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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if a sufficient number of missionaries could be sent
out for the purpose."-^

6. CoTTA. — We have mentioned Mr Lambrick's Grant of
removal to this station, which was very favourably fchoois"
situated for maintaining communication with Co- built.
lumbo, both by water and land ; and at the same
time, was sufficiently distant from it, to avoid the
evils connected with a large town. It was very
cool ; and as healthy as any part of the island.

The character of the inhabitants Mr Lambrick
thus described : — ^' I have found the people here
nominal Christians ; but they are grossly ignorant
of the first truths of Christianity, and awfully in-
different about it. The village is extensive and
populous ; but a small proportion come to hear
me ; among these, however, I am pleased to see
some women. I go out among them on week-
days, and talk to as many as I can find willing to
listen. The cold assent which they give, equally to
the most appalling denunciations and the most
winning promises, is, I think, more discouraging
than violent opposition would be. As an instance
of their ignorance, I would mention, that, one da}^,
on asking a man of what religion he was, he said,
^ Budhu's' — ' So then you are not a Christian ?'
' yes, to be sure, I am a Christian ; and of the
Reformed Protestants too.' Now what this man,
with unusual simplicity, declared, is, T believe, a
true description of the great mass of the people
around us. They are Budhists in belief, but poli-
tically Christians."

A little experience, however, having proved the

' C. M. S. Reports 1S24-1827 ; also, Selkirk's 'vRecollectioris
of Ceylon," pp. 2O()-20i>.


CHAP, place to be most desirable for a permanent mis-
^^' sionarj establishment, a piece of ground of about
five acres was purchased in perpetuity from Go-
vernment, and assigned to the Church Missionary
Society ; some convenient buildings were soon
erected thereon ; and the place began to assume
the appearance of an active missionary station.
The people were wilHng to send their children, and
there was little difficulty in establishing schools to
the extent of the means at the missionary's dis-
posal. In the year 1825, there were eight schools
in and around Cotta, containing one hundred and
eighty-seven scholars/ In the following year one
was closed, when the scholars were reduced to one
hundred and sixty- one, with an average attendance
of one hundred and eight. In addition to these
there was an English school, containing sixteen
boys. The report of these schools was satisfactory.
At the close of 1826, nearly one-half of the native
scholars were able to read in their own tongue the
Gospel of Christ. Most of them could repeat the
Ten Commandments, and some could repeat the
whole, and a few the greater part of a small cate-
chism on the chief truths of the Christian religion.''^
In reference to the exercise of the ministry, Mr
Lambrick wrote in May 1824 : — ^^ I have now three
services on the Lord's day — one, at Mirihani, early
in the morning ; a second, at Cotta, in the fore-
noon ; and a third, at Nawela, in the afternoon.
I go out among the people twice in the week, and
find a little congregation assembled to hear the
word of Life. Many more women have attended,
within these few weeks, than ever did^formerly."

^C. M. S. Keport 1826, p. 111.

' C. M. S. Report, 27th, p, 144; Selkirk's Kecollectioiis,
p. 314.


These services were generally held in the school-
rooms, when Mr Lambrick preached in Cingalese.
Besides the masters and scholars, the attendance
varied at the several stations from ten to fifty
adults. In some instances a favourable impression
seemed to be produced on the auditors, though no
case of conversion was yet reported.

The missionaries of the island were formed into
a Committee of management, which, at this period,
generally met at Cotta. In reference to the build-
ings at this station, they reported towards the close
of this decade : — ''There are now erected, 1, A
substantial stone building, with convenient offices,
for the accommodation of a missionary family ; 2,
Complete printing offices ; 3, A bungaloAv, which
will serve for the residence of a schoolmaster, and
for a central school for this station. A great pro-
portion of the materials requisite for the proposed
buildings of the Christian institution is collected."

7. On the printing department the Committee Printing
reported in 1824 :—'' The press sent out by the So- ^^^l^'
ciety has been set up ; together with another, the
temporary use of which was granted to the mis-
sionaries by the District Committee of the Society
for Promoting Christian Knowledge. A complete
fount of Cingalese types had not been procured ;
but a few small pieces had been printed, and some
others in English ; it was expected that the press
would, soon after the meeting, be in full operation,
when the printing of one of the Gospels, of Mr
Lambrick's translation, would be begun : that trans-
lation had proceeded to the Book of Exodus in the
Old Testament, and to the middle of St John in
the New."

They subsequently added : — ''We have two
founts of Cingalese types ; but neither of them is
complete. There have been issued, since our last
meeting, five hundred copies of a Cingalese tract ;


CHAP, one hundred copies of the Gospel of St Matthew,
_^1_ the circulation of which has been confined to our
own schools ; and two hundred and fifty copies of
the first part, the accidence, of a Cingalese gram-
mar. A vocabulary is preparing for the press."

Hitherto Mr Lambrick had laboured here alone,
with the exception of a few months in 1823, when
he was assisted by the Rev. Joseph Bailey, who
was soon compelled, by sickness in his family, to
embark for England. He returned to Cotta in
1826^ and in the same year the Eev. James Sel-
kirk joined the station. It were premature here to
enter upon the active operations now pursued.
Suffice it to say, that all the missionaries lound
ample occupation, and were, on the whole, en-
couraged in their work." ^
Character 8. Baddagame. — The Rcv. Robert Mayor arrived
of the in- at Point de Galle in July 1818 ; but, after survey-
ing this sphere of labour, not finding the proper
means of becoming well acquainted with the great
body of the natives^ and more of his time than he
thought right being engrossed by Europeans, he
determined to look out for a more eligible station
in the interior. For this purpose he made an ex-
cursion thirty miles from Galle, up the river Gin-
drah/ and, encouraged by the apparent willingness
of the inhabitants to receive instruction, he resolved,
with his brethren's concurrence, to settle at a village
about thirteen miles from Galle, called Baddagame,
whither he removed in August 1819. The Gindrah
was navigable about twenty miles higher^ but the
population decreased towards the Kandian territory.
A few months after the Rev Benjamin Ward joined

^ Selkirk's Recollections, pp. 314— 3 G3.

' As called by the English. Its proper name is Grin Ganga.
Ibid., p. 229. ;■


this station. The scenery of the country is described
as remarkably beautiful^ and equal to some of the
most picturesque parts of England ; yet to this
picture of nature the inhabitants presented a dark
contrast. Though^ in general, nominal Christians,
yet in reality they were heathen ; and their charac-
ter was described as '^ like the rocks which covered
the hills — hard, and insensible to every godly mo-
tion ; their hearts exalted with pride — that master
of human nature — and covered with the thorns and
briers of earthly cares, the abode of evil tempers
and evil spirits." It was an advantage, however,
that there were no distinctions of caste or religion
among them, and that they were by no means
averse to Christian instruction. They soon began
to pay some regard to the Lord's day, and then be-
came less attentive to their idolatrous ceremonies.

9. The missionaries soon began to establish schools
schools ; and by the commencement of 1821 they ^"^^^•
had opened seven at and around Baddagame, which
contained one hundred and fifty-nine scholars.
These schools were conducted on the national sys-
tem, which seemed greatly to interest the children,
whose progress, especially in the knowledge of the
Scriptures, was very satisfactory. In 1824, we find
they contained one hundred and ninety-seven boys,
with an average attendance of one hundred and
fifteen. There was a flourishing school for girls

also, under the care of the missionaries' wives, and
the numbers were seventy-two, and the average
attendance was fifty- seven. From this period the
schools began to fluctuate, chiefly owing to the ex-
tensive prevalence of disease ; but their character
did not decline, and the missionaries continued to
describe the progress of the children in encouraging

10. They established besides a boarding-school, Boarding:-
for maintaining and educating children, to be named tabUshed"


CHAP, by benefactors in Europe^ who contributed to their
_i_ support. This establishment was under the care of
Mr Ward, who reported, in 1826, that it contained
sixteen boys, and that the conduct of them all was
such as to deserve commendation ; remarking, ^^ We
trust it proceeds from a higher motive than that of
pleasing us, and of obtaining knowledge." Of the
schools generally he wrote, in the same year, ^^They
are all visited twice, and in some cases three times,
a week, by our young people ; which, together with
our own visits, will be productive, I trust, of a
gradual improvement in the rising generation. We
never before possessed the means which we now
have for the accomplishment of this important

Occasionally, when the chaplain was absent from
• Galle, they devoted as much of their time as they
could spare to the duties of his church, and also to
the government schools, which were numerous ;
but they were careful not to let these services inter-
fere ^^with the prior claim of the native population
on their labour and their time : they could render,
therefore, only that occasional aid, which they found
compatible with their own immediate duties."
Mission- 11- The missionaries preached in several places
aries' bcsidcs Baddagamc and Galle ; and though occa-
ministiy. sioually their faith and patience were tried by the
fluctuation in the number of their auditors, on the
whole they were not without encouragement. As
respected the exercise of their ministry, their course
is thus described by Mr Ward — ^^ One of us takes
the services at home ; and the other goes to some
village, not more, however, than three or four miles
distant. He who stays at home has two services ;
he who goes out has, in general, two places where
he preaches before his return. We have, besides,
an English service in the evening, when our inter-
preter, and all the boys who understand, attend.

IN" INDIA : BOOK Xlll. 433

Almo.st every evening in the week, we are both out
among the people. On Saturday evenings, we meet
together for prayer."

They thus describe the reception they met
with — ^' Sometimes a considerable number of adult
natives attend ; and not unfrequently the word
preached is heard with attention, and encourages
the hope that it is not heard in vain : and in our
visits to the dwellings of the natives, and in the
exhortations which we give to those who assemble
to hear us, we are sometimes animated by the sure
prospect that the gross darkness which now covers
this land will ere long pass away, and that this
wretched and captive people of Satan will become
tlie people of the Lord of Hosts.

'' We have, occasionally, had some pleasing in-
tercourse with the people. One of us being at a
distant school one Sunday morning, a considerable
number of respectable and tolerably well-educated
men were present, with about forty fine boys.
The truths of Christianity having been closely
pressed on their attention in a sermon just deli-
vered, one of them observed, ' As for ourselves, we
cannot now change our religion ; but we will send
our children to school, and we are willing for them
to become Christians ;' when it was immediately
asked, ^ Is it proper for parents to follow one reli-
gion, and their children another ?' ' No,' answered
another of them ; ' that is improper ; we must all,
therefore, become Christians.' "

They remark of a respectable native who had
shewn them some attention — ^^ The Modeliar invited
one of us, on two successive Sundays, to attend at his
house in the afternoon, when he proposed to assem-
ble the people to hear ; on one of these occasions,
there were about one hiyidred men present ; many
of them appeared struck with the things which
were brought before them ; after the discourse was

VOL. V. E e


CHAP, concluded, they still kept their places, seemingly
^' «anxious to hear more ; the missionary spoke to
them afterward, till his strength was exhausted ;
when he called on the Modeliar, who also, in a few
words, recommended this true religion to their at-
tention. From what has been said, the Christian
will at once perceive what it is that is wanted to
give efficacy to these labours ; doubtless, it is the
enlightening and renewing power of the Holy
Ghost to open the blind eyes, and to turn them from
darhness to light, that they may obtain remission of
siftSy and inheritance among them that are sa^ictified
through faith which is in Jesus J'

Among the candidates for baptism, they parti-
cularly mention one, in 1825, named ''Bartimeus,
a Budhist priest, who had been for several years
wavering on the subject of religion, offered himself
for instruction preparatory to baptism. He threw
off his yellow robe, the badge of his priestly office,
and became nominally a disciple of Christ. He
remained with the missionaries upwards of twelve
months, employed chiefly as a writer ; but as tliey
exercised toward him their accustomed caution, he
at length resumed his yellow robe and left them.
He had acquired a tolerable knowledge of the
Scriptures, particularly of the Gospels ; but the
doctrine of Christ crucified seemed ever to be to
him a stone of stumbling and rock of offence!'

Two other priests tried them in a similar manner ;
but these disappointments only made them more
cautious whom they baptized ; and, so fiir from
yielding to despondency, they remarked — ^' We
cannot but rejoice in the thought that, though we
may not be permitted to realise the object of our
prayers and labours, though we may be called hence
before any peculiar display of the Divine power is
manifested, we are nevertheless preparing the way
of Jehovah in this idolatrous land. Our prayers


will be answered ; and the time is coming, when
both he that sowetli and he that reapeth shall
assuredly rejoice together." This is the spirit in
which every Christian mission should be under-
taken. The labour is with man ; the result is
with God.

12. When the missionaries first arrived at Bad- Grant of
dagame, the place was a mass of rock covered church,
with jungle. The Government having granted a mission-
portion of land, with much labour they cleared it and
of wood, blew up the rock, and levelled a spot for ^^^^f^
the erection of a mission-house. It was built on
the side of a hill close to the river, and for some
time was large enough to accommodate both fami-
lies. They next laid the foundation of a church, a
few yards distant from the house. The difficulty of
erecting it may be judged from the fact, that seven
hundred pounds of gunpowder were required to
blast the rock for the foundation ; while the church
and the house were built of the fragments of rock
thus obtained on the spot. The foundation of this
church was laid February 14. 1821, and it was
opened on Thursday the 11th of March 1822, when
the Archdeacon of Columbo preached in English,
and the Rev. Samuel Lambrick in Cingalese. Sir
Richard Ottley, with the chief officers and families
from Galle, attended.

Of the church Mr Mayor wrote — "' It will con-
tain four hundred persons, and is so constructed
that a gallery may be added without much expense.
It is built of stone ; and will remain, I doubt not,
a monument to future ages of the day when the
Sun of Righteousness first arose upon this benighted
village ; and of that compassion with which the
Saviour has inspired British Christians toward the
deluded natives of Ceylon. It is the first church
which has ever been erected in the interior of this
island, for the sole benefit of the Cingalese." In


CHAP. 1824, this church was consecrated by the Bishop
_U__ of Calcutta.

After a time it was found necessary to build a
second house for Mr Ward and his family, on the
opposite hill ; also two school-rooms of the same
substantial materials.

Mr Mayor found his knowledge of medicine and
surgery of great service among the natives. It also
gave him considerable influence over them, inso-
much that '' the horrid practice resorted to by the
natives in cases of sickness — the ' devil's dance' —
fell into almost entire disuse in the neighbourhood
of Baddagame ; and the people brought their sick
regularly to be healed."

On this subject he wrote in 1823—'' My labours
among the sick and diseased have drawn people
from a distance. I have frequently had patients
from a distance of one hundred miles. The relief
afforded makes them value our residence among
them ; and not only warmly attaches individuals
to us, but causes them, I hope, to entertain a good
opinion of that religion, which teaches us to shew
kindness to all without looking for anything again.
Our influence among the natives is now very con-
siderable ; and will, I trust, be the introduction to
a far better union, even that of Christian fellow-

The missionaries, in their joint report, give an
account of one particular case : — " In the month
of January, the chief priest of Budhu in this
island, being blind, came hither from Kandy, to
place himself under the care of Br. Mayor. A
considerable number of priests accompanied him,
and many more assembled from various parts of
the country to meet him. AYe had thus an oppor-
tunity of distributing among them several copies
of the New Testament and of the Book of Genesis ;
and we had many discussions vAih. them on the


principal subjects of Eevelation. Br. Mayor ope-
rated on the old priest, but he has little hope now
that he will recover his sight. Many prayers have
been offered up to God for him ; he is still, how-
ever, the slave of prejudice and superstition. They
are now in the village ; and their presence, to-
gether with their frequent readings of the Bana,
have confirmed these poor ignorant people more
than ever in the belief of their fabulous doctrines."

Contrary to Mr Mayor's own expectation, the
man recovered his sight ; but the following extract
of a letter from Mr Ward will shew that little
spiritual sight seems at that time to have been
gained by these heathens : —

'' The Kandian priests, who have been in the
village these last ten months, are about to depart
as they came — bigoted and prejudiced against Christ
and His holy word. Before their departure, the
people intend to load them with presents ; but one
man, who has been in our employ from the first
establishment of the mission in the village, on
being called on by his relations to contribute his
share, refused, declaring that he would not give
ANYTHING, that he believed their religion to be
false, and that the Christian religion was the only
true religion. The natural consequence is, that he
is reproached and persecuted by them. His con-
duct is uniformly consistent."

13. With the exception of two of their native Mission-
pupils, of whose conversion they had satisfactory \'^^l(^'^^^
evidence,^ the missionaries saw little to encourage fail—
the hope that their labours thus far had been ^P^^f
owned and blessed by the Lord to the salvation Trimneii.
of sinners. The health of both had suffered from

^ An account of one of tliese youths may be seen in the
Missionary Register 1827. pp. 185-187.




Nellore —



their incessant labours, and unavoidable exposure
to the sun during the progress of their buildings ;
and, in 1826, Mr Ward was advised to retire for a
season. In the same year they were consoled, in
the decline of their own health, by the arrival of
another missionary, the Rev. George Conybeare
Trimnell, whose labours, and the departure, in 1828,
of Messrs Mayor and Ward, after ten years of
active exertion, will be matter for future history.

14. Nellore. — In July 1818, the Rev. Joseph
Knight arrived at Jaffna, and in November re-
moved to Nellore, a village about two miles off,
which afforded him the advantage of sitting down
in the midst of the natives, and yet enabled him
to discharge the duties of chaplain, which he had
hitherto done, at the request of the European
gentlemen at Jaffna, at the Fort Church.

The population around Mr Knight at Nellore
was very numerous ; and the place was one of the
strongholds of idolatry, and had one of the largest
heathen temples in the district, in which it was
said that there were not less than one thousand !

His primary object was the study of Tamul ; and
until he had acquired that language, he refrained
from entering upon any active employment, with
the exception of opening two or three schools for
the natives. By the commencement of 1820, he
had made sufficient progress to be able to preach
in Tamul, and soon after he began to increase the
number of his schools. By the month of August
1820, he had opened nine, which contained two
hundred and seventy scholars, who continued to
increase, until, in July 1821, they amounted to
four hundred and nine, the average attendance
being two hundred and ninety. '^Mr Knight
calculates that, with due assistance and accommo-
dation, he could collect for instruction, within a
mile and a half or two miles of his residence, eight


hundred boys, and in time an equal number of

But these anticipations were soon checked by
an impediment beyond his control, the cholera
morbus, which filled the province with alarm and
death. No less than seven schools were suspended
this very year, 1821, in consequence of the sweep-
ing ravages of this distemper ; and though most of
them were soon after reopened, yet they continued
to fluctuate, from the same cause, throughout the
decade. In 1825, there were, in eleven schools,
four hundred and eleven boys and seventy-three
girls ; but in the following year the numbers were
again reduced, and several of the schools were shut
up for want of masters to supply the places of those
carried off by the awful epidemic.

15. In the department of female education, Mr Effects of
Knight did not succeed, like the American mis- vages of
sionaries, in his neighbourhood, in consequence, cholera.
probably, of his having no wife to superintend it.
He subsequently married, and a good beginning was
made ; but Mrs Knight lived too short a time to
carry her plans into effect. In 1822, the Rev.
Joseph Bailey, and his wife, joined the station ; but
sickness soon compelled them to retire ; and Mr
Bailey, as we have seen, was subsequently stationed
at Cotta. In 1825, his place was supplied at Jaffna
by the Rev. William Adley, who, besides the English
services at the fort church, diligently studied Ta-
mul, with a view to usefulness among the natives.
Mrs Adley also entered with activity into the edu-
cation of the females, and soon collected ten of the
most promising girls from the different schools, to
give them further instruction. The revival, how-
ever, of the cholera, aggravated by a dearth of
food, again scattered the schools and hindered the
labours of the missionaries.

On this occasion, Mr Knight gave the following




A semi-
nary com-

account of the general effect of this visitation on
the natives : — '' Our eftbrts and means of useful-
ness among the people are much affected by these
calamities. They seem, in most cases, to be less
disposed to listen to our instructions ; and, as for-
merly when the disease prevailed, more bent on
their heathenish ceremonies. When any are visited

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 37 of 54)