Imatges de pÓgina

number of their people, as given in to the Resident, is estimated at 23,000. "The residence of their Metropolitan is at Candenatte, twelve or fourteen miles inland from Cochin. In some of their churches divine service is performed in the Syrian and Latin, ritual alternately, by the priests of the Christians of St. Thome, who have adhered to their ancient rights, and those who have been united to the church of Rome. When the latter have celebrated mass, they carry away the images from the church before the others enter.

"The character of these people is marked by a striking superiority over the Heathens in every moral excellence; and they are remarkable for their veracity and plain dealing. They are extremely attentive to their religious duties; and abide by the decision of their Priests and Metropolitan in all cases, whether in spiritual, or, as I heard, in temporal af. fairs. They are respected very highly by the Nairs, who do not consider themselves defiled by associating with them, though it is well known that the Nairs are the most particular of all the Hindoos in this respect; and the Rajahs of Travancore and Cochin, admit them to rank next to Nairs. Their numbers, it is conjectured, are under-rated in the statement given to the Resident, as it is generally supposed that they may be estimated at 70 or 80,000. They are not persecuted; but they are not permitted to make converts, by the governments under which they reside; and it is supposed, that many respectable Hindoos would be happy to join their sect, were it not for this circumstance: but at present they suffer, as far as I can learn, no other hardship.

"If good men from Syria could be obtained, not as parish priests, but to superintend and regulate their concerns, I conceive it would be a great blessing to these good people. "The direct protection of the British government has been already extended to them; but as they do not reside within the British territories, I am somewhat doubtful how far it may be of use to them.

This shows a spirit of toleration and Christian liberality, very different from the bigotry of the Romish church,

"To unite them to the church of England, would, in my opinion, be a most noble work; and it is most devoutly to be wished for, that those who have been driven into the Roman pale might be recalled to their ancient church; a measure which it would not, I imagine, be difficult to accomplish, as the country governments would, it is supposed, second any efforts to that purpose.

"Their occupations are various as those of other Christians; but they are chiefly cultivators and artizans ; and some of them possess a comfortable, if not a spendid independence. Their clergy marry in the same manner as Protestants. Their residence is entirely inland.

Syrian Roman Catholics.

"THESE people, as stated above, were constrained to join the Latin church, after a long struggle for the power of maintaining their purity and independence; and still appear a people perfectly distinct from the Latin church, being allowed to chant and perform all the services of the church of Rome in the Syrio-Chaldaic language by a dispensation from the Pope. They live under the authority of the Metropolitan of Cranganore and the Bishop of Verapoli, and dress differently from other priests. They wear a white surplice, while the priests of the Latin com munion wear black gowns, like the Capuchin Friars of Madras. The Roman Catholic Syrians, it is thought, are much more numerous than the members of the original church. Their clergy are spread through the ancient churches, d, by retaining their language, and acting under the direction of the church of Rome, they leave no means unessayed to draw over their primitive brethren to the Latin communion. It appears to me, that they are allowed to use their original language, and to frequent the original church, entirely with this view; and, as far as I can learn, their numbers are gaining ground. There are said to be eighty-six parishes of Roman Catholic Syrians subject to the dioceses of Cranganore and Verapoli. Their priests, to the number of four hundred, are styled Catanars, which is a Syrian appellation, their congregations are re

ported at 90,000, (old and young included) agreeably to the last return transmitted to Rome. There is an inferior order of priests, who are called Chiamas, in number about 120. The Hindoos have, as far as 1 can learn, a much greater respect for the Christians of the original church, than for the converts of the Latin communion; which may be accounted for by their not associating with the lower orders of people. Attached to each church is a convent, where the Catanars reside in community, "there being three, four, or five to each church. The service is performed weekly, in rotation. There is a seminary at the college of Verapoli for the education of the Syrio Roman Catholics, and also one for the Latin church. The Syrio Roman Catholics are chiefly engaged, as already mentioned, in drawing their ancient brethren within the Romish pale; but it appears that some of them have been employed formerly in extending the general object of conversion over the peninsula. I saw one of their churches at a village near Pillambaddy, about "thirty miles on the Madras side of Trichinopoly; and I heard of several others. They had at this village adopted the use of a sawmy coach, like that of the Heathens, with the crucifix and the Virgin Mary in it, instead of the Hindoo sawmy. Their church was much out of repair and the ignorance of the few Christians remaining in charge of it is striking the letters I, N, R, I, over the figure of our Saviour on the cross, being absolutely inverted; nor did the priest who visits them ever notice the circumstance. They read prayers in Malabar, according to the ritual of the church of Rome. Their church appears to have been once respectable, but is now fallen into decay.

Latin Roman Catholics. "WITHIN the provinces of Travancore and Cochin there are one archbishop and two bishops :-the archbishop of Cranganore, and the bishops of Cochin and Verapoli.

"The two former have sees, the latter is titular. The archbishops of Cranganore and the Bishop of Cochin are nominated by the queen of Por

tugal, after the following manner: Three names are sent, (when either of these sees become vacant) by the sovereign of Portugal to the Pope's and the Roman Pontiff is bound to select the name that stands first, and to issue his brevet or patent accordingly.

"They are subject in all spiritual concerns to the primate of Goa; who has power also, during a vacancy, of sending from Goa a locum tenens, who is styled Padre Governador. Both sees are at this moment filled by such.

"The titular bishop, who resides at the college of Verapoli, is appointed directly by the Pope, and is subject to no jurisdiction but that of his holiness, or the propaganda at Rome. This mission, being more susceptible of control and regulation than the others, has been countenanced by the honourable company, as the following copy of a proclamation issued by the government of Bombay will show.


"The honourable the Court of Di. rectors of the honourable English East-India company, having been pleased to order that the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the Roman Cath. olic churches under this government, shall be withdrawn from the Archbishop of Goa, and restored to the Carmelite Bishop of the apostolic mission, the President in Council has accordingly resolved, that the said restitution shall take place on the first of the ensuing month; from which time he hereby enjoins all the Catholic inhabitants in Bombay, as well as the several factories and settlements subordinate thereto, to pay due obedience in spiritual matters to the said bishops, on pain of incurring the severe displeasure of gov.


"By order of the Honourable the Goernor in Council,

(Signed) WILLIAM PAGE, Secretary. "Bombay Castle, 2d Aug. 1791.”

"The priests attached to the college of Verapoli are all Carmelites, united to the apostolic mission at Bombay, but not subject to it. The jurisdiction of each is not marked by distinct bounds; the parishes and churches being so intermingled, that it is dif

ficult to form a right notion of their extent. The bishop of Cochin, however, may be said to have a control over all the Romish churches situated on the sea coast, immediately, (with few exceptions) from Cochia to Ramnad, and thence round the whole island of Ceylon: the churches are numerous; but as they are in general poor, and are obliged to be supplied with priests from Goa, it would appear that one vicar holds, upon an average, five or six churches. The number of Christians composing these churches must be great, as all and every of the fishermen are Roman Catholics. The Bishop of Cochin usually resides at Quilon. There are very few European clergy (not above seven or eight) under the three jurisdictions, and none of them men of education; and it cannot be expected that the native priests, who have been educated at Goa, or at the seminary at Verapoli, should know much beyond their missals and rituals. The Latin communicants, in the diocese of Verapoli, are estimated at 35,000. The catechumen suffers no persecution on account of his religion, when once converted; but the country governments are excessively jealous upon this point, and do their utmost to discountenance any conversion.

"The converts are from various casts, viz. Chegas or Teers,-Muckwas and Pullers; and there can be no doubt but that many of higher casts would be baptised, if they did not dread the displeasure of their governments.

"It is well known that the Roman religion was introduced by the Portuguese, at the commencement of the sixteenth century; the number con verted in each year, upon an average, reach to nearly 300: the number, of course, naturally diminishes.


morality of the converts is very loose; and they are generally inferior in this respect to the heathens of the country.


"Reflecting on the whole subject, several suggestions present themselves to my mind; and I shall not be considered as deviating from the line of my profession, or the intention of your lordship, in calling for my Report, by offering some opinions to

government, which, in a moral and political view, seem of the highest importance. It appears, from the foregoing statement, that pure Christianity is far, very far, from being a religion for which the highest cast of Hindoos have any disrespect; and that it is the abuse of the Christian name, under the form of the Romish religion, to which they are averse. We have, my Lord, been sadly defective in what we owed to God and man, since we have had a footing in this country, as well by departing most shamefully from our Christian profession ourselves, as in withholding those sources of moral perfection from the natives, which true Christianity alone can establish; and, at the same time, we have allowed the Romanists to steal into our territories, to occupy the ground we have neglected to cultivate, and to bring an odium on our pure and honourable name as Christians. The evil would be less, were it not well known that many of the Romish priests and their people, who have thus been allowed to grow numerous under our authority, are supposed to be far from well affected to the government ander which they reside indeed, in many instances, the Roman clergy are the natural subjects of nations at enmity with ourselves, at the same time that they are eminently qualified by their influence in their profession, to do us the greatest mischief, by spreading disaffection throughout every part of the extended country. The Roman Catholic religion, my Lord, I believe I may say, without offence to truth or charity, has almost always been made a political engine in the hands of its governments; and we must be blind. ed indeed, by our own confidence, if we do not calculate on its being so used in this great and rich country, where it has established a footing amongst an ignorant people: especially when it is so well understood that our eastern possessions have been a subject of the greatest jealousy to all the rival nations of Europe. In my humble opinion, my Lord, the error has been in not hav ing long ago established free schools

To give English morals to the natives in their purity, we must, I imag

throughout every part of this country, by which the children of the natives might have learned our language, and got acquainted with our morality. Such an establishment would, ere this, have made the people at large fully acquainted with the divine spring, from whence alone British virtue must be acknowledged to flow. This would have made them better acquainted with the principles by which we are governed: they would have learned to respect our laws, to honour our feelings, and to follow our maxims whereas they appear to me, generally speaking, at this moment, as ignorant of their masters as on their first landing on these shores. I speak not of interfering with their religious prejudices, or endeavouring to convert the natives by an extraordinary effort on the part of the British government. Conversion, in my opinion, must be the consequence which would naturally flow from our attention to their moral instruction, and their more intimate acquaintance with the English



"I do not mention this as an experiment, the result of which might be considered as problematical: the experiment has been already made, and the consequences have proved commensurate with the highest expectation which reasonable men could entertain. The Danish Mission, united

ine, make them read English books. Translations have hitherto been very defective in the different country languages; besides, they must be extremely circumscribed in number. I do not think the natives will come to us freely but to learn English. This they consider as the key to fortune; and, on the coast the most strict of the Bramins will have little hesitation, as far as I can learn, in permitting their children to attend a free school for the purpose of learning it; for they despise us too much to suppose there is any danger of overturning the principles of Bramin ism. But their ill-founded, ridiculous principles must be shaken to the very foundation, by the communication of such liberal knowledge as a Christian can instil into the minds of youth, and fix there by means of English books; and all this, without making any alarming attack directly on the religion of the Hindoos.

with the Society for propagating the gospel, have sent some good men into this country with the laudable view of spreading true Christianity throughout our eastern possessions; and the names of Swartz, Gerrické, and others, will ever be remembered by numbers of our Asiatic subjects, of every cast and description, with veneration and affection: and there are happily still living some amongst us of the same character.

"It is true, that the object they had more particularly in view, has, in some measure, failed: and few good converts, it is generally imagined, have been made; but let it be remembered also, that they have laboured under every possible disadvantage; they have scarcely enjoyed a mere toleration under our government, and received no kind of assistance whatsoever; that they were few in number, and perhaps I may say, without injustice, that they erred (as the best might err) in the means which they adopted; but that they have done much good by the purity of their lives, and by their zeal in spreading instruction. This will admit of no denial; and I doubt not that I may say, without the danger of contradiction, that few and poor as these men have been, without authority or power to support them, a greater and more extended portion of heartfelt respect for the European character has been diffused by their means throughout this country, than by all the other Europeans put together. We have, in my humble opinion, my the natives; we have despised their Lord, kept ourselves too far from ignorance, without attempting to remove it; and we have considered their being trampled upon by one their timidity (the natural result of race of conquerors after another) also as an object for our contempt; at the same time, that we have viewed the cunning of their character, (which is ever the natural resource of ignorance and weakness) as the comful. Thus have we continued a syspletion of all that is vile and deceit. tem of neglect towards the interests of our native subjects, in points the most essential to their every happiness, throughout the whole of our governments in this country. Fain, my Lord, would I see a change in

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"The Rev. Dr. Buchanan, who left Bengal some months ago, with the view of proceeding to Travancore, to inquire into the state of the Syrian Christians, arrived in that country about the beginning of Nov. ember last, having travelled from Calcutta to Cape Comorin by land. His highness the Rajah of Travancore was pleased to afford to Dr. Buchanan the most liberal assistance in the prosecution of his inquiries. About the middle of November, Dr. Buchanan proceeded from the seacoast into the interior of the country, north-east from Quilon, to visit the ancient Syrian churches, situated amongst the low hills at the bottom of the high Ghauts, which divide the Carnatic from Malayala. The face of the country in general, in the vicinity of the mountains, exhibits a varied scene of hill and dale, and winding streams. These streams fall from the mountains, and preserve the vallies in perpetual verdure. The woods produce pepper, cardamoms, and cassia, or wild cinnamon; also frankincense and other aromatic gums. What adds much to the grandeur of the scenery in this country is, that the adjacent mountains of Travancore are not barren, but are covered with teak forests, producing the largest timber in the world.

"The first view of the Christian churches, in this sequestered region of Hindostan, connected with the idea of their tranquil duration for so many ages, cannot fail to excite pleasing emotions in the mind of the beholder. The form of the oldest buildings is not unlike that of some of the old parish churches in England: the style of building in both being of Saracenic origin. They have sloping roofs, pointed arch win

dows, and buttresses supporting the walls. The beams of the roof being exposed to view are ornamented; and the ceiling of the choir and altar is circular and fretted. In the cathedral churches, the shrines of the deceased bishops are placed on each side of the altar. Most of the churches are built of a reddish stone, squared and polished at the quarry; and are of durable construction, the front wall of the largest edifices being six feet thick. The bells of the churches are cast in the foundaries of Travancore. Some of them are of large dimensions; and have inscriptions in Syriac and Malayalim. In approaching a town in the evening, the sound of the bells may be heard at a distance amongst the hills; a circumstance which causes the British traveller to forget for a moment that he is in Hindostan, and reminds him of another country. When Dr. Buchanan arrived at the remote churches, he was informed by the inhabitants that no European had, to their knowledge, visited the place before. The Romish priests do not travel thither, there being no church of their communion in that quarter.


"The number of Syrian churches greater than has been supposed. There are at this time, fifty-five churches in Malayala, acknowledging the Patriarch of Antioch. The church was erected by the present bishop, in 1793.

"The Syrian Christians are not Nestorians. Formerly, indeed, they had bishops of that communion; but the liturgy of the present church is derived from that of the early church of Antioch, called Liturgia Jacobi Apostoli. They are usually denominated Jacobita; but they differ in ceremonial from the church of that name in Syria, and indeed from any existing church in the world. Their proper designation, and that which is sanctioned by their own use, is Sy rian Christians, or the Syrian church of Malayala.

* Malayala comprehends the mourtains, and the whole region within them, from Cape Comorin to Cape Eli; whereas, the province of Malabar, commonly so called, contains only the northern districts; not including the country of Travancore.

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