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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able."^ Their constant and uni^estrained conunu-
cations gave the best opportunity for suggesting
and maturing plans for the efficiency of the Church,
and the advancement of Christianity in India, to
which they were both so heartily devoted. The
Bishop's estimate of the Archdeacon will be seen
in the following extract from a letter to a friend,
in which he describes also his state and occupa-

^ Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge Report 1830,
pp. 25, 26.

* Memoirs of Bishop Corrie, pp. 4(37—173,





tion of his

7. After acknowledging the receipt of his corres-
pondent's letter, he proceeds : — ^^ It finds me in all
respects, I think, as my friends would desire to see
me, — well in health, constantly employed, though
not overworked ; and, in the midst of many hin-
drances, disappointments, and difl&culties, enabled
to accomplish some visible good to the community
in which my lot is cast. I find all the little expe-
rience I had gained in parochial and school matters
turn to excellent account here. What they want
is detail. It is not difficult to get good paper
schemes arranged, and adopted, and applauded ;
but when the moment for action comes, there are
no eyes, &c. Every body is for working by deputy ;
and the wily Bengalee knows how to make his
market of this. He is always at hand to lend his
aid ; and, under the name of Sircar, or Banian, or
some such appellation, manages to squeeze profit
out of the scheme in all sorts of ways, caring for
nothing so long as he can throw a veil over the
real state of things, and make it appear that some
of the objects of the Society are not altogether
unaccomplished. It is this habit of trusting to
native agency which paralyses all plans of benefi-
cence in Calcutta, and it is against this habit,
therefore, that I am struggling, and the struggle is
not slight. In the Archdeacon, however, I have
all the aid I could wish for, and supplied in a way I
most desire. He is in very truth ad unquam factus ;
discreet and patient ; gentle, and easy to be en-
treated, yet firm as adamant in purposes for good ;
laborious beyond all ordinary measure of labour,
yet altogether without bustle or parade ; ever on
the watch for good, and bringing his mature expe-
rience to bear upon every circumstance which may
be turned to account in the great cause to which
every thought of his heart and every moment of
his life is absolutely devoted. Such is Daniel


Corrie ; and well may I rejoice that, being such,
he is Archdeacon of Calcutta." Then, after again
giving a flivourable account of his health, he thus
details his proceedings : — ^^ I commonly preach Various
twice on Sunday, — in the morning at Calcutta, and csta^*'^^
in the evening at Bishop's College. I have a cate- ^I'shed in
chetical lecture to a class of about one hundred
and fifty, every Wednesday morning during Lent,
at the cathedral, and an evening lecture, very
largely attended, on Friday evening. I am en-
gaged in reforming the mode of teaching in the
native English schools connected with the Esta-
blishment : I have carried into effect a District
Visiting Society for the whole of Calcutta and its
neighbourhood : I have laid the ground, and shall
soon, I trust, get accomplished, a society for the
protection and religious instruction of seamen in
the port of Calcutta, and for a savings' bank ; and,
furthermore, I have three churches building. You
will agree that I must at least be a busy man.
Would that I were more a man of business ! Some
of the details of these things, which are now very
embarrassing, would then become easy." ^

8. Of the three churches here mentioned, one Three
was at the Free School, the second was a Mariner's buUL^^*
Church at the Custom-house, and the third at
Howrah.^ The last two of these churches were to
be served by clergymen appointed by the Gospel
Propagation Society. These arrangements were all
effected without any expense to Government.

While the Bishop was thus promoting the erec- Bishop
tion of churches, he took measures to secure the Kcobsc^-
better observance of the Lord's day. It was the anccof the

^ Lords day.

^ A letter in MS. to the Rev. William Short, rector of Chip-
penham, dated Calcutta, March 22. 1830.

^ Memoirs of Bishop Corrie, p. 474. Missionary Register,
1832, pp. 201, et seq.


CHAP, general custom on Sundays^ not only for the Com-
^^' pany's servants to take their own pleasure more
than on any other day of the week^ but also to
keep the native workmen employed about their
premises as usual ; so that the unseemly appear-
ance of carpenters^ bricklayers^ and others^ at work
about the premises of Europeans presented itself in
all directions. Such a profanation of the Sabbath^
the Bishop deemed it his duty to endeavour to cor-
rect^ and for this purpose he drew up '^^ A form of
an Association for the better Observance of the
Lord's day/' and sent it to the chaplains and all
the dissenting ministers in Calcutta^ who cordially
responded to the appeal^ and sermons were preached
on the following Sabbath^ in all the churches and
chapels^ on the duty of sanctifying the Lord's day.^
The ^^ Circular" was published in the Government
Gazette/ and^ as was to be expected^ it immediately

^ Memoirs of Bishop Corrie, p. 474.

^ The following is a copy of this document as it appeared in
the Government Gazette, and in the Bengal Rurkaru, April
16. 1830 :—

We, the undersigned^ being desirous to express our conviction, that
it is our duty as Christians, and will be for our advantage as
Members of the Community, to promote a more exact observance
of the Lord's day, amongst the Inhabitants of Calcutta aud its


1. That we will personally, in our families, and to the utmost
limit of our influence, adopt, and encourage others to adopt,
such measures as may tend to establish a decent and orderly
observance of the Lord's day.

2. That we will, as far as depends upon ourselves, neither
employ, nor allow others to employ on our behalf, or in our
service, native workmen and artisans in the exercise of their
ordinary calling on the Sabbath day.

3. And further, we will give a preference to those master
tradesmen, who are willing to adopt this regulation, and to act


aroused the hostility of the A nti- Christian party^
who gave vent to their jealousy of this invasion^ as
they chose to call it, of their liberty of action in
the coarsest invectives. A brisk correspondence
was carried on in the public papers by the opposite
parties, the opponents, both in sarcastic prose and
doggerel verse, shewing the bitterness of their
enmity, not only against the prelate and his clergy,
but against the institutions of the Christian reli-
gion. The Bishop knew too well what was due to
his character and office to take part in this contro-
versy. His object was to get a public representa-
tion made to the Government on the part of the
Christian inhabitants to suspend labour on the
public works on Sunday, as well as all such busi-
ness in the Government offices as- could, without
embarrassment to the service, be dispensed with.
He remarked, ^^ Though my point was not gained,
some advances have been made towards it.^ It
would be a matter of very easy arrangement, and

upon it constantly and unreservedly, in the management of their

4. We will be ready, when it may be deemed expedient, to
join in presenting an address to the Eight Honourable the Go-
vernor-General in Council, praying that orders may be issued
to suspend all labour on public works on the Lord's day, as well
as all such business in the Government offices, as can, without
embarrassment to the service, be dispensed with.

The communication of " An Observer," has reference to a
subject deserving of serious consideration ; and which, we be-
lieve, requires no advocacy of ours, influcntially supported as it
is, and comprehending within itself claims to such solemn at-
tention and imperative obligation. — Gov. Gaz.

' It is satisfactory to know, from accounts recently received
from India, that the Supreme Government has at length (1847),
conceded what Bishop Turner in vain desired to see. Earl
Hardinge, the Governor-General, having " ordered the cessa-
tion of all public works on the Lord's day, which has called
forth ths grateful thanks of the Bishop of Calcutta and his




for the
benefit of

is, in fact, adopted in every private factory of any
claim to respectability. But upon this an outcry
was raised that a persecution was meditated against
the poor innocent Hindoos, and the whole extent
of the editor's historical knowledge was put in
requisition to find parallels for so monstrous an
oppression.^ When warned, which he previously
was, of the obloquy which would probably be cast
upon him for the attempt, he replied, that personal
considerations of that sort would never deter him
from doing his duty. He persevered ; and the
result proved the anticipation to have been well
founded. He had the satisfaction of knowing that,
notwithstanding the hostility and misrepresenta-
tions in question, the object in view, namely, the
due observance, of the Lord's day, was even here
extensively promoted by the 'measure ; and at one
of the sister presidencies his endeavours for the
same purpose were afterwards still more successful.
9. In his private letter just quoted, he has stated
his views of the measures needful for the ameliora-
tion of India. After describing the immoral and
unprincipled character of the inhabitants generally,
he remarks, '^ There is but one principle obviously
which can work a change; but how to get that
principle applied 1 The most that I desire from
the Executive Government[!is, that they would let
us alone. Their share in the matter, the duty of
Christianising India, should be confined strictly to
the support and maintenance of a system of religious
instruction adequate to the wants of the actual

* Letter in MS., dated May 22. 1830, to the Kev. Dr T. V.
Short, now Bishop of St Asaph. In the same letter Bishop
Turner describes the editor referred to as "a renegade Baptist
of Scotch extraction, who calls himself a Socinian. To abuse
Christianity and Prelacy, in the person of the Bishop of Cal-
cutta, was an occasion too promising to be missed."


Christian population ; and narrow as these Hmits
may seem, they are, I am sorry to say, too wide
for the present Government. They complain that
their ecclesiastical establishment is already too bur-
densome and expensive, and, to prove this, have
lately sent me a statement of the last year's expen-
diture, which, including the Scotch Church, several
Roman Catholic chaplains, and a monthly payment
in aid of the Calcutta poor's fund, amounts to
£45,000 ! Supposing then, if indeed under present
circumstances, we could venture to make the sup-
position, that an ecclesastical establishment was
provided for those who profess and call themselves
Christians, what should we then do for the heathen ?
Some are for preaching exclusively ; some, for
teaching as exclusively. One party says, declare
in their hearing the great truths of the Gospel, and
leave the result to Him who gave the Gospel ;
another urges us to keep back the Gospel alto-
gether until their moral sense is raised, and their
social habits are purified. The conclusion to which
I am brought is, that all these sticklers for their
own systems are in a certain sense right, and I am
endeavouring to encourage all to persevere in the
way most congenial to their own views, without
disparaging, or interfering with the views of others.
But this is no easy task." Then, after remarking
upon the misguided zeal of some embarked in mis-
sionary labour, he proceeds: — ''Tlie real work
must be done by the Church, by a well-ordered,
faithfully-administered establishment." '' What I
want to see is, a Church Establisbiiient, wliich
should have in it an expansive princii)Ie, and would
adjust itself to the actual wants as they arose. I
have no doubt that this could be arranged, and if
I am encouraged to do so, 1 will undertake to
point out a way of effecting it." " I shall move




for an
tical esta-

all the powers within my reach as far as individual
exertions can go."

10. From the incidental notices of his proceed-
ings which we have been able to glean^ the Bishop
does indeed appear to have given himself wholly to
his work. Archdeacon Corrie, after six months'
acquaintance with him, and an attentive observa-
tion of his course, remarked : — ^^ He is by far best
suited for this appointment of any who have occu-
pied it. With more practical knowledge of men,
and of parochial matters than any of them, he has
large views of usefulness ; and, with perfect pro-
priety of language, states them to Government.
Had we a man who had any fixed views of Govern-
ment at the head of affairs, something effectual
might be accomplished for the religious welfare of

India ; but when is on one hand, and on

the other, of Government, what can be expected
but fancies and crudities ?" The principle was
broadly affirmed, in a report on ecclesiastical affairs
made up by the Finance Committee, that Govern-
ment was not bound to supply the means of grace
to any but the European troops, to which the
charter bound them. It was actually recommended
from the Supreme Government to reduce the num-
ber of chaplains, seven, and to secure the occa-
sional services of missionaries, of any and every
persuasion, even Komanists, and to abolish the
Scotch establishment altogether. The Bishop could
not hear of such a proposal without strongly pro-
testing against it. He represented to the Govern-
ment, that by such a scheme of church arrange-
ment, they would recognise missions, which they
had never done ; would have no control over the
agents so authorised ; and that by a variety of pro-
cedure in those employed, confusion probably would
ensue. Whereas, if they were serious in their
attempts to extend sound knowledge, by extending


the Church estabUshment^ and taking more pains
than at present to secure fit persons, they might
provide a body of most efficient agents in forward-
ing the improvement of the country.

But all his exertions to move the present Go-
vernment were to no purpose, and his only hope
was of obtaining some improved provisions in the
next charter. With such energy did he give him-
self to the subject, that the archdeacon seems to
have known, or suspected, that he would under-
take a voyage home for the purpose of represent-
ing the claims of the Church in India ; for he
remarks to a friend — '^ You need not be surprised
should you hear of the Bishop's arrival in England
a few months hence, as it is quite evident, that
should the home Government depend on the in-
formation derived from this quarter, nothing will
be done for us in an ecclesiastical point of view ;
and twenty more years of this miserable system
will be perpetrated, which can only end in confu-
sion almost irremediable."^

11. Although the Bishop failed to obtain all Proposes
that he desired for the pastoral provision of the sion of the
Christian community, he omitted nothing in his ^^"^^'f °^
power to further the cause of Christianity in the College,
country. One of the first objects of his attention
was the extension of the benefits of Bishop's College.
Bishoj) Heber had called the attention of the Gospel
Propagation Society to the large accommodation
afforded by the new buildings at the College, and
suggested a plan for extending the benefits of
education, then limited to divinity students on
the foundation, to lay students generally, under
certain restrictions. In 1829, the Society came to
a resolution to take measures for carrying this

Memoirs of Bishop Corrie, pp. 480-483.


CHAP suggestion into effect. The proposed extension
^^' of the benefits of the institution was submitted to
the visitor (the Bishop) and the College Council,
who lost no time in carrying it into effect. It was
agreed to admit non-foundation students, without
requiring from them the customary declaration
which pledged the ecclesiastical divinity students to
a missionary calling. They were required to pay
for expenses of board and tuition. The charge fixed
on for diet, room-rent, and tuition^ was one hundred
rupees a month. This payment was reasonable,
considering that the College was originally founded
entirely for bringing up young men as Church of
England missionaries. In special cases, however,
of desert, the College Council were empowered to
remit to students so appointed the College ex-
penses incurred during the year of probation.^
Ordina- 12. The Bishop was very sedulous in his at-

tendance at the College, entered much into its
affairs, and generally preached there on Sunday
evenings. On Palm Sunday, April 4. 1830, he
held an ordination in the cathedral at Calcutta,
when the junior professor, Mr George Undy
Withers, B.A. of Trinity College, Cambridge, and
Mr John Macqueen, a domiciliary probationer of
Bishop's College, were admitted to deacons' orders.
The ordination sermon was preached by the Kev.
Dr Mill, principal of the College.

The Bishop was also unremitting in his atten-
tion to the objects of the Society for Promoting
Christian Knowledge. Owing to the decline of
public liberality, and the increase of sects and so-
cieties in Calcutta, he found that the funds of the
Diocesan Committee had greatly diminished, and.

^ Keport of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in
Foreign Parts 1829. Calcutta Government Gazette, January



consequently, that the Society's operations for a
time had languished. Under his active superin-
tendence, however, they soon revived. He re-
lieved the Society from the charge of supporting
St James's School, which he took upon himself.
^' For a time,'* he remarked, ^' the expense will be
burthensome, but I shall bear it very willingly, in
the hope that a commencement will now be made
of a system of district schools, in connection with
the several churches in Calcutta, to be maintained
by voluntary contributions and congregational col-
lections." Government granted the use of a large a central
building at Howrah, which was fitted up as a esta°
central native school for teaching English. In biished at
mentioning the appropriation of a grant of £300 °^^^ *
from the Society to two of his new churches and
this school, the Bishop remarked, that this was an
institution to which, in the present state of Bengal,
great importance attached.^ In about a fortnight
after the date of this letter, April 1. 1830, the
school was in active operation, and soon began to
produce the benefits which he had anticipated.

13. The Church Missionary Society also re- Support of
ceived a full share of his countenance and support, ^iss. So-
He presided at the meetings of their Corresponding ciety.
Committee, and took a lively interest in all their
proceedings ; while from his judicious counsels,

his pastoral exhortations to their missionaries, and
the paternal and social intercourse he maintained
with them, the Society received, and yet antici-
pated, extensive benefits.^

14. The impulse given to the education of the Calcutta
labouring classes was now reaching the middle school
and higher orders, for whom no adequate means of esta-
instruction were yet provided. While Bishop's ^^ ^ '

' Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, Eeport 1831,
* Church Missionary Society's Reports, 1831, 1832.
VOL. V. Br


CHAP. College was established for the purpose of educat-

L ing mmisters in connection with the Established

Church in India^ it was found that the wants of
the European and East Indian community re-
quired an institution which should give general
and easy access to education of a higher kind than
they at present enjoyed. The East Indians espe-
cially were fast increasing in numbers and respec-
tability. Besides the number in charity schools,
there were not less than five hundred in boarding
schools in Calcutta alone. Not above one hundred,
it was reckoned, could afford to pay sufficient to
remunerate masters of a superior class ; yet they
were all descendants of gentlemen. Though for
the past few years a manifest improvement had
been going on among them, yet they had hitherto
had no bond of union, and stood separate from all
established order. Archdeacon Corrie, deeply con-
cerned for the welfare of this class, endeavoured to
interest the public authorities to provide suitable
means of instruction for them, as well as for the
Christian community generally. But failing in all
his applications, and finding it to be the settled
determination on the part of the Indian Govern-
ment to leave Christianity and Christian education
to take care of themselves, he resolved to appeal
to the public, and, accordingly^, circulated in Cal-
cutta the outline of a plan for establishing in that
city an institution which should aim at promoting
the interests of true religion in connection with an
enlarged and liberal education.

The Bishop entered into this plan with his wonted
energy and intelligence, and suggested that the
Grammar School at Calcutta should be taken as the
foundation of the proposed College. A public
meeting of persons interested in the object w^as held
on the 5th of June 1830. The Bishop presided,
and it was resolved, that an institution should be


formed, to be called the Calcutta High School ;^
that five trustees should be appointed, and a man-

^ It may be desirable here to put on record the plan of the
Institution according to Archdeacon Corrie's proposal : —

I. That a college be founded in this metropolis, in which,
while the various branches of literature and science be made the
subjects of instruction, it be an essential part of the system to
imbue the minds of the youth with a knowledge of the doctrines
and duties of Christianity.

II. That this college be, in every way, conformable to the
United Church of England and Ireland ; but, as there are also
many in this land who are not members of that Church, who
are at present completely excluded from the means of bestowing
upon their children a liberal education, to provide which is the
chief object of the proposed seminary, persons of all persuasions
be permitted to attend the various classes under certain restric-
tions, but without restraints tending to interfere with their reli-
gious opinions.

III. That the following be approved as the general outline
of the plan on which the college be founded and conducted : —

1. A liberal and enlarged course of education to be pursued,
adapted to the respective attainments of the students. The
college to be divided into two departments — a higher depart-
ment for the elder, and a lower department for the younger.

2. The system to comprise religious and moral instruction,
classical learning, history, modern languages, mathematics,
natural philosophy, medicine and surgery, chemistry, jurispru-
dence, and other branches, as time and circumstances may

3. The college to be open to the sons of native gentlemen,
as well as to all denominations of Christians ; and to be divided
into two parts, viz., those who conform in all respects with the
regulations of the institution, to be designated members ; and
those who only attend the classes for the purpose of receiving
instruction ; the advantages to be available by all students,
with the exception of some theological privileges, which must
unavoidably be restricted to the members of the college ; no
student, not being a member of the college, to be required to
comply with any religious form, provided he submit to the
general system of education pursued within its walls.

4. The benefit of attending any course of lectures in the
higher branches to be afforded to all who may be disposed to
avail themselves of it, under the preceding and such other regu-
lations as may be specified.

5. All students entering as members of the college to con-


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 51 of 54)