Period.--England: Charles I., Commonwealth and the Restoration. India: Aurungzebe and rise of Mahratta power.
Books of Reference.--The Church in Madras, by the Rev. Frank Penny; Vestiges of Old Madras, by Col. H. D. Love, R.E.; Early English Adventurers in the Hast, by Arnold Wright; A New Account of the East Indies, by Hamilton.
THE period which preceded the establishment of Madras, our first Settlement in India, was a most disastrous one to the East India Company. Dutch rivalry, backed by a Dutch fleet greatly superior to ours in those waters, had practically deprived us of our trade in the Eastern Archipelago, and the valuable spice trade which had originally brought our traders East passed almost entirely into their hands. At our Factories in India, especially in Surat, things were not going particularly well. Dutch rivalry followed us everywhere, having taken on temporarily "the form of selling goods at rates below cost price." It was clear to our merchants in India, though not so clear to the Court of Directors in London, that something must be done to secure our rights, if we were not sooner or later to be driven out of the East altogether.
For there were certain almost fatal objections to the Factory system under which we carried on our trade at that time. To have to live in Factories within the actual territories of trade rivals who might at any time become active enemies was to expose ourselves to difficulties which were both humiliating and disastrous. It was for lack of one or two strongly fortified settlements that the Dutch had been able to deprive us of our share in the spice trade in the Eastern Archipelago; and before a generation had passed the exactions of the Mughal Governor made our factors anxious to quit Surat altogether.
Early in 1640 Francis Day, the leading Factor at Armagon, a small Factory on the Coromandal Coast near Masulipatam, arranged with the Rajah of Negapatam, the last representative of the famous Vijayanagar dynasty, to grant us a small freehold at Madrasapatam on the Coromandal Coast. It was "the first land held in full sovereignty by the English east of Suez, the germ from which the mighty British dominions in the East finally developed."
No time was lost in fortifying this small possession, and in due time Fort St. George became quite a strong fort. When first founded, Madras, like the Factory at Masulipatam, was under the Factory at Bantam in Java, but in a few years this arrangement was changed and it passed under the authority of the President at Surat.
From the first the English merchants and their dependents lived inside the Fort. At that time the Company had no English soldiers in Madras, and employed Portuguese mercenary troops. These soldiers were made to live within the Fort along with their wives and families, an arrangement which later on was the cause of a good deal of trouble. The fact that there were no Englishwomen in the Settlement soon led the young factors to cultivate the society of these Portuguese Eurasians, and in due course mixed marriages followed. Then began the usual trouble with which we to-day are as familiar as were they. The French Roman Catholic Padres used all their influence to induce the young merchants to change their religion, and even baptised their children secretly.
As there was no resident English Chaplain in Madras, little resistance could be offered to their mischievous propaganda. The historian Kaye tells us that on the establishment of the Fort St. George Factory the factors made use of the services of a certain Capuchin Friar, who was apparently extremely broad-minded. When what he had done became known at Goa, the unfortunate man had to pay the penalty for his toleration in thus accommodating his ministry to the convenience of the Settlement by suffering five years' imprisonment at the hands of the Inquisition at Goa.
So strong became the feeling against these French Padres, when Mr. Isaacson was Chaplain, that nearly the whole of the English community petitioned Mr. Chambers, the President of Madras, to order all Portuguese women and children to live outside the Fort. Mr. Chambers was unwilling to accede to this petition, more especially because he was convinced that if he did so all his Portuguese mercenaries would resign in a body and leave the Settlement unprotected. Mr. Isaacson, however, in 1656 sent an appeal direct to London to the Court of Directors, with the result that they sent out the following strongly worded despatch:--
"We have received several information and complaints of many evil practices which have been exercised in our town of Madras by the French Padres, which are not to be tolerated where the Protestant religion is professed, viz. their marching to the Burial-place before the dead corpse with Bell, Book, Candle, and Cross,--intending to visit such persons in their sicknesses who have professed the Protestant Religion,--endeavouring to seduce them to their idolatrous customs of praying to Saints, etc., as also to baptise the children of Englishmen immediately on their coming into the world;--we having taken these things into our serious considerations have resolved, and strictly require you that you do not permit or suffer in any wise the said French Padres or any others within the limits of our power publicly to make any processions or ceremonies or walking before any dead corpse with Bell, Book, Candle, Cross, or any of them, or to baptise any English infants, or to visit any English that it shall please God to afflict with sickness, either in our Fort or within the town, thereby to confess or seduce them to their Popish vanities. And therefore that those particulars may be punctually observed, we do desire that you do not only give the said Padres notice of them, but that also you take especial care that they be duly and constantly observed; and that they presume not to exercise any of their ceremonies whatsoever without the confines of their own walls. We do further require that, for the preservation of the health of our people, and for the prevention of infectious diseases, you order them to forbear to bury any more corpses in their usual Burying-place or churchyard (within the Fort), the smell whereof is very noisome in the time of heats to those who live near that place; but that they find out some place without our town and there to inter all their dead."
Madras, as we have seen, was actually founded in 1640, but it was not until 1647 that the first Chaplain, Mr. Isaacson, was appointed. He had been at Surat since 1644, and it seems that when he was first appointed to Madras he disliked the change so greatly that he wrote a complaint to his father, who occupied a high position in the City of London. His father's request that he should be re-transferred to Surat was granted, but as the order did not reach Mr. Isaacson for a year, and as he apparently had grown during this time to like Madras greatly, he seems to have lingered on in Madras six months longer than he needed. That he became popular in Madras is evident from the fact that the President and Council, when writing of him to the Court in London, wrote as follows: "Since even the very opinion of the President and Council as of all others, that such a civil and well-governed man is as much, if not more, necessary for the religious order and reputation of this place, where you have so many servants and other Christians living under your command, and wanting instructions as any other Factories in India whatsoever; we doubt not of prevailing with your said President and Council to admit of his continuance here before we shall have any ship to transport him thither; until you please to send out such another (although none for comportment and language can fit this place better than Mr. Isaacson); and not to be offended at this our reasonable request which is so considerably necessary for the good of your servants, and repute of your town, whose inhabitants as well as our neighbours are apt to observe how much your worships seem to slight this place in so small a matter."
William Isaacson returned to Surat in 1648, and was there for two years. He then went on leave, and on his return to India was again stationed at Madras, where we find him in 1654 to 1657. He seems to have entirely got over his early prejudice against Madras.
The second Chaplain to be appointed to Madras was the Rev. Robert Winchester. We read that the Court was "very well satisfied concerning his ability and demeanour." On his departure for England he was succeeded by the Rev. Joseph Thomson, who had been Chaplain of Bantam. During his period of service a serious quarrel took place between one of the factors, John Leigh, and a certain Captain Martin. Martin was a Royalist and Leigh a Puritan. Though the Company did all in its power to prevent politics entering into its Settlements and Factories, it was hardly possible to prevent the factors expressing their opinions, especially when feeling ran as high as it did during the period of the Commonwealth and Restoration. Martin was accused of saying "that the Presbyterians had taken away the King and the Bishops, that the Independents had taken away the Presbyterians, and that he hoped that the Devil will take away the Independents." Thomson the Chaplain was cited as witness: he very wisely refused to take either side. While Captain Martin was described in a letter to the Company as a "dangerous, quarrelsome, insulting person, with whom it was not possible to live peaceably," Leigh seems to have been a decidedly mean and mischief-making person. We read of him accusing various factors of cheating, on which an inquiry was held which resulted in his being imprisoned in his own room for fourteen days!
When Isaacson retired in 1660 he was succeeded by the Rev. William Whitefield, a man of a scholarly type. He called the attention of the Agent to the fact that there was no library in the Settlement, and that he himself had need of one. The merchants in Madras responded to his appeal and collected a sum of money for this purpose. With this money they purchased a bale of calico which they sent in one of their ships to be sold in London. The sale realised £85, with which books were purchased and sent to India.
Penny, to whom our Church owes a deep debt of gratitude for his really monumental History of the Church in Madras, calls attention to the fact that the Court in London were unfortunately too ready to give heed to unfavourable reports about their servants in India. Some one in 1663 had given the Directors an unfavourable impression of the then President of Madras, Sir Edward Winter. The Directors in London, in view of what they heard, sent out the following despatch, dated December 16, 1663:--
"Notwithstanding we, in our instructions given our said Agent, did in the first place recommend unto his due observation the promoting of the worship and service of the Almighty as that which would bring a blessing along with it on all other his actions if conscionably performed, he hath (as we are informed) neglected the same. And instead of exercising himself and those under his charge in the Protestant Religion, he rather countenanceth and encour-ageth the Popish Mass, to the great dishonour of Almighty God and reproach to the Protestant Profession."
The President in his reply cites Mr. Whitefield, the Chaplain, as a witness to its untruth. He speaks as follows;--
"As touching your Worships' last accusation, your information is so ridiculous a falsity that your Agent almost thinks it better to answer it with silence; therefore we will say no more than this, that Mr. Whitefield, who was our Minister, can testify to your Worships that your Agent constantly himself attended public prayers, except some days during the Church's repair, and commanded all under him so to do, and punished them with an amercement if they neglected, in so much that thereby we have a small stock of money gathered for the poor; and for the Popish religion, he hath publicly shown his distaste against it by banishing the town two of their Bishops, who would have been tampering with some who were baptised into our Religion; and the same party had something left (by one that is gone home) to enjoy it so long as they kept the Protestant Religion; whereupon your Agent permitted them not to possess it, unless they would renounce the Romish Church and come constantly to ours; which they, performing, do enjoy their estate again. Thus your Worships have received an answer to your charge against your Agent, etc.
(Signed) Edward Winter.
Mr. Whitefield was succeeded by the Rev. Symon Smithees. In the letter of instructions given to Mr. Smithees before leaving for India the following occurs:--
"When it shall please God to arrive you at Fort St. George, let it be your great care to instruct our people in the way to heaven and happiness, and to that purpose to be constant in prayers and good admonitions daily as occasion shall be offered; more especially let the Sabbath be sanctified by preaching and prayer with all due reverence, as becometh the servants of the Lord of Sabbaths, who will doubtless bless and crown your good and faithful endeavours in his services with happiness here and glory hereafter.
"In the town of Madras you will find several Priests and others of the Romish Religion. And because we doubt not but you are a well-grounded champion in our Protestant profession, we would have you, as opportunity may present, entertain a controversy or dispute with them in opposition to their Popish ceremonies and Sacraments; although it may not so far prevail upon them as to a reformation, yet it may be for the confirming of our own people to be constant in the Protestant profession according to the rules and directions in the Holy Scriptures."
During his period as Chaplain the young Settlement was stirred to the depths by an event which must here be briefly recorded. At this particular period there were in Madras of the Company's service the Agent or President, six factors, the Surgeon, the Commandant of the Garrison, twenty-four English soldiers, a few British and Portuguese Eurasians, together with a small number of English and Eurasian women and children. As the Directors had continued to receive unfavourable reports of Sir Edward Winter, not only on account of his religious laxity but also because of his aggrandisement, they determined to supersede him. His time for retirement was to have occurred in 1665. They determined, however, to cut his term of office short, and in December 1664 sent out Mr. George Foxcroft to take his place. The instructions to Foxcroft were: "Sir Edward to be next to you in Counsell, and to sit at your end of the table on the left hand of you our Agent." Sir Edward Winter and his friends naturally resented his supersession without giving him any chance of replying to his accusers. Not long after Mr. Foxcroft's arrival Winter and his party accused Foxcroft, who was a Puritan, of disloyalty to the King, and having won over the soldiers of the garrison to their side, attacked and overpowered Foxcroft and his party. In the struggle one of Foxcroft's party was killed and several wounded. Foxcroft himself was overpowered and imprisoned along with his son. In spite of all the Company's endeavours to oust him, Winter held on to the post of President for three years, while the real President remained a prisoner. It would seem that the authorities at Surat actually sided with Winter, as did also the Chaplain, Symon Smithees. The feeling of the Company's servants was all with the King. Indeed, it appears that Smithees had some share in the trouble.
Three years afterwards, when the British fleet arrived at Madras, Sir Edward Winter resigned his self-appointed Governorship and was later on allowed to return to England with the considerable fortune which he had amassed. The unfortunate Foxcroft was also dismissed, and Sir William Langhorne was appointed in his stead.
It gives one some idea of the remoteness of India at that time, that a state of such deliberate lawlessness could have continued for so long a period. Doubtless Sir Edward
Winter was a man of exceptional ability, and though he took good care to look after his own interests, it is evident that he did not neglect the Company's. He, advocated, however, a strong forward policy in trade which at that time the Court of Directors in London were not prepared to face.
The next two Chaplains to be appointed to Madras were William Thomson, a Presbyterian, who was ordered to reside at the Fort, and Mr. Walter Hooke, a Nonconformist, who was to reside at Masulipatam, if not needed at Madras.
Up to 1670 the East India Company had only appointed men in full English Orders as Chaplains. There came a change during the period of the Commonwealth, when non-Anglicans like Thomson and Hooke were appointed. Mr. Hooke, who bore a high reputation for piety and learning, refused to read our Book of Common Prayer. He seems to have been a man of moral courage, for we read of his reproving "Mr. Fleetwood, Chief of Madapallam, for swearing," whereupon this gentleman, who is described "as the enemy of all goodness," drew his sword and threatened to slay him!
It is quite clear that these Nonconformist Chaplains were not popular, as the majority of the merchants in India were certainly not Puritans and had little or no sympathy with Nonconformity. Neither Mr. Thomson nor Mr. Hooke remained long in India, the former returning to England the following year, and the latter dying at Masulipatam in December, 1669.
Among all the Presidents of Madras, the name of Streynsham Master (whom we have heard of before at Surat) stands out pre-eminently as a man of strong religious con-vxotion and devotion to the English Church. During his period of office we read of his visiting the Factories "in the Bay at Hoogley and Balasore, and introducing some of those rules which had already been introduced by his means at Surat. Amongst them occur the following:
(1) For absence from the Factory at night without leave, a day in the stocks.
(2) Twelve pence fine for failure to attend Matins and Evensong.
The greatest event which happened from the Church point of view during Mr. Streynsham Master's period of office as President of Madras was the building and consecration of St. Mary's Church in the Fort. This Church was built almost entirely by money raised privately in Madras.
Up to this period the Company's Chaplains, when coming to India had not received any licence from the Bishop of London (the first licence issued by him to Indian Chaplains bearing the date 1685). It was therefore necessary for the Bishop of London to license the Rev. Richard Portman before he could issue to him a Commission to consecrate the Church.
On the 28th day of October 1680, St. Simon and St. Jude's Day, all the English inhabitants in Madras met in the new Church for the solemn event of its consecration. It was a great day in the Settlement, especially for the President, through whose faith and courage many difficulties had been overcome with regard to the erection as well as the consecration of the building.
Shortly after this notable event Streynsham Master resigned his Presidentship owing to differences of opinion with Sir Josiah Child, who was then all-powerful with the Court of Directors in London. Later on he joined the new Company, to the serious loss of the old.
St. Mary's was not by any means the first Christian Church in India, as the Roman Catholics as well as the Dutch Reformed had built Churches in their Settlements long before. It was, however, the first English Church in India, and it had the effect of making both Bombay and Calcutta follow its lead. Needless to say, St. Mary's is from every point of view, especially in its old monuments, one of the most interesting of our Churches in India.
Towards the end of the seventeenth century the East India Company seem to have directly encouraged the English soldiers in Madras to take unto themselves Indian wives. Their motives for so doing were partly to check the grave temptations to immorality to which the soldiers were exposed, and partly for political and social reasons, as the children of Indian women would be much more amenable to authority than those of Portuguese Roman Catholics. If to-day Madras has a larger Eurasian population than either Calcutta or Bombay, its beginnings may be traced back to this early period. A despatch from the Court of Directors in London on this subject, dated April 8, 1687, is particularly interesting. It runs as follows:--
"The marriage of our soldiers to the native women of Fort St. George, formerly recommended by you, is a matter of such consequence to posterity that we shall be content to encourage it with some expense, and have been thinking for the future to appoint a pagoda to be paid to the mother of any child that shall hereafter be born of any such future marriage upon the day the child is christened, if you think this small encouragement will increase the number of such marriages; but if you think it will not have any consider- able effect that way, we had better keep our money, which we leave to your consideration with the liberty to do therein as you shall think best."
The chief difficulties to which the trade of the Company in India was at this time exposed arose from two different causes. There were those who resented deeply the terms of the charter which had given to the London Company practically exclusive right to trade with the East, and who in consequence carried on trade in their own ships in defiance of the charter. It was well known that there were leading men in the political and social world in England who heartily sympathised with these so-called "Interlopers." One such person, Sir William Courten, who was a favourite at Court, obtained a private charter from King Charles II., and for a short time ran his ships to India in defiance of the Company's charter. His charter, however, was afterwards taken from him.
But the Company had worse foes even than the "Interlopers." Those were the days of almost unlimited piracy. While one cannot help having some sort of admiration for the daring of many of these wild sea-dogs who despised danger, one cannot blind one's eyes to the fact that they were often guilty of great cruelty, and that they brought serious discredit upon the name of England in the East. Pirates, often sailing under the English flag, infested the Indian Ocean and roved the high seas from Mauritius to Surat.
It is a painful thing to have to admit that at times during the seventeenth century the example set by the English in the East was so bad that, according to Terry the Chaplain, the natives of India formed a mean estimate of Christianity. "It was not an uncommon thing," he wrote, "to hear them at Surat giving utterance to such remarks as 'Christian religion, devil religion; Christian much drink, Christian much do wrong, much beat, much abuse others.'" "Terry admitted that the natives themselves were "very square and exact to make good all their engagements"; but if a dealer was offered much less for his articles than the price which he named, he would be apt to say, "What! Dost thou think me a Christian, that I would go about to deceive thee?"
Thomas Pitt, when President at Madras towards the end of the seventeenth century, also writes in the same strain:--"When the Europeans first settled in India, they were mightily admired by the natives, believing they were as innocent as themselves; but since by their example they are grown very crafty and cautious, and no people better understand their own interest, so that it was easier to effect that in one year which you shan't do now in a century, and the more obliging your management, the more jealous they are of you.
"The thirst for riches, the unscrupulous efforts of ambition, the reckless violence which often struck Hindus with terror, all these were a disgrace to the English."
Of the Presidents of Madras in these early days two at least deserve some mention, viz. Elihu Yale and Thomas Pitt. Mrs. Penny, in her novel Diamonds, gives us an interesting picture of life in Madras during the Presidency of the former, 1687-1692. Her description of Elihu Yale reveals him as the wise, kindly and thoughtful Governor which he is generally admitted to have been. His public munificence as well as his private acts of charity were great and numerous. No one except it be Governor Pitt worked more actively and successfully for the improvement of the young Settlement. To him Madras owed a new and much better appointed Hospital. In this connection it is interesting to note that the first Hospital in Madras was run largely out of Church funds, in which were included fines for the rather frequent violations of Sunday observance. Later on the Company undertook all financial responsibility for the Hospital. Yale it was who purchased for the Company a place called Tevenapatam, to the south of Madras, which was duly fortified and was destined to play an important part in subsequent history. The Fort at Tevenapatam, now called Cuddalore, was named St. David after Elihu Yale's little son David, who to the grief of every one, died in his infancy.
Mrs. Penny also throws interesting side-lights on several matters which were unquestionably of great interest to the English residents at that period in Madras and other parts of India. She makes it clear that the "Interlopers" or "Free traders," as they were frequently called, were by no means as hateful to the Company's servants in India as they were to the Court of Directors in Leadenhall Street; and it is evident that there was a good deal of friendly social intercourse between them and the merchants of the Company in Madras. It is clear too that the trade in diamonds, which was more extensive in Madras than elsewhere owing to its proximity to the diamond-mines of Golconda, led even the most respected merchants of the Company to acts of a very questionable kind.
There was also a very seamy side to what on the surface seems a pleasant and conventional life, owing to secret and illicit traffic in slaves. Probably the Dutch were the worst offenders in this respect, and the description given by Mrs. Penny of Piet Vandenburgh, with his outward profession of religion, his brutal and callous cruelty, and his deliberate deceit, represents, one imagines, very faithfully the feelings of the English towards the Dutch at that period.
Elihu Yale remained in India for seven years after resigning office, and having amassed an enormous fortune left India for England in 1699. Shortly afterwards he was made Governor of the British Colony of New York. His name is commemorated in America, the land of his birth, by the University of Yale, which he largely endowed. His tombstone runs as follows:
"Elihu Yale was buried 22nd July 1721.
Born in America, in Europe bred,
In Africa travelled, in Asia wed,
Where long he lived and thrived--in London dead.
Much good, some ill, he did, so hope's all even,
And that his soul through mercie's gone to heaven."
Nor can we forbear to mention another remarkable personality of those days who, beginning his career as an "Interloper," finished it as Governor of Madras. Thomas Pitt, second son of the Rev. John Pitt, Rector of Bland-ford, Dorset, was born in 1653. While still young he came out to India independently of the Company, and lived as a "Free trader" at Balasore in Orissa. Here he remained for ten years, during which time he constantly went in his vessels in pursuit of trade up the Persian Gulf. Returning to England while still comparatively young, he settled in Dorset, and was elected as member of Parliament for New Sarum. He is described by the Company at this period as a "daring huffing man," by which one understands that he was determined to fight for his own rights. Later on Pitt came to terms with the Company, and in 1698 was appointed Governor of Fort St. George for a term of five years. This period was afterwards extended, so that his Governorship covered the unprecedented term of eleven years. It was the period which proved to be the golden age of Madras in respect of trade and increase of wealth. Pitt did a great deal to improve Madras and strengthen its fortifications. He was a famous gardener and did much in the way of planting and improving the town. He was also a big diamond fancier and on one occasion purchased a magnificent diamond for £20,000, which he eventually disposed of to the Regent of France for £135,000. On his return to England he purchased large properties in various parts of the country, and was repeatedly elected member for his old constituency. In the year 1680 he married Jane Innes at Hoogley, and by her had three sons and two daughters. His eldest son Robert was the father of William Pitt, first Earl of Chatham and one of England's greatest statesmen. Thomas Pitt undoubtedly possessed immense force of character and daring. He was, we read, never so happy as when dealing with difficult situations. On his return to England he was known as "the great President."
That our Church was slow to enter on the work of the evangelisation of India is a fact much to be deplored, though the reasons which in the main prevented it are not always fully understood. What, however, is not known is that in the seventeenth century there were Churchmen in England who felt very keenly our duty in this matter. As early as 1660 Richard Baxter, the author of The Saint's Everlasting Rest, had devised a scheme of evangelisation which was taken up later on by the Hon. Robert Boyle, himself a Director of the East India Company. Boyle had opened his heart to Dr. Fell, Bishop of Oxford, who favoured the idea so warmly that he undertook to have men trained at Oxford in Arabic for the work.
There is an interesting letter to Archbishop Sancroft of Canterbury from Bishop Fell, bearing on this matter, dated the 21st June, 1681. Speaking of his conversation with Boyle, he writes, "It so happened that he fell into the discourse of the East India Company, and I enlarged upon the shame that lay upon us, who had so great opportunities by our commerce in the East, that we had attempted nothing towards the conversion of the natives, when not only the Papists but even the Hollanders had laboured herein."
This scheme was taken up warmly at first, and Sir Josiah Child, who was then all-powerful in the Court of Directors, was quite favourable to it. Dr. Fell's death, however, shortly afterwards, the lapse of the old Company's charter in 1693 (it was renewed for only five years), and the fact that it was found that neither Arabic nor Malayalam, the languages suggested, would have been of the least use in evangelising India, led to its being abandoned. After Dr. Fell's death, Dean Prideaux of Norwich took up the cause of religious work in India very warmly, and succeeded in getting important changes introduced into the new Company's charter. His report is in the library at Lambeth. He points out that while the Dutch do maintain about "thirty Ministers for the converting of poor infidels in their dominions, the East India Company are in these matters negligent." He urged that "a seminary be erected in England for training persons for the work, and that those to be trained be poor boys out of the hospitals of London, whose fortunes could give them no temptations when trained to refuse the work." Under the 1698 charter, which Kaye the historian refers to when he calls the conversion of the Gentoos a "great Parliamentary idea, provided for in the 1698 charter," the following provisions were made:--
"All such Ministers shall be obliged to learn within one year after their arrival the Portuguese language, and shall apply themselves to learn the native language of the country where they shall reside, the better to enable them to instruct the Gentoos that shall be the servants or the slaves of the Company, or of their Agents, in the Protestant Religion.
"In case of the death of any of the said Ministers residing in the East Indies, the place of such Minister so dyuig shall be supplied by one of the Chaplains out of the next ships, that shall arrive at or near the place where such Minister shall happen to die."
It is well to bear these facts in mind in the face of what is sometimes said of the constant hostility of the East India Company towards Christian Missions. It is clear that there were periods in its long history when its attitude towards missions was quite favourable.
On one question their attitude never varied, and that was their constant hostility to the attempts which were made by the Roman Church to seduce their merchants and factors from the Reformed Faith. They were willing to leave the Romans alone if they on their part left us alone. We have already read the appeal which Isaacson, when Chaplain of Madras, had addressed to the Court of Directors, and their reply. Later on the Directors decided to have our Book of Common Prayer translated into Portuguese and sent out to their Chaplains. They believed that if their Portuguese servants, soldiers or civilians, heard the pure Gospel in their own language, they would soon forsake their Popish errors. The Chaplains too were urged to learn the Portuguese language, with a view to their being able to speak to their people and hold services for them.
Shortly before he left India, it was suggested to Elihu Yale that he should build a Church in Madras for the Protestant black people and Portuguese, and so add to his many other acts of munificence. What share Elihu Yale had in bearing the cost of this building is unknown, but the fact remains that a second Church was built towards the end of the seventeenth century.
In view of the frequency of the children of mixed marriages being brought up as Roman Catholics, the Madras Council, in consultation with their Chaplains, ordered "That upon the marriage of a Protestant with a Roman Catholic, both the parties to be married shall solemnly promise before one of the Chaplains of the place, by themselves in person, upon the day of marriage and before the parties shall be married, that all the children by them begotten and borne shall be brought up in the Protestant religion; and herein due care shall always be taken by the overseers of the orphans and the poor."
After the building of St. Mary's' Church in 1680 till the end of the century, when'the new Company was formed, the number of Chaplains in India was frequently very limited. One of the first acts of the new Company was to improve this state of things considerably, and to provide that no ship of over 500 tons burden should come East without a Chaplain. Richard Elliott in Madras and John Evans in Bengal were at one time the only Clergymen of our Church in those parts of India. Both were remarkable men. Of Evans we shall speak at some length later on.
Elliott died in 1695, after seventeen years' service in India. He was a Fellow of King's College, Cambridge. He had been closely associated with Streynsham Master in his endeavours to reform the condition of things in various Factories, and had set a fine example of steady devotion to duty carried on under most difficult conditions. On the stone which marked his grave for over a hundred years, but which afterwards was destroyed, there was the following inscription:
"P. M. S. Ricardus Elliott, Theologus, COLLEGII REGALIS APUD CANTABRIGIENSES SOCIUS SENIOR,
ET ECCLESIAE DIVAE MARIAE IN HAC MADRASPATAM
Per Septem decem plus minus annos Pastor Fidelis.
Hanc vitam pro meliore commutavit
Decimo Septimo Octobris die, 1696.
'Memento te praepositorum vestrorum,' etc.--Heb. 13. 7."
Shortly before Elliott's death two Chaplains were sent out by the Company, one the Rev. George Lewis, the other the Rev. Jethro Brideoake. Lewis had a knowledge of Portuguese and was sent out primarily to minister to the slaves and Protestant Portuguese. After Elliott's death he became Chaplain of Madras till 1714, i.e. for twenty-two years. He was an Oxford graduate, devoted to his work, honoured and beloved by every one. He did much for the education of the domiciled community, and his name must always stand high amongst Indian Chaplains.
Jethro Brideoake, also an Oxford graduate, was a distinguished linguist. Disappointed at being posted to St. David's, where he had no scope for his linguistic gifts, and in view of the fact that he had been given to under- stand he would be stationed at Madras, he remained in India for but a short period, when he resigned his position, much to the annoyance of the East India Company. The records in their Minutes of those who displeased them are worth reading, as showing how they viewed everything from their own point of view. Brideoake is described as a "bad" man, simply because he was unwilling to accept their change of plans.
One fact which Mr. Penny's exhaustive researches into the Chaplains of those days makes plain to us is that as a body they were men of ability and devotion, who worked whole-heartedly for the good of the people committed to their charge.