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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Upon this mode of proceeding they remark : —
'' The method of spreading the Gospel, by sending
our boarding boys to read to the people, has be-
come greatly useful : as it not only enables us to
communicate the truth to hundreds in a day, who
must otherwise remain uninstructed ; but, at the
same time, teaches our boys to defend the Christian
religion from all the false accusations and vain ob-
jections brought against it by the heathen. The

VOL. v. H li


CHAP, females, who have joined our church, often seek
^^^^- opportunities, by going to different houses, of com-
municating truth to their own sex ; and are some-
times successful in persuading a few to break away
from their former customs, to go to the house of
worship, and to listen to the Gospel."

In 1820, a printer, Mr James Garrett, arrived
from America, but was not permitted to remain on
the island, for what cause does not appear. In
this department of labour, the missionaries appear
to have done little ; but they were abundantly
supplied with books and religious tracts from other
sources, which they distributed in great numbers.
On the whole, the general improvement of each
station presented a contrast to its state when esta-
blished but a few years before, which filled their
hearts with gratitude for the past, and with hope
for the future.




1. Hitherto the operations of the London Mission- f^^f^^^
ary Society had been limited to Chinsurah and its Calcutta.
vicinity ;^ but^ in the autumn of 1816^ two mis-
sionaries^ the Rev. Henry Townley and the Rev.
James Keith, arrived to form a station in Calcutta.
In the course of ten years they were followed by
nine others, of whom, at the close of the decade,
only four remained, Messrs Trawin, Gogerley, Hill,
and PifFard, some of their brethren having been
removed by death, or retiring, from sickness and
other causes.

Messrs Townley and Keith commenced their
English service in the Free Masons' Hall, which
was soon insufficient for their increasing congrega-
tion, when they were permitted to use a temporary
place of worship occupied by the Presbyterians
while their own church was building. They shortly
opened a place for preaching at Hourah, on the
other side of the river Hooghly, where the attend-
ance was good. Mr Townley built a school-room
in Calcutta, large enough to accommodate one hun-
dred children, and Mr Keith engaged a Poojah-

Book xi. chap. 3. Appendix I. of this Vol.


CHAP, house (a place for Pagan worship) for another.
^^^'- They also commenced a Sunday school, m which
the children learned the Catechism ; and some of
their parents attended.

In about a twelvemonth they had made suffi-
cient progress in Bengalee to enable them to preach
in that language ; and, having no place in which
to assemble the natives, they set a table, under
cover, on their premises, with gospels and tracts ;
there they sat, and read to any native who might
stop ; and thus they found opportunity to enter
into frequent conversations, and distribute many
books. This they did every evening, and soon
found their opportunities for preaching multiply
faster than they were able to embrace them, and
they wrote home in urgent terms for more help.
Tally 2. In 1819, they occupied a new station, at

givefup Tally Gunge, of which they gave the following ac-
to the s. count :— '' Kalee Ghaut is the seat of Kalee Ma, or
p. c. K. ;g|^^^^. Mother — the Diana of the Hindoos in this
district. It is situated about three miles from the
southern boundary of Calcutta. Tally Gunge is
about one mile to the south of Kalee Ghaut, and in
the neighbourhood, not merely of the multitudes
resorting for religious purposes to Kalee Ghaut, but
of a great resident population. Going forth three
miles from Tally Gunge in all directions, probably
not fewer than one hundred thousand souls — all
ignorant of themselves, of God, and of the way of
salvation — would be found." Here they built a
school-room ; and having obtained the loan of a
house, rent free, one of them resided at this station
alternate weeks, and they had reason to be thankful
for the measure of success vouchsafed to their
labours. After a few years, however, at the request
of the Diocesan Committee of the Christian Know-
ledge Society, the station, being connected with
their schools in that quarter, was rehnquished to


tollah an!
otlier sta-


them^ on their defraying the expenses which had
been incurred. It is much to be desired that all
Societies engaged in the same great work^ would
accommodate one another in this friendly manner,
where it can be done without injury to their own

3. In May 1820, they laid the foundation-stone Chaids
of a spacious place of worship at Dhurrumtollah, j^]' '
called '' Union Chapel/' which was finished and
opened in the following April. Nearly four tliou-
sand pounds were raised in India for its erection,
another evidence of the growing improvement in
public feeling towards religious objects. At this
time the missionaries occupied twenty-one stations,
within the city of Calcutta and in the suburbs, at
which they preached weekly, in Bengalee ; besides
preaching out-of-doors, in different districts where
the native population was largest. The service at
Union Chapel was in English, which was well
attended. At Kidderpore, and the other stations,
chapels were erected for Bengalee worship, and
sometimes large congregations attended. Of these
assemblies the missionaries wrote, in 1824 — '^On
many occasions, these little bungalow chapels are
crowded with attentive hearers ; who, at the con-
clusion of the service, frequently exhibit evident
marks of astonishment and concern at what they
hear — confessing that, if ever they are saved, it
must be by believing on Christ. JELundreds have
expressed doubts respecting the trutli of tlieir pre-
sent system, and have declared their determination
to investigate the claims of Christianity. Many,
also, who have attended for the express purpose of
cavilling and laughter, have gone away deeply im-
pressed with the importance of preparing for eter-
nity." In the following year the\' Ir.'gan to reap
the fruits of these exertions, and they had the
satisfaction of sending home the following rojiort of


CHAP, their result. On the 18th of October 1825, five
^^^- adults were baptized at Kidderpore, on a public
avowal of their renouncing idolatry and receiving
the Gospel ; three had been before baptized by Mr
Trawin ; on the 3d of April, four were added ; and
on the 9th of May, three more, making a total of
fifteen. At Rammakalchoke, the inhabitants de-
molished their image of Siva, and erected a substan-
tial chapel with the materials of the idol's temple.
Schools 4. Eight boys' schools, and five for girls, were

yoVng\nd estabhshcd at Calcutta, Kidderpore, and the other
adults. principal stations, containing in the aggregate, at
the close of the decade, three hundred boys and
one hundred girls. A Sabbath adult school also
was opened at Kidderpore, composed at first of the
workmen of a gentleman, and afterwards joined by
others, till the numbers increased to eighty. In
all these schools the Scriptures were taught, to
which, in the Sunday school, the Catechism was
added ; and the missionaries give of the whole the
following report : — ^^ We are thankful in being able
to give an account which, as it regards the increase
of schools, the number and improvement of the
children under Christian instruction, and the in-
crease of labourers, is truly encouraging. Hope
animates to redoubled exertions, by the fruits al-
ready presented as the reward of our toils. Cate-
chisms and short prayers are committed to memory,
the Scriptures are daily read and explained, and a
goodly number of adults are gaining a considerable
knowledge of the fundamental truths of Christianity,
by the catechetical lectures delivered at the schools
and the Bengalee sermon which follows. The
schools afibrd striking instances of the good efiects
which result from the religious instruction of youth.
It almost invariably disposes the parents to respect
the missionaries ; and, consequently, to receive their
admonitions with attention."

IN INDIA : BOOK Xlil. 487

The female schools were chiefly under the charge
of a Miss Piffard, who erected the buildings and
supported the schools at her own expense, and gave
to them her personal superintendence. This gene-
rous and indefatigable lady was assisted by one of
the missionaries' wives, Mrs Trawin ; and they had
much to encourage them, in the decline of the
native prejudice against female education, and in
the readiness of the children to be instructed.

5. The press also was an important engine in Printing
these operations. In 1819, Mr George Gogerley ^^^^^'
arrived, to take charge of the printing department,

for which he was well qualified, and to assist in the
Sunday school. The press was chiefly employed in
printing tracts, in Bengalee, Hindoostanee, Hin-
duwee, and English, which were distributed far and
wide ; and by the close of 1826, nearly one hundred
and fifty thousand of these little winged messengers
had been sent forth to proclaim the Gospel of peace.
Much of the expense of this mission was defrayed
by local contributions, the missionaries having suc-
ceeded in establishing an Auxiliary Society, which
proved a liberal source of supply.

6. Chinsurah. — An account of the estabUshment schools at
and progress of this station, the first of the Society ^^^^^

in Bengal, has already been given.^ The chief
object of the missionaries here, we have seen, was
the education of youth ; and at the opening of the
present decade, they had thirty- six schools under
their charge, including on the books nearly three
thousand children, of whom about two-thirds were
in actual attendance. The scholars consisted chiefly
of Mahomedans and Hindoos, a great proportion of
whom were Brahmins.

The extension of these schools creating a neces- Book^and




' I^<>i)k xi. rlifip. 3.


CHAP, sity for books, which there were at that time no
^^^- means of supplying, in 1817, a society was formed
at Calcutta, called ^^The School-Book Society," to
meet this urgent demand. They began with pub-
lishing elementary works of instruction in Bengalee
and Hindoostanee ; to which were subsequently
added, the Sanscrit, Hinduwee, Ooriya, Arabic,
Persian, English, Anglo-Asiatic, and a few others.^
From these works all religious instruction was ex-
cluded, none being allowed in the majority of the
schools, which were supported by Government, and
the society being formed of Hindoos and Mahome-
dans, as well as Christians. Their publications,
which were designed for the native youth, soon
attracted the notice of the more intelligent adults
also, for they contained much information that was
new to them, and they were the means of diffusing
generally much useful knowledge.

In the following year, 1818, another society,
called ^' The Calcutta School Societ}^," was insti-
tuted by the same parties, whose object was to
assist and improve existing indigenous schools, to
establish and support any further schools and semi-
naries which might be required, and to prepare
select pupils of distinguished talents, by a superior
course of education, for becoming teachers and
translators. Both these institutions were liberally
supported by Government.^

Mr May, the founder and able conductor of the
Chinsurah schools, did not live to see these societies,
which arose out of his own exertions, in full opera-
tion. For some time his health had been declining,
and, in August 1818, he removed to Calcutta for
medical advice, where he died the day after his

^ Lusliington's History of Calcutta Institutions, p. 156, et seq.
Appendix No. 9, where a list of the books is given.
» Ibid., p. 168, etseq.


arrival. Mr Pearson took his place as superin-
tendent of the numerous schools, assisted by Mr
Harle at Bankipore ; and but for the want of funds,
they might immediately have opened twenty more
schools, being compelled to refuse that number of
petitions from various villages. Mr Pearson trans-
lated into Bengalee the British System of Education,
and established, with advantage, public examina-

7. A short time before Mr May's death, Chin- fj^;^^^^^^^
surah was restored to the Dutch, Avhich caused a the Dutch,
change in the European society, and deprived the ^^l^'^^^.f'
schools of the patronage of Mr Commissioner Forbes, to be sup-
At first their scholars were diminished, but the fi'^e'Britilh
schools do not seem materially to have suffered. Govern-
when it was known that the British Government
continued to support them. The Dutch Governor
also countenanced them, and under his protection
they soon nearly recovered their former number.
The Gospels, together with Scripture selections,
were introduced into several of the schools, simply
as class-books, without any explanation or personal
application of their contents ; and this, so far from
giving offence, led both teachers and scholars fre-
quently to soUcit from the missionaries copies of
the sacred Scriptures, or books treating on Christi-

8. This decline of native prejudice encouraged Missron
the missionaries to open schools on the mission ac- opened.
count, in which a Christian education was avowedly
given ; and, in 1822, they gave the following report
of the result : — '' We have taken under our care
four native schools, containing about two hundred
children. The Catechism and Scriptures are learnt,
and read by them daily. On Sabbath morning they
are all assemljled in our large Bengalee chapel
(where we every evening exhibit a crucified Saviour
to tho people), when we catechise and expound to


^HAP. them. This commenced about ten weeks ago, and

1 1 has hitherto gone on with great success : we are

indeed constrained to say, What hath God wrought !
Five 3'ears ago, on Br. Pearson's arrival, the name
of Christ could scarcely be mentioned to a boy, or
a printed book put into his hand, though its con-
tents were nothing but a few fables, so great were
their prejudices ; but now what a door is opening
for the communication of that knowledge which
shall cause them utterly to forsake the dumb idols
of their forefathers !" This continued to increase
till the number on Sundays amounted to nearly
three hundred ; and the progress of the scholars in
Christian knowledge was very encouraging.

A commencement was made also in female edu-
cation, four schools being opened in and round
Chinsurah, containing together about one hundred

But the missionaries were not so absorbed in
education as to forget the more important duty of
proclaiming the Gospel to the heathen. They
devoted the mornings and evenings to preaching
in Bengalee, and distributing tracts. In 1821, they
erected a chapel on the outside of one of the town
gates, where, or on the roadside, they daily took their
stand, and addressed all who stopped to hear. The
plan pursued in the evening service at the chapel
is thus described : — '' On a raised part of the floor
we place a table, a stool, and a candlestick ; one
of us sits down, and the people coming in take their
seats also on stools and benches, in front and on
either side. The missionary opens the Bible-, reads,
expounds, and prays ; then, sitting down again,
converses with his hearers on what has been con-
sidered. Often do I think that I could sit and
converse thus night and day. Independently of
the good which, by the blessing of God, we may
expect will accrue to the people, here is rapid im-


proveinent in the language^ — in the knowledge of
popular objections, with the mode of refuting them ;
and, best of all, in the exercise of faith and love :
for we find that hard words, or hard arguments, if
alone, will do just as much as hard stones toward
making men Christians." The congregations were
generally numerous and attentive ; and it is further
remarked : — '' In consequence of our having been
so much among the natives lately, we are become
universally known; and, as we pass along the
streets, they will point at us and say, ' There go
Jesus Christ's men ! ' "

For somfe time they were assisted in these
ministrations by Mr Townley, who, in 1821, re-
moved hither from Calcutta for the benefit of his
health, and continued to assist his brethren, until
sickness compelled him to embark for Europe.
The missionaries found time to pay some attention
also to the translation of tracts and school-books,
and to superintend the press ; but, for want of
assistance, they could not pursue these branches of
operation so far as they desired.

9. Benares. — The directors of the Society liav- :Mission
ing for some time contemplated the establishment ^^^'^^ ^^
of a mission at Benares, in October 1819, they sent Benares,
out a missionary. Rev. M. T. Adam, for that
station. He arrived at Calcutta in the following
spring. During his sojourn at Calcutta, the
Society's report states : — ''Mr Adam obtained much
useful information, but particularly from the Rev.
Daniel Corrie, who had formerly resided at Be-
nares, and whose communications were made in
the kindest manner possible."

In August 1820, he reached Benares, and fixed
his residence at Secrole, near the city. While
studying the language of the place, he employed
himself in distributing tracts, particularly at the
great public festivals, when the resort of Hindoos


CHAP, to Benares from the various parts of India was
•^^^' immense. He also held public service in English
in his own house^ which was attended by some of
the British troops. The interest they took in his
ministrations was evinced in a gratifpng manner,
by their setting on foot a subscription, during his
absence at some distance from home, and erecting
a chapel for him on ground granted by the general
within the cantonments. Mr Adam preached in
this chapel on Sunday and Tuesday evenings,
and gave as much time to the instruction of his
countrymen as he could spare from his other

He established three schools for the natives,
which, in 1826, were increased to six, in which
Sanscrit, Hindee, and Persian were taught ; and
the Scriptures were introduced into all the classes
sufficiently advanced to read them. The schools,
at the last report of this year, contained 260 boys;
and the missionary reports, in 1826 — ^'they ex-
hibit evidence of improvement. In all of them,
the Bible is an established school-book, while the
native school-books are excluded. The higher
Hindoostanee classes have made considerable pro-
gress in the Catechism, and one class reads the
Hinduwee Testament. Although, in consequence
of the Scriptures being taught in the schools, some
of the people have taken away their children, yet
is there a manifest decline of prejudice evinced on
the part of others, who have ceased to object to
the schools on this score ; while, on the other
hand, the boys manifest greater willingness to
read the Scriptures and Christian books, and more
ardent thirst for knowledge in general."

On the distribution of tracts at the melas or
fairs, he remarks : —

'' The tracts and portions of the Scriptures
which liave been distributed may, bv the blessing


of the Lord^ make known the way of salvation in
many a village, and to many persons, secluded, by
distance or other causes, from the instructions of
the voice of the Christian missionary ; so that
it is impossible to calculate the actual extent to
which the knowledge of Jehovah, and of His saving
health, may be communicated by means of even
one of these large assemblies, held for the express
purpose of supporting the kingdom of darkness, or
of celebrating the feats of some of its distinguished
agents. It is thus that Hindooism itself, by its
observances, presents many favourable oppor-
tunities for missionary exertions, not to be met
with in many other heathen and Mahomedan

In December 1826, he had the happiness of
welcoming a coadjutor, the Rev. James Robertson,
who took up his abode in the north-east part of
the city, where no schools had been established,
either by his colleague or the church missionaries.
A commodious and substantial mission-house had
recently been erected, and they started on the
next decade with bright hopes of success.

10. In the year 1821, the Society sent a deputa- Report of
tion, Messrs Tyerman and Bennett, to visit their
missions in the South Seas and the East Indies.
After reporting upon the state of the North India
missions, in 1826, they remark : —

" Having now given some account of the state
of things as w^e have seen them in Calcutta, Kidder-
pore, Chinsurah, Berampore, and Benares, we
would remark generally, that our expectations re-
specting the missionary good that has been eftected,
and the prospects of more good being done, have
been greatly exceeded by what we have found,
and by what, under the blessing of God, we may
reasonably hope. Our flxith respecting the conver-
sion of the Hindoos has been much increased by

the mis-


CHAP, what we have seen both in Bengal and in the
^^^' upper provinces ; and from the concurrent testi-
mony of wise and observing men, who describe
the great difference that there is between the state
of things now and what it was some years ago,
both among the rich and poor Hindoos, and among
the Brahmins, many of whom begin to be ashamed
of the gross impositions which they have so long
practised, and of the oppressions which, by pre-
scription, they have inflicted on the inferior castes.
The reverential regard, reaching to actual adoration,
with which these inferior castes treated the Brah-
mins, is very much lessened. We think we see
the fetters of caste very much weakened ; and we
do cheerfully hope that the whole series of the
links of this cruel chain will be for ever broken,
under the commendable 'moderation and prudence
of our enlightened government ; and especially by
the blessing of God on the efforts of prudent
Christian members and missionaries, who, while
the}^ preach the Gospel very widely and faithfully,
exhibit a Scriptural temper and conduct toward one
another, toward the European inhabitants, and
toward the heathen population, and who are also
zealously engaged in superintending the education
of the young of both sexes, and in writing, print-
ing, and distributing useful books, especially the
Scriptures, to so very great an extent.

'' The effects which have been already produced
on the native population by the introduction of an
increased number of wise and good missionaries,
and members of religion not being missionaries,
have already been great, directly, in various parts
of India ; nor less so indirectly, by having effected
so manifest a moral improvement in the resident
British population in these parts. This change is
so great and so valuable, that no reflecting per-
son can help seeing it, and no benevolent person


can avoid rejoicing in it. The decencies of social
life are decorously observed — the day of God is
distinguished — the places of religious worship^ in
and out of the establishraent^ are well filled — the
institutions and ministers of religion are reverenced
—and many pious families in the different ranks
of society among the British offer their daily
thanks to God^ and pray that His kingdom may
come and spread until it shall cover the whole






Account of 1. The arrival of another missionary for this
^t^fUrT station in the autumn of 1816 was mentioned
convert, in the last volume. He was accompanied by
several brethren destined for other stations^ who^
during their detention at Madras, were actively
engaged in various ways, and a considerable revival
took place in the mission. They preached to three
English congregations and one native, all of which
they describe as in a prosperous state. Hitherto,
as we have seen, little attention had been paid to
the natives, Mr Loveless being entirely engaged in

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 41 of 54)