liberally towards their support.

Abdool Messeeh continued, amidst growing in-
firmities, to hold up the light of Christian truth
and practice. His faith, love, and zeal were as
conspicuous as ever, though not productive of the
same visible effects on the people around him. The
congregation was between forty and fifty, most of
whom daily attended public prayers ; on Sunday
their little chapel was filled, several Hindoos and
Mahomedans attending to hear the word of God .
On the death of some of the converts in 1820, the
Calcutta Committee remarked, in their annual re-
port, ^' Of the members of the native church who
have, within a late period, departed this life, three
have died in the sure and certain hope of the re-
surrection to life eternal, through our Lord Jesus
Christ. One of these was a convert from Hindoo-
ism, whose end was unusually happy." Another
had been brought up in the Armenian Church, but
was ignorant of the real meaning of Christianity,
until he became an attendant on Divine service at
the mission chapel ; a third was a member of the
Eoman Church at Agra, and long an opposer of the
Protestant doctrine ; but at length he became sin-

' B. xi. c. iv. Fee Appendix F of this volume.


CHAP, cerely penitent, and, forsaking all his own fancied
^^^- merits and the mediation of saints, declared, with
his dying breath, that he rested for salvation only
on the Lord Jesus Christ. Of a fourth, though
delirious in his last hours, and unable to exhibit
any evidence of his faith and hope at that awful
period, yet, from his general character and con-
duct, there was reason to conclude that he was a
true Christian.

Abdool's labours were much circumscribed, in
consequence of his growing infirmities, which pre-
vented his moving about on foot as heretofore. In
the years 1822 and 1823 he baptized twenty adults.
Though the number of converts is not generally
reported at this period, yet several instances are
mentioned of the blessing of God attending his
labours, and also of the improved state of feeling
manifested by the inhabitants of Agra towards this
venerable '' servant of Christ." ^ His journals ex-

^ One instance, on the part of a Mahomedau of great respec-
tability, will serve to illustrate tbis improvement. In his jour-
nal for April 1. 1825, Abdool says : —

" Now, in the place of enmity, these people begin to shew
kindness ; and, moreover, invite me to their houses, and send
me portions from their friendly entertainments ; for instance,
to-day, Meer Seyud Ali, who is head-man to the collector, sent
me a friendly note, saying, ' The daughter of me, your servant,
is to-day to be married ; you will greatly oblige me by making
one of our company/ I sent for answer, ' Since the day that,
by the grace of Grod, I was honoured with baptism, I have re-
nounced all assemblies for dancing and music ; and I should be
ashamed, with this white beard and these broken teeth, to shew
myself at a wedding-feast.' He sent, in reply, ' I have read in
the blessed Gospel, that the Lord Jesus himself honoured a
wedding at Cana of Galilee with his presence, and there mira-
culously turned water into wine : if you will not come, we shall
all conclude that you disobey the traditions of the Divine
Jesus. If you excuse yourself on account of the dancing, &c.,
I will prepare a separate apartment for you ; and will invite
some aged person, like yourself, to keep your company.' I was


hibit no decay of mental energy, notwithstanding
the weakness of his body. His conversations with
inquirers after truth seem to have been as animated
as ever.^

20. In the autumn of 1820, Abdool had received Abdooi^
Lutheran orders at Calcutta ; but, in 1825, the ordained,
impediments in the way of the Bishop's ordaining
natives being removed, it was deemed advisable

that, as a missionary of the Church of England, he
should receive Episcopal ordination. Concurring
in this opinion, he proceeded to Calcutta for the
purpose, and was ordained, in December 1825, by
Bishop Heber. The Bishop had visited Agra early
in the same year, and expressed himself highly
pleased with the native church and school, and
with all the proceedings of this faithful missionary.
But he did not live long to labour as a clergyman
of the Church of England. After his ordination,
he set out for Lucknow, where his mother still re-
sided, and reached her abode when the hot season
of 1826 had set in. It was intended that he should
make this place the sphere of his future labours ;
but, on the 4th of March 1827, he was called to
enter into his eternal rest.

21. His end w\as peace. After joining in sing- His death,
irg a favourite hymn of his own composing, and
discoursing with those about him of their Kedeemer,

he lay for some time, seemingly in perfect ease.

rejoiced on hearing this, since it appears that these people read
the Gospels. In the evening, after worship, I went to his
house : they had prepared a separate apartment, where several
aged persons, learned in religion, and wealthy, were collected,
ail of whom received me with respect ; and we continued to
converse on religious subjects, in a very friendly manner, till
midnight : from "their conversation I entertained some hope re-
specting them. Taking my leave, I returned home, and retired
to rest."— Missionary Register 1826, p. 397.
' Missionary Register, pp. 302-308.


CHAP. At length he raised his head from the pillow^ took
^^' the hand of a friend by his side, then gently with-
drew his hand, and breathed his last.

'^ According to his desire, his remains were in-
terred in the compound of his own house. The
Resident, with other friends, attended the funeral
on the morning of the 5th, and read the burial
service at the grave. The Resident also ordered a
monument to be erected over the grave, and di-
rected an inscription to be prepared both in English
and Persian.^

Such was the happy termination of this devout
man's ministry. After the particular account of
his labours and trials given in these pages, it is
unnecessary to dwell upon them here, or to repeat
the honourable testimonies borne to his character
after his decease. We shall, therefore, close with
the brief notice of him and his work contained in

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 26 of 54)