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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that, whatever portion of alloy there might be, there
was much precious gold ; and that, though tares,
as might have been expected, had sprung up among
the wheat, God had, by the enthusiasm of His ser-
vants, and the foolishness of their 2:>reaching, turned
many from idols, to serve the living and true Ood,
and to wait for His Son from heaven.


23. There were others^ however, who viewed the Testimony
work in Tinnevelly in a very different light ; and q^ k!^*^'
among these were some who, if influenced by the
feehngs of man's corrupt nature, might have been
expected to look upon it with a jealous eye. We
allude to the members of the Christian Knowledge
Society in Calcutta, who, in the ninth report of

their Diocesan Committee, bore the following un-
biassed testimony to the success which it had pleased
God to grant to the missionaries' exertions in this
extensive field : —

'^ It is most encouraging to hear of the wonder-
ful success of missionary labours at this Presidency
(Madras), more especially in the district of Tinne-
velly. The natives in this part of the south of
India had long been under the tuition of the mis-
sionaries of the Society for Promoting Christian
Knowledge, when, through want of a succession of
them, they were kindly taken up by those of the
Church Missionary Society ; thus verifying, in a
double sense, the text that saith. One soweth, and
another reapetJi. To the great astonishment and
joy of your Committee, as many as eleven hundred
flimilies have since renounced their idols, and entirely
given up the distinction of caste ; and numbers of
them have been added to the church by baptism.
And certainly it is enough for these converts, though
they know no more, to be enabled to say, like the
man in the Gospel — One thing I know, that whereas
I was hlind, now I see ; and your Committee rejoice,
for their object is equally attained, that these
Gentiles were not suffered to "^^emain in their
idolatry, and that this timely assistance has been
afforded by a sister society."^

24. Travancore. — The commencement of thi? Travan-

C. M. S. Eeport, xxviii.. pp. 04-06. App. iii., pp. Io0-1«)-1.


CHAP, mission under the auspices Cf Colonel Munro, and
^^^- the arrival of Messrs Norton and Bailey at Allepie,
Revs. have already been recorded.^ Mr Bailey was soon
renn'^r"^ romoved to Cotym, with a view to his taking
Cotym. charge of the Syrian College, and also to his trans-
lating the Scriptures and the English Liturgy into
Malay alim, the vernacular language of Travancore.
Colonel Munro had a house ere. ted for him in the
vicinity of the college. The Metran, Mar Philoxe-
nus, was, as we have seen, friendly to the projected
improvements of his church ; but being a man of
devout and quiet habits, and wishing to retire into
privacy, he consecrated the Archdeacon George to
the office of Bishop and Metran, by the name of
Mar Dionysius. The new Metran was equally
anxious for the accomplishment of Colonel Munro's
plans for the benefit of the Syrian community. In
the autumn of 1818, a second missionary, the Rev.
Joseph Fenn, arrived at Cotym, which enabled
Colonel Munro to carry forward his benevolent
undertaking . A cordial understanding was effected
between the Syrian clergy and the missionaries ;
the reformation of several objectionable practices
was set on foot ; and an intimate connection was
established between the missionaries and the great
body of the Syrian people, by the missionaries be-
ing made the channel through which redress of the
oppressions and grievances of the S^Tians was
derived to them ; by the foundation of the college
at Cotym ; and by the translation undertaken of the
Scriptures and the Liturgy of the Church of Eng-
land into the vertiacular language ; while the en-
dowment of the college by the Rannee of Travan-
core, and her other acts of liberality to the mission,
gave it favour in the eyes of many respectable hea-

^ Book X. chap. vi.


thens. At the same time^ it must be confessed^
that the jealousy of interference on the part of some
of the Syrians, and, above all, the licentious man-
ners of many of the clergy, concurred to render the
missionaries' situation one of peculiar delicacy and
difficulty. ^But God vouchsafed to them wisdom to
conduct themselves in such a manner as to give no
reasonable cause for offence to any, even of those
most inchned to oppose their proceedings.

25. About a fortnight after Mr Fenn's arrival ^^^f'""''
at Cotym, he received an invitation from the through
Resident to accompany him on a tour through ^J^^UJ'^
Travancore and Cochin, which he was glad to Cochin.
accept ; and a few extracts from his journal will
best explam the hopes of the mission at this

'^'^I have visited many cliurches ; and, with a
solitary exception, have been received with the
greatest possible joy, treated with every mark of
respect, and hstened to with great attention. I
have generally preached through an interpreter ;
and sometimes have been much affected with the
deep interest which the statement of the love of
God in Christ Jesus has excited. In most of the
churches, schools have been established since my
visit, and the people have been roused to industry.

'^^ To a spectator, their service resembles very
much the Roman Catholic worship. The whole of
it is in Syriac ; and is chanted by the priests,
accompanied by frequent prostrations and crossings
on the forehead and breast. Many of the prayers
are translated into Malayalim, and taught to the
people ; these they repeat to themselves during
public worship, and prostrate and cross themselves
after the manner of the cattanars. I believe that
in all the churches which I have visited, the Ma-
layalim Gospels are now read. In some it had
been the custom to read them before.


CHAP. '' My first business, on arriving at our tents, has
^^^' been to send for the cattanars and elders of the
neighbouring churches, who have generally attended
me daily during our stay in their neighbourhood.
By this means I have become personally acquainted
with them ; and have had opportunities of satisfy-
ing myself as to the number, information, and
character of the people belonging to the different
churches. I have seen, I believe, almost every
person of any note among them.

'' The people are of a very interesting appear-
ance, and are by no means deficient in capacity.
They have not yet recovered from the sad effects
of the oppression under which they so long laboured.
These effects are visible in the fear which they
manifest of attracting notice ; and herein is to be
found, I believe, the cause of that great indolence
discoverable among them. Not only are they anx-
ious to avoid every public situation, but even of
exciting envy by the cultivation of their fields and
gardens, and by exhibiting the scene of comfort
and happiness in their houses. When I have
spoken with them on their excessive negligence in
their gardens, &c., they reply, 'Heretofore, when we
cultivated our grounds, our neighbours accused us
to the Sircar, in order to obtain possession of them.'
You will not, therefore, be suprised in hearing that
no manly exercises are practised among them ; and
though they suffer great losses by the incursions of
wild beasts, it is with difldculty that one or two in
a district can be found accustomed to the use either
of the spear or gun.

^' But notwithstanding all their degradation, they
are greatly superior, in point of moral principle and
feeling, to their neighbours ; and instances of dis-
honesty, a vice to which all other classes of the
natives are particularly addicted, are rare among
them. This is so remarkably the case, that the


•Dewan^ who is a Maliratta Brahmin, is anxious to
have them in every station of trust ; and requested
me to procure upwards of one hundred to fill vari-
ous situations. Many have been in situations of
trust for two years, and have acquired the confi-
dence of the Government.

^^The Government has manifested great kind-
ness and liberality towards the Christians ; and in
so doing, I am persuaded, has consulted its own

Then, after mentioning the Rannee's endowment
of the College, and a loan of money, without in-
terest, to the Syrian traders, Mr Fenn pro-
ceeds : —

^^ After we had visited one or two churches, it
occurred to me that a general assembly, at Mavil-
leaare, of all the cattanars and elders of the churches
south of Cotym would be a very desirable measure.
It was accordingly held on Thursday, the 3d inst.
A more interesting sight cannot be imagined. The
Metropolitan took his seat in front of the assembly,
which was held in the church, with Mr Bailey and
myself on either side. The cattanars and elders
were seated on mats before us, and filled the church.
The number of cattanars exceeded forty, and I think
there must have been seven or eight hundred per-
sons present. Mr Bailey read the Litany, in Ma-
lay alim. Afterwards, two of the cattanars read the
First Epistle to Timothy ; and the whole closed
with an address, delivered through an interpreter.

^^ It is the wish of Mr Bailey and myself that
this ancient church should rise, by the blessing of
God, following its own exertions. We wish that
her members should be instrumental in bringing
before their own eyes the various rites and cere-
monies now prevalent among themselves in con-
nection with the word of God ; and it has occurred
to us that the best plan which can be desired is


CHAP, that recommended in the address — the selection of
^^^' half a dozen of their ablest and most respected
cattanars^ who^ in conjunction with the Metropoli-
tan and Malpan^ shall define their present rites^
ceremonies^ and worship ; with them we shall can-
vass every part^ and judge of it^ so far as our ability
extends^ by the rule of Scripture. We wdsh to
alter as little as possible^ that the character and
individuality of the church may be preserved.

" The college increases daily in importance.
There, I trust, will be kindled the flame of piety,
which shall diffuse light and heat, not only through
Travancore, but the whole of the southern pen-

•^ We are wishing very much for a period of
humiliation ; but must wait until there is the spirit
of humiliation among the people. We purpose,
hoping for the blessing of God on our endeavour,
to attempt exciting this spirit, by preparing sermons
to be preached in the different churches.

'^ Notwithstanding all that I have seen to dis-
tress and dishearten me, I freely confess that my
expectations of a revival among the Syrians are
high ; and should it take place, 1 think that 1 feel
sufficiently the pulse of the great body of the in-
habitants of Travancore to say, that the promulga-
tion and extension of Christianity will be rapid and
wide, to a degree that will astonish all w^ho hear

The missionaries w^ere not suffered, however, by
the old enemies of the Syrians, the Romanists, to
proceed far without interruption. They wrote in
1819 : — ^^ With regard to the Roman Catholics, all
possible means have been resorted to, to irritate
every member of that body against us." They

C M. S, Report, xix. : Appendix xix.


looked with envy, and even alarm, upon the mea-
sures in progress for the Syrians' protection and
improvement : and this year they resisted the pro-
posed restoration to the Syrians of four churches,
which originally belonged to them, but of which
the Romanists had for some time held forcible pos-
session. The violence of their attempts to retain
them was so great, that it was deemed advisable to
compromise the matter^ allowing them to keep two
of the churches, and to restore the other two to the
Syrians, under stipulations which applied equally
to both communions.

20. In April 1819, the missionaries were joined Mission
by Rev. Henry Baker, who, as we have seen, was '^°[^^^
detained some time at Tanjore, to assist Mr Koh- °^'"'
Ihoff.^ In the same year they were deprived of the
able counsel and assistance of Colonel Munro, who
at that time returned to Europe ; and the multi-
plicity of aifairs that now devolved upon them,
including attention even to the secular interests
of the college and the mission, pointed out the
necessity of a division of their labours. It was ac-
cordingly determined, that Mr Bailey should devote
his time chiefly to the clergy, and translations ;
that Mr Fenn should have the management of the
college, and a few introductory schools ; and that
Mr Baker should have the charge of the schools
intended for the great body of the people.

On the first branch, which the missionaries
judged to be the most important, they remarked : —
'' The clergy are a numerous body ; and, with in-
struction and care, may, under the Divine blessing,
produce a wonderful reformation in the community.
The composing or translating of useful tracts and
small treatises, and circulating them among the cat-

Chap. iii. sect. 10.


CHAP, tanars — the having three or four, by turns, near the

1. missionary and under his instruction — the receiving

quarterly reports of the churches, &c. — the appoint-
ment of readers, where the parishes are large, and
the dwellings of any of the Christians at a distance
from the church — the personal inspection of the
churches : these are some of the duties devolving
upon the missionary taking this department."

The work of translations was already proceeding
with spirit and effect. Besides a considerable por-
tion of the Scri]3tures and Liturgy, Mr Bailey, with
the assistance of an able Malayalim moonshee, had
translated one Homily on the right use of the
Church, Dr Watts's two Catechisms, Murray's
Abridged Grammar, besides three valuable tracts,
and several little things of daily use in the college.
As the missionaries became better acquainted
with the people, the dif&culties they would have to
contend with opened gradually upon them ; and the
following observations on this general subject, drawn
from their communications at different periods,
will help us, both to appreciate their exertions
and to sympathise in their trials. Of the Syrians
in general they remark : — '^ It seems proper that
we should say a little regarding their moral cha-
racter. In our former statements on this point,
we have never drawn highly-coloured pictures
and if at any time we have spoken of their virtues,
it has only been in reference to the standard of hu-
man conduct existing in this dark and wretched
land. We see no reason to alter our opinion
though the familiarity of Christian priests, churches,
and ordinances, in a land of death-like darkness,
extinguishes much of that enthusiastic interest at
first excited.

'^ In themselves, they are sunk and degraded
indeed. The total disregard of the Sabbath, the
profanation of the name of God, drunkenness, and


to a considerable extent^ especially among the
priesthood, adultery, are very prevalent among
them. And yet, in this wretched condition, they
are several degrees above the other castes. The
crimes above mentioned they acknowledge to be
crimes, and do not attempt to justify ; nay more,
they wish and try to conceal them. Not so with
the other classes : and the difference hence arising
is of vast moment ; and one is almost tempted to
say, is half-way toward a cure : a conscience in
any degree enlightened, a moral sense in any mea-
sure in exercise, is an incalculable blessing in such
a land.

^' But, in estimating the moral condition of a
body of people, it is at the rulers or members of
influence among them that we must principally
look ; at least when contemplating them as subjects
of reformation and instruction. With the Metropo-
litan, the Committee are now well acquainted ; but
an observation made by him the other day surprised
even us, who think so highly of him, and entertain
so strong an affection for him. He said that he
did not expect much improvement among his peo-
ple ' TILL THE BIBLE WAS CIRCULATED' — a truly Chris-
tian and Protestant sentiment ! The opinions of
the Malpans, of many of the judges, indeed we be-
lieve of all of the most aged and respected cattanars,
agree with this sentiment of the Metropolitan.
Most gratefully do they accept our services, and
forward them heartily ; except where money is re-
quired. This cannot be said of any other class of
people in India. It is not in word only, that they
concur in our plans ; but with the before-mentioned
limitation, by their actions also. What then is
wanting to render them objects of interest to a
Protestant country, and to endear them to a
Christian public ?"

In 1818, the Syrian Church was supplied with




into Ma-
layan m.
Arrival of
press, &c.

the Syriac New Testament by the British and
Foreign Bible Society^ a large number being sent
for the missionaries to distribute. A copy was
sent to each of the churches ; and where there
were several cattanars^ two copies were given.
These were received as a great boon, the whole
community having very few copies, in manuscript,
among them.

27. The next object was to give them the Scrip-
tures in the language of the country, Malayalim,
upon the translation of which Mr Bailey, as we
have seen, had been engaged ahnost from the time
of his arrival ; and, until provided with a press,
they employed writers to multiply copies of se-
lected portions of the sacred volume. In 1821, a
printing press, with English types, arrived from
the parent Society, together with school-books, a
lending Hbrary, and other useful things. Describ-
ing the opening of the packages, the missionaries
remark : — '' It would have delighted all the friends
of the Society to see the Metropolitan, and to hear
him express his gratitude to our hberal friends at
home, as he sat and looked upon the room full of
books around him. And more especially is he
delighted with the press ; he says that such a thing-
has been talked of in this country before, but never
till now seen."

The great desideratum now was a supply of
Malayalim types ; and in the following year the
College of Fort St George permitted a fount to be
cast with its dies for the use of the Cotym Press.
But these types proving too large, and very fault}',
and failing to obtain better from any other source,
Mr Bailey tried the experiment of having a fount
cast under his own directions ; and his success is
thus described by the Rev. Marmaduke Thompson,
who visited Travancore in 1824. Of the printing
office, Mr Thompson says : —


'' It appears to be well and substantially built.
It consists of two large rooms ; one of these is
sufficient for the easy working of four presses, and
for all the necessary types and apparatus ; and the
other, which is of equal size, receives all the paper
and other stores, and furnishes conveniences for
bookbinding. The whole is enclosed with a rather
deep verandah, one end of which is at present
formed into a dwelling for the native printer, and
the other end may be quite sufficient for the t}rpe
foundry. The situation is elevated, airy, and dry."

'' How very fliulty the Malayalim t^^es were,
the Committee have long known. Hopeless of any
thing better, at least for a long time to come, Mr
Bailey, without ever having seen a t;y^e-foundry
or its apparatus of any kind, eager to get some
portion of the Scriptures and some other works
respectably printed as soon as possible, set himself
to endeavour to form his own types, with such aid
as he could find from books alone and from com-
mon workmen. He had recourse chiefly to the
Encyclopsedia Britannica ; and, with the instruc-
tions which he derived from this and another
smaller work or two, a common carpenter, and two
silversmiths, it is pleasant to report that he suc-
ceeded so completely, that, some months ago, he
sent a specimen of his types, in print, to the Re-
sident, whose reply to Mr Bailey's letter sent with
them I have seen, in the following terms : — ' Ac-
cept of my best thanks, for the specimen of the
new types which you have been so kind as to send
me. The print is extremely beautiful and correct,
and reflects much credit on your zeal and in-

'^ The sight of this machinery, and of the means
by which he has accomplished all, was very grati-
fying to me. He counted upon being able to pre-
pare a sufficiency of types for the printing of the




of trans-

whole Scriptures in little more than a quarter of
a year. Besides the correctness and beauty of
his types, noticed by Colonel Newall, he has so
reduced them in size, that we can now print at one
half of the cost of the old types."

'' I have to conclude my Report with the wel-
come intelligence of a permanent reduction in the
expense of printing, involving another little inte-
resting circumstance in connection with Mr Bailey.
The printer sent from Madras we were obliged to
dismiss. In the mean time, a youth, adopted
some years ago by Mr Bailey as a destitute orphan
child, had acquired the art of printing sufficiently to
succeed as head printer, to which office w^e ap-
pointed him, on a salary of seven rupees per
month. This little incident adds singularly to the
completeness of Mr Bailej^'s work in the edition of
the Malayalim Scriptures, to issue from our press,
we trust, in a short time. The translation is en-
tirely his own ; the types formed by himself from
the very mould ; and the printing to be executed
by an orphan boy, reared up by his charity."

28. The translation of the Scriptures Mr Bailey
justly regarded as his primary object, and he gave
to it as much of his time as he could spare from
other duties. In 1824, he had nearly prepared
the four Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles for
the press. The remainder of the New Testament
had also undergone his revision, and he was going
over it again. As a considerable desire was excited
among the Syrians in general to possess the Scrip-
tures in Malayalim, the Gospel of St Matthew was
printed first, and distributed among them. Before
printing any other portions of the Testament, Mr
Bailey was anxious to make his translation as cor-
rect as possible, to improve his types, and to
obtain two or three more presses. Before the end
of 1826, these three objects were attained, and


during that year an edition of five thousand copies
of St Luke's Gospel was finished for the Madras
Bible Society. At the same time Mr Bailey was
proceeding with the remainder of the New Testa-
ment, the Liturgy, and smaller works. Indeed,
his presses were now in active operation, and he
seems only to have wanted a regular printer from
England to accomplish all his plans.

29. His translation of the English Liturgy was Account
very acceptable to the Metran and his clergy ; and, Syrian
of their own accord, several cattanars read it in Chmch.
their churches, not at the time, however, of their
own Syriac services, with which the missionaries
were specially careful not to interfere. At Cotym,
Mr Bailey himself performed the Malayalim ser-
vice, with the Metran's permission, in one of the
Syrian churches, which was generally well at-
tended. The author was present on one of these
occasions, and will here give his remarks upon it
at the time : —

'' In the evening, I attended our church service
in Malayalim, performed by Mr Bailey in one of
the Syrian churches ; about ten cattanars and one
hundred and fifty Syrians were present ; and they
appeared to be very attentive, particularly to the
sermon. It was singular to see the person who,
in the morning, officiated as priest at the Syrian
altar, now performing the office of clerk to Mr
Bailey ; this was the head Malpan of the college, who
expresses his admiration of most of our prayers, and
will permit no one else to read the responses*." ^

The missionaries remark upon this use of the
Liturgy in their presence — '' We think they will
be more dehghted with the constitution of the
English Church the better they are acquainted
with it ; and it appears to us to be of growing im-

' Missionary Register 1822, p. 426.
VOL. v. B b


CHAP, portance, that the discipline and services of that

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 33 of 54)