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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for the im- j^g fj^j. ^g possible, of their military character, and
pro^emen ^^ pj.Qtect them from the indignities to which they
cShLm ^^^'^^^ sometimes exposed. So little was the clergy-
ment. man's office respected or understood, and to such
indignities was he frequently exposed, that the
Bishop expressed his astonishment that respectable
men, as he testified most of them to be, should be
found to accept the appointment. But he was re-
solved to throw his shield over them, and he consi-
dered that he had a right strongly to protest against
any such interference mth the discharge of their
sacred functions as was incompatible with the
Episcopal authority.

His interposition did not immediately produce
all that he desired, for he had yet much to contend
with at home as w^ell as abroad. Happily, how-
ever, there was one at that time presiding over the
counsels at the East India House, Charles Grant,
Esq., the old and faithful friend of Christianity in
India, who was always desirous to counteract this
hostile infiuence, and the good effects of his interest
and exertions were soon apparent in the increase of
chaplains ; but for several years the number was
very inadequate to the demand.
Difficulty 32. This state of the Church in India was suffi-
ci'.ce to^Tic ^^^^^^ ^^ ^^^ ^^i^ with anxiety ; and his embarrass-
missionary mcut was rather enhanced than relieved by the
clergy. arrival of the missionaries in orders, of the Church
Missionary Society, who were continually coming out.
He anticipated their becoming in a few years what he
called ^' the parochial clergy." '^ In one place," he
stated, ^' the Society have lately built a neat church/

^ This was no doubt the church at Chuuar, which was built
in 1810.

IX INDIA : BOOK Xlll. 37

and appointed their minister ; and what," he
remarked, '' can be said against it ? Upwards
of two hundred Christians were without a pastor.
If the State will not provide for such cases, it
will never do to say that such persons shall not
receive instruction from ordained clergymen of our
own Church, by wdiomsoever sent. Other cases of
the same sort may be expected every day ; and
if the Church Missionary Society will supply or-
dained clergymen wherever they are wanted, the
company may be relieved, indeed, from a heavy
expense, but then w^hat becomes of the Bisho))'s
jurisdiction ?"

This was a reasonable question, in the present
state of the Church in India. By the terms of the
last charter, these missionaries had as much right
in the country as those of any other Christian So-
ciety, they were therefore no intruders. Still it
must be acknowledged, that ecclesiastically they
occupied an anomalous position. A body of clergy
was located and labouring within the diocese of a
Bishop of their own Church, without being at all
amenable to his authority. He saw that the ne-
cessities of India justified their being sent, and
often acknowledged the value of their services ;
nevertheless, he felt apprehensive lest, in a few
years, there should be a Bishop in India with hardly
any clergy, and a number of clergy not acknow-
ledging Episcopal jurisdiction. As, however, he
had no authority to license them, he knew not how
to obviate this inconvenience.

His difficulties how to receive these missionaries
were not a little augmented by comnmnicritions
from home, w^here a jealousy of the Church Mis-
sionary Society existed in the minds of some per-
sons whom he had long esteemed ; and he appears
to have been recommended to act towards its mis-
sionaries in a wav which he felt, from the cu'cum-


CHAR stances of the country, and his own convictions of
^' duty, would not be right. '' If I should forbid
them to preach in English/' he remarked, '' while
so many European congregations are without any
pastor^ it would excite horror and hatred both of my
person and my office. In fact, it could not be done
salvd conscientidy . . . '^ Theij jyreacli where there
are no chaplains, and without their ministrations
considerable bodies of Christians would be without
the ordinances of rehgion. They are, in fact, doing
what our Propagation of the Gospel Society's mis-
sionaries were sent to do in America. And what
would be the effect, if the Bishop were to interfere
to deprive any Christian congregation of the means
of attending the services of the Church ? Expla-
nation would be impossible. It would be generally
believed that I was adverse to the progress of Chris-
tianity, whatever might be my professions." ■^

The Bishop had another motive in refusing di-
rectly to sanction their ministrations, for he con-
sidered that this would be at once to acknowledge
them as performing authoritatively the duties of
parochial clergy, and that it might hence be in-
ferred that the Company need not send chaplains
to India. Nevertheless, being year after year dis-
appointed in his hopes of an adequate supply of
chaplains, he became at length convinced that the
time was at hand when it would be impossible
longer to withhold his public sanction from services
which came so powerfully in aid of the exigencies
of the Church. Licences, however, with the limita-
tion of their services locally to the English, which
the Bishop seems to have contemplated, the mis-
sionaries could not have accepted. Though always
ready to administer to their countrymen when occa-

Vol. i. p. 401-403.


sion served, yet their proper duty was to the hea-
then and Mahomedans, for whose conversion they
were expressly sent to India. The nature of their
office, therefore, required that they should be left
at liberty to preach from village to village, in the
highways, and at places of public resort. To have
consented to be confined to any locality, and espe-
cially to English services, would have defeated the
object of the Society from which they received their
commission. It should be remembered, however,
that Bishop Middleton was called to the onerous
task of clearing the ground, and laying the founda-
tion of the Church of England in India ; and who
can be surprised that he sought to avail himself of
every person and every opportunity to accomplish
this single design ?

33. The Bishop met with great discouragements ^^"'JJJ^^'"
in the pursuit of several objects which he deemed inThc
of much importance to the respectability and effi- p^'j^^'P'^
ciency of the new ecclesiastical establishment. He
had made an ineffectual application for official re-
sidencies for the archdeacons, for a marriage act
for India, for authority to ordain East Indians, and
others born in the country, with some other points
of minor importance. But of all the propositions
which his experience and observation prompted him
to submit to the authorities at home, not one had
met with their approbation and support. These
disappointments were enough to shake the firmest
determination, and cool the most ardent spirit.
To a sanguine, anxious, and discerning mind, hke
that of Bishop Middleton, they were peculiarly pain-
ful. ''The difficulties and mortifications which I
have to encounter," he complained, '' are sometimes
almost too much for me." He then dwells upon
the affliction of seeing clearly how every thing
mkjlit prosper in the cause of the gospel, and of wit-
nessing, at the same time, the multitude of adverse


CHAP, circumstances, which though, perhaps, in some
^- measure accidental and undesigned, yet seemed to
be united, as in a sort of conspiracy, to crush in its
infoncy the church over which he watched, and
laboured to cherish.
indica- 34. The resistance he met with, however, seems

fivourlbie ^^^y ^^ h^iYe stimulated him to greater exertion in
move/ the cause of religion. On the 8th of August he laid
"^^"^' the first stone of a church to be erected at Dum-
Dum, near Calcutta, the principal station of the
European artillery. He was encouraged also with
the assurance that other churches were likely to be
built in the more important stations of the Bengal
presidency, where they were so much required.
The revival of religion commenced under Marquis
Wellesley's administration, received a fresh impulse ;
the churches at Calcutta were better attended ;
men's recollections of the ordinances of religion in
their flitherland, which with many had too long
been dormant, began to revive ; at the weekly ser-
vices during Lent, the Bishop brought together the
children of eleven schools in the neighbourhood,
amounting to three hundred and fifty-four, to be
catechised in the cathedral, and the assemblage of
so many young persons for such a purpose, gave
an additional interest to the usual solemnities of
the season.

About this time, the Bishop's mind was power-
fully drawn toward the native population. Hitherto,
foi' reasons already stated, he had refrained from
all ostensible co-operation in measures for their con-
version. But he now began to feel his obligations
as a Christian Bishop press too heavily upon him,
to be held back from this sacred duty by the opi-
nions or prejudices of others. Amid his various
anxieties and labours, he derived great encourage-
ment from the change which time and circum-
.^tances appeared to h(^ working in the native mind,


and also, from the reflection that, on the whole, a
mighty, though in some respects irregular, move-
ment was perceptible, whose ultimate tendency was
towards the establishment of Christianity, and the
overthrow of the foul and gigantic idolatries of Hin-

35. One of the Bishop's first plans for giving a ^^^'''^'^[^^'^
right direction to this movement, was the esta- education,
blishment of schools for native children throughout
the presidency of Bengal. To this object the Bishop
proposed to apply a portion of the money placed at
his disposal by the Society for Promoting Christian
Knowledge. Accordingly he convened a meeting
of the Diocesan Committee, when it was agreed
provisionally to establish native schools, and to
invite the liberal contributions of the public to carry
the design into effect to the widest extent.^ Bene-
factions immediately began to flow in, and soon
amounted to twelve thousand seven hundred and
five sicca rupees, and the annual subscriptions to
four thousand one hundred and twenty-seven.
The Governor-General ordered the payment of one
thousand out of the cliaritable fund at his disposal.
A school-room was soon erected, on ground pre-
sented by a native, in a populous situation, and
eighty scholars were received. A second school-
room was begun in another populous neighbour-
hood, on land granted by Government ; and a
school having been recently established by the
Church Missionary Society within the district
which the Diocesan Committee had proposed as
the scene of their first labours, they thankfully
accepted from the Corresponding Committee of that
Society, the offer of a transfer of their school at


1 For further details see the Report of the Diocesan C«
inittee for 1819 ; the S. P. C. K. Report, 1820 ; the Missionary
P.egistor 1819, pp. 88, 84, 525 ; 1820, pp. 36, 530, 531.


CHAP, the expense incurred in its erection : the number
^' of children under daily instruction in this school,
was about one hundred and thirty.

With a view to the further extension of this sys-
tem, a select class of the Bengalee scholars at the
Calcutta Free School wxre, on the recommendation
of the Bishop, put in training as teachers. It was
also determined to establish a school for the chil-
dren of poor native Christians, of whom many were
brought up in a state of utter ignorance/
Project of 36. The Bishop was greatly encouraged in these
giSte^ e'sta- proceedings by a despatch from the Society for Pro-
biishment. pagatiug the Gospel in Foreign Parts, received in
September 1 818, informing him, that on the recom-
mendation of the President, the Archbishop of
Canterbury, the Society had unanimously agreed,
that the time was at length arrived for its exer-
tions to be extended to India, and had resolved to
place five thousand pounds at his disposal, as the
most ready means of entering on its operations in
the east.

For some time past, at the proposal of Mr
Kohloff of Tanjore, the Bishop had contemplated
the establishment of a superior seminary for the
education of missionaries' sons for the ministry.
There were at that time several children of the
Christian Knowledge Society's missionaries ready
for such an establishment, and under their minis-
trations, the whole body of native Christians in
South India might, in a very few years, be trans-
ferred into the bosom of the church. In his recent
visitation, the Bishop had seen that the Portuguese,
by means of their colleges at Goa and Yerapoli,
had diffused their religion into every corner of the
country ; and he would fiin have followed their ex-

Life of Bishop Middleton, vol. ii. chap xvii.


ample, but the institution of a missionary college
was so far beyond the means at his disposal, that
he dismissed it as an impracticable notion. The
Propagation Society's liberality, however, instantly
led him to reconsider the project, and in acknow-
ledging their grant, he proposed to apply it to the
founding of a missionary college, explained its
necessity, and drew up a plan of such an establish-
ment as he considered the exigencies of the country

He deemed it very important that this college
should be maintained on a liberal scale, be placed
in connection with the Church, and fixed at the
seat of the supreme government ; and that students
should be sent to it from the other presidencies, so
that it might become a seminary from which mis-
sionaries could be prepared for all parts of India ;
for it should be remembered, that at that time, the
whole of India constituted one diocese. Such is an
outline of the Bishop's plan,^ and from this period
it seems to have been the central object of all his
designs for the advancement of Christianity in
India. ^^ In the event of its success," he remarked,
^^ the Church would be placed on a pre-eminence in
the work of conversion, and would have a noble

^ The objects which he proposed to accomplish were : —

1. The instruction of native and other Christian youth in the
doctrines and discipline of the Church, in order to their becom-
ing preachers, catechists, and schoolmasters.

2. Teaching the elements of useful knowledge and the Eng-
lish language to Mussulmans or Hindoos, having no object in
such attainments beyond secular advantage.

3. For translating the Scriptures, the Liturgy, and moral and
religious tracts.

4. For the reception of English missionaries to be sent out
by the Society, on their first arrival in India.

^ The Bishop's letter, together with the details of his plan, is
given entire in hit? Life, vol. ii. chap. xvii.

Letter for
the object.


c;iiAP. establishment for the propagation of the gospel,
^- such as no other Protestant Church had yet pos-

This communication reached England in May
1819, and it awakened in the members of the Board
of the Society for Propagating the Gospel in Foreign
Parts the most lively interest ; and they gave it their
unanimous and cordial support. Three thousand
copies of the letter were printed and distributed
among the members of the Society, and measures
were taken for carrying into etfect the proposed
Royal 37, A Kinsr's Letter, authorising collections

throughout the country m furtherance oi the so-
ciety's objects, was granted, February 10th 1819 ;
but not issued until after the receipt and adoption
of the Bishop's proposal, and the publication of his
letter. The Board had previously circulated an
address to the clergy, and to the members of the
Church generally, stating the origin and previous
operations of the Society, and explaining their rea-
sons for entering upon this new sphere of labour,
in terms according with the Primate's recommenda-
tion of the subject to their consideration. In con-
clusion, they made a strong appeal to the sym23a-
thies of the Christian public in behalf of India, the
present revenue of the Society being pledged for
other purposes, to which they had been so long,
and so usefully appropriated.
Review of .38. About tlic sauic time, the Rev. Josiah Pratt,
r'ropaga-^ Secretary to the Church Missionary Society, pub-
lished a work, entitled ^' Propaganda," which ex-
hibited a lucid view of the past labours of the Pro-
pagation Society. To this publication the Bishop
of Calcutta bore honourable testimony. ^^ I really
think the Society," he remarked, ^' and therefore
the CI lurch, owes a great deal to this publication,
though I dislike the title of it. 1 liave put it into



circulation as much as possible : and people are
perfectly amazed that they never heard of a Society
which has done so much. It is one of the most
interesting exposes I ever read ; and Mr Pratt has
done us essential service. Mr Hawtayne/ by my
desire^ drew up a short account of the Society for
Propagating the Gospel in Foreign Parts, taken from
the Propaganda, and sent it to the Government
Gazette, to prepare the way for fuller details here-

The Society's Address, and the Propaganda of
Mr Pratt, prepared the way for the King's and the
Bishop's Letters/ and the appeal to the public was
responded to in a manner that surpassed the ex-
pectations of the most sanguine. The contributions
amounted to about fifty thousand pounds, a much
larger sum than the Society had ever before real-
ised from a Royal Letter. This was no doubtful
indication of the general interest now awakened in
the Church in favour of missionary objects, and it
gave hope of brighter prospects for the colonies of
Great Britain. The whole sum now collected was
appHed to the Propagation of the Gospel in India.*

^ The Bishop's chaplain. The Propaganda was published
anonymously, but the Bishop was right in the author.

2 Life of Bishop Middleton, vol. ii. p. 121.

3 The Royal Letter was in the usual form, with the insertion
of this special clause : — " That, induced by a variety of favour-
able circumstances, the Society are desirous of extending the
range of their labours, and of using their utmost endeavours to
diffuse the light of the gospel, and permanently to establish
the Christian faith, in such parts of the continent and islands
of Asia as are under our protection and authority ; but that,
owing to the state of their funds, which are altogether unequal
to the expenses of such an undertaking, they are unable, with-
out further assistance from our good subjects, to proceed in the
execution of their designs."

* Gospel Propagation Society's Reports, 1819, 1820, 1821.




from the

from the




39. A copy of the Bishop's Letter bemg com-
municated, by the Propagation Society, to the
Society for Promoting Knowledge, at a general
meeting of this Society, it was resolved, ^ on the
recommendation of their East India Committee, to
grant the sum of five thousand pounds in aid of the
Bishop's design.^

40. The Church Missionary Society also, at its
monthly Committee in July 1819, after expressing
its gratification at the zeal and promptitude with
which the above Societies had adopted the Bishop
of Calcutta's plan for estabUshing a mission college
near Calcutta, and declaring its desire to co-oper-
ate in the same great and common cause, resolved
to make a like grant of five thousand pounds for
the same purpose

''The Committee had the advantage, on this occa-
sion, of acting under the counsel of a chairman,
Charles Grant, Esq., who was, perhaps, of all men
the most competent, from long experience and
practical knowledge, united to comprehension of
mind and elevation of principle, to advise concern-
ing the true interests of India. They had also the
benefit of hearing from Lieut. -Col. John Munro,
late Resident at the Court of Travancore, and from
John Herbert Harrington, Esq., late Chief Judge in
Bengal, both just returned from India, the most
decided expression of the probability of good likely
to result from the Bishop of Calcutta's plan, if ade-
quately supported."^

41. While the Church at home was thus prepar-
ing to enable the Bishop to accomplish this great
design for India, he was performing a second visit-
ation of his diocese. Early in February 1819, he

' S. P. C. K. Reports. 1«19, 1820.

^ Society's Report 1819 ; Missionary Register 1819, p. 317.



again assembled his clergy at Calcutta^ and deli-
vered to them a charge^ in which, laying aside all
reserve, he fully and distinctly exhibited his deli-
berate sentiments respecting missionary labours,
and shewed how admirably he was qualified to
illustrate that important subject by his knowledge
of ecclesiastical antiquity. He told them that they
would but ill understand the extent of their sacred
obligations if they contemplated, without any emo-
tions of zeal, the prospect of moral and spiritual
good to the people who surrounded them ; that it
became every day more difficult to detach the sub-
ject of missionary labours from discussions relating
to the duties of the clergy in India. The concern
that was so deeply felt for the condition of the
heathen was, he said, highly honourable to their
country, and, at the same time, peculiar to the
Christian religion ; for that Paganism but rarely
sought for proselytes, and by Islamism conversion
seemed to be valued chiefly as an instrument of
conquest. Then, after expressing regret that the
missionary zeal, which was prompted by the benign
spirit of the gospel, was not always so happily
regulated as to produce the highest degree of good,
he shewed that this failure was to be attributed to
a departure from the spirit and unity of the primi-
tive ages. By the first preachers of the gospel, the
diffusion of their religion was evidently identified
with the expansion of the Catholic Church. To
begin with the apostles : missionaries they were,
indeed, in the most illustrious acceptation of the
word, going forth in the power and spirit of Christ,
and establishing churches whose members should
know of no separation but that of place. And
then there were evangelists, who were likewise
missionaries in the strictest sense. Their office
was to preach Christ to those who had never heard
of His Name, and to deliver to them the divine


CHAP, gospels. Another ancient provision for the exten-
^' sion of the gospel was the appointment of catecMsts,
As the evangelists were sent among distant nations,
to whom the name of Christ was possibly unknown,
the catechists were to bring into the fold of Christ
the heathen who resided in the neighbourhood of
any Christian Church. The conversion of these
was an object contemplated in every Christian
establishment. All who expressed a desire to be-
come acquainted with the Christian doctrines, were
considered as standing in a certain avowed and
public relation to the Church. Catechisms were
compiled expressly for their use ; and the catechu-
mens wxre allowed to be present in the church
during the sermon, and while certain prayers were
offered for their illumination. Whatever the esti-
mate, he remarked, which modern laxity may fix on
regulations like these, they still shew what was the
spirit of that system under which our faith was
disseminated, and on which manifestly rested the
approbation and the blessing of God.

Then, after enlarging on the advantage of union
among Christians, especially when labouring in the
midst of the heathen, and also noticing the recent
proceedings in England, in behalf of Christianity in
India, he encouraged his clergy to endeavour to
rise to the level of duty which their Church at
home now manifestly expected of them. He so-
lemnly exhorted them to personal holiness, and to
pastoral fidelity, setting before them an awful re-
presentation of the guilt incurred by a forgetfulness
of these sacred responsibilities. That the effect of
these admonitions might not be lost in their gene-
rality, he proceeded to insist on various details of
clerical duty ; and concluded by earnestly charging
them to take heed to the ministry which they had
received of the Lord, that they might fulfil it.
Even a small body of clergy, animated by the views

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 7 of 54)