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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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liberty to visit the other schools. He stayed some
days at each station, in order to teach the national
system, to which it was now thought advisable to
conform, as far as might be practicable. This
created a little dissatisfaction, the natives being
averse to change, and the schools fell off at first ;
but, through the missionaries' attention to their
work, order was soon restored, and the schools
were conducted with their former regularity and

An English missionary was now required to
complete this rising establishment. Messrs Jetter
and Deer were Germans ; and though they had
made great progress in the study of English, yet
their knowledge of that language Avas too imperfect
efficiently to bring forward the central school. The
Society, therefore, appointed to this station an
English missionary. Rev. John Perowne, who ar-
rived towards the close of 1821. He was received
with great cordiality by the British residents, whose
attention on his ministrations greatly encouraged
him to persevere. But the station was soon de-
prived of the services of Mr Jetter, who was
obliged, by severe indisposition, to retire from
Burdwan in the same year.

32. The schools flourished under Mr Deer's su- improve-
perintendence. The head classes were annually [jj^"^^"
examined by friends from Calcutta, whose reports schools.



CHAP, were uniformly favourable.^ Soon after Mr Pe-
rowne's arrival, the reading of the Gospels was
introduced into all the schools. At first, some
opposition was manifested ; but the missionaries
persevered, and before the end of 1822 they had
not less than a thousand children reading the word
of God. So greatly were their prejudices removed,
that those very boys who, a few months before,
disliked, or refused, to read any book which con-
tained the name of Jesus, were now willing to read
a history of his life and doctrine. In some in-
stances, they even solicited a copy of the Gospels,
in preference to every other book.

In 1823, this station was joined by another mis-
sionary, Rev. Jacob Maisch ; but his labours here
were short, being removed by death in 1825. They
were also deprived, a short time before, of the ser-
vices of a Mr Dunmure, the son of an officer, who,
after being usefully employed in the central school
for three or four years, was transferred to Bishop's
College, Calcutta. In 1826, Mr Deer was removed
to Culna, when three of the most remote village
schools were given up. But fifteen still remained,
containing betAveen eleven and twelve hundred
children, from, it appears, not less than one hun-
dred and fifty villages. Great inconvenience was
found from the boys leaving before their education
was completed. This was especially the case with
the English school, the chief design of which was
to prepare a body of competent instructors of their
countrymen. As the inducement of the boys thus
prematurely to leave school Avas to earn a pittance
for their families, it was resolved to give a small

^ An account of these examinations is given in the volumes
of the Missionary Register, and in the Appendix to most of the
C. M. S. Reports.


monthly allowance to such as had made a certam
proficiency ; and also to employ those who might
become duly qualified for the work in the service
of the Society.

33. With a view to promote female education, i'enmie
Mrs Perowne studied Bengalee ; and, after several
unsuccessful attempts, she succeeded in establishing

one school, which was soon followed by four others,
containing together upwards of one hundred girls.
This she did not accomplish without much perse-
verance, under frequent disappointment. In 1826,
her schools were increased to twelve, with between
three and four hundred children ; and, at a public
examination in the preceding year, they acquitted
themselves to the entire satisfaction of the friends
present ?

34. Soon after the arrival of Mr Perowne, the Opening
British residents set on foot a subscription for a church
church, for which the Government, on the appli- ^"^ three
cation of the local authorities, assigned an eligible ^ ^'^^^ '^'
site, and issued an order to supply the sum re-
quired to complete the estimate out of the public
chest. The building was finished in 1822, when
Divine w^orship in English was established, and
regularly pei^formed. On Sunday afternoon the
service was in Bengalee, and Mr Perowne read and
explained the Scriptures in his own house every
evening, when from twenty to thirty attended.

The numbers increasing, a small chapel was opened
on the mission premises, in 1825, for native wor-
ship, where Divine service was performed twice on
Sundays, and they had morning and evening wor-
ship every day. Another Bengalee chapel was
opened in the neighbourhood of the to^^m, at an

^ An account of this examination ma}^ be seen in tlie C. M.
S. Keport 182(i, pp. 81, 82.




at Culna.

equal distance from the two principal bazaars.
For the use of these congregations, Mr Perowne
translated the Book of Common Prayer into Ben-
galee. In 1826;, a third Bengalee chapel was
opened. The average attendance at each of these
chapels was from one to two hundred. The schools
also, male and female, with one or two exceptions,
were opened to the missionary, where he might
preach Christ with as much freedom as in the
chapels. Their first two converts were baptized
May 5th 1822. Ten others were subsequently
added, besides their children ; and the missionaries
describe several promising candidates for the sacred
ordinance, some of whom were Brahmins, and
others young men who had been educated in their

With these encouraging appearances, Mr Pero^vne,
in 1826, thus expressed himself with becoming
caution : — ^^ These things are so sudden and unex-
pected, that I can scarcely tell what to think of
them : little should be said about them, till we see
what the event will be. I rejoice in the prospect
of the Gospel being preached to so many attentive
hearers ; but, knowing the character of the people,
I rejoice with trembling." ^^Some of the young-
men mentioned above, I have reason to expect,
will hereafter be baptized, and, by the blessing of
God, become Christian teachers of their country-
men. Thus, while doors of usefulness are opened,
suitable instruments are likely to be raised up ;
and both together seem to be an indication that
good may be expected."

35. Culna, the station to which Mr Deer was
removed, was a populous town about thirty miles
from Burdwan, and forty-seven north of Calcutta.
Several schools were estabUshed here, male and
female, the former being numerously attended by
Brahmins ; but the difficulty of procuring a mis-


sionary for this place, and the growing demands
for pecuniary aid from other stations^ induced the
Calcutta Committee to hesitate as to the expedi-
ency of maintaining these schools ; and they re-
quested Mr and Mrs Wilson, from Calcutta, to
accompany Mr Deer, with instructions to dismiss
most of the teachers, reserving two or three schools
to be carried on in connection with Burdwan, to be
increased hereafter as opportunity might serve.
But the report of the schools being very favourable,
and some of the principal inhabitants petitioning
the Committee for Mr Deer to settle among them,
it was finally resolved to comply with their request,
and for the present to continue the station.

Though the state of the Society's funds did not
admit of providing a suitable house for the mis-
sionary, yet Mr Deer was so much encouraged by
the anxiety of the people for his residence among
them, that he took up his abode, with his family,
in a temporary hut of frail materials, at no small
personal inconvenience. He soon had eight boys'
and three girls' schools, containing together about a
thousand scholars. In all these schools the Scrip-
tures were read, against which no objection had
ever been made ; and he wrote in high spirits, in
1826, of the prospect of useful labour before him.

36. Meerut. — The commencement of this sta- Nmive
tion under Anund Messeeh, with the assistance of
the chaplain, Eev. H. Fisher, Avas detailed in the
last chapter.^ In 1818 Mr Fisher baptized two
adult converts, and in 1810 eight more, when, after
naming the different memljors of his native flock,
eleven in number, he thus spake of them : — They
^^ unite in the worship of the glorious and blessed
Jesus." Seven of them " associate daily, morn-

^ Book xi. c. iv

flock at


CHAP, ing and evening ; I trust I may say, continuing sted-
^^- fastly in the apostles doctrine a7id fellowship, and in
hrecihing of bread and in prayer y

They were visited daily by Mahomedans and
Hindoos, who came to reason with them, and in-
quire into the word of God. A Mussulman judge,
after hearing the converted Brahmin, Anund, read,
at his own request, eight or ten chapters of St
Luke, went away, exclaiming, in the spirit of the
officers sent to apprehend Jesus, ^' Never man spake
like this man ! Never was there one to compare
to the Lord Jesus Christ ! He must be God."

Accessions were made to this little flock from
time to time, until they formed a goodly company,
when they were desirous of dwelling together in a
separate village, both for the benefit of closer com-
munion, and for greater security against the perse-
cutions to which they were sometimes exposed.
In one instance only does this persecution seem to
have shaken a convert's fidelity ; and he, on his
repentance, was in due time restored.^ It was
natural, however, for these simple Christians to
desire to dwell apart from the abominations and
confusion of the heathen abodes ; but this could
not yet be accomplished, Mr Fisher being disap-
pointed of the site which he expected to procure
for them, and not being able to obtain another. It
is probable, however, that this was an advantage
to them in the end. For their faith and zeal were
more exercised than they would have been in the
comparative retirement of a Christian village ;
under Mr Fisher's direction, they were diligently
employed among their neighbours, and several cases
of conversion are given as the result of their exer-

^ The persecution of a native officer of this flock was men-
tioned in chap. i. sect. 51.


tions. Among these, Mr Fisher specially mentiorxs
a Brahmin, who was converted by reading the Tes-
tament of one of the Christians, named Joseph,
and such explanations of it as the man was able to
give. He was baptized on Good Friday 1824.

Besides the public service performed by the na-
tive catechists, Mr Fisher gave them a Hindoo-
stanee service on Wednesday mornings, assembled
them on Sundays for religious conversation^ and

^ In one of these conversations, on the universality of the
feeling that prevails in all nations, that some atonement for sin
is necessary, Mr Fisher related to them what his three sons had
seen, as they returned with him from Hurdwar : — "A Fakeer
was observed by the road-side, preparing something extraordi-
nary ; which, having never observed before, excited a curiosity
to draw near and examine his employment. He had several
Hindoo pilgrims round him, all on their way from the Holy
Grhaut ; who assisted in preparing the wretched devotee for
some horrible penance, to which he had voluntarily bound him-
self, in order to expiate the guilt of some crime which he had
committed long ago. His attendants literally worshipped him ;
kissing his feet, calling him God, and invoking his blessing. A
large fire was kindled under the extended branch of an old tree :
to this branch the Fakeer fastened two strong ropes, having at
the lower end of each of them a stuffed noose, into which he
introduced his feet ; and thus being suspended with his head
downward over the fire, a third rope (at a distance toward the
end of the branch) was fixed, by which he succeeded with one
hand to set himself in a swinging motion, backward and
forward through the smoke and flaming-fire, which was kept
blazing by a constant supply of fuel, ministered by many
of his followers ; with the other hand he counted a string
of beads, a fixed number of times, so as to ascertain the ter-
mination of the four hours, for which he had doomed himself
daily to endure this exercise for twelve years, nine of which are
nearly expired. A narrow bandage is over his eyes, and another
over his mouth, to guard against the suffocating effects of the
smoke. By this means he says he shall atone for the guilt of
his sins, and be made holy for ever. The last half hour of the
four hours, his people say, he stands upright and swings in a
circular motion round the fire. On coming down, he rolls him-
self in the hot ashes of the fire. The boys went to see him




nity of
Saadhs at

reading the Gospel^ and gave them as much of his
time as his official duties allowed. The flock
steadily increased^ though^ after the first three or
four years^ the precise number is not given. '^ I
have no time to be very minute/' Mr Fisher re-
marked^ by way of apology for the brevity of his
reports. We may form some notion^ however, of
the extent and character of his flock, from his ac-
count of a confirmation at Meerut, by Bishop
Heber, in 1825. Two hundred and fifty-five, Euro-
peans and natives, were confirmed, ^^ a considerable
portion of whom," he states, '^ were converts to the
faith as it is in Jesus ; many from Hindoo idola-
tries and Mahomedan infidelity ; others from the
apathy and ignorance of a nominal profession worse
than heathenism ; all, I have much reason to hope,
seriously in earnest to give themselves to God."
The Bishop accompanied him to his native congre-
gation, visited his native school, saw and conversed
with many of the Christians who were introduced
to him, and manifested a lively interest in the pro-
gress of the Gospel among them.

37. Delhi. — In May 1817, Anund Messeeh visited
Delhi, where he heard a report that a number of
strangers, from several villages to the west of that
city had assembled together in a neighbouring

again in the evening, when he was engaged in his prayers, but
to what or whom they could not tell.

" I asked my little congregation what they thought of all
this. They sat silent, with their eyes cast down, and sighing
heavily. At length, Anund turned to Matthew Phiroodeen, and,
passing his arms round his neck, exclaimed, with the most
touching expression of affection as well as of gratitude to God,
' Ah, my brother ! my brother ! such devils once were we ! but
now (and he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and elevated his whole
person), Jesus ! Jesus ! my God ! my Saviour V It. was very
aflecting." — C. M. S. Keport 21. p. 181. Missionary Register
1821, pp. 471, 472. .


grove^ and were busily employed in conversation ;
and also in reading some books in their possession,
which had induced them to renounce their caste,
to love one another, and to lead strict and holy
lives. This account awakened his curiosity. He
instantly set off for the place of meeting, where he
found about five hundred people, men, w^omen, and
children, seated under the shade of the trees, and
employed in the manner described. It appeared,
on inquiry, that this awakening was caused by the
reading of the New Testament, several copies of
which had been distributed at the fair of Hurdwar,
by Mr Chamberlain, the Baptist missionary, often
mentioned in the last volume.

By direction of Mr Fisher, Anund visited several
of their villages, and explained to them the truths
of the Gospel. They all shewed him much affec-
tion, and begged him to stay among them. Several
of the people copied his Hindoostanee Liturgy. They
seemed to have no form of public worship, but each
individual made diligent use of the Lord's Prayer.
They were called Saadhs, or holy persons, and were
much persecuted by the Brahmins, from whose
authority they had withdrawn. At first, sanguine
hopes were entertained that they were a people
prepared for missionary labourers, by their previous
knowledge and observance of the Scriptures ; but
from subsequent accounts it appeared, that they
were merely a sect of Hindoos, who, rejecting the
shasters and superstitions of the Brahmins, had, for
a period of about fifty years, professed deistical
principles. Upon further acquaintance, they were
found to be too much entangled by peculiarities and
fancies of their own, to possess sufficient docility
for the lessons of pure religion. They were better
disposed, indeed, than their heathen countrymen to
receive instruction ; for they were curious to read
and understand the Scriptures, and had renounced







caste : yet they highly estimated their own creed ;
and were anxious to convince the Christians that
there was a great resemblance between Christianity
and its Divine Author^ and their own traditions
and fabulous records of Satgur Uddeas.

38. Some of them^ however, manifested a more
teachable disposition ; and one, an old man, named
Jysingh, soon expressed a desire to embrace the
Gospel. At the instance of Mr Fisher, he opened
a school at Kowallee, the village where he resided ;
and in the evenings, a company of men and children
assembled to hear him read a chapter from one of
the Gospels, after which they applied to learning.
At Christmas in 1818, Mr Fisher, being satisfied of
Jysingh's sincerity, baptized him at Meerut by the
name of David, together with another promising

After his baptism, he returned with Anund to
Kowallee, to resume the work of instruction, which
was soon interrupted by sickness. On his recovery,
he accompanied Anund on a journey among the
Saadhs ; and all the information which they gathered
tended to shew, that an encouraging prospect was
opening among that people for the labours of mis-
sionaries. This account was confirmed by Mr
Fisher not long after, when the Saadhs welcomed
him with great joy. He marked out ground for a
spacious school, and a house for the catechist. The
Saadhs afterwards built their houses near the
school, and formed a village on a regular plan,
which they called Henreepore, after the Christian
name of Mr Fisher. The ground was given by an
European and a native. Mr Fisher had much in-
teresting conversation with the people, and with
another class, called Jhats, on the benefits of edu-
cation, and on the blessing of the Scriptures, which
they expressed their readiness to read, and their


admiration of all that they had heard Anund read
and explain.^

In 1824^ David lost his sight, which compelled
him to give up teaching ; but his place was taken
by anotlier convert, named Joseph, who had lived
with him for some time. This is the young man
who was instrumental in the conversion of the
Brahmin baptized at Meerut in 1824, and he now
made himself very useful among the Saadhs. Anund
Messeeh was stationed at Delhi, where he was em-
ployed in reading the Scriptures and conversing
with Brahmins and others who came to him for in-
formation. He paid frequent visits to Henreepore,
to watch and direct the progress of the people.

39. Benares. — Mr Corrie's residence at Benares, jayNa-
in 1817 and 1818, was mentioned at the opening ^^^"'^, ^
of this chapter. The importance of this station Benares.
for missionary purposes, as the ancient seat of
Brahminical learning in North India, it were hard
to estimate too highly.^ Mr Corrie soon opened a
native school, and laid his plans for future opera-
tions. But the principal object of attention was
the establishment of a school by a wealthy native,
already alluded to,^ on an extensive scale. This

^ Besides copious notices of the Saadhs scattered through the
volumes of the Missionary Kegister at this period, a particular
account of 'them is published in that for 1819, pp. 86-91 ; and
another in that for 1820, pp. 294-296.

^ Benares is denominated " The Holy City." It stands about
460 miles north-west of Calcutta. Besides a vast number of
mud-huts, this city is said to have contained at this time
12,000 houses of stone and brick, from one to six stories high,
8000 of which were occupied by Brahmins. The inhabitants
exceeded 600,000 ; and during the Hindoo festivals the con-
course was beyond all calculation.

' Vide B. xi. c. i. sec. 61, where Rev. T. Thomason says, " I
have seen the foundation of Jay Narain's school. He met
me there, and shewed me the grounds, large and pleasantly


CHAP, was Jay Narain Ghossaul, who, after acquiring a
^^' considerable fortune in the service of the EngUsh,
retired to Benares. Being taken ill, he applied to
an English merchant, named Wheatley, for some
medicine ; and at the same time Mr Wheatley gave
him also a New Testament, sold him a copy of the
Book of Common Prayer, and often passed much
time with him in explaining these books. He
likewise frequently wrote to him on the subject of
the Christian rehgion. When he gave him medi-
cines, he recommended him, above all, to apply
himself to God in prayer, to lead his mind into
the truth, and to restore his body to health. He
complied with this advice, and was perfectly cured.
After his recovery, he asked his friend what he
ought to do for the name of Jesus Christ, to whom
he seems to have ascribed his restoration to health.
Mr Wheatley advised him to consult the benefit of
his countrymen, and establish a school for their
instruction in English, Bengalee, Persian, and Hin-
dee. This advice he immediately folloAved, with
the help of his friends, and raised a fund sufficient
to endow his school with two hundred rupees a-
month. Not long after, Mr Wheatley, having
failed in business, became the Engish teacher in
the school, beginning, however, Avith Jay Narain
and his family, assembling them for Christian in-
struction and praj^er. This good man soon died,
when Jay Narain had great difficulty in carrying
on his school. In 1814, he applied to Government
for assistance, but without success.^ When Mr
Corrie was last at Benares, he became acquainted
with him, and sent a letter, through him, to the
British and Foreign Bible Society,^ mth a small

^ Vide B. xi. c. i. sec. 61.

2 Hist, of B. and F. Bible Society, vol. ii. pp. 36-38. C. M.
S. Report, 19th, pp. 138, 139.


subscription. After Mr Corrie's departure from
Benares^ he often prayed for his return, and he
now regarded his appointment to this station as an
answer to his prayers.

He consulted Mr Corrie about his school, and
hearing from him of the Church Missionary So-
ciety, he resolved on making their Calcutta Cori^e-
sponding Committee the trustees of the school,
and on assigning to them the property which he
had appropriated for its endowment.^ These bene-
volent intentions were executed in due course. A
deed of gift of the house and premises in Benares
was signed at Calcutta, October 21. 1818, by Jay
Narain's son, Kolly Shunker Ghossaul, in whose
name the writings then stood. The deed was then
sent to Benares, and received the signature of Jay
Narain himself.* At his request, Mr Corrie drew

3 Vide Jay Narain's letter to C. M. S., August 12. 1818,
Eeport, 19th, pp. 139-141. Missionary Kegister, 1819, pp.
416, 417.

* By this deed, the property was given to Messrs Udny and
Sherer, and the Eev. Messrs Thomason, Parson, and Rohert-
son, as the Calcutta Committee of the Church Missionary So-
ciety, and their successors, " for the purpose of a school for in-
struction in all kinds of science ; and tliat, in this school,
children of all descriptions may be instructed in the English,
Persian, Hindee, and Bengalee languages. The appointment
of the masters to be at tiie pleasure of the Committee ; the
house to be appropriated as a school for ever, and the Commit-
tee and their successors to have the sole disposal of it."

The sum of 200 rupees per month, or £300 per annum, was
secured in perpetuity towards the support of the institution, by
an endowment of 40,000 rupees, vested, in trust, in the Cor-
responding Committee and their successors, by the founders of
the institution.

The premises at Benares contained about one thousand yards
in space. The principal building was three stories high.
It contained, on the second floor, an entrance, a large room,

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 28 of 54)