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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responding Committee pleaded urgently for a printer
from England to take charge of the press, as the
care of it was found to interfere with Mr Ridsdale's
important functions as a missionary. They stated
also, that an additional number of presses was re-
quired to meet the wants of the mission in this
growing department of labour.^
Poona- 10. In the course of the year 1822, an addition

miiiiee. ^^s made to the native branch of the Madras mis-
sion. The first place mentioned is Poonamallee,
a military cantonment about fifteen miles from
Madras. In 1821, the author was removed from
Palamcottah to this station as garrison chaplain ;
and before the end of the year, a Tamul school was
established, containing forty-three scholars, who
assembled in a commodious building, gratuitously
procured for the purpose. A small native congre-
gation was formed, consisting of twenty adults and
six grown-up children, besides four women, candi-
dates for baptism. Most of the women were the
wives of the English pensioners residing at Poona-
mallee. A neat rustic church was built for their
accommodation, with a house adjoining for the use

^ C. M. S. Reports, xx., pp. 157, 162; xxi., p. 147; xxii., p.
138; xxiii., pp. 133-136; xxv., p. 115; xxviii., p. 88.


of the catecliist. The church was built chiefly by
local contributions. It stood on a dry and elevated
spot by the road-side ; a situation favourable for the
attraction of the heathen passing by. In 1822, the
author being compelled by sickness to return to
Europe, the Corresponding Committee took charge
of this infant establishment, a Captain Miller, then
in charge of the European Asylum there, having
benevolently offered his services in aid of the mea-
sures which the Committee should take to maintain
it. The missionaries from Madras visited the place
from time to time, and stated, in their first report,
that the catechist held two Tamul services every
Sunday, and one on Friday evenings. He was also
occupied in visiting the neighbouring villages, and
conversing with the heathen, to whom he read and
explained the Scriptures. The school also was in a
satisfactory state. In 1823 six converts were bap-
tized, and another school was opened ; but for want
of efficient native teachers, they had both fallen into
disorder. In 1826, there were ten adult baptisms,
the congregation then amounting to thirty-five.

The next out-station was Trippasoor, about Trippa-
eighteen miles from Poonamallee. Here a Mr
Dennis, an East Indian, opened an English school
in 1822, and also performed divine service on Sun-
days, for the benefit of the invalids stationed there.
Several natives also joined them : and, in 1826, the
average attendance on public worship was thirty ;
when Mr Sawyer remarked, '' The people are grow-
ing, I hope, in the knowledge and love of God."
There was a small school also at this station. ^

11. Tranquebar. — We have already mentioned ivanque-
Mr Schnarre's return to Tranquebar, to take charge '
of Dr John's schools.^ In 1817, he undertook an



Rook X. cliap vi.


CHAP, inspection into the actual state of these establish-
^^^' ments, and his report, on the whole, was as promis-
ing as could be expected, and the prospect of im-
provement, under his superintendence, very good.
There were nineteen schools, containing eight hun-
dred and twenty-five scholars, fifty less than last
year. One or two extracts from his report^ will
account for this decrease of numbers, and give an
idea of the character of the schools.

^^ The Roman Catholic priests at Kareical became,
some time ago, provoked by our school there, and
established a school for the children of their own
congregation, and therefore about fifty of their
children left our school ; and as the distress and
poverty among the natives here is so great, that
many families have travelled away, and are still
travelling away, to other places for want of food,
we must expect a still farther decrease of our

'^Of the above number of children, I suppose
that only about one -third are Christian chil-
dren : the rest are heathens, and a few Roman

^^ As I went along to examine them, I found, in
general, that the heathen schools were, with respect
to learning and diligence, in a better condition than
the Christian. The reason is, that the Christian
schools are, for the most part, of the low caste ;
and as this poor people cannot attain any other
station in life, but must be tied to the hard and
mean labours which none of the other castes will

'' In all our schools, both heathen and Christian,
our religious books and the same lessons are taught.

^ This report may be seen entire in the Missionary Eegister
1818, January.


and are all opened and closed with our Christian
prayers. The prayers used in the heathen schools
contain the same petitions ; only that they are not
in prose, but in verse^ because the heathen used to
sing their prayers.

'' In one of the three schools in the paper-mill,
which we call our seminary, there are several
youths educating for the offices of schoolmasters,
catechists, &c. ; among whom are also some heathen
youths, from sixteen to twenty years of age, who
have received Christian instruction for three or
four years, but they do not manifest as yet any
desire to become Christians. The difference, how-
ever, which I observe between them and other
heathen youths who have not received these in-
structions, is remarkable.

'^ I am happy that I have two natives with me
at the head of our schools, John Devasagayam and
the catechist David, who are both faithful in their
duty, and of a pious disposition. That our gracious
Lord may increase the number of such among this
people, and bless for this end your endeavours and
the labours of those whom you send unto them, is
the earnest wish and prayer of your humble and
obedient servant,

'' John Christian Schnarre."

12. At Chillambaram, the stronghold of Hindoo Chiiiam-
idolatry on the coast, and inhabited chiefly by
Brahmins, Mr Schnarre was requested to establish
a Free School ; to which he assented, on the under-
standing that none of their heathen doctrines should
be taught in the school, and that the children should
receive the same religious instruction as was given
in the other schools. After some demur, and
receiving from him an assurance that no force
whatever should be used to compel their children
to become Christians, they agreed to his stipula-






tion. A large school-room was^ in consequence,
erected in one of the principal streets of the town.
It was opened April 13. 1818, and by the end of
the month it contained eighty children.

At the close of 1819 these schools had consider-
ably increased, the number of scholars being sixteen
hundred and twenty- seven, nearly double the last
return. Mr Schnarre's report of their present state
and prospect gave a variety of important informa-
tion, yet too closely resembling what we have
already recorded to be repeated here. It was read,
however, with special interest at the time, being
the last public communication received from this
able and indefatigable missionary.

13. On the 1st of October 1820, it pleased God
to terminate his valuable life, in the midst of his
career of usefulness, by a sudden and violent dis-
order, after a few hours' illness. The testimony of
the Madras Committee to his worth will be best
given in their own words : — ^' Mingling with their
grief on this occasion the submission which is due
to the all-wdse but inscrutable will of the great
Head of the Church," they performed the melan-
choly duty of bearing their testimony to the meek-
ness, piety, and faithfulness of this esteemed ser-
vant of the Society and of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The cordial attachment and harmonious co-opera-
tion which had uniformly subsisted between them
and their late friend exacted the testimony of their
affectionate esteem ; whilst a review of his useful
labours, manifested in the increase and improve-
ment of the Free School Institution during the
period of his superintendence, called for their grate-
ful acknowledg-ments.^

^ C. M. S. Eeport, xxi., p. 148.


14. The Committee being miable to appoint any John
missionary to this station without impairing the yam^takes
other missions, they resolved to place it under the te"'Po^''^Y
temporary charge of John Devasagayam, who, as the sta-
we have seen, had been attached to the School ^ion.
Institution from the period of its establishment by
the late Dr John, and had in that capacity afforded
entire satisfaction to Mr Schnarre. He readily
consented to undertake this charge, but at the same
time recommended that the Rev. Dr Coemmerer
should be requested to assume the chief superin-
tendence of the schools, and that he himself should
act under that gentleman's directions in the exe-
cution of all the details of the duty. Under this
arrangement, the schools continued to prosper,
and at the close of the first year of John Devasa-
gayam's inspection they contained 1634 scholars.
He kept a journal of his proceedings, many ex-
tracts from which threw much light on the state of
the natives generally, both Christians and hea-
thens, and exhibited the devout spirit with which
the writer was animated. He had to encounter
great opposition from some parties ; but the pru-
dent and conciliatory conduct towards his op-
ponents often removed their prejudice against him,
when they left him to pursue his work in peace. ^

Mr Schnarre, during his residence at Tranque-
bar, composed a number of sermons in Tanuil,
which, after his decease, came into the hands of
the inspector, who employed his seminarists to
transcribe them. In announcing the discovery of
them to the Corresponding Committee, he re-
marked — ^' Be assured the expense of the Society
for their late worthy missionary w^ould not have

^ Church Missionary Society's Eeport, xxii., pp. 140, 141.
In Appendix xii. to this report will be found a series of ex-
tracts from his journals.


CHAP, been misplaced had these sermons been the only

L fruits of his labour." The original manuscripts

were transmitted to Madras, and they proved a
valuable help to others in their missionary work.

In 1821, the Rev. Isaac Wilson, whose arrival
at Madras we have mentioned above, was trans-
ferred to Tranquebar, where he took charge of the
schools. The seminary especially soon felt the
benefit of his superintendence ; but he was there
too short a time to mature his plans for the gene-
ral improvement of the mission, being removed in
the next year to Calcutta, for the purpose ex-
plained in the last chapter.^ John Devasagayam
then resumed the charge of the establishment,
until the arrival of another missionary, the Rev.
G. T. Barenbruck, in 1823. The schools at this
period contained 1725 scholars. John Devasaga-
yam had likewise begun to employ readers of the
Scriptures to their countrymen in the interior,
who travelled some distance, and it appears, from
the journals which they kept of their progress,
that their success was very encouraging.^
Head- 15. Soon after Mr Barenbruck's arrival, it was

the^inis-^ deemed advisable to change the head- quarters of
sion re- the missiou. It had been usual to visit from
Mayave-^ Trauquebar the schools in the province of Tanjore ;
^^^- but Combaconum being considered a station from

which they might be more advantageously super-
intended, in April 1823, Mr Barenbruck removed
thither, with the seminarists and mission servants,
who continued diligently to labour there until the
following January, when another removal was
thought expedient. The Society for Promoting
Christian Knowledge had a school at Combaconum ;

Section 11.

Church Missionary Society's Reports, xxiii., xxiv.


and the Corresponding Committee^ in their solici-
tude to avoid intruding within the remotest hmits
of that or any other society's missionaries^ had felt
from the beginning that it was desirable, on that ac-
count, that Mr Barenbruck should settle, if practi-
cable, elsewhere. After much inquiry for a suit-
able spot, Mayaveram was ultimately fixed upon
for the seat of the mission. It was fifteen miles
west of Tranquebar, and twenty-one miles north-
east of Combaconum. Owing to various impedi-
ments, it was not till a late period of the year that
Mr Barenbruck succeeded, with the assistance of
John Cotton, Esq., the collector, in completing the
purchase of an eligible piece of ground for the site
of the mission.^

The erection of suitable buildings at Mayaveram
for the purposes of the mission was immediately be-
gun, under Mr Barenbruck's superintendence. When
finished, he established the regular performance
of divine worship, with one English and two Tamul
services on Sunday. He also devoted several
evenings in the week to the reading and exposi-
tion of the Scriptures, in a small building open to
the road, and easy of access to all who passed by.
The Christians attached to the mission he as-
sembled every morning and evening for family
prayer, when he explained to them the word of
God. He described himself as happy in these
services, and remarked, ^^ In this, as in all our
work, we would entirely depend upon the Divine
blessing, feeling the need of wrestling more seri-
ously and perseveringly in prayer with the Lord,
like Jacob of old, when he said, I will not let thee
go, except Thou bless me. John Devasagayam, as

* Keport XXV., p. 116.


CHAP, also some of the readers, are excellent helps to me
^^^' in the work of the Lord."

The schools contmued to prosper, and at the
close of 1826 they amounted to thirty-three, con-
taining 1749 scholars of all castes. There were
seventy-eight Brahmins. The influence which, by
the Divine blessing, the children were sometimes
enabled to produce on the minds of their parents
was very encouraging. One father remarked to
Mr Barenbruck — " My boy has only attended your
school a few months, and he has learned more
than I have in all the years of my life, and is now
teaching me." Another, a relation of the Rajah
of Tanjore, observing that the children of his ser-
vants learned more at the mission schools than his
own son, who was instructed by a private tutor at
home, sent him also, regardless of the remarks he
heard upon the impropriety of his allowing his son
to attend a free school. In this way the schools
became the medium of diffusing Scriptural know-
ledge to a great extent.^

The seminary at this time contained fourteen
pupils. Several were already employed in the
mission, and some who remained gave promise of
future usefulness.
Tinne- iQ TiNNEVELLY. — Wc liavc already rccordcd the

^^ ^* revival of the Christian Knowledge Society's mis-
sion in this district in 1816, and have seen, that
the Society's funds were not in a state to do more
than provide for the immediate wants of their own
Christian community.^ But the author's views were

^ Church Missionary Society's Reports, xxvii., pp. 128 et seq.;
xxviii., pp. 89, 90. In 1827, the schools within the Danish
territory were, at the request of the Danish Government, re-
transferred to their mission. Up to that time, 6006 children
had passed through the schools.

^ Book xiii. chap. iii. sees. 15-17.


extended to the vast heathen population around him,
and his own resources^ together with the contribu-
tions of his friends, soon proving unequal to the
increasing demands of the people, he was con-
strained to look elsewhere for assistance ; and
the Corresponding Committee of the Church Mis-
sionary Society at Madras entered immediately into
his plans, and encouraged him with the pecuniary
aid required. When he first consulted the leading
members of his congregation as to the mode of pro-
ceeding most likely to prevail with the heathen,
and the prospect of success in an attempt to edu-
cate their children, so little did they enter into
the question, that they endeavoured, though in a
friendly manner, to dissuade him from the attempt,
and left him for several months to pursue alone
what they deemed a hopeless task.

At length the collector, John Cotton, Esq., re- Schools
ceiving an application for contributions to a school biLted.
at Cochin, considered, that if inclined to support
such institutions, they ought to begin with those
of their own chaplain. In consequence, he re-
quested to be informed what had been done, and
contributed liberally towards the expenses incurred.
His example was followed by his neighbours ; and
from this time they subscribed annually to the
maintenance of the schools. This countenance also
of the British authorities tended to conciliate the
natives, some of whom, men of influence, had Aid from
hitherto manifested considerable hostility, and the church
rapid increase of the schools led to the application ^J^^^^°"'
to the Church Missionary Society mentioned above. deV."

17. Without entering into the various details of Rev. j.
his progress, and the difiiculties encountered prin- JJp"fj^'^g
cipally in the use of Scriptural lessons, and in ob- given by
taining sites for the schools, it may suffice to give J-g^^""
an abstract of the author's report for 1818, to mark
the progress made at this period : — '' At Palam-


CHAP, cottah, and in different parts of the district of
^"' Tinnevelly, the Rev. James Hough has been en-
abled to promote the Society's objects^ with increas-
ing success. Much prejudice prevailed against the
use of the Scriptures and other books, in the schools
at Palamcottah ; but it has gradually lessened ; and,
in several instances, a hvely interest appears to
have been taken in their contents. An entrance
has been obtained, under many difficulties, into
Tinnevelly, the chief town of the district : an
English school has been opened, and a native of
some ability was under preparation to take charge
of a Tamul school, and measures were in progress
for the purchase of premises, in order to secure a
permanent establishment in Tinnevelly. In the
large town of Tutecoryn, a Dutch settlement, a
small school had been established, under a heathen
schoolmaster ; but the jealousy and opposition of
the Romanists would probably occasion his removal.
At Tachinoor, near Tinnevelly, forty scholars were
soon collected. At Mylappalyum, a populous place
near Palamcottah, seventy scholars assembled : the
opening of the school was a gratifying scene.
' Moormen and Hindoos,' writes Mr Hough, '^flocked
AROUND and in the place, to hear the Christian
prayer that was offered to the Majesty of heaven,
invoking the Divine blessing on their labours.' The
number of scholars in these different places amounted,
at the end of last year, to three hundred and fifty-
A semin- three. To these schools has been added a seminary
op"^ned. ^^^ th^ preparation of Christian youths for the ser-
vice of the mission. At the villages of Situmbu-
rapooram and Kunrumgalum, about thirty miles
south of Palamcottah, a catechist, named Arul-
anum, has been fixed, by desire of the people them-
selves ; Vv hich desire appears to have been awakened
by the gift of a Testament, some time back, to a
head-man, by Mr Ringletaube, late of Milaudy.


In these two villages there were twelve famiHes, or
fifty souls, united under the catechist, and forming
the first Christian congregation under the Church
Missionary Society. At all these stations, the
Scriptures, in different languages, are distributed
among such persons as can read them ; and what
may be the blessing conveyed by a single copy, the
instance just mentioned will manifest. An affect-
ing incident with reference to this distribution of
the Holy Word is related by Mr Hough : —

'' ' A Roman Catholic, sixty-eight years of age,
and the brother of a Roman Catholic four years
younger than himself, came fourteen miles to beg
for a Tamul Testament. His appearance, for his
black face and breast were covered with white hairs,
increased the interest which his request had ex-
cited ; and, as he bowed his aged body to receive
the boon which he craved, I could not but pray,
that the book which he held might lead him to
bend before the footstool of mercy, to receive the
salvation of his soul.' "^

In 1819, the prospect was clouded by the pre-
valence of the cholera morbus, which, in the course
of three months, swept away twelve thousand souls.
The stoutest hearts seemed to be appalled by the
unusual severity of this scourge, and several parents
were afraid to allow their children to attend school.
Notwithstanding this impediment, the scholars were
this year increased to four hundred and seventy-
one. In the establishment of these schools the
feelings of the natives were consulted as far as
practicable, which one instance, taken from the
Report, will serve to explain.

''In the town of Tinnevelly, ayoung Brahmin sold

' C. M. S. Report, 19th, pp. 173-177; Missionary Register
1819, pp. 431, 432.


CHAP, me a piece of ground ; and having had it regularly
^^^' registered^ I made preparations for the building of a
school^ and drew on your treasurer for one hundred
star -pagodas for the purpose ; but on preparing to
dig the foundation^ what was my disappointment
to find the neighbouring Brahmins interrupt the
work ! The spot happened to be in a Brahminy
street, and near the walls of a pagoda ; and these
infatuated people contended that their dwellings
and temple would be defiled were a school for the
admission of all castes to be erected so near them.
I found it in vain to endeavour to reason with them
on the absurdity of their objection ; and some
declared that they would perish on the spot rather
than suffer the building to be commenced.

'' What was to be done ? We had justice on our
side, it is true ; but the workmen were at a stand,
and could not think of proceeding in opposition to
the Brahmins. While recollecting the fate of the
mission church at Madras, under similar circum-
stances, I could not expect much better success by
throwing the cause into court ; and the very thought
of conducting such a work in a spirit of hostility
on our part was quite contrary to our avowed in-
tention of promoting the happiness and peace of
the inhabitants. There seemed, therefore, to be
no alternative but to allow them to repurchase the
ground, which I did ; and trust our forbearance
has made a more favourable impression on their
minds than if we had done violence to their pre-

The following testimony is borne in this Report
to the benefit to be expected from native educa-
tion, especially from the school for training cate-
chists, if the plan could be extended : —

'' The system of catechising them on what they
read is new and difficult to them ; for it makes
them think for themselves, as well as retain their



lessons in memory. I feel persuaded^ however^ that
constant practice will familiarise their minds with
the plan, and that it will be of the utmost advan-

^' A few of the elder youths are disappointed, I
suspect, at not receiving some remuneration for
their attendance ; for after they reach fourteen or
fifteen years of age, they begin to earn something
toward a livelihood ; and it is assigned as the
reason for the absence of the eldest boy, who is
frequently missing, that he is at work. I have,
therefore, thought that the money would be well
employed were each of the elder scholars allowed
about half a pagoda per month, on condition of
their giving up their whole time to their studies.
To institute a seminary for the whole, where they
should be clothed, lodged, and fed, would be a still
better plan, would yoMV funds admit of it ; each
boy would cost half a pagoda per month, and there
would be, besides, the expense of two or three

With regard to the effect produced on the minds
of heathen youths, the Eeport proceeds : —

'^ I have received another striking instance of
the utility of schools for the instruction of natives,
in a youth who has just finished his education in
our English school. He came to take leave ; and
on questioning him as to what he had learnt,
replied, without the least hesitation, that he was
convinced in his mind of the truth of Christianity.

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 31 of 54)