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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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praised the Disposer of events that he is blessed
with a knowledge of the gospel ? How deeply has
he felt the truth of that declaration of his Saviour,
* My yoke is easy and my burden is light ! ' With
what gratitude does he reflect that a full, perfect,
and sufficient satisfaction hath been once made for
the sins of the whole world ! and how ardently does
he wish that to all the world this saving truth were
known ! Then would pilgrimages, and penances,
and self-inflicted tortures, and all the modes of in-
dividual expiation cease, and men would repent and
be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ, for the
remission of sins, and would worship their Maker
in spirit and in truth !" He then went on to re-
commend a much stricter sj^stem among Christians ;
the renunciation of immoral habits, the observance
of the Lord's day, &c. &c. This sermon, to the
surprise of some people, he was requested to print
at the charge of Government, and it was dispersed
through India with good effect.

^ The Bishop alludes here to " the most abominable of the
Hindoo processions," which he had witnessed two days before,
" wretches bleeding from self-inflicted wounds, and dancing like
maniacs to the sound of savage music, some with swords through
their arms, and others with bamboos through their tongues,"
&c. — Ibid., vol. i. pp. 159-1G2.


9. In July 1815, the Bishop held his first con-
firmation at Calcutta, which, being the first ever
performed by an English Bishop in India, was
numerously attended, and conducted with a solem-
nity, for which Bishop Middleton was distinguished
on all occasions in the Church, that was deeply felt.
In December following, he held a visitation of his
clergy, which, for the same reason, being the first
ever held in India, attracted a considerable con-
course of British and other inhabitants. Of the
clergy, only ten could be assembled, owing to the
great distance of many of the clerical stations. The
sermon was preached by the senior chaplain ; after
which, the Bishop delivered his charge, as is usual
in England, within the communion rails — a charge
which has been justly characterised as filled with
sentiments of wisdom, learning, and piety, worthy
to be remembered.^ It was delivered with all his
peculiar, earnest impressiveness, and concluding, in
a manner worthy of the occasion, with the fervent
prayer for his clergy, that the succours of the Holy
Spirit might be vouchsafed both to them and him ;
that they might be actuated by a patient zeal for
the glory of God and the salvation of human souls ;
that each of them might habitually remember the
solemn account which they must one day render at
the judgment-seat of Christ ; and that, in that awful
day, they might be severally invited to enter into
the joy of their Lord.'^

2 A copious abstract of it is given in the Bishop's Life, vol.
1. pp. 164-173.

3 The Bishop also, conformably to the ancient practice of the
Church, prepared Articles of Inquiry, to be circulated among
his clergy, in order to ascertain the condition of his diocese.
They amounted to twenty-three, and may be seen in his Life,
vol. i. pp. 174-1 7G ; but they do not materially differ from
those usually circulated previous to an Episcopal visitation in

First con-
and visita-




to Madras.

A few days after, on the 18th of December,
he set out by sea on his primary visitation of the
southern and western divisions of his immense dio-
cese, Madras and Bombay, accompanied by Mrs
Middleton and Archdeacon Loring. On this occa-
sion, the Governor- General directed a vessel to be
engaged to take him to Madras, and instructions
were despatched to the Governments of Madras and
Bombay to prepare a suitable house for him during
his residence in each of those settlements ; and,
in general, to provide for his conveyance and ac-
commodation throughout the course of his visita-

10. The Bishop reached Madras on the evening
of Christmas -day, and landed on the following
morning, under a salute of fifteen guns from the fort.
Though he had abundant reason to be satisfied with
his kind and hospitable reception, he, nevertheless,
discerned various indications which led him to
apprehend that he should experience here less cor-
dial support than he had received from tlie supreme
authority at Calcutta. Indeed, the Madras Govern-
ment never concurred in Lord Moira's views of the
Episcopal appointment and claims.

11. Among the early objects of his attention at
Sfslrict'''^ Madras was the district committee of the Society
Commit- for Promoting Christian Knowledge, the formation

of which we have recorded. He had the satisfac-
tion of finding it in a very flourishing state, having
been able to commence operations with books of the
Society derived from surplus stores in the Society's
depots at Vepery, and elsewhere, which also were
reported to have been highly appreciated, particu-
larly by military officers, for the use of European
barracks and hospitals. The members of the Com-
mittee amounted to about sixty, and they had
already remitted <£240 to the parent Society in




12. On the 4th of January 1816^ he consecrated Consccra-
St George's Church, Choultry Plain, whose foun- ^t^^Jorge?
dation in September 1812, and its opening in April Church.
1815, were noticed in a former chapter. The Bishop

was much struck with the elegance of the building,
and pronounced it a handsomer church than any
which he recollected to have seen in London. He
was assisted in its consecration by the Archdeacon
and seven of the clergy, a large number in those
days to bring together to Madras.

13. On the day following he held in it a confir- Confirma-
mation of nearly three hundred candidates ; and y^gj^^"^^
on January 11th, his visitation of the clergy. Each tion.

of these services was attended, as in Calcutta, by a
crowded congregation, and was marked by the same
character of a dignified deportment and impressive
solemnity on the part of the Bishop, and of a deep
reverence and earnest attention on that of the whole
assembled people. His charge was the same we
have before remarked upon at Calcutta.

While at Madras he preached once at least every
Sunday, always with very marked general effect.
He also visited all the public institutions, especially
the Military Male Asylum, the birth-place of the
Madras system of education, so successfully intro-
duced into England aJDOut twenty years before by
the late Rev. Dr. Bell, formerly superintendent of
the Asylum.

14. While at Madras the Bishop availed himself Vepery
of the opportunity of performing a great service for

the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge.
Himself an attached member of the Society, he had,
on taking leave of them, been particularly requested
to inquire into the state of all their missions in
South India, two of which had become to them
objects of great anxiety. Of these, Vepery, of which
much has been said in a former chapter, was at
hand. Visiting it, then, in this character, which


CHAP, he considered himself warranted to do without in-
^- fringing the missionary interdict under which he
came out, he found the mission in a state of great
declension and disorder. The missionary and people
were still at variance with each other. The schools
and the church were without order or discipline.
The press, formerly so valuable and effective, had
not been worked for a long time ; and the Society's
books were found accumulated as mere lumber in
the store-room. Of these the Bishop ordered the
English books to be delivered over to the District
Committee of the Society, for general use ; directed
an estimate to be made of the cost of setting the
press to work again ; and, having strong^ admo-
nished both missionary and people, he commended
the Mission to the friendly care and supervision of
some friends of the committee. The missionary,
M. Poezold, did not long survive. Some time before
there had happily been an entire reconciliation with
his former much-injured colleague, Dr Rottler ; and
at his death the mission was placed in charge of
this excellent man, under whom it immediately
began to revive, and went on successfully in an
uninterrupted course of improvement to the end of
his days.
Bishop 15. The Bishop's visit at Madras on this

proceeds occasion was necessarily short, from the extent
ward. of journey before him, and the monsoon on the
opposite coast, which might impede his voyage to
Bombay. On the 3 1st of January he set out for
the south, with his family, escorted by a numerous
retinue, well provided with everything calculated
for his personal comfort and to do him honour in
his progress through the native provinces and
European stations which lay in his way.

This primary visitation of an English Bishop in
Madras was unquestionably highly favourable to
the cause of true religion. Looked up to with uni-




versal respect^ Episcopacy, bringing with it a ful-
ness of the privileges of a revered national church
at home, was hailed as a boon to be received with
gratitude ; and future visitations of their diocesan
were contemplated by the community with desire.

16. Cuddalore, the other missionary station Cudda-
which had occasioned the Society great anxiety,
the Bishop found too much in the state of Yepery,
but without any equal advantages for its recovery.
Here, too, the missionary, M. Holzberg, did not
long survive, and this Mission remained some years
without the benefit of European superintendence.

His next stage, from Cuddalore to Chillumbrum, chiiinm.
was one of much importance, for the very decisive
proof which it afforded of the vanity of the pretences
of danger, from alarming the religious fears of the
natives.^ Chillumbrum is the place of one of the
chief Hindoo temples in the south, containing a
numerous establishment of Brahmins, and being a
great resort annually of pilgrims. '^ The Bishop,"
it is said, ^^ afterwards learned that certain Maho-
medans at Madras had contrived to send before him
a rumour, that his excursion was preparatory to a
scheme for the suppression of the Hindoo faith, and
for the compulsory conversion of the natives. No
apparent symptoms of jealousy or distrust, however,
were excited. A large assemblage of Brahmins and
others were in attendance to meet him. They pressed
forward with eager curiosity to look upon the high
priest of the Europeans, and were quite willing to
exhibit to him the external courts and houses of
their gods. They conducted him without reserve

^ At Calcutta, Madras, and wherever the Bishop went, he
was visited by Rajahs, Nabobs, and other natives of distinction
— a sufficient proof of their respect for his oilice, and of the
little apprehension they entertained from his faithful discharge
of its duties. The English politicians seem to luive been the
only alarmists.



CHAP, over their sacred premises^ without seeming to ima-
^' gine that he had any hostile or insidious designs ;
nor did they scruple to beg his money for the
repairs of their temple."
Tranque- His progrcss lying next through the Danish set-
tlement of Tranquebar, he was there received by
the governor, attended by all the principal inhabi-
tants^ with the most distinguished honours.

He naturally felt more interest than ordinary in
this place — the seat of the first Protestant Mission
in all India — where lay the bones of Ziegenbalg
and Grundler, with many others who had spent
their lives so nobly and successfully for the evan-
gelisation of the people. His arrival here was most
opportune ; and we have seen the pecuniary aid
which he rendered to that mission on account of
the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge.
The Bishop would view the dilapidated state of
these missions v/ith far different feelings from those
with which he surveyed the ruins of ancient build-
ings in his way. We explore with interest the
fragments of edifices which time, the universal
consumer of material things, has brought again to
the ground, together with the generations of men
that erected and inhabited them ; but we look with
painful emotion on the decay of works of piety,
which we would fain have as permanent as the
necessities of man ; and a gloom is cast over their
ruins that can find no relief but in the retrospect
of the blessedness which they have been the means
of extending to generations now joined to the living
Temple above.

At Combaconum, about twenty-three miles from
Tanjore, the Bishop was met by Mr Kohloff, who
still stood almost alone in the Tanjore Mission ;
but he hailed the Bishop's arrival as an omen of
relief at hand, for his own Mission and for the long-
neoiected Churches of the south. On the 21st of


February the Bishop^ after surveying the buildings
and other objects of note in the place, g^^clly turned
to join the congregation assembled at the little
school, consisting principally of natives, Christians
and Hindoos, under Mr KohlofF's care. He wit-
nessed with satisfaction the performances of these
children, and made each of them happy by the gift
of a small present. He likewise left a gratuity with
the catechist and schoolmaster.

The Bishop now hastened on, with his new and Tanjore.
venerable companion, to the city of Tanjore, where
he and his family were hospitably entertained by
the Resident, Colonel Blackburn. Soon after his
arrival, the prime minister of the Rajah waited
upon him with the congratulations of his Highness,
and the expression of his wish to be favoured with
an early visit by the Bishop at the palace. The
Bishop returned a courteous reply, and an early
day was fixed for the purpose, when, accompanied
by the Resident and his whole staff, he repaired to
the palace, and was received with distinguished
honours. Descending from his musnud, the Rajah
received him at the steps of the durbar (court of
audience), embraced him with the warmest cor-
diality, and, after the customary inquiries respect-
ing his health, expressed the gratification with which
he saw the Chief of the English religious establish-
ment in his country and at his court. In the course
of conversation, his Highness dwelt with evident
delight on the blessings which the heavenly lessons
and the virtues of Swartz had showered on him and
his people. He spake of that venerable man still
under the honoured appellation of '^ Father," and
concluded by professing the warmest respect for
those excellent men, Kohloff and his fellow- workers,
who had succeeded to the labours of their inesti-
mable predecessor. He shewed much solicitude to
make the visit agreeable to the Bishop and his party,




^^^^- and speedily returned it in a style of the highest
'. eastern magnificence.

The Mission institutions principally occupied the
Bishop's attention at Tanjore. The Churchy with
its goodly assemblage of Christians ; the cemetery
where the ashes of Swartz repose ; the schools and
library ; the buildings for the employment of the
converts ; the mission-house and adjacent village ;
and whatever else had been devised and executed
by that apostolic man^ he surveyed with emotions
of delight ; and he afterwards spake of the w^hole
Mission as having pleased him exceedingly.

But here^ too^ the Bishop was pressed for time :
another important Mission of the Society called for
a portion of his time and attention. This was the
Mission of the venerable Pohle, Trichmopoly^ where
he arrived on the 28th of February ; and^ after
inspecting the Mission^ was equally satisfied with
the fruits of Mr Pohle's labours^ though on a smaller
scale than those of Kohloff.

Besides the schools both for Tamul and English^
the Bishop recommended the establishment of a few
Tamul free schools in the adjacent villages for
Romanist and heathen children ; the whole to be
placed under a resident missionary, who might
relieve Mr Pohle, now far advanced in years.

This being an English cantonment, the Bishop
remained here five days, during which time he con-
secrated a Church erected outside the fort for the
use of the troops, licensed the chaplain, and preached
twice on the Sunday. He also confirmed and de-
livered an address to one hundred and five persons,
mostly adults, officers of the rank of major and
downwards. The Bishop, anxious to promote among
the English everywhere a taste for serious and use-
ful reading, proposed to establish a library of reli-
gious books for the use of the station, which was
cordially assented to by the residents.


17. After leaving Trichinopoly, the Bishop gave Bishop's
the following general account of what he had seen t°!J^.tew
thus far : — ^' The Mission of the Society for Pro- ofRomaH-
moting Christian Knowledge does us honour as i>,ores-
Christians. I have inspected the state of the Mission ^'^"^8.
minutely, and I have conversed with several of its
native members_, not themselves converts, but the
sons of converts ; they are in knowledge and man-
ners as much superior to their pagan neighbours as
an Englishman well educated is to a peasant/'-^

The character of Christianity in the Romish
Missions, if indeed it deserves the name, presented
to him a perfect contrast to this picture. ^^ It is
little more," he remarked, " than exchanging one
idol for another." ^' I have seen the letter of the
missionary Dubois f and I think it very interest-
ing, so far as relates to the present state of the
Romish Church in India. But as to such converts
as are made by the Church of Rome, I question
whether they might not as well retain the name
with the ignorance of pagans. I have seen, in small
buildings, which I supposed, at fifty yards' distance,
to be swamy-houses,^ the cross blackened and oiled
like a swamy, and placed at the far end of a deep
niche, with lamps on each side of it. The natives
call it the Christians swamy ; and they are right,
provided the persons who set up such things can
be called Christians. In the country through which
I have travelled, these things abound."^

^ Life of Bishop Middleton, vol. i. p. 225.

^ The Abbe's letter was written this year, 1816, and circu-
lated in India in MS. This is one of the "Letters" pub-
lished in England in 1823, and frequently noticed in this
History. .

^ Small idol temples.

* Life of Bishop Middleton, vol. i. pp. 222, 223.



CHAP. This statement is abundantly corroborated in the
^' former vokimes of this history ; and the farther
the Bishop went to the souths the more was his
impression in favour of the native Protestants con-
Paiam- 18. On approaching Palamcottah, the British

head-quarters in the district of Tinnevelly, being
encamped a few miles from the place^ after describ-
ing several parties of natives who came to pay their
respects to him^ he adds — '^ But the delightful part
was yet to come. I have Avith me a writer, David,
who joined me at Tanjore (the son of Sattianaden,
whose sermon you have at the Society), and he
informed me that the party who stood aloof were
Christians who came from Palamcottah, to welcome
me, and to receive my blessing. I went forward to
meet them. They were headed by their native
priest and my man David. They were about thirty;
and they formed the most remote congregation
under Mr Kohloff's care. The priest, a very in-
teresting man, who has almost the darkest com-
plexion I have seen, addressed me on behalf of his
people ; and, in reply, I gave them a suitable exhor-
tation, which David interpreted with great energy,
and they received it with every mark of thankful-
ness. They then opened their Tamul prayer-books,
and sung a psalm of thanksgi\dng, quite correctly,
and in good time and melody. The Brahmins wit-
nessed the scene, and both deputations quitted the
camp together."^ This party represented the body
of Tinnevelly Christians whom the Bishop had not
time to visit in their villages. He reached Palam-
cottah on the 22d of March, where he officiated
and preached in the house of the collector ; and
soon after pursued his journey.

' Life of Bishop Middleton, vol. i. p. 228.


On the 27th he reached the Arambooly Pass. Aram-
at the southern extremity of the Ghauts, and found p^sg-^
his huts pitched on the bottom of what had once
been a tank, but it was then dry, and surrounded
by mountains of stupendous and rugged grandeur.
On this spot he received a deputation of Christians,
lately under the charge of Mr Kingeltaube, of the
London Missionary Society, in number about eight
hundred. They came from a body of Christians
quite distinct from those of Tinnevelly, though
bordering upon that district. After receiving a
numerous deputation from twelve neighbouring vil-
lages, and surveying the mihtary works, for which
the place is remarkable, the Bishop passed on to
Travancore, but not without much painful reflection
on the neglect of the native Christians by the

19. With all his deference to the feelings of the Govern-
public authorities, as to direct missionary inter- l^ertment
ference with the natives, he could not forbear to of Native
express himself very strongly upon this subject, tians!"
''As to the conversion of the natives," he wrote,
'' it is, T am convinced, quite out of the reach of
our Society, or any other existing, while the present
system continues. A sensible native told me, some
time since, that the English did not ivish it ; and
certainly there are many facts which countenance
the opinion."

And again, after describing the unexceptionable
character of some native Protestants, he remarks :
— '' And yet I cannot hear of more than three
native Christians, of any sort, who are employed
under Government : it would not be popular among
the heathen ! At Madras, they actually petitioned
me to recommend them as door-keepers in the
churches, instead of Mussulmans and Hindoos." ^

Ibid, pp. 222 and 225.






Although, under these circumstances, it was out
of the Bishop's power to do much for the native
Christians, yet his present visit proved everywhere
of great importance. It gave a new impulse, both
to the missionaries and their flocks, who found
themselves no longer in the isolated condition in
which they had hitherto seemed to be left. They
now felt assured that they had a protector, to whom,
under God, they might confidently appeal. A visita-
torial power was brought to bear upon them, which
they regarded with great reverence ; and imme-
diately they were encouraged to move among their
neighbours with unwonted confidence and activity,
while the very heathen began to look upon them
with more respect. The various congregations under
the Madras Presidency contained not much less
than twenty thousand souls, and from this time
their numbers began to increase.

20. On the 6th of April, the Bishop reached Quilon,
the military station of the British in the kingdom
of Travancore, where he found a European regiment
quartered. It was here he had occasion to observe
the melancholy and humiliating fact, that the poor
fishermen of the Syrian community of the place
had the zeal to provide themselves with a cliurch,
while the English were without a consecrated edifice,
and were compelled to convert their public apart-
ments into a place of worship. They had a chap-
lain, and the commanding officer promised the
Bishop that the soldiers should attend divine ser-
vice on the Lord's day.

At Cochin, he found things in a most neglected
state. Some of the principal edifices were falling
into decay. The Dutch church was shut up for
want of a minister ; the school in the fort was de-
stroyed ; the children were left unbaptized ; the
sick were without relief for the body, or the instruc-
tions and the consolations of the gospel for the soul ;


and^ in a word, a total apathy pervaded the
European inhabitants, who were chiefly Dutch,
respecting education or rehgion. Such had been
the condition of this place for nearly fifteen years,
during which period it had been in possession of
the French. The Jews' town, about a mile from
Cochin, presented a better appearance, and the
Bishop was gratified with what he had an opportu-

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 5 of 54)