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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which was held in the prison, in Mr Dacre' s tender
compassion for the poor criminals whom he had
been constrained, in his official capacity, to sentence
to various degrees of punishment.

By these means, with the assistance of native
teachers prepared by himself, he drew around him,
in the course of time, a Christian community of
about four hundred native converts, including chil-
dren. His schools, maintained at his own cost,
contained about one hundred children, boys and
girls, under competent teachers. Intense were the


labours of this excellent man. In order to gain
time for them^ together with his own devotional
exercises and a diligent study of the Scriptures^ he
invariably rose at four o'clock in the morning. By
this means he avoided the least interference with
his official duties, in which he was no less conscien-
tiously punctual and laborious. To the willing
sacrifice of his time and strength to these objects,
he added, mth a liberal heart, that of his money
also, devoting to them, together with liberal con-
tributions to other religious and charitable works,
the whole of his Indian income. It is estimated
that he expended, chiefly at Chittoor, no less a
sum than twenty thousand pounds sterling. The
amount has been stated even higher.

We are aware that he was sometimes imposed
upon by artful men, who, taking advantage of his
unsuspecting confidence, pretended to be convinced
of the truth of Christianity by means of his in-
structions. This was, perhaps, to be expected ;
for what good thing, even the best of human under-
takings, is not liable to abuse in this sinful world ?
In the present instance it was hardly to be avoided.
Such isolated efibrts to spread religion among an
ignorant and designing people, are always made at
a disadvantage ; especially when the individual
who undertakes them is so much occupied as Mr
Dacre was with the official and onerous duties of a
judge and magistrate, as scarcely to have time to
investigate the motives, to trace and prove the
characters, and to watch the conduct of his prose-
lytes. It is much to be regretted that the good
work at Chittoor rested so entirely, in all its parts
and general conduct, on an individual so engaged
in the public service, how temperate and judicious
soever he might have been. It had, no doubt,
tended more to the efficiency and permanency of
his labours, if he could have associated with him-



CHAP self some chaplain or missionary more conversant
with spiritual subjects and church discipline ; but
of this the state of the clerical and missionary
establishments in India at that time did not admit.
In the last year of his valuable life^ indeed^ 1826,
he obtained for Chittoor periodical visits from the
missionaries of the London Missionary Society^ at
Madras, who soon formed the Christians there into
a more regular congregation ; and after every de-
duction that can reasonably be made for his mis-
takes, and the relapse of several who had imposed
on him, there can be no question that numbers, not
of natives only, but of Europeans also, were by his
instrumentality effectually converted from the evil
of their ways, and built up in the most holy faith
of the Gospel ; and that these will be his crown of
rejoicing in the great day of the Lord.

Mr Dacre died on the 22d of February 1827,
and a missionary of the London Society, Mr Jen-
nings, gave the following account of the closing
scene : — ^^ I was with him day and night, a witness
of his sufferings and of his faith. Renouncing
all self-righteousness, and all self-dependence, he
looked to the Saviour with the same faith and
feeling of unworthiness as the penitent malefactor
on the cross ; and at length enjoyed the placid
assurance of his interest in Christ, declaring ^ all
is peace, built on the right foundation.' On one
occasion, he said, ^ I have preached Christ with all
the powers of my soul, and now He alone is my
confidence. Jesus ' (assuming the language of
prayer), ' I have sinned against thee ! I have dis-
honoured thee ! but thou art still my hope. And

^ Up to this period Mr Dacre had derived his principal aid
from the friends and stores of the Church Missionary Society
at Madras. But they had not a missionary at his disposal.


wilt thou now let me go ? Canst thou let me go ?
No ! Thy mercy is a sea of boundless love ! ' On
another occasion, he remarked, alluding probably
to the ungenerous and unjust construction which
was too frequently put on his motives, ' Had any
one asked, for the last seventeen, I think I may
say twenty years, what had been the object I had
chiefly in view, I could have answered, by divine
grace, without hesitation — the glory of God ; ' an
important judgment for the conscience to pass on
itself, in the prospect of immediately standing at
the bar of God. During his illness, he was some-
times delirious ; but even then his remarks were
interesting, as manifesting the state of his heart.
His funeral took place by torchhght, and was at-
tended by a great multitude of natives, as well
heathen as Christian. He died where he wished
to die, in the room which he appropriated for
divine worship, and where he had incessantly
taught members how to live, and how to die. He
was buried in a spot pointed out by himself, be-
tween the graves of two Europeans, to whose con-
version God had made him instrumental."

Thus did this servant of God depart in peace,
universally respected. Let those who may feel
inclined to censure the irregularity of his course,
candidly consider the unfavourable circumstances
in which he was placed, and refrain from judging
him by a rule applicable only to times when there
is no such paucity of Christian missionaries, no
such dearth of the Scriptures, as he for a long time
found. ^

VizAGAPATAM. — The removal of the Rev. Charles

^ Missionary Kegister 1828, pp. 112 and 414. London
Missionary Society's Reports, 33, 34. Missionary Records,
India, pp. 248-251.


CHAP. Church to this station from Cuddalore, in 1819,
^^^' was mentioned above/ Though his official duties,
as chaplain, left him little time to attend to the
natives, yet he soon commenced the study of Te-
loogoo ; but finding the place preoccupied by three
missionaries of the London Society, he deferred
opening any native schools, until better acquainted
with the people and their language. He esta-
blished an English school, however, without delay,
under the auspices of the Church Missionary So-
ciety, for the benefit of East Indian children, in
which between forty and fifty scholars were in-
structed ; and their progress gave him the highest
satisfaction. But before he had been a twelve-
month at this station, his labours were again in-
terrupted, by his removal to Madras. A friend on
the spot took charge of his school, until, in 1823,
it was transferred to the missionaries of the Lon-
don Society, as there was no prospect of a chap-
lain or church missionary being appointed to this

^ Chap. iii. sec. 9.

"" C. M. S. Eeports, 22d, 24th. Missionary Register 1824,
p. 203.





1. In consequence of several cliaritable measures j^^'jyfjj.^^
requiring previous attention at Bombay^ exertions mission-
in behalf of the Church Missionary Society were ^^y.
postponed till 181 8. In that year a Corresponding
Committee was formed for Bombay and the western
parts of India, for the direction of such exertions
as the Society might be enabled to make within
that presidency and the adjacent places. The
Rev. Thomas Carr/ one of the East India Company's
chaplains, in communicating this intelligence to
the Society, requested that some intelligent mis-
sionaries might be sent out to them. In 1820,
the Rev. Richard Kenney, with his family, sailed
for Bombay, where he arrived June 18th ; but in
a few months sickness compelled his wife to return,
mth their three children, to Europe, and Mr
Kenney was called upon to determine whether to
accompany them, or remain at his post. Happily,
he chose the latter alternative, preferring to suffer
in his own feelings, than to desert the sacred cause
in which he was embarked. Both submitted with

^ Now Bishop of Bombay.
VOL V. D d


CHAP, devout resignation to this trying dispensation of

1 Providence^ and they never had cause to regret the

personal sacrifice they made.
Schools 2. Mr Kenney's first object was the study of

opene . Mahratta^ and in a few months he had acquired a
sufficient knowledge of that language to hold inter-
course with the natives ; and the Christian popu-
lation in Salsette presented to him a promising
field for exertion. He soon opened a school for
boys^ which was followed by one after another
until^ in 1822^ there were six^ containing together
one hundred and fifty scholars. This year the
Rev. T. Carr gave a favourable report of these
schools^ which he had visited with a friend. The
upper classes read part of the book of Genesis in
Mahratta, and repeated the Ten Commandments
very well, answering the questions put by Mr
Kenney in a satisfactory way. About twenty of
the elder boys attended him at his house, to learn
Mahratta and English, which afforded him an op-
portunity to convey to them a knoAvledge of the
saving truths of the Gospel. Five of these youths
frequently attended public worship conducted by
Mr Kenney. On the subject of native education,
the Rev. T. Carr remarked : — ^' With prudent zeal,
schools may be established to a very great extent ;
and I have not heard of any objection having been
made by natives to the use of Christian books in
instruction. The schools might, in most cases, be
houses also for the reading and exposition of the

But the want of suitable masters prevented their

increase, and even obliged Mr Kenney ere long to

reduce the present number.

Transia- 3. The followdug cxtract from one of his letters

Iheu- ^^^^ shew that he endeavoured to turn his know-

turgy. ledge of Mahratta to good account : — ^^ I have

translated, for the District Committee of the Chris-

of mission


tian Knowledge Society, the ' Principal Truths of
the Christian Religion' into Mahratta. I have
also written a little book in English and Mahratta,,
for the Society recently established here for the
moral and intellectual improvement of the natives.
The Liturgy, I have ever kept in view : I have trans-
slated a few of the prayers, and shall be thankful I
am enabled to give a good translation of the whole."

This object, the translation of the Liturgy, he
was able to complete ; and when the Bishop of
Calcutta was at Bombay, in 1825, he appointed a
syndicate of gentlemen, who were Mahratta scho-
lars, to revise the work, and prepare it for the press,
proposing to print it at Bishop's College, Calcutta.^

4. In 1824, Mr Kenney made a tour in the Extension
northern Concan, in company with an American ^^^^
missionary, the Rev. John Nichols, where they north-
had opportunities of distributing tracts, which ''''''''^'
were well received by natives of different descrip-
tions. The people were uniformly civil and re-
spectful ; and it appeared that a missionary sta-
tioned at any of the principal towns through which
they passed might establish schools, and carry on
the missionary work, with good prospect of success.
The north of Guzerat also presented an opening,
which the Bombay Committee were anxious to occu-
py, and very urgent with the Society to send out four
missionaries, two for each country, without delay.
At present, however, the Society could send only
two, the Rev. William Mitchell and the Rev. John
Steward, who arrived at Bombay July 12. 1826.
But they were both detained for the presidency dur-
ing the absence of Mr Kenney, who had returned to
Europe, and the Committee placed them in charge
of his schools. A beginning was now made in native

C. M. S. Report, 26th, p. IO7.





C. M. S.


female education. Mrs Mitchell and Mrs Steward
having acquired some knowledge of the language,
opened a girls' school in September, and a second in
October, which contained together between thirty
and forty children. But this work was soon inter-
rupted by the domestic circumstances of Mrs Mit-
chell, and the death of Mrs Steward, upon whom
the care of these schools had chiefly devolved.

Hitherto the missionaries had no conversions to
report. They employed part of the Lord's day,
as Mr Kenney had done, in giving instruction to
some native youths, who attended for the purpose.
This they conducted in English ; and several of
those who were formerly instructed by Mr Kenney
were tolerably regular in their attendance. Though
none of them evinced an inclination to embrace
Christianity, yet their readiness to receive religious
instruction gave encouragement to hope, from the
promises of Scripture, that the seed thus sown
would not be altogether lost.^

5. In the year 1821, an association was formed
at Bombay, consisting chiefly of persons in the
middle classes, who were zealous for the advance-
ment of missionary objects, towards which they
contributed in the first year about four hundred
pounds. This association was followed, in 1825,
by the formation of an Auxiliary Church Mission-
ary Society for the Bombay presidency, embody-
ing the members of the association, and uniting
besides many of the civil and military servants of
the Company, of the first respectablity, as well as
most of the clergy. The friends of the Society
at Bombay now wanted only a competent supply
of missionaries to carry forward their designs with
vigour at the principal stations of the presidency.

Church Missionary Societj^'s Report, 27th, p. 142.



four mis-



1. The arrival of three missionaries for the island Arrival of
of Ceylon, and their transfer to Calcutta and Tra-
vancore, have already been mentioned.^ The So-
ciety, impressed with the importance of this
sphere of labours, and encouraged by the facilities
which the local authorities promised, in 1817, sent
out four more missionaries, the Revs. Samuel
Lambrick, Robert Mayor, William Ward, and
Joseph Knight. They arrived at Columbo in
June 1818, and were received with great kindness
by all classes of persons, especially by Archdeacon
Twistleton and the Rev. G. Bissett, senior chap-
lain. Owing to the absence of the governor, to
suppress an insurrection in the Kandian provinces,
they were detained from immediately taking their
respective stations ; but this delay was attended
with the advantage of obtaining much information
respecting the state of the island, and of the par-
ticular places to which the Society had directed
their attention. As the result of their inquiries,
Mr Lambrick was fixed at Kandy, Mr Ward at

^ Book X. chap. vi. Revs. Greenwood and Schroeter to
Calcutta, and Rev. T. Norton U) Travancore, as above.


CHAP. Calpentyn, near Manaar, Mr Mayor at Galle^ and
^ ' Mr Knight at JafFnapatara.
Kandy. 2. Kandy. — Hitherto the governor, Sir Robert

Brownrigg, had been unwiUing to allow any mis-
sionary to enter the Kandian territories, ^' where/'
he remarked/ ^^ the bigoted and ignorant Budhist
people are hardly yet fit to listen to a Christian
preacher, and where mischief might arise from the
jealousy of a powerful and numerous priesthood."
In prospect, however, of the speedy restoration of
peace in that province, he thought Mr Lambrick
might be stationed there with great advantage.
On his arrival, he found that the town had been
almost wholly deserted by the natives ever since
the rebellion broke out, and he was not permitted,
in the present distracted state of the country, to
preach to the people ; but he obtained authority
to open schools, and obtained two priests to be the
masters of them, on their engaging to conform to
his directions. He soon opened one school, for
the instruction of native children in reading and
writing their own language, as an introduction to
their reading the Holy Scriptures.

When the governor proposed returning to Co-
lumbo, he desired that Mr Lambrick might be
asked whether he would stay behind. It was a
perilous position to occupy ; but the intrepid mis-
sionary^ gave the following reasons for consenting
to remain : —

^^ I took time to consider of it ; and, after well
weighing all the circumstances — the superior ad-
vantages which I have here for studying the
language, the prospect of a door being opened for
preaching the Gospel to tens of thousands who
have never yet heard the joyful sound, the advan-

^ In a letter to Lord Gambier, President of the Society.
C. M. S. Pxeport, 19th. pp. 187, 188.


IN INDIA : BOOK Xllf. 423

tage which I have had of concihating the good-
will of many among the priests and head men,
whose influence is very considerable among the
people — these things appeared to overbalance all
that could be urged on the other side of the ques-
tion. I therefore signified my assent; and, in
consequence, the governor conferred upon me the
appointment of assistant chaplain to the forces in
Kandy, Avhich, as long as I retain it, will save the
Society my personal expenses.

'' I am applying myself, as closely as possible,
to the acquirement of the language. My progress
is not equal to my wishes ; but I hope to surmount
its difficulties, at least so far as to deUver a written
sermon in it intelligibly, in less than a twelve-
month ; and, before that, I hope long before, to be
permitted to preach to the natives through an in-

Notwithstanding his appointment to the chap-
laincy, Mr Lambrick still held himself at the So-
ciety's disposal, prepared to go whithersoever they
might send him. '^ But," he remarked, '^ if they
think that the hold which we have on the Kandian
provinces, the head- quarters of Budhism, which
have never yet been summoned to submit to the
Lord Christ, should not be relinquished, I hope
they will send me a colleague. My situation is
desolate indeed. I have learned here how to esti-
mate the value of Christian intercourse. How
highly should I prize the advantage of one hour's
conversation in a week with a Christian friend !
I have had several very interesting conversations
with priests ; two of them have taken the New
Testament, with a promise to read it attentively."^

As his knowledge of their language increased.

Mise^ionaiy Ixegiete;- ISIO. p. 277; 1820, p. r)7.


CHAP, the natives became more free to converse with

1 him, and two or three priests manifested a desire

to understand the nature of Christianity. But he
dealt faithfully with their consciences^ restraining,
rather than urging them forward^ and charging
them well to count the cost before they began to
build. He saw too much of the evil resulting from
an ignorant or hypocritical profession, and had no
wish to add to the number of those in the island
who had evidently taken up the Christian name
from worldly motives.

In October 1820,^ he was joined by the Kev.
Thomas Browning, who immediately assisted in
the English services ; and, in January 1821, Mr
Lambrick commenced preaching to the natives, in
Cingalese, '' the glad tidings of salvation by Jesus
Christ. This was perhaps," he remarked, ^^the
first time that ever this joyful sound was heard in
this city, in the native language."

menr^nt ^' ^^ ^^^^' ^^ Lambrick left Kandy, and took
oHan?— up his abodc at Cotta, a few miles from Columbo,
mission chiefly for the sake of the 2:reater facihties at that

buildings ii'P ,1 ii n r^' 1 T»rT^

erected. Station lor the study of Cingalese. Mr Browning
was left in charge of the Kandy station, and in
June of the same year a grant of land was obtained
from Government, for the erection of buildings
requisite for a Christian institution. These, it was
intended, should for the present comprehend a
dwelling-house, school-rooms, and a printing office.
A school-room was erected, in which divine ser-
vice was performed on Sundays. Mr Browning
j)reached in Cingalese in the afternoon, his congre-
gation being formed of the scholars and servants,
and a number of beggars, some of whom, he re-
marked, listened attentively. But for some time

M. S. Report, 21st, pp. 182, 183.


he was discouraged by the reluctance of the natives
generally to attend the service. In 1820, he gave
an account of the baptism of an African drummer,
in one of the Ceylon regiments, by Mr Lambrick ;
and he was now able to employ this young man.
His name was Jonathan Gambler, and his walk
continued to be worthy of his Christian profession.
Having induced some of his African comrades to
go and hear the word of God, as they all spoke the
Ceylon Portuguese, Mr Browning established a
second service for them on the Lord's day, with
the assistance of Jonathan, who acted as interpre-
ter. This congregation was soon diminished by the
removal of the regiment to which these Caflfres
belonged, Avhen he lost Jonathan's services. He
also endeavoured to instruct the Cingalese prisoners,
but they gave him very little encouragement ; and
the partial success attending all his exertions for
the conversion of the natives appears at times to
have depressed his spirits. In January 1816, a
spacious school-house, built on the mission premises,
was opened, both for a school and a place of wor-
ship. Besides the Sunday services, Mr Browning
had a Cingalese service on Wednesday evenings,
and one in Portuguese on Thursday evenings. The
attendance at public worship had previously been
small, many of the scholars were kept away by
their parents, few adult heathen could be prevailed
on to attend, and, of the prisoners, though some
Hstened to the word, others were indifferent and
callous ; but he continued to avail himself of this
and other opportunities to make known the gospel.

4. He had another opportunity afforded him for ^J'^^f^^"*
preaching the word of God to many who would not giound
otherwise hear it, by the grant of a piece of land, opened.
by Government, for a burial-ground for the Pro-
testant Christians, who were before compelled to
bury their dead at the Romish chapel. The occa-


OUAP. sion of a funeral frequently brought a great coni-
^^' pany together, and, under circumstances so solemn
and interesting, Mr Browning addressed them on
the concerns of their own souls.
Mission- 5. At the end of July 1826, the schools had

courage- Considerably increased. Besides the Kandy Eng-
ments. Hsh and Cingalese school and the Kandy Malabar
school, there were six in the country ; the scholars
were two hundred and forty-three. In all, the
Scriptures were read ; and, where the masters were
professed Christians, prayers were daily offered at
the opening and closing of the schools. Monthly
examinations took place, when the number of les-
sons learnt during the month was put on record,
and a mulct in case of failure enforced with very
good effect both on the masters and the scholars.
The Governor promised employment to such boys
at Kandy as made competent acquisitions in Eng-
lish ; this patronage of His Excellency was of great
service to the school.

Much as Mr Browning's faith and patience had
been tried, yet at the commencement of 1827, the
prospect of affairs was improved. Instances were
brought to his knowledge of good being received
by some of his hearers among the higher classes of
natives ; some of the sons of the Kandian chiefs,
who attended the school to learn English, came of
their own accord to purchase the Cingalese and
English Testament, to read and compare them at
home ; while his English services, which, in con-
sequence of the sickness and absence of the chap-
lain, often devolved wholly upon him, Avere attended
with a divine blessing to some of the troops. On
the whole, he began to feel more encouraged, and
was urgent with the Society to send him a col-
league, remarking — ^' Here is an extensive field ;
and, though it is not inviting, by any wish on the
part of the people to be instnicted in Christianity,


yet I conceive that the Gospel might be preached
to nearly all the interior, without much opposition,

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 36 of 54)