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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best adapted to cultivate a successful intercourse
with the population of the country, as missionaries


CHAP, and catechists^ and to forward the diffusion of
^^^' Christian truth. For these reasons^ besides acting
as a watchful visitor at Bishop's College^ he took
particular interest in the education of both these
classes^ and used^ as often as he was able^ to attend
the examinations at their different schools in Cal-
Ordina- 11. On Suudaj^ May 18th^ he admitted to priests'

^^°°* orders the Rev. Charles Wimberley^ one of the

Company's chaplains^ and the Rev. John Adlington^
of the Church Missionary Society^ whose labours
and admission to deacon's orders by Bishop Heber^
we have already recorded. In compliance with a
general wish that had been expressed^ this service
was performed at the time of public prayer^ and it
seems to have deeply impressed the numerous con-
gregation assembled.
Supports 12. Shortly after his arrival in India, the Bishop
Sod^ty!^ had consented, on the Committee's invitation, to
join the Calcutta Bible Society, and it was resolved
that a complete set of the Society's publications and
reports should be presented to him. On receiving
this present, June 19th, with an appropriate letter
from the president, George Udney, Esq., he returned
the following reply, which shews how ready he was
to unite in the use of every means to advance the
interests of Christianity in his diocese : —

^''Accept my warmest and best thanks for the very
splendid present which the munificence of the Society
has placed before me — a present valuable, highly
valuable, on many grounds ; but really invaluable,
when viewed in the light of a testimony of your
confidence and regard. I have come, in various
respects, as a stranger among you ; but believe me,
I am not on that account less zealously interested
in the great objects of our common exertions, nor
am I less actuated by kind feelings toward you col-
lectively as a body, or less disposed as a friend


toward every individual member of this Society.
How^ indeed, should any Christian feel otherwise
than anxious for the furtherance of our great and
noble object, when he pauses to reflect on the his-
tory of Christianity in the East — when he hears
that well-known fact, which the sight of the several
translations of the Bible at this moment forcibly
brings to one's recollection ; nameh', that, amidst
the deluge of Mahomedan superstition, which has
swept over so many fair portions of the Asiatic
Continent, and overturned so many Christian
churches reared by the primitive labourers of the
Gospel, a successful stand has ever been made by
the inhabitants of those countries, who once were
put in possession of the Holy Scriptures in their
own native tongue ! The Armenian Church, the
Syriac, the Coptic, the Abyssinian, and our vener-
able Church of Travancore, at this day bear wit-
ness of this striking fact — some in a more pure,
some in a less pure, form ; but all, in some sort,
have still preserved their adherence to the fiiith,
and shewn themselves founded on the spiritual
rock of Christ.

'' Let us hope, in looking at these volumes, that
our labours, too, may thus be blessed ; that where
we have scattered the seed, a similar spirit of per-
severance may, under God's providence be given ;
and that, among these several nations, churches
may thus be founded, against which the gates of
hell shall not prevail.

'' But I will not trespass longer on your atten-
tion. We have all our several duties to perform :
the day is already far advanced : it were a waste
of time, to press upon your notice those ideas with
regard to our holy cause which are common to us
all, and to descant upon sentiments which belong to,
and are fundamental in, our Society." _ ^ bcjjins to^

13. On the following day he held a visitation ol suffer.


CHAP, the clergy in the cathedral^, which was well at-
-^^^' tended. But the exertion of the delivery of his
charge^ in such a temperature^ combined with the
intensity of his interest on the occasion, was too
much for him, and he returned to his palace quite
exhausted with the heat. He made an effort to
receive his clergy at dinner in the evening, which
greatly increased his fatigue, and he passed a rest-
less night. Since his arrival at Calcutta he had
been attacked no less than three times with violent
fever, which had so reduced his strength, that he
was obliged to have cushions placed to support him
in the pulpit, and he actually preached on his
knees. But his anxiety to discharge his duty had
carried him too far. His exertions was one con-
tinued struggle with disease, and the zeal of the
Lord's house was consuming him. His present ill-
ness proved to be an attack of the same nature as
those he had suffered from before, brought on by
the heat and exertion of the day ; but his physician
hoped that he would soon recover, if removed from
the scene of his anxious occupations at Calcutta.
This suited his arrangements, as it was the time
that he had fixed for his visitation of the upper
provinces ; and sanguine hopes were entertained that
he would derive great benefit from the bracing air
of the river.
Com- 14. He had long looked forward to the visita-

mences his i[q^ ^f ]^ jg yg^g^ dioccsc with interest, and while on

visitation , .,T 11-1 1*1

north, but the voyagc to India, he drew out a plan ^ by which

obliged to ■

return. i rj.^^ following is the Bishop's plan:— "I shall probably,

next year, go up the Ganges, and visit the different stations up
to Agra and Delhi, &c., and return to Calcutta. July 1829 to
September 1830 — Madras, Tanjore, Trichmopoly, Madura,
Tinnevelly, and the Syrian Christians ; then to Ceylon ; then
to Bombay before April ; and thence by the Kistnah to Masuli-
patam and Calcutta. July 1831 — To Penang, Singapore, and
60 to New Holland and Van Diemen's Land, returning to Cal-
cutta in May or June 1832". — Memoirs, p. 16.


he might accomplish it in five years, hoping by
that time, on the renewal of the Company's charter,
to be reheved of a considerable portion of his charge
by the appointment of more Bishops. Having re-
ceived answers from the chaplains to questions
which he had circulated upon points on which he
desired to be informed, arrangements were speedily
made for his voyage up the Ganges, and he em-
barked June 24th, accompanied b}' his family,
chaplain, physician, and some friends. They
stopped at the principal stations, but the Bishop
was too weak to attempt anything in the way of
duty. At Burhampoor, indeed, he was taken
seriously ill, with what seemed to be an attack of
the liver. Though the pain was removed by the
application of violent remedies, yet it left him
much debilitated, and veiy unwell. He resolved,
however, to persevere ; but by the time he reached
Boglipoor, w^here he arrived July IGth, he was ar-
rested by disease. The pain in his side had in-
creased to such a degree as to excite the worst
apprehensions, and the physicians urged his im-
mediate return to Calcutta ; but his sufferings
were not sufficiently alleviated for his removal
before the 23d, when he was carried on board his
pinnace, and retraced his way to Calcutta, which
he reached on the 3 1st. Though now somewhat
better, he was still too weak to go on shore, or
even to put on his clothes. Dr Nicholson, the
principal physician at Calcutta, who had formerly
attended him, came on board, and soon discovered
that an enlargement of the liver had taken place,
though it appeared to have yielded to promj)t and
skilful treatment. He was therefore of opinion
that his patient should not be removed from the
pinnace ; that no time was to be lost in getting
him out to sea ; that he should proceed imme-
diately to Penang, and thence to England, for that





Sails for
Dies on
the voy.

he ought not on any account to think of remaining
in India.

15. Upon hearing this opinion^ the Bishop dic-
tated a letter to the President of the Board of
Control^ resigning his bishopric^ yet expressing a
hope that he might still be able to superintend the
duties of the diocese from Penang or Bombay until
the arrival of his successor. This hope^ however^
proved delusive. After some official communica-
tions with Archdeacon Corrie^ who^ with several
other friends, visited him on board his pinnace, his
mind was relieved ; and, on the 0th of August, he
proceeded down the river from Calcutta, and reached
the new anchorage on the 9th, where one of the
Company's ships was waiting to receive him, and
he was taken on board with great care. Soon after
they had put to sea his spirits were raised, and he
felt better ; but the worst symptoms of his disease
soon returned, and the physician informed his
anxious wife that all hope of his recovery was
nearly at an end. After a while, when herself,
convinced by appearances of the fact, which it was
so natural for her to be reluctant to believe, she
made the communication to him as calmly as her
feelings would permit, and he received it with
Christian resignation to his heavenly Father's will.
He now gave his mind almost exclusively to devout
preparation for death ; and, on the 22d of August,
he resigned his soul without a struggle into his
Redeemer's hands. It would have been a mourn-
ful gratification to the sorrowing widow, could his
corpse have been kept for interment at Penang ;
but it was found necessary to commit it to the
deep during the voyage ; and his chaplain, Mr
Knapp, had the painful duty of performing the
last solemn rite of the Church, in the presence of
the captain, passengers, and officers, and the ship's


16. Thus was this estimable prelate removed in Testi-
the forty-third year of his age, the second of his "J'rne'o
consecration, and about seven months from the hilTifernd
period of his landing at Calcutta, to the great loss ^^^^^''^c^^'"-
of the Indian Church, for the government of which,
his previous habits, as well as his natural endow-
ments, had fitted him in an eminent degree. In
the Government gazette which announced his decease,
it was remarked : '' His lordship's exercise of the
important functions of his exalted ministry in this
country was comparatively short ; but the claims
which he had established to the regard and esteem
of the members of this Society, and of the commu-
nity of the settlement, will make his loss a source
of sincere regret."

Similar testimonies were published on the same
day in the journals of Calcutta. ^^The career of
his lordship," they remarked, '^ has indeed been
brief; and, removed by Providence to a better
world before he had long entered on the discharge
of his sacred and important duties in India, Bishop
James has left us little to record of him, since he
arrived among us, except the high esteem in which
his character was held by all, and the manifesta-
tions he had already given of a zeal and judgment
in the fiithful discharge of his episcopal functions,
from which the happiest results to the Church in
India were fondly anticipated, had it but pleased
heaven to spare his life." '^ By the few to whom
his short residence at Calcutta, and the brief inter-
val of health which he enjoyed during this period,
had afforded an opportunity of becoming acquainted
with him, his memory is endeared by many recol-
lections of the piety and excellence of his character,
the soundness of his judgment, and the extent and
variety of his general information."

There had not been time, and too little was yet
known of his exertions, to produce in England an


CHAP, equal impression of his value to the Church in
^^^' India, for the intelligence of his sudden loss to
awaken such a sensation as the death of Heber had
produced. But it confirmed, it deepened, the ge-
neral conviction of the necessity of dividing the
Indian diocese; and applications to Government
were renewed, but again without effect, and a
fourth Bishop was appointed over this onerous




1. The successor of Bishop James was the Rev. Circum-
John Matthias Turner, rector of Wilmslow, in whidrin-
Cheshire, prebendary of Lincoln, and examining ^PJ^.^^'J^J^^J^
chaplain to the Bishop of Chester. It appears that acLp/the
he was selected for the office not long after Dr Bishopric.
James had signified his intention to resign. For
Lord Ellenborough, to whom he had for some time
been known, offered him the appointment, and in a
postscript to a letter to Sir John Malcolm,^ his lord-
ship states — '^ I am going to send you a very excel-
lent new Bishop, whenever Dr James resigns — Mr
J. M, Turner. The Archbishop of Canterbury, the
Bishop of London, and indeed all the Bishops I
have seen, are quite satisfied that Mr Turner is as
fit a man as could have been selected. He will be
mild and firm. He is a very good and pious man,
without worldly notions, and really devoted to his
high calling."

The following pages will shew the correctness of
this estimate of Dr Turner's character and capabi-

1 Published in the Bengal Ihirkaru, June 1. 1S30, No
memoir or journal of Bishop Turner having been published,
this chapter is drawn up from the best sources of information
the author could procure.

VOL. V. Q q




with Mis-

lities for the post to which he was raised. When
the appointment was offered him, he determined to
accept it, not from any overweening self-confidence
or ambitious views, but influenced, doubtless, in a
great measure, by the dying injunction of his wife,
recently deceased.^ Yet, though his heart was given
to the cause of Christianity in India, ^^ he still lin-
gered from better motives than personal peril, and
would much rather have preferred a less conspi-
cuous and responsible station in his Saviour's vine-

2. After his appointment was settled, he was in-
vited by the Christian Knowledge, the Gospel Pro-
pagation, and the Church Missionary Societies, to
meet their several committees, and in his interviews
with them, he gave them assurance of his intention
to tread in the steps of his predecessors, and extend
his patronage and protection to their operations in
different parts of his diocese. At the anniversary
meeting of the Church Missionary Society in 1829,
he gave, in the following address, his view of the
missionary work, and of the benefit of trials and
difficulties attending it : — ^^ I shall take leave to
offer a few suggestions, by way of encouragement

^ It is said, that *' this excellent woman, on her deathbed,
in reply to an inquiry whether he ought to accept the Bishopric
of India in case it were offered him, as probably it might
be, entreated him by no means to decline it. She urged him, at
whatever sacrifice of ease, or health, and favourable prospects at
home, to go out in the spirit of a martyr to that distant land ;
not counting his life dear to himself, if by any means he might
promote the glory of his Redeemer and the welfare of immortal
souls for whom He died. She had before her eyes the names
and early loss of Middleton, and Heber, and James ; but she
bid him let none of these things move him, but in the faith and
strength of his Lord go wherever his sacred vows of fidelity as a
servant and ambassador of Jesus Christ impelled him." Vide
a " Brief Notice" of Bishop Turner, published in the Christian
Observer and Missionary Register for 1832.


to those who have exerted themselves in promoting
missionary labours, and who have closely and
anxiously considered this subject. That difficulties
and hindrances should lie in the way of missionary
labours, is nothing more than might be expected :
but it is consoling to think, that many of the diffi-
culties are transitory ; and there is encouragement
in the reflection, that there are no difficulties or
obstructions which patience may not endure and
perseverance subvert. It is a sufficient incentive to
consider, that thousands are famishing to partake
of those counsels of ^visdom, which it is the object
of missionary labours to supply to all, and that the
promised reward of such labours is the treasure of
everlasting love. In the difficulties and hindrances
which present themselves to the progress of mis-
sionary labours, it is also to be observed, that the
fulfilment of an express promise may be recognised.
It is nothing more than what the holy Scriptures
give the friends of the missionary cause reason to
expect. It is necessary that the leaven should
purify itself gradually, until all should be purified ;
and that the Hght should shine more and more,
until at length all is brightness. In reading the .
history of military achievements or of commercial
adventure, the mind is distressed by considering the
loss of life which such contests and enterprises lead
to, and thousands fall victims to war or to commer-
cial enterprise ; but, in this peaceful, but glorious
struggle, comparatively few lives have been
lost, and the names of the individuals who have
fallen victims to their zeal for ])ropagating the
Gospel may be counted man by man. The objects,
however, with which wars are in general com-
menced and commercial speculations carried on,
are extremely insignificant, even when confessedly
just and laudable, compared with the great cause
which this meeting has assembled for tlie purpose


CHAP, of advancing ; and which must prosper, because it
^' has the sanction of God himself.^

3. Bishop Turner embarked for India July 1 5.
1829, stopping a few days at Madeira, Rio, and the
Holds a Cape of Good Hope. At the Cape he preached,
tion a™the held a Confirmation, and visited the Government
Cape, and ^^j schools and collcge. He also established a
r Sunday^ Sunday school, commenced an afternoon service in
school. ii^Q school-room, chiefly for the benefit of the Sun-
day scholars, and guaranteed the payment of three
years' salary for a master and mistress. The suc-
cess of this school exceeded the most sanguine ex-
pectations of those who took an interest in it.
^^Many a child," writes one gentlman from the
Cape, ^^ of every shade and hue might justly be
taught to bless the name of Bishop Turner. In
fact, I have been assured by those who are ac-
quainted with the colony, that his visit gave a
decided spring to the social-religious feelings, so to
speak, of this town."^

4. Before the Bishop sailed from Portsmouth, he

received a communication from the Colonial Ofi&ce,

Conveys intimating a wish^ that, on his arrival at the Cape,

saHVom^^" ^^ would communicate with the Governor, Sir

Govern- Lowry Colc, for the purpose of ascertaining what

arrange an arrangements it would be desirable to adopts with

ecciesiasti- reference to the ecclesiastical establishment of the

biishment colony. The governor being absent during the

there wholc period of his visit, the Bishop conferred with

the acting authorities and the senior chaplain, the

Rev. George Hough ; and, ^^ after diligent inquiry,"

» Missionary Register 1829, p. 296.

' A letter, in MS., to the present Bishop of St Asaph, dated
from Government House, Cape of Good Hope, February 7.
1833, which, with other documents, his lordship has kindly en-
trusted to the author for his use.


he wrote, ^' I am satisfied that the general feeUng of
the more respectable classes at this moment is fa-
vourable to our Church ; the personal character
and declared views of the present governor, and
of Lady Frances Cole, have had a most salutary in-
fluence ; those who were disposed to activity have
had their hands strengthened ; the hostile are con-
ciliated ; and many who professed indifference have
been induced to declare themselves." Then, after
expressing a confident hope of success if this con-
currence of favourable circumstances were improved,
he remarks — '^The several points to which the
Society's^ attention should be turned may be enu-
merated under the following heads : — 1, The ap-
pointment and maintenance of the clergy ; 2, The
erection of churches ; 3, The establishment of
schools ; 4, Missionary institutions for the direct
object of converting the heathen."

Having enlarged upon each of these heads, and
stated that, in reference to the first, he had fully
communicated his sentiments to Government, the
Bishop concluded his despatch in the following im-
pressive terms : — '^ I should apologise to the Board
for the length to which this letter has been extended,
if I did not feel persuaded that the subject will jus-
tify a large demand on their attention. The ques-
tion is nothing less than this, whether a colony so
fertile in resources, so rapidly advancing in civili-
sation and social importance, shall or shall not
form a part of our nation.al church ? Should this
question be resolved favourably, we shall look for-
ward with confidence to the issue ; ])ut should the
decision be adverse, we must be prepared to see
this powerful dependency, not merely alienated from

» He is writing to the Society for rromoting Christian
Knowledge. Vide Report 1830, pp. 3o-t37.


CHAP, our establishment^, but engaged in actual hostility
^^- against us."^

Proceeds 5. After Spending twelve days at the Cape in
to Cai- ^]^jg useful manner^ the Bishop proceeded on his
voyage, and arrived at Calcutta December 10th
1829, where he was received with the accustomed
honours. On the following Sunday, December 1 3th,
he preached in the* cathedral, and appears to have
made a very favourable impression. '^ Bishop
Turner seems to come in a spirit of Christian con-
cihation,'' wrote Archdeacon Corrie. '^ He promises
to be everything desirable in his station. I have
shewn him a letter which I wrote to the Archbishop
of Canterbury, all of which he approved, and said
that he had nothing to do but to follow up the views
there stated/'^
A meeting On the last day of the year, the Bishop wrote to
of the s. the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge,
announcing his safe arrival, mentioning the con-
vening of a special general meeting of the Diocesan
Committee ; and expressing his very great satisfac-
tion at the proceedings of the day. The meeting,
he said, was numerously attended, and there were
many assembled of the first-rate abihty and charac-
ter. All seemed to be impressed with the import-
ance of the work in which the committee was
engaged, and resolved to exert themselves in for-
warding it, as far as the circumstances of the coun-
try would allow. In the same communication, the
Bishop mentioned that Archdeacon Corrie, in anti-

^ The Society lost no time in communicating with the Home
and Colonial Governments, with a view to the furtherance of
the Bishop's views ; but, for some time, little was done : and
the inhabitants of the Cape, in common with all British colonies,
had for years, and have still, in 1847, to complain of the neglect
of their religious institutions.

' Memoirs of Bishop Corrie, pp. 464, 466»


cipation of the Society's wishes^ had finished and
printed a version of the Liturgy in Hindoostanee ;
and that a Bengalee version of the Liturgy was in
a state of progress^ under the superintendence of
the Rev. W. Morton, a missionary of the Propaga-
tion Society.^

January 6th, the Bishop held a visitation of his Visitation.
clergy ; and shortly after he confirmed three hun-
dred and seventeen persons, delivering an appro-
priate charge on each occasion. He also connected
himself at once with the difierent religious institu-
tions at Calcutta ; became patron of the Bible
Society, and president of the Church Missionary

6. Shortly after his arrival he was deprived of Arch-
his chaplain, who was compelled by sickness to M?s^Cori"ie
return to Europe. Being now without a domestic become
companion, he requested of the Archdeacon that ar'thT**
he and Mrs Corrie would take up their abode with palace.
him. After some consideration they acceded to the
arrangement, which became a source of mutual
satisfaction. Mr Corrie remarked— ^^ I find his
conversation very improving : he is naturally
cheerful, and our intercourse is easy and agree-

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 50 of 54)