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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satisfaction of establishing a female school, under
the instruction of Gunga, a competent female native.
This is the first school of the kind, we believe,
established on this side of India. It seemed quite
beyond our expectations ; and as soon as its esta-
blishment was known, two pious ladies most heartily
engaged to defray its expense. But, about the
middle of May, the epidemic cholera revisited
Bombay, and indeed all parts of India, with awful
violence and fatality ; and, among the dying thou-
sands of Bombay, Gunga, the school-mistress, was
one ! The school was broken up at once, as we
knew of no one to fill her place. When we consider
the obloquy which this native female had to brave,
and the fetters which she had to break, in order to
her engaging in this emplojanent ; when we consi-
der that the Hindoo shasters denounce misfortunes,
early widowhood, and early death to the female
who dares to learn or dares to teach ; we cannot
but consider this as a truly dark and mysterious

Shortly after, however, they opened two other
schools, but were obliged to engage Brahmins of
respectability to instruct the girls, not being able
to get female teachers. This branch of labour was.


at the close of the Decade^ in too mcipient a state
to claim further notice.

The missionaries opened domestic schools also,
for the education of Hindoo children in their fami-
lies. But these^ at first^ they found it difticult to
obtain^ owing to the violence formerly practised by
the Portuguese on the natives and their religion,
the remembrance of which kept alive their jealousy.
The missionaries were not long, however, in gain-
ing their confidence ; and^ in 1823^ there were fifty
children — East Indian, natives, and Black Jews —
divided between their three families. Some of the
children were maintained by benefactors ; the re-
mainder were paid for by their parents ; and the
missionaries hoped, not only by the income derived
from this source materially to diminish the ex-
penses of the mission, but also to strengthen it in
a point still more important. To this Mr Nicholls
thus adverts, in speaking of the children, thir-
teen in number, under the care of Mrs Nicholls
— ^^ Many of them are making rapid progress in
religious knowledge, are quite serious, and retire
very regularly for prayer. These children are
destined to a rank and respectability flir above the
great mass of the population, and even above the
first classes of the Hindoos and Mussulmans. Of
what immense importance, then, is their religious
instruction !"

6. In the printing department their success was The press
very satisfactory. Their press was employed by ^^"^^^^^"^^
the Christian Knowledge Society, the Bombay christian
School-Book Society, and others, as well as for fj"^^';,^j
their own purposes. In May 1821, a printer, Mr other «o.
James Garrett, arrived, and entered on the super- '''''^''^'•
intendence of the press. They soon printed and
circulated a great number of tracts in Mahratta
and Hindoostanee, and some of the Je\vish teachers
were amons their most active distrilnitors. The


CHAP, report at the close of the decade states^ that ^'from
-^^^' the commencement of the mission they had pub-
hshed nineteen different rehgious tracts^ besides
several others not so exclusively of the religious cha-
racter/ in such editions as to amount^ all together,
to more than one hundred thousand copies. A few
of these are translations from English tracts ; but
most of them were composed on the spot, with the
peculiar circumstance of the people in view. All
these, except twenty thousand seven hundred, have
been distributed, almost universally, one hy one —
hearing the receiver read a portion of each, and
accompanying it with a few words of Christian
advice — receiving, too, a promise that it should be
carefully preserved and read. They are sought for
by many adults, as well as children and youth ; and
received with avidity. There are, comparatively,
few of any class capable of reading, who are unwill-
ing or afraid to receive them. During the past year,
about twenty thousand small tracts and portions of
Scripture have been distributed or used in our
schools. Besides finishing the printing of the New
Testament, and printing a considerable number of
tracts for the Bombay District Committee of the
Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, there
have been published or reprinted by the mission
thirty- two thousand small tracts, making more than
two millions of pages, 18mo. and 12mo., at a cost of
one thousand and eighty- six rupees."
Mahratta 7. But their great work was the Mahratta trans-
t[on of the It'^tion of the Scripture, of which they printed single
fecriptuies. portlonsfor distribution before the wliolcwas finished.
They conducted their translation of the' sacred

^ One of these was a geograpliical and astronomical tract,
of sixty-four octavo pages, containing a map of India, and a re-
presentation of the Solar System and of Eclipses.


volume with too much care to make very rapid
progress. They sought assistance wherever there
was hope of obtaining it; ^^yet, after all our care/'
they remarked^ '' we are not insensible that our
work^ as well as others of this kind^ must bear many
marks of imperfection^ and will need much improv-
ing. Yet, had we not been aiming for something
that will be, in the main, correct and permanent,
we should have proceeded with much greater rapi-
dity, and spared our often repeated investigations :
but we think them requisite, not only on account
of the importance and difficulty of discovering the
most appropriate Avords and phrases, but because
the idiomatical position of words in Mahratta, re-
quires so much transposition of the original words
and members of sentences, that, without the greatest
care, their relation to one another is liable to be
lost. Whatever degree of success may attend or be
wanting in our exertions in this part of our work,
we are actuated, in our moderation, we believe, by
a reverent regard to the purity and sacredness of
God's holy Word." And in order to attain the
greatest accuracy, they invited the remarks of Mah-
ratta scholars upon their translation in the news-

By the close of 1826 they had finished the New
Testament, and made some progress with the Old.

8 . Such was the result of the labours of thirteen Death of
years, carried on amidst much interruption from ndifoun-
the removal of missionaries by sickness and death, tier of the
Of the eight who had arrived, only two and the
printer remained to serve their three principal sta-
tions. The last death was that of the Rev. Gordon
Hall, who founded the mission in 1813, and died
March 20. 1826. From the first he had been the
life and guide of the operations of the mission ; and
of his capabiUties to direct them the American
Board remarked — ''Amono; Mr TTnll's nntural qnnh-


472 rnsTORY of Christianity

<^^AP. ties, force of mind was the most prominent; and
this he possessed in so high a degree, as to predis-
pose and to quaUfy him for great undertakings:
"^connected with this, was so much piety and moral
courage, as rendered him, by the grace of God,
strong and unyielding in purposes of Christian be-
nevolence ; and, blessed with health, he held on his
way, amidst numerous trials and discouragements,
until he thought he beheld the dawn of the morning,
and saw the clouds breaking, and the star of pro-
mise shining in the East."^

His surviving colleagues, who could best appre-
ciate his worth, thus feelingly deplore his loss : —
'^ Since this bereavement, we have endeavoured to
keep up the general operations of the mission : but
his personal labours among the people, his counsel
and encouragement, his investigations of subjects
connected with the translation of the Scriptures,
aud the responsibility which he bore in all the con-
cerns of the mission, are a great loss, which, while
we live, is irreparable to us except by peculiar as-
sistance from Above."

^ Besides the memoir of this distinguished missionary, of
which we have made use in our account of this mission, an
interesting ohitiiary of him may be seen in the Missionary
Kegister for 1827, pp. 345-350.




1. On the 22d of March 1816, five missionaries Themis-
arrived at Cohimbo, Messrs Poor, Eichards, Bard- sioncom-

' y ' ^ menceu at

well, Meigs and Warren, where they met' with a Tiiiipaiiy
friendly reception from the Governor- General Brown- coua^^"^'
rigg, with other persons in authority, and the Eng-
lish missionaries. After consulting, by correspon-
dence, with their brethren at Bombay and other
missionaries upon the stations best for them to
occupy, it was resolved that Mr Bardwell should
proceed to Bombay, as we have seen in the account
of that mission, and the other four to the province
of Jaffna. The monsoon preventing their imme-
diate removal, they employed themselves usefully
at Columbo, where they were detained about six
months. By the 1st of October, they were all safe
at Jaffnapatam, and on the 9th, in a joint letter,
they give the following account of their station and
prospects : — '' We have visited the places in which
we hope to spend our lives, in opening the treasures
of the Gospel to the heathen. Tillipally is situated
about ten miles north, and Batticotta six miles
north-west, of Jaffnapatam. At each place, there
are between three and four acres of land, on whicli
stand a dwelling-house, a large church without a
roof, c.nd a variety of fruit-trees. From the esti-


CHAP mates that have been made, 1200 or 1500 dollars

1 1 would be necessary to make such repairs as a

prosperous mission at these stations would require."^
Messrs Poor and Warren were stationed at Tilli-
pally, about ten miles north of Jaifnapatam, and
Messrs Richards and Meigs at Batticotta, about six
miles to the north-west, where, and in two or three
adjacent villages, they soon commenced operations.
Assisted The Government granted them several unoccupied
vernment Portugueso buildiugs in the districts for their dwell-
with laiids mg-houses, chapels, and schools, together with seve-
ings. ' ral acres of land attached to them, and afforded
them other assistance. Here they commenced ope-
rations without loss of time, but their proceedings
were interrupted by sickness, and in the following
year each station was left with only one labourer.
The missionaries, Meigs and Poor, in a letter dated
December 27. 1817, in pleading for more aid, thus
feelingly lament their loss : — '' By the removal of
our two brethren, in such circumstances, we feel
that our strength is greatly reduced. Whether we
regard them as beloved companions, and fellow-
labourers in the mission, or as physicians whose
services our families, situated as they are at a dis-
tance from the European settlements, greatly need,
we cannot but regard their removal as a great afflic-
tion. But our minds are more deeply affected when
we consider its influence upon the state of the mis-
sion. Just at the time when we had nearly com-
pleted the necessary repairs for living comfortably
among the heathen, and in some degree prepared
ourselves for eno-ao-ino: with undivided attention to
the appropriate duties of the mission with pleasmg

^ They tlien proceed to describe the state and character of
the province, which is given in the Society's 8th Keport: but it
does not differ from the descriptions of other missionaries,
which we have ah-eady given.


prospects of success, we are deprived of half our

2. They were soon able to preach to the natives The sta-
in Tamul, when on the Lord's day, and two even- ^^''e^scd'
ings in the week, they were employed in reading six'around
and expounding the Scriptures. They likewise dis- fam"''^'^'
coursed with the people on other occasions, as their
avocations would permit. In 1820, they occupied

two more stations — Oodooville and Panditeripo. In
1821, they established themselves at Manepy, and
in 1824, at Kaits. So that at the close of 1826,
they were actively employed at six stations, with
their adjacent villages, all at convenient distances
from Jafinapatam, and occupied by missionaries and
native assistants.

3. The attendance on their preaching was some- a revival,
times numerous, exceeding two hundred, and their
behaviour generally serious. The divine blessing

was soon vouchsafed to their ministrations, and, in
1821, their native flock consisted of fourteen con-
verts, who were sufficiently established in the faith
to be admitted to the Lord's Table. Three were
added to these in 1822, but this measure of success
did not satisfy the missionaries' burning zeal ; and
in December 1823, they held a meeting with the
missionaries of other societies in Jaffna, to consider
what means could be used for the more rapid diflii-
sion of the Gospel. They considered it an appro-
priate sulrject for personal humiliation before God,
and agreed to set apart a day for fasting and praj-er.
With this they redoubled their exertions, and the
result was soon apparent, especially among tlie
senior scholars, with several adults who had for
some time attended the preaching of the Gospel,
and now professed themselves seriously concerned
to live a Christian life to the glor\' of God. There
appeared, indeed, to be a general awakening to the
importance of religion, which soon began to attract


c^^^- public notice. How incredulous soever mankind
^^^^' may be on the alleged religious revivals, which have
sometimes made much noise in the world, yet, in the
present instance, none could deny the fact, that a
number of persons had apparently a '' serious con-
cern for the salvation of their souls, arising under
the use of the ordinary means of grace diligently
employed, though occurring within a short period
of time. And if the abundant influences of the
Holy Spirit have been long and earnestly sought,
and fervent prayer has been accompanied by dili-
gent and persevering labour, shall we not expect
and look for the blessing ? — and, when the blessing
begins to descend, shall we not gratefully acknow-
ledge it, and cherish it as the best gift of God to
His devoted servants ?"

'' Such manifestations, indeed, of the grace of
God are accompanied, in our present state of weak-
ness and temptation, with danger ; and the danger
is serious and imminent in proportion to the mag-
nitude of the interests which are at stake. But, of
this danger, the missionaries themselves — who were
not hasty and sanguine men, but men of thought
and experience — were well aware. They were pre-
pared for disappointment . They were not forgetful
of the weakness of man, nor of the power and ma-
lignity of the Great Adversary, nor of the proba-
bility of those trials which might be needful to keep
alive in their minds entire dependence on the Lord.
They looked for that evidence, which time alone
could develop — the abiding fruits of righteous-

On this movement, the American Board of Mis-
sions remarked — '' During this very interesting sea-
son of special attention to religion, not less than 150
persons, at all the five stations, manifested more or
less concern for their souls. It was, however, with
the revival in Ceylon, as it is with revivals in our


own land — a part only of those whose attention is
excited^ whose fears are roused^ really repent of sin,
and believe in Christ."

This appearance of blossom did not pass away
without fruit. The missionaries were disappointed
in a few that promised fair ; but their hopes of
others were fully realized. Their converts gradu-
ally increased ; and at the close of 1826, they made
the following report of the state of their flock : —
^^ The mission church now contains not less than
ninety native communicants — many possessing fine
minds ; several considerably advanced in learning ;
some useful preachers of the Gospel to their country-
men ; and all hopefully pious, and, amidst tempta-
tions such as we by experience know nothing of,
adorning their profession by a Christian life. There
is no special religious excitement now, at any of our
stations, but some encouraging appearances : our
meetings among ourselves havebecome more solemn,
and a spirit of prayer is more prevalent."

4. In the education of youth the missionaries Male, re-
appear to have been eminently successful, which is £rding^
to be accounted for, in some measure, by the faci- schools.
lities which the local authorities afforded them.
They were at comparatively small expense for
building, Government everywdiere allowing them
to appropriate what they found ready to their
hands. Within two years after their arrival, they
had, at Batticotta and Tillipally, fifteen schools,
with seven hundred scholars. iVt the close of
1826, they numbered, at their six stations, no less
than seventy schools, containing two thousand six
hundred and eighty-six children, of whom nearly
five hundred were girls. The subject of female
education had long engaged their anxious thoughts ;
and, after much difficulty, they succeeded to the
extent here mentioned, chiefly through the perse-
verance of their wives. On this interesting de-


CHAP, partment of labour tliey make the following judi-
^"^- eious remarks : — '' The education of females, though
rapidly advancing, is attended with many difiicul-
ties ; and will be thus attended, for a long time to
come : the whole frame of society must be pulled
down and rebuilt, before women can enjoy their
rightful privileges, and be elevated to their proper
rank. This mighty work can only be accomplished
by the all-pervading influence of Christian prin-
ciple, diffused by education, by example, and by
persevering labour in all these ways, accompanied
by the special influences of the Holy Spirit. One
of the first impediments to the improvement of
females, is the difficulty of finding any employments
for them, compatible with cultivation of mind or
elevation of character : but such employment will
be found, as true civilisation shall advance under
the auspices of Christianity."

Besides these general schools, they commenced,
in 1822, a central establishment, at Batticotta, for
the reception of their most promising j'ouths, to be
trained for future service among their countrymen.
In 1826, it contained one hundred and twenty-
three pupils ; and, at the same time, the brethren
gave the following account of the establishment : —
'' This school is considered as the germ of the in-
tended COLLEGE ; most of the youths, divided into
two classes, are pursuing the studies intended for
the first and second years of college course. In
reference to the college it is stated by the Board : —
Suites of plain low rooms, sufficiently large for the
boys to eat, sleep, and study in ; with a neat col-
lege edifice, for hall, lecture-rooms, library, &c.,
and a small chapel, are needed. Through the
generosity of several gentlemen in Ceylon and
Madras, the missionaries have been able to com-
mence, and have now nearly finished, two sets of
rooms for the students, containino; three rooms


each ; and one large and handsome room for a
hall, and other purposes, until a college edifice may
be built. These are all situated on the Church or
Government lands at Batticotta."

Nor was this the extent of their schools. They
had besides, like their brethren at Bombay, do-
mestic, or, as they sometimes call them, benefi-
ciary schools, most of the pupils being maintained
by benefactors in America. There was one at each
station, and the missionaries state : — '' The care
and instruction of these schools devolve, in a great
degree, on the females of our mission, assisted by
natives ; and though domestic duties may prevent
them from labouring, to any great extent, among
the people, they may in this way be very useful.
In these schools, much religious instruction is daily
given, and all possible care is taken to keep the
scholars from the contaminating influence of heathen
customs. The change effected in the habits of
these children, by the discipline of a fcAV days only,
is exceedingly interesting ; and the number from
these schools who have been added to our church
sufliciently proves, that the moral influence of such
discipline is most happy."

On this statement the American Board re-
marked : — ^^ Among these boarding scholars, in
number about two hundred, the Spirit of God
seems chiefly to have operated. The missionaries
indulge the hope, varying in degree with respect to
different individuals, that more than one-third of
these scholars have become pious. This is a grand
result. And how was it brought about ? AMiile
the missionaries are all men of finished education,
and would be respected for their talents and attain-
ments in any society of men, they imitate, in their
mode of operating on heathen minds, the great
Apostle to the Gentiles, who determined to know
nothing except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified ; and


CHAP, preached^ not with enticing words of mans wisdom,
^^^^' hut in demonstration of the Spirit and of power. No
parade was made of human learning. Philosophy
had no agency. The grand result was produced
by the simple inculcation of religious truth — ^by
the simple means which are used by all evangelical
missionaries^ at every missionary station in the

^* On the effects of the schools^ and the evidence
which they afford of the Divine blessing, the mis-
sionaries state : — ' We are training up a reading
POPULATION ; and it is very noticeable, even now,
when we go among the people to distribute tracts,
that the young men who have been educated in our
schools are by far the most eager to receive them,
and the most able to read them with understanding.
In the central school at Batticotta, there are now
twenty-two, who give good evidence that they are
born from above : most of these possess talents
which would not disgrace the ministry. These,
with a number of boys in the school at Tillipally,
and others who are helpers in the mission, are the
fruits of that system on which we have acted. To
the Lord be all the praise for the work accom-
plished !' "

All these operations were carried on, as in other
missions, by repeated interruption from sickness
and death. At the close of 1826, there were six
missionaries, one being a medical man, Dr Scud-
der, whose exertions for the recovery of the sick
had been very successful, and tended to increase
the popularity of the mission in the country. He
was subsequently ordained by the brethren to the
ministry, and then acted in the twofold capacity of
physician to the body and the soul.

They had from the first availed themselves of the
assistance of converts on whose piety and capabi-
lities they could rely. They had now several of


these native assistants, of whose exertions they
thus speak : — ^' The labours of our native preachers
continue to increase, and to occupy a more and
more important sphere in our mission. As we
ourselves have acquired strength by the advance
made in the native language, their labours as inter-
preters have become of less importance ; and^ in-
stead of being our medium of communication with
the people, they have now become, in a more im-
portant sense, themselves, preachers of the Gospel.
They have heretofore been principally occupied
nearer home : but are now beo'inninsi: to itinerate at
a greater distance among the people ; and generally
spend five or six days of each month, either sepa-
rately or unitedly, on the islands adjacent, or in
different parts of this district. For itinerating in
this way, they have peculiar advantages, many of
which it is impossible for us to possess ourselves:
they can leave home without neglecting other
duties, which are essential to the interest of the
mission ; and they can, with less exposure, endure
the fatigue and inconvenience which attend such
tours in this country."

They employed their elder scholars also, in
spreading the Gospel abroad, whom they sent forth
by two and two, to go into villages, fields, and
streets, and from house to house, for the purpose
of preaching the Gospel, or of reading tracts or
extracts and portions from the Scriptures.

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 40 of 54)