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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have been expected."^
Scriptures 3. In this work they had the assistance of an
ratt^^sup. intelhgent native Christian, Nriput Sing ; and they
P^ied by wcro hbcrally supphed with the Gospels, Acts, and
and chrL- Book of Goucsis, in Mahratta, by the Bombay
t^a^n^^ Auxiliary Bible Society ; and, by the Christian
ledgj' Knowledge Society's District Committee, with the
Societies' national school books,
tions. On the whole, few missions have made greater

progress than this in so short a time after their


^ Keport of the Bombay Corresponding Committee, March


^ In 1836, this mission, with those subsequently established
at Bombay and Boon ah, were transferred to the General
Assembly of the Church of Scotland.




1. When the public feeling awakened by the news ^^f^}^
of Bishop Micldleton's death began to subside, all Rev. r.
parties interested in the evangehzation of India ^^^g^^
waited anxiously for the appointment of his sue- Calcutta.
cesser. The nomination was with the President
of the Board of Commissioners for the Affairs of
India, the right honourable C. W. W. Wynn, a
personal friend of the Rev. Reginald Heber, rector
of Hodnet, to whom he applied to recommend him
a suitable person to occupy the important post.^
At the same time, he intimated the satisfaction^ it
would give him if he himself would accept it, quite
unconscious how sensitive a chord he touched m
Ileber's heart. He had for some time taken an
interest in the conversion of the heathen, and this
intimation quickened his missionary sympathies ;
but various considerations caused him to demur.

1 This chapter is drawn up from the " Life and Journey of
Bishop Ilcber," the llcports of the Society for Promoting Chris-
tian Knowledge, the Church Missionary Society, the Society
for the Propagation of the Gosi)el, the INlissionary Eogister, and
other periodicals from 1823 to 1827, the Bishop's ]\lemoirs, hy
Thomas Taylor.


xvm' ^^^^^ ^^^ ^ very trying and painful moment of his

' life : it was no struggle between conflicting temporal

interests that he had to encounter ; but it was a
struggle between much self-distrust^ much love of
country and kindred^ much apprehension for the
future health of his wife and child (for he thought
not of his own)^ and a strong persuasion^ on the
other hand^ that the call was the call of God, and
that to be deaf to it was to be deaf to the still small
voice. He deliberated long and anxiously : he even
refused the appointment. He recalled his refusal.
Although in possession of clerical preferment of
nearly equal revenue to that of the See, and justi-
fied in indulging sanguine hopes of advancement
in England if ambition had been his object, he
consented to sacrifice his comforts and expectations
for a toilsome Ufe in a distant and unhealthy
climate. Mr Wynn was glad to receive his accept-
ance of the arduous post ; and the general confidence
inspired by a knowledge of his learning, talents,
and activity, caused this appointment to be hailed
as a most auspicious event by the Christian world.
He was consecrated at Lambeth Palace on the
1st of June 1823. On the 9th, he met the Com-
mittee of the Church Missionary Society ; and on
the 13th, he attended a special meeting of the
Christian Knowledge Society, when he received
from each a valedictory address ; and, in reply,
pledged himself to promote the objects of both
Societies, — avowed his intention to devote himself
wholly and fervently to the establishment of the
Christian religion by every prudent means, — and
earnestly entreated their prayers that he might be
sustained from above in the arduous duties of the
station to which Divine Providence had been pleased
to call him.
fndir'^ '" ^* "^'^^^ l^ishop sailed, with Mrs Heber, on the 1 6th
of June ; and, on the 1 1th of October, arrived in


good health at Calcutta, where he was welcomed
with the honours due to his rank. On the same
day, the Governor- General, Lord Amherst, accom-
panied him to the cathedral, where the ceremony
of installation was performed. The day following,
being Sunday, he preached to a good congregation.
Preparing to enter on the important duties that
now devolved upon him, such was the state of
affairs that he felt almost overwhelmed by the
accumulation of business requiring immediate atten-
tion. Before long, however, by diUgence and per-
severance, he brought matters into something like
a manageable compass. " The arrears of business,"
he wrote after a time, '^ which I have to encounter,
though great, and some of a vexatious nature, are
such as I can now see my way through."

3. One of the first objects to which he turned Examines
from the pressure of official engagements, was the oredlTca-
general state of Christian education m Calcutta, tion.
On the 2d of November, he visited the Female
Orphan School, under the judicious care of Mrs
Thomason. He next examined the Free School
for boys and girls, under the direction of a com-
mittee of governors. Then the schools for native
females, under Mrs Wilson s superintendence. With
all these establishments he expressed himself greatly
pleased. In the last he took a special interest, —
was astonished at the progress which some of the
children had made, and became at once a zealous
advocate of native female education. In going
round the schools supported by the Society for
Promoting Christian Knowledge, he was surprised,
after all that he had been told to the contrary, to
find not the least appearance of objection on the
part of the natives to the Christian instruction
given to their children. After mentioning his visit
to these schools, he expressed his gratilication at
seeing with how mucb cordiality the Rev. J. Haw-


CHAP, tayne^ who accompanied him, ^^ was received, not
' only by the children themselves and the school-
masters, though all of them were Hindoos and
Mussulmans, but by the parents and neighbouring
householders, of whatever religion."
Bishop's 4^ Bishop's College, founded, as we have seen,
^^^* by Dr Middleton, was now almost in the state in
which that lamented prelate left it, little having
been done to it since his decease, and the funds
being nearly exhausted. Even the apartments ap-
propriated to the Rev. Principal Mill were not yet
ready for his reception. Bishop Heber entered,
with characteristic ardour, into the noble design of
this institution, and immediately began to carry
forward the building, assisted by fresh contributions,
and chiefly by the annual grant of one thousand
pounds from the Church Missionary Society. In
the ensuing year, the principal's apartments were
ready for his reception ; and the rest of the build-
ings were advanced as rapidly as the funds would
admit. The Bishop obtamed from Government a
further grant of sixty acres of land for the College.
He projected two additional wings to the building ;
and had the satisfaction ere long of hailing the
arrival of two more professors, and the commence-
ment of operations with a few students.
Licences 5. We have seen Bishop Middleton's difficulty
ii^^s^on-^ respecting his jurisdiction over English mission-
aries, aries in Episcopal orders. He appreciated and
acknowledged the importance of their services, yet
never considered himself invested with authority
to license them to their several stations. With a
view to remove this difficulty. Bishop Heber, pre-
vious to leaving England, submitted the case to the
king's advocate, who gave it as his opinion, that
all clergymen of the Church of England, employed
within the diocese of Calcutta, were subject to the
Bishop's authority. The members of the Board of


Control conciuTing in this opinion^ the Bishop, on
his arrival in India, proposed to license all English
missionaries in holy orders, in the same manner as
the Company's chaplains. At a meeting of the
Calcutta Church Missionary Association convened
for the consideration of this question, over which
the Bishop was requested to preside, he stated, that
his chief reason for desiring this jurisdiction was,
that he might be able to station the missionaries
where their services might be most required, for
the services of the Established Church in India.
But, as remarked in Bishop Middleton's case,^ this
w^ould be to make them, what that prelate antici-
pated, ^' the parochial clergy" of the country, and
so to divert them from the express object of their
mission. Ready as they w^ere to exercise their
ministry for the benefit of their countrymen when-
ever opportunity occurred, yet their commission
w^as to the wide w^orld around them, to gather
heathen into the fold. In future times, w^hen a
sufficient number should be converted within a
given district to form a Christian community re-
quiring ministerial supervision, it would be quite
in character for one or more missionaries to be
stationed there with the sanction of the Bishop's
licence ; but in the present incipient state of the
work, such a location of their missionaries would
have been to cripple the Society's operations. For
these, and other reasons of less importance, the
Committee of the Calcutta Church Missionary As-
sociation felt that they were not at liberty to sur-
render the Society's missionaries into the Bishop's
hands to the extent that he desired. They were
invested with a responsibility which they had no
power to transfer. These circumstances cannot

^ Book xiii. clia|). i. sec. 32.




The first
of a na-

have been dispassionately considered by parties who
vehemently censured their conduct. However^
while thus faithful to their trusty the Bishop, as
their president, had a leading voice in the station-
ing of the missionaries, and they uniformly paid
respect to his suggestions. The missionaries re-
ceived his licences with the latitude which their
office required, and never failed to render him cano-
nical obedience. The paucity of clergy in India,
of which Bishop Middleton so loudly complained,
still continued, and Bishop Heber, in the following
remark upon it, acknowledged the valuable ser-
vices of the missionaries. '^ Even in Calcutta and
the neighbouring stations, though some of the
clergy officiate three times a day, and though I my-
self and the archdeacon work as hard as any of the
labouring clergy in any part of the world, yet were
it not for the aid of the Church missionaries, we
could not get the ordinary duty of the Sunday
done. They, indeed, have cheerfully received
licences, and submitted themselves to my authority ;
and they are, in fact, very respectable and pains-
taking young men, who are doing far more in the
way of converting and educating the natives than
I had expected." While, therefore, the Calcutta
Committee deemed it their duty to retain the con-
trol of the missionaries, they took care that the
Bishop should have all the aid from their services,
which their primary engagement would admit.

6. We have already seen the inconvenience aris-
ing from the Bishop of Calcutta's want of authority
to ordain natives of the country, and also the
endeavours of Dr Middleton to have this restric-
tion removed . This was now done/ and the first

^ By the Act of 4 Geo. IV., c. 71, sect. 6, it was enacted:—
" And whereas doubts have arisen whether the Bishop of Cal-


person ordained under the Act which gave the
power, was Christian David, a native Christian of
Ceylon, the young man whose apphcation Bishop
Middleton was constrained to reject. He now re-
newed his apphcation, and Bishop Heber directed
him to repair to Calcutta, where he admitted him
to deacon's orders on Trinity Sunday 1824. He
then entered Bishop's College, where he pursued

cutta, in conferring holy orders, is subject to the several provi-
sions and limitations established by the laws of this realm, or
canons ecclesiastical, as to the titles of the persons to be or-
dained, and as to the oaths and subscriptions to be by such
persons taken and made ; be it further declared and enacted.
That it shall and may be lawful for the Bishop of Calcutta for
the time being, to admit into holy orders of deacon and priest,
respectively, s^nj person whom he shall, upon examination,
deem duly qualified, specially for the purpose of taking upon
himself the cure of souls, or officiating in any spiritual capacity
within the limits of the said diocese of Calcutta, and residing
therein ; and that a declaration of such purpose, and a written
engagement to perform the same, under the hand of such per-
son, being deposited in the hands of such Bishop, shall be held
to be a sufficient title with a view to such ordination ; and that,
in every such case, it shall be distinctly stated in the letters of
ordination of every person so admitted to holy orders, that he
has been ordained for the cure of souls within the limits of the
said diocese of Calcutta only ; and that unless such person shall
be a British subject of or belonging to the United Kingdom of
Great Britain and Ireland, he shall not be required to take and
make the oaths and subscriptions which persons ordained in
England are required to take and make."

The following is the form of title for holy orders which the
Bishop required : —

" To the Eight Kev. Father in God — ].ord Bishop of Calcutta.

" These are to certify to your Lordship, that we, the Com-
mittee of the Calcutta Auxiliary Church Missionary Society, do
hereby nominate and appoint to perform the

office of one of our missionaries to the heathen ; and we do
most solemnly declare, that we do not fraudulently give this
certificate only to entitle the said to re-

ceive holy orders, but with a real intention to employ him as
such missionary, according to what is before expressed.

" Witness our hands," &c., <fec.


CHAP his studies preparatory to his ordination to the

' priesthood ; after which he returned to Ceylon^ and

was appointed by the Government of the island one
of the colonial chaplains.
Confirma- 7. Not loug after the Bishop's arrival^ he ap-
sitati^rof pointed the Rev. Daniel Corrie, senior chaplain in
the clergy. Bengal^ arclideacoii of Calcutta. Early this year
he held his first confirmation^ when above two
hundred persons were received. And on Ascension
day he held his first visitation of the clergy^ and
delivered his primary charge^ in which he addressed
the Company's chaplains on the arduous but
honourable duties they had to perform ; and to the
missionaries he enlarged on the peculiar nature of
the great enterprise which they had undertaken.
Under this division of his charge^ adverting to the
letters of the Abbe Dubois^ which had been re-
cently published, on the state of Christianity in
India, he entered a strong appeal against that
Jesuit's misrepresentations. The unchristian spirit
in which that work is written was justl}^ reproved;
and the assertions of the author on the impractica-
bility of converting the Hindoos were confuted by
an appeal to facts. Having adduced the testimony
arising from the converts under the Church Mis-
sionary Society at Agra, Benares, Meerut, and Chu>
nar, his lordship thus appealed to those of other
societies, whether connected or not w^ith the Church :
— " Bear witness, those numerous believers of our
own immediate neighbourhood, with whom, though
we difier on many, and doubtless on very import-
ant points, I should hate myself if I could regard
them as any other than my brethren and fellow-
servants in the Lord. Let the populous Cln^istian
districts of Malabar bear witness, where believers
are not reckoned by solitary individuals, but by
hundreds and by thousands. Bear witness Cejdon,
where the Cross has lost its reproach ; and the chiefs


of the land are gradually assuming, without scruple,
the attire^ the language, and the religion of English-

8. The Bishop had for some time resolved to Kmiiarks
commence the visitation of his extensive diocese upper
with the upper provinces of Bengal, the parts which Provinces.
Bishop Middleton had not visited. Accordingly,
when his business at Calcutta appeared to be suffi-
ciently arranged to admit of his absence, he em-
barked on the Ganges, accompanied by Archdeacon
Corrie, and his chaplain, Rev. Martin Stowe. He
proceeded as far as Agra to the north, and his jour-
nal contains a variety of information interesting to
the traveller and the general reader ; but we shall
confine ourselves to those proceedings and remarks
which will serve to exhibit the state and prospect
of Christianity in those provinces at that period.

The first station he reached was Dacca, about one
hundred miles above the mouth of the Gano-es,
where he arrived on Saturday evening, July od.
Such was his anxiety to spend the Sabbath here,
that he travelled the last fifteen miles in an open
boat, findmg that there was no hope of his pinnace
arriving in time. Dacca was formerly a place of
some consideration, but was now much reduced.
The churches and extensive fixctories, built by the
Portuguese, French, and Dutch, were in ruins, and
the trade which at one time had flourished in this
city was all but gone. The bishop found that very
little had been done for the Christian instruction
and conversion of the natives, and that tlie Euro-
pean inhal^itants were in a deplorable state of reli-
gious destitution. They were but few in number ;
but they had built a neat church for themselves, in
which the Bishop preached the morning after his
arrival to a small congregation. He was greatly
refreshed by the service, and it were hard to say
whether he or the people enjoyed it most. On the

VOL, V. M in

his chap


CHAP, following Saturday he confirmed about twenty per-
^^^^* sons ; and the next day consecrated the churchy
and admmistered the sacrament to about thirty-
five communicants.
Death of 9. During his detention here, he visited the
Nabob and other respectable inhabitants ; also the
hospital and prisons, besides every object of interest
to his intelligent mind. But his feelings were too
painfully exercised for him to take much pleasure
in anything but his appropriate duties. When he
left his pinnace for Dacca, his chaplain, Mr Stowe,
remained behind, being too unwell to accompany
him ; and on the arrival of the pinnace next day,
he was not well enough to go on shore. The Bishop
went to him immediately, with a surgeon, and had
him carefully removed to an airy apartment, where
he attended him with the fidelity of a pastor, the
solicitude of a friend, and the affection of a brother.
But all his care, Avith the most skilful medical at-
tention, were of no avail. The sufferer died in a
few days, and was buried in the cemetery of the
place. But his end was peace. At one time, as
the Bishop remarked, '' he had an awful mental
struggle, but confessed his sins, and cried for mercy
to Jesus Christ, with a simplicity, contrition, and
humility which I shall never forget, but I trust
always be the better for. By degrees his fears be-
came less, his faith stronger, and his hope more
lively ; and he told me at many different times, in
the following thirty-six hours, that God's goodness
was making the passage more and more easy to
him, and that he felt more and more that Christ
died for sinners." When his strength was gradually
wearing away, he said, '^ If I lose sight of the Cross,
though but for a moment, I am ready to despair ;
but my blessed Lord makes his mercy and his
power more and more plain to me."

The Bishop's letters to the sister of the deceased


and other friends^ shew that he felt this visitation
very acutely, and they express in an interesting
manner the tender sympathies of his heart. The
sickness and death of his friend detained him here
eighteen days, which was so nuicli beyond the time
he intended to remain, as in some measure to de-
range his plans. He left Dacca July 22, and reached
Boglipoor on the morning of August 10. Here he
found Archdeacon Corrie, with his family, waiting
his arrival. The chief object of interest in this
place was a school, under the care of an intelligent
young native. The order maintained was highly
commendable ; and considering the disadvantages
under which they laboured, for want of suitable
school-books, the improvement they had made was
much beyond what could have been expected. The
inhabitants of this part of India are called Puhar-
rees, a quick and intelligent people, fond of learn-
ing, without any of the Hindoo prejudices against
Christianity. Hitherto no efforts had been made
to introduce the Gospel among them ; but the Bishop
determined to send them an active missionary.
This he was enabled to do in a few weeks, when he
appointed the Rev. Thomas Christian, one of the
Gospel Propagation Society's Missionaries, at
Bishop's College, to this important station. He
laboured there with great ability, zeal, and accept-
ance, until December 1827, when he and his wife
were both carried off by the hill fever. There had
not been time enough to see much fruit from his
exertions ; but he had so\vn tlie seed lor some
future labourer to reap.

As there was nothing particular to detain the
Bishop at Boglipoor, he left the day after his arri-
val. Just as the Archdeacon, who accompanied
him, got on board his budgerow, he received a
letter, in bad English, addressed to the abbot, as
the writer called him, from a Brahmin named Go-


CHAP, pee Mohun Doss^ requesting an interview with him^

t ' and expressing great desire to receive instruction

in Christianity. The archdeacon returned for an-
swer^ that he would see the writer with great
pleasure^ on his return down the river. This was
not the only instance they met with, of persons in
this neighbourhood who seemed willing to inquire
into religious subjects. '^ There are several Hin-
doos and Mussulmans/' the Bishop remarks in his
journal, ^^ who make no objection to eat victuals
prepared by Christians, saying, that they think the
. Christians are as pure as themselves, and they are
sure they are wiser."
Destitute 10. In prosccuting their voyage, they spent a
i-eii^<^ion Sabbath at Monghyr, and another at Bankipoor.
There was neither chaplain nor church at either
place ; the Bishop was, therefore, glad to preach to
the European residents, administer the Lord's Sup-
per, and baptize their children ; and they expressed
themselves grateful for his services, and entreated
that a chaplain might be sent them. At Dinapore,
a large military station a few miles beyond Patna,
the Bishop found, as he remarks, ^^ that everything
was on a liberal scale, except what belongs to the
church and the spiritual interests of the inhabitants.
The church, or rather the place so called, was a
small inconvenient room in the barracks, which
seemed as if it had been designed for an hospital-
ward ; the reading-desk, surplice, books, &c., were
all meaner and shabbier than are to be seen in the
poorest village-chapel in England or Wales ; there
were no wall-shades, or other means for liditinir
up the room, no glass in the windows, no font, and
till a paltry deal stand was brought for my use out
of an adjoining warehouse, no communion table.
Bishop Middleton objected to administer confirma-
tion in any but churches built, furnished, and con-
secrated. But though I do not think, in India, we


need be so particular, I heartily wished, in the pre-
sent case, to see things more as they should be.
Nor, in more essential points, was there much to
console me for this neglect of external decencies.
The chaplain of the station, whom I found ex-
tremely desirous of contributing to the welfare of
the people, lamented, in a natural and unaffected
manner, the gross neglect of Sunday, the extraor-
dinary inattention of the lower classes to all reli-
gious concerns, and the indifierence shewn by the
Company's present military officers, to everything
like religious improvement. The school that had
been established had fallen into decay, and the
lending library, that Government had sent six
months ago, for the use of the European soldiers,
to the care of the brigade-major, had never been
even unpacked.

^^ This lamentable state of things," the Bishop

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 45 of 54)