Page images


throughout every part of this country, with the Society for propagating the by which the children of the natives gospel, have sent some good men into might have learned our language, this country with the laudable view and got acquainted with our morality. of spreading true Christianity Such an establishment would, ere throughout our eastern possessions ; this, have made the people at large and the names of Swartz, Gerrické, fully acquainted with the divine and others, will ever be remembered spring, from whence alone British

by numbers of our Asiatic subjects, virtue must be acknowledged to flow. of every cast and description, with This would have made them better veneration and affection and there acquainted with the principles by are happily still living some amongst which we are governed : they would us of the same character, have learned to respect our laws, to

“ It is true, that the object they honour our feelings, and to follow our had more particularly in view, has, in maxims : whereas they appear to me, some measure, failed: and few good generally speaking, at this moment, as converts, it is generally imagined, ignorant of their masters as on their have been made ; but let it be refirst landing on these shores. I speak membered also, that they have la. not of interfering with their religious boured under every possible disad. prejudices, or endeavouring to convert vantage; they have scarcely enjoyed the natives by an extraordinary effort a mere toleration under our governon the part of the British government. ment, and received no kind of assist. Conversion, in my opinion, must be ance whatsoever; that they were few the consequence which would natu

in number, and perhaps I may say, rahy flow from our attention to their ' without injustice, that they erred moral instruction, and their more in- (as the best might err) in the means timate acquaintance with the English which they adopted; but that they character.

have done much good by the purity “ I do not mention this as an ex- of their lives, and by their zeal in periment, the result of which might be spreading instruction. This will adconsidered as problematical : the ex

mit of no denial; and I doubt not that periment has been already made, and I may say, without the danger of con. the consequences have proved com- tradiction, that few and poor as these mensurate with the highest expecta

men have been, without authority or tion which reasonable men could en- power to support them, a greater and tertain. The Danish Mission, united more extended portion of heartfelt

respect for the European character ine, make them read English books. has been diffused by their means

Translations have hitherio been very throughout this country, than by all defective in the different country lan- the other Europeans put together. guages; besides, they must be extreme- We have, in my humble opinion, my Ly circumscribed in number. I do not Lord, kept ourselves too får from think the natives will come to us freely the natives ; we have despised their but to learn English. This they con

ignorance, without attempting to resider as the key to fortune ; and, on the move it ; and we have considered coast the most strict of the Bramins their timidity (the natural result of will have little hesitation, as far as I their being trampled upon by one can learn, in permitting their children, race of conquerors after another) alto attend a free school for the purpose

so as an object for our contempt ; of learning it ; for they despise us too at the same time, that we have view. much to suppose there is any danger of ed the cunning of their character, overturning the principles of Bramin- (which is ever the natural resource of ism. But their ill-founded, ridiculous ignorance and weakness) as the com. principles must be shaken to the very pletion of all that is vile and deceit. foundation, by the communication of ful. Thus have we continued a sys. such liberal knowledge as a Christian tem of neglect towards the interests can instil into the minds of youth, and of our native subjects, in points the fix there by means of English books ; most essential to their every happiand all this, without making any ness, throughout the whole of our alarming attace directly on the religion governments in this country. Fain, of the Hindoos,

my Lord, would I see a change in


this particular ; and I seize the op- dows, and buttresses supporting the portunity which the present moment walls. The beams of the roof being affords, to press the justice and the exposed to view are ornamented; and policy of the measure on the atten- the ceiling of the choir and altar is tion of your Lordship’s government. circular and fretted. In the cathe

“Having the honour to remain, with dral churches, the shrines of the de. the highest respect, my Lord, your ceased bishops are placed on each Lordship's faithful and obedient, side of the altar. Most of the church. humble servant,

es are built of a reddish stone, squar: (Signed) R. H. KERR, ed and polished at the quarry and

Senior Chaplain of Fort St. George. are of durable construction, the front “ Madras, Nov. 3, 1806."

wall of the largest edifices being six

feet thick. The bells of the church. LITERARY INTELLIGENCE. es are cast in the foundaries of Tra. “ The Rev. Dr. Buchanan, who

Some of them are of large left Bengal some months ago, with dimensions; and have inscriptions in the view of proceeding to Travan. Syriac and Malayalim. In approach. core, to inquire into the state of the ing a town in the evening, the sound Syrian Christians, arrived in that of the bells may be heard at a distance country about the beginning of Nov. amongst the hills; a circumstance ember last, having travelled from which causes the British traveller to Calcutta to Cape Comorin by land. forget for a moment that he is in His highness the Rajah of Travan. Hindostan, and reminds him of anothcore was pleased to afford to Dr. er country. When Dr. Buchanan Buchanan the most liberal assistance arrived at the remote churches, he in the prosecution of his inquiries. was informed by the inhabitants that About the middle of November, Dr. no European had, to their knowledge, Buchanan proceeded from the sea. visited the place before. The Rocoast into the interior of the country, mish priests do not travel thither, north-east from Quilon, to visit the there being no church of their comancient Syrian churches, situated munion in that quarter. amongst the low hills at the bottom “ The number of Syrian churches of the high Ghauts, which divide the is greater than has been supposed. Carnatic from Malayala. The face There are at this time, fifty-five of the country in general, in the vi- churches in Malayala, acknowledgcinity of the mountains, exhibits a ing the Patriarch of Antioch. The varied scene of hill and dale, and church was erected by the present winding streams. These streams bishop, in 1793. fall from the mountains, and preserve “The Syrian Christians are not the vallies in perpetual verdure. The Nestorians. Formerly, indeed, they woods produce pepper, cardamoms, had bishops of that communion ; but and cassia, or wild cinnamon; also the liturgy of the present church is frankincense and other aromatic derived from that of the early church gums. What adds much to the of Antioch, called Liturgia Jacobi grandeur of the scenery in this coun. Apostoli. They are usually denomitry is, that the adjacent mountains of nated Jacobitæ ; but they differ in Travancore are not barren, but are ceremonial from the church of that covered with teak forests, producing name in Syria, and indeed from any the largest timber in the world. existing church in the world. Their

“The first view of the Christian proper designation, and that which is churches, in this sequestered region sanctioned by their own use, is Sy. of Hindostan, connected with the rian Christians, or the Syrian church of idea of their tranquil duration for so Malayala. many ages, cannot fail to excite pleasing emotions in the mind of the Malayala comprehends the mourbeholder. The form of the oldest tains, and the whole region within thein, buildings is not unlike that of some from Cape Comorin to Cape Eli; of the old parish churches in Eng- whereas, the province of Malabar, com. land: the style of building in both monly so called, contains only the being of Saracenic origin. They northern districts ; not including the have sloping roofs, pointed arch wincountry of Travancore.


" The doctrines of the Syrian ed to Christians, under a foreign pow. church are contained in a very few er in the East, is not chiefly by conarticles ; and are not at variance, in tributions of money, but by repreessentials, with the doctrines of the senting to those governments, with church of England. Their bishops which we may have friendly interand Metropolitan, after conferring course, that these Christians are of with his clergy on the subject, deliv- the same religion with ourselves ; ered the following opinion : “ That and that we are desirous that they an union with the English church, or should be respected. The argument, at least such a connexion as should from the sameness of religion, is well appear to both churches practicable understood by all Asiatic princes, and and expedient, would be a happy can never fail wben seriously proevent, and favourable to tbe advance. posed ; for they think it both natural ment of religion.” It is in contem- and obligatory that every government plation to send to England some of should be interested in those who are the Syrian youth for education and of its own religion. There are two ordination.

circumstances which invite us to turn “The present bishop, Mar Dio. our eyes to the country of “the first nysius, is a native of Malayala, but generations of men." The tolerant of Syrian extraction. He is a man spirit of the Wahabian Mahomedans, of respectable character in his nation, is a fair prognostic; and promises to and exercises himself in the pious dis- aid our endeavours to restore to an charge of the duties of his high ancient community of Christians the office. He is now 78 years of blessings of knowledge and religious age, and possesses a venerable as. liberty. Another favourable circumpect, his white beard descending low stance is, that some of the churches to his girdle. On public occasions in Mesopotamia, in one of which the he wears the Episcopal mitre ; and Patriarch of Antioch now resides, are is robed in a white vestment, which said still to remain in their pristine covers long garments of red silk; state, and to have preserved their and in his hand he holds the pastoral archives and ancient manuscript librastaff. The first native bishop was or- ries. A domestic priest of the Patridained by the Romish church in arch, now in Cochin, vouches for the 1663: but he was of the Romish truth of this fact. We know from communion. Since that period, the authentic history, that the churches old Syrians have continued, till lately, between the rivers escaped the gento receive their bishops from Anti. eral desolation of the Mahomedan och ; but that ancient patriarchate conquest, in the seventh century, by being now nearly extinct, and incom. joining arms with the Mahomedans petent to the appointment of learned against the Greek Christians, who men, the Christian church in Malay- had been their oppressors. The reala looks henceforth to Britain for vival of religion and letters in that the continuance of that light which once highly favoured land, in the has shone so long in this dark region beart of the ancient world, would be, of the world.

in the present circumstances of man“ From information given by the kind, an auspicious event. Syrian Christians, it would appear “ The Syrian Christians in Malathat the churches of Mesopotamia yala still use the Syriac language in and Syria, (215 in number) with their churches ; but the Malayalim, which they are connected, are strug- or proper Malabar, (a dialect distinct gling with great difficulties, and from the Tamul) is the vernacular merely owe their existence to some tongue. They have made some at. deference for their antiquity ; and tempts to translate the Syriac scripthat they might be expected soon to tures into Malayalim ; but have not flourish again, if favoured with a lit. hitherto had the suitable means of ef. tle support. It would be worthy the fecting it. When a proposal was church of England to aid the church made of sending a Malayalim translaof Antioch in her low estate. The tion to each of their 55 churches, as a church of England is now what the standard book, on condition that they church of Antioch once was. The would transcribe it, and circulate the mode in which aid can be best afford copies among the people, the elders 528

replied, That so great was the desire companying the public prayers, is of the people in general, to have the truly impressive. They sing the old Bible in the vulgar tongue, that it Psalm tunes well: and the voice of might be expected that every man the full congregation may be heard at who could write, would make a copy on a distance. Prayers being ended, ollas, (palm leaves) for his own family. they listen to the sermon evidently

“ It ought to be mentioned, to the with deep attention ; nor have they praise of the present bishop of the any difficulty in understanding it, for Romish church on the coast of Mala. they almost all, both men and women, bar, that he has consented to the cir. can read their Bible. Many of them culation of the scriptures throughout take down the discourse on ollas, that his diocese. The Malayalim transla- they may read it afterwards to their tion acquires from this circumstance families at home.* As soon as the an increased importance, since there minister has pronounced the text, the will be now upwards of 200,000 Chris- sound of the iron style on the palm tians in Malavala who are ready to re- leaf, is heard throughout the congreceive it. The translation of the New gation. Even the boys of the schools Testament, (which it is proposed to have their ollas in their hands; and print first) has already commenced, may be seen after divine service read. under the superintendence of the ing them to their mothers, as they Syrian bishop. The true cause of pass over the fields homewards. This the low state of religion amongst the aptitude of the people to receive and Romish churches on the sea-coast to record the words of the preacher, and in Ceylon, is their want of the Bi- renders it peculiarly necessary that ble. It is doubtful whether some of “the priests lips should keep knowl. the priests know that such a book es. edge." Upon the whole, the moral ists ! It is injurious to Christianity in conduct, upright dealing, decorous India, to call men Christians who manners, and decent dress of the na. know not the scriptures of their re- tive Protestants of Tanjore, demonligion: they might as well be called strate the powerful influence and peby any other name. Oral instruction culiar excellence of the Christian re. they have none, eren from their ligion. It ought, however, to be ob. European priests. The best effects served, that the Bible, when the read. may therefore be expected from the ing of it becomes general, has nearly simple means of putting the Bible into the same effect on the poor of every their hands. All who are well ac. place. quainter with the natives, know that “ When the Syrian Christians instruction by books is best suited to understood that the proposed Mala. them. They are in general a con- yalan translation was to accord with templative people, and patient in their the English Bible, they desired to inquiries ; curious also to know what know on what authorities our translait can be that is of importance enough tion had been made ; alleging, that to be written; at the same time that they themselves possessed a version they regard written precept with of undoubted antiquity, namely, that respect. If they possess a book in a used by the first Christians at Antilanguage which they un:lerstand, it och; and that they could not depart will not be left long unread. In from the reading of that version. This Tanjore, and other places where the observation, led to the investigation of Bible is freely given, the Protestant the ancient Syrio-Chaldaic manu. religion flourishes ; and produces the scripts in Malayala ; and the inquiry happiest effects on the character of has been successful beyond any esthe people. In Tanjore, the Chris. pectation that could have been formed. tian virtues will be found in exercise " It had been commonly supposed, by the feeble minded Hindoo), in a that all the Syriac manuscripts had vigour and purity which will surprise those who have never known the na- * It is well known that natives of tive character but imder the greatest Tanjore and Travancore can write down disadvantages. On the Sunday, the what is spoken deliberately, without people, habited in their best apparel, losing one word. They seldom look at repair to the parish church, where their ollas while writing, and can wrike the solemnity of their devotion in ac- in the dark with fluency.


[ocr errors]


been burned by the Romish church, ful accuracy. The character is at the Synod of Udiamper, near Estrangelo Syriac ; and the words of Cochin, in 1599 ; but it now appeai's every book are numbered. This vol. that the most valuable manuscripts ume is illuminated ; but not after the were not destroyed: the inquisitors European manner, the initial letters condemned many books to the flames; having no ornament. Prefixed to but they saved the Bible. They were each book there are figures of princicontent with ordering that the Syriac pal scripture characters, (not rudely scriptures should be amended agreea. drawn) the colours of which are disa bly to the reading of the Vulgate of tinguishable; and, in some places, Rome ; and these emendations now the enamel of the gilding is preserved; appear in black ink, and of modern but the volume has suffered injury appearance, though made in 1599 : from time or neglect, some of the but many Bibles, and many other leaves being almostientirely decayed. books, were not produced at all; and In certain places the ink has been to. the churches in the mountains re- tally obliterated from the page, and mained but a short time subject to has left the parchment in its natural Romish dominion, (if indeed they whiteness; but the letters can, in can be said to have been at any time general, be distinctly traced from the subject to it) for the native govern- impress of the pen, or from the partial ments have ever formed a barrier be. corrosion of the ink. The Syrian tween the inquisition at Goa and the church assigns to this manuscript a Christians in the mountains.

high antiquity; and alleges that it “ In the acts of the Council of has been for some centuries in the Nice, it is recorded that Joannes, possession of their bisiops : and that bishop of India, signed his name at it was industriously concealed from that Council, A. D. 325. This date the Romish inquisition in 1599 : but corresponds with the Syrian year 636; its truc age can only be ascertained for the primitive Syrian church does by a comparison with old manuscripts not compute time from the Christian in Europe of a similar kind. On the era, but from Alexander the Great. margin of the drawings are some old The Syriac version of the scriptures Roman and Greek letters, the form was brought to India, according to of which may lead to a conjecture the belief of the Syrians, before the respecting the age in which they were year 636; and they allege that their written. This copy of the scriptures copies have ever been exact transcripts has admitted as canonical the Epistle of that version without known error, of Clement, in which respect it through every age, down to this day. resembles the Alexandrine manThere is no tradition among them of uscript; but it has omitted the the churches in the southern moun- Revelations,--that book having been tains having ever been destroyed, or accounted apocryphal by even molested. Some of their present churches during a certain period in copies are certainly of ancient date.

the early ages.

The order of the Though written on a strong thick pa

books of the Old and New Testaper, (like that of some MSS. in the ment differs from that of the EuroBritish Museum, commonly called pean copies ; this copy adhering less Eastern Paper,) the ink has, in several to unity of subject in the arrangement places, ate through the material in than to chronological order. The very the exact form of the letter. In oth- first emendation of the Hebrew text er copies, where the ink had less of a proposed by Dr. Kennicott, (Gen. iv. corroding quality, it has fallen off, 8,) is to be found in this manuscript. and left a dark vestige of the letter, The disputed passage in 1 John v. 7 faint indeed, but not, in general, illegis is not to be found in it: that verse ble. There is one volume found in is interpolated in some other copies a remote church of the mountains, in black ink, by the Romish church, wbich merits particular description :- in 1599. it contains the Old and New Testa- “ Thus it appears that during the ments, engrossed on strong vellum, in dark ages of Europe, while ignorance large folio, having three columns in and superstition in a manner denied the page ; and is written with beauti. the scriptures to the rest of the Vol. III. No, 11.



« PreviousContinue »