CHURCH OF ENGLAND
IN INDIA Since the Early
Days of the East India Company
BISHOP OF NAGPUR
SOCIETY FOR PROMOTING
Chapter I. Surat
Chapter II. Madras, 1640-1700
Chapter III. Bombay, 1662-1730
Chapter IV. Calcutta, 1690-1756
Chapter V. Calcutta (continued), 1757-1794
Chapter VI. The S.P.C.K. Missions in South India in the Eighteenth Century, with some Account of Two Famous Roman Catholic Missionaries
Chapter VII. The Evangelical Chaplains, 1787-1815
Chapter VIII. The First Bishop of Calcutta, 1815-1822
Chapter IX. Bishop Heber, 1823-1826
Chapter X. Two Short Episcopates, 1827-1831
Chapter XI. The First Metropolitan of India and His Period, 1832-1858
Chapter XII. Church Life in Madras in the Eighteenth Century
Chapter XIII. The Diocese of Madras, 1835
Chapter XIV. The Diocese of Bombay, 1837
Chapter XV. The Diocese of Colombo, Ceylon, 1845
Chapter XVI. Bishop Cotton, a Great Educationist
Chapter XVII. Bishop Milman, a Great Evangelist
Chapter XVIII. The Diocese of Lahore, 1877. The Home of the Fighting Races of India
Chapter XIX. The Diocese of Rangoon, 1877. A Country of Mongols
Chapter XX. The Diocese of Travancore and Cochin, 1879. The Country of Fiords, Mountains, and Moplahs
Chapter XXI. The Diocese of Chota Nagpur, 1890. The Home of the Orauns and Mundas
Chapter XXII. The Diocese of Lucknow. The Land of Historic Cities.
Chapter XXIII. The Diocese of Tinnevelly and Madura, 1896. A Self-Supporting Diocese.
Chapter XXIV. The Diocese of Nagpur, 1903. The Country of the Gond, Mahratta, and Rajput.
Chapter XXV. The Diocese of Dornakal, 1912. A Diocese of Mass Movements.
Chapter XXVI. The Diocese of Assam, 1915. The Country of the Tea Gardens
Chapter XXVII. The Mother Diocese of Calcutta, 1815.
Chapter XXVIII. Conclusion
WHEN the Bishops in India decided that the time had Vv oome tnat a reliable history, tracing the growth of the Church of England in India, should be produced in a popular form, it was natural for them to turn to the present Bishop of Nagpur, whose facile pen had already furnished them with two books of the kind, describing the Church's work in Chota-Nagpur and in Gondwana. A perusal of this more comprehensive volume will satisfy its readers that the confidence of his colleagues on the Episcopal Bench was not misplaced, and they will be deeply interested by the graphic narrative which fills the pages of his history.
A strain of sadness runs through Dr. Chatterton's Preface as he contemplates the changing of the old order, giving place to the new; he looks back regretfully upon the old, while he views with something of apprehension the advent of the new. For myself, as I have read these chapters and noted the progressive stages of the Church's growth, I look forward with confident hope to the new era which is even now dawning. It seems to follow in the natural course of evolution upon the two clearly marked periods which have preceded it. In the early days of the East India Company's enterprise, Chaplains were sent out to follow up their fellow-countrymen to the distant East. They were ministers of isolated congregations of British merchants and soldiers, unconscious for the most part of any call to win the people of the land for Christ, with no Father-in-God at hand to encourage and uphold them in their difficult task.
With the passing of the Act of 1813, the system of Church organisation was completed by the appointment of the first Bishop of Calcutta. This marked the opening of the second stage of the Church's life in India, and a beginning once made dioceses were multiplied and Episcopal supervision became something of a reality. Nor was it only by the perfecting of organisation that this period was marked. Towards the close of the first period Chaplains had been sent out to India by the Rev. Charles Simeon filled with missionary zeal, but they were few in number and the English congregations were their first charge. But the same period which witnessed the advent of the first Bishop to India saw the door, hitherto closed, opened to the missionary, and men and women came out in ever-increasing numbers to commend the Gospel of Christ to Hindus and Mahomedans, by taking a leading part in educating the young, in tending the sick and suffering and befriending the outcaste. The response to their appeal was remarkable, and numbers were gathered into the Church, till at the end of the nineteenth century its Indian members far outnumbered those of British origin. Nor was it in numbers only that this growth was manifest, but by education and character the Indian members of the Church were proving themselves qualified to undertake the task of leadership.
With the twentieth century the time had come when the Church in India was fitted to enter upon the third stage in its development, and the Church of England, true to her principles, undertook the task of granting the daughter she had begotten the same liberty and independence which she had of old claimed for herself. At such a time the hearts of those in authority are filled with feelings of thankfulness not unmixed with anxiety. They rejoice that one more member is added to the family of National Churches through which the great Catholic Church finds expression, and by which her interpretation of the unsearchable riches of Christ is enriched. They are conscious of the difficulties and temptations which confront the Church upon whom the responsibility of ordering her life and worship in harmony with Catholic tradition is laid. Fewwill care to assert that the Church of England,when she assumed her independence from foreign control, made no mistakes, but she has survived them, as the Church of India will hers, because she has the Holy Spirit with her to guide her into all the truth, as she remains within the wider fellowship. No step forward can be taken which involves no risk, but surely the Divine Master who risked the sending of His small band of disciples out into the world, while still they had much to learn, to organise the Church under the guidance of His Holy Spirit, would not have us shun the lesser risk of sending out the Church in India to build up the Church in this country, not in isolation but as a member of the great family of God.
Bishop Chatterton's book appears at a critical time in the history of the Church in India, and will enable Churchmen to gain an intelligent understanding of the past, which will stand them in good stead in the work which lies before them. "History is the record of the gradual unfolding of the will of God, of which we men are the ministers. . . . We look back, not for patterns and precedents, but for lines of movement, that we may conform ourselves to them." And I am convinced that the Indian Church Measure now being promoted is in true accord with the history of the Church in India as recorded in the pages which follow.
St. Matthew's Day, 1923.
THIS book is an attempt to describe briefly the life of our Church in India since the early days of the "Old John Company." I feel, while writing it, like one who is asked to compose something in the nature of an elegy. For three centuries we have been the "Church of England " in India. To-morrow we may be known as "The Church of India in communion with the Church of England." The change will not be merely one of name. It will mean the passing away of a long-established order of things and the entering into a new one.
The Church will not enter on this new life without encountering grave difficulties. From the beginning it has been accustomed to have many of its needs met; first, by the East India Company, and then by a paternal Indian Government. The burden of the support of its Clergy, the building and maintenance of many of the Churches, the support of the schools, have hitherto been largely met by Government in a way experienced by no other Province of the Anglican Church.
How will it be able to sustain these heavy burdens when a Government, increasingly Indian, gradually withdraws our accustomed financial support? How will it fare, too, when English support is no longer what it once was, and when with a largely diminished English membership, the Anglo-Indian and Indian members of the Church have to rely almost entirely on their own efforts and resources?
We must be philosophical and try to console ourselves with the reflection that temporary losses may be but the prelude to greater gains. " The old order changeth, yielding place to new, and God fulfils Himself in many ways."
It may well happen that some of the things on which we have bestowed labour and devotion are not long to survive; but surely we may trust that much we have taught our Indian Christian congregations of the value of truth, the beauty of worship, and the importance of Church order and discipline, will remain, and will pass into the life of that greater Church of which we are but a part, and towards which large bodies of other Christians in India are making their contribution also. What, too, if it should happen that all these great changes which many dread must come about before the Christian Church can be a real driving power for the conversion of India! If this is so, then welcome our losses, which are but the prelude to greater gains.
It is well, on the eve of the great changes, that English Churchmen at home and abroad should be told something of what their Church has been doing in India during the last three hundred years.
"We have heard with our ears, and our fathers have told us, what Thou hast done in times of old."
That there is not much to speak of from a Church point of view in the early days of our Indian Venture is what most readers of the English history of that period would expect. The Church of England had at that time heavy burdens laid on her at home and in her new colonies. The time for Mission work in India had not yet come.
How, then, comes it that whereever we go in India to-day we see our Churches, Missions, Schools, and Hospitals dotted all over the land?
To tell how these things came to be is the purpose of this little book. That the subject deserves a better and fuller treatment, the writer readily admits, but living in the heart of India and away from libraries is not exactly an ideal condition for writing a book of this kind. One has also tried to tell a long story rather briefly, which means a good deal of arbitrary selection, and the inevitable omitting of many interesting and even important things. I have been indebted, of course, to many previous writers, and if I do not mention their names in this Preface it is because they are mentioned so frequently in the following pages.
Bishop of Nagpur.
Central Provinces, India,
August 30, 1923.