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EFFECTS OF CHRISTIANITY IN INDIA. - 173
heavy losses and inconvenience in ascending or descending the Ganges, we were mercifully returned to Calcutta, though not without some obvious dangers, yet without any accident of moment, of a painful nature, and had again to record, “Thus far hath the Lord helped us.”
Having now given some account of the state of things as we have seen them in Calcutta, Kidderpore, Chinsurah, Berhampore, and Benares, we would remark, generally, that the expectations which we had raised, as to the effects actually produced by past missionary labors, have been greatly exceeded by what we have found; and that the hopes and prospects of future success, under the blessing of God, are greatly confirmed and enlarged. Our confidence as to the conversion of the Hindoos has been much increased by what we have seen, both in Bengal and in the Upper Provinces, and from the concurrent testimony of wise and observing men, who describe the great difference there is between the state of things now, and what it was there some years ago, both among the rich and poor Hindoos, and among the Brahmins, many of whom begin to be ashamed of the gross impositions they have so long practised, and of the oppressions which, by prescription, they have inflicted on the inferior castes. The reverential regard, reaching to actual adoration, with which these inferior castes treated the Brahmins, is very much lessened. We think we see the fetters of caste very much weakened, and we do cheerfully hope that the whole series of the links of this cruel chain will be for ever broken, under the commendable moderation and prudence of an enlightened government, and especially by the blessing of God on the efforts of prudent Christian ministers and missionaries, who, while they preach the gospel, exhibit a scriptural temper and conduct towards each other, towards the European inhabitants, and towards the heathen population; and who are also zealously engaged in superintending the education of the young of both sexes, in writing, printing, and distributing useful books, especially the Scriptures to so very great an extent.
The direct effects which have been produced on the native population by the considerable number of wise and good missionaries, and ministers of religion not being missiona
174 MISSIONS IN SOUTH INDIA.
ries—and by the powerful, though more silent, influence of the increased number of pious laymen, have already been great, in various parts of India; and they have resulted in a manifest moral improvement amongst the resident British population in these parts. This change is so great and so valuable that no reflecting person can avoid seeing it, and no benevolent person can help rejoicing in it. The decencies of social life are decorously observed ; the day of God is distinguished; the places of religious worship, in and out of the establishment, are well filled; the institutions and ministers of religion are reverenced ; and many pious families in the different ranks of society among the British offer their daily thanks to God, and pray that His kingdom may come and spread until it shall cover the whole earth! Thus has the influence of the gospel obviated several of the more plausible objections which the heathens made to the reception of Christianity.
JMissions in South India.-Geographical Description of Vizagapatam -—State of the Mission in Vizagapatam—Tripassoor—Geographical Description of Chittoor—Religious Services at Chittoor—Geographical Description of Cuddapah—State of the Mission at Cuddapah— Description of the Hindoo Festival, called Gangamma Tirnal.
We left Calcutta on the 19th of December 1826, for Madras, on board the Aurora, captain Earl, but could not get out of the river Hooghly, to sea, till the 29th of that month. We touched at Vizagapatam, where we remained for a few days, and saw the state of the mission there. We then proceeded for Madras, where we arrived, after a safe and pleasant voyage, on the 11th of January, 1827. On the 3d of February we commenced our tour into the interior of the presidency, to visit all the Society's missions; and completed our journey on the 20th of September. A general meeting of the Madras district committee had commenced by the time of our return, and general business was entered upon the next day, and continued daily for a fortnight. We left Madras for the Isle of France on the 10th of October, on board the ship Frances Charlotte, captain Talbert, a merchantman of about 300 tons, and arrived at Port Louis on
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the 24th of November, in continued health, and met with a friendly welcome from Mr. Le Brun. We shall now proceed to report to you the state of all the Society's missions in South India, noticing what may be interesting in going from station to station, and shall conclude our letter with such miscellaneous information and remarks as may be necessary. We shall report on the different missions in the order in which we visited them. Wizagapatam.—We passed through a heavy surf, and landed at this place on the 5th of January, 1827. The town of Vizagapatam is situated on the sea-coast of Peninsular India, within the province of the Northern Circars, in lat. 17°42' North, and long, 83°28' East. It lies open to the Bay of Bengal to the east, from whence a heavy surf rolls in upon the beach, and often renders landing there both difficult and dangerous. Hills are situated both to the N. E. and the S. W. of the town, and more distantly behind it to the westward, which, though exceedingly barren in appearance, form a striking and interesting scene. Two conical hills, situated just out of the town to the S.W., bearing, the one a Hindoo temple, and the other a Mussulmans' mosque, of a white appearance, form very interesting objects. Past the bases of these hills an arm of the sea runs, which widens to a great extent, stretching behind the town for some miles into the interior. This flat country is not covered by the sea, except when there are very high tides. Here a great deal of salt is made, and also chunam, or lime, by burning sea-shells, which are dug out of these alluvial strata. A low sand-bank, about four miles in length, running parallel with the shore, and situated between this lagoon and the main sea, is the site occupied by the town, which extends about a mile and a half along the sand-bank, and occupies the entire width, which is about half a mile. The town is compact, laid out in streets of sufficient width, which generally cross each other at right angles. There is a fort nearly in the middle of it, facing the sea, on one side of the cantonments, which are occupied by a few invalid soldiers. The houses of the Europeans hold but a middle rank, and few of them are good. The houses, or cottages, of the natives have a more neat and comfortable appearance than those of the peasantry of Bengal. Here are several Hindoo temples, which are lower than those in Bengal, and built in a very different style. Some of them, being richly endowed, draw
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a great number of Brahmins around them, who exert all their influence to keep up their importance, which, however, is rapidly falling into contempt. Here are some Mahommedan mosques, but the Mussulmans are both few and poor. There is no English Protestant church, or chaplain, and the place in which the missionaries conduct their public religious services is a private dwelling-house. Within a short distance from Vizagapatam, there are several small villages, which have a neat and comfortable appearance. The staple articles of this place are wax, salt, and indigo. The people are ingenious in working in ivory and bone, of which they make boxes, &c. Their dress is as in other parts of India; consisting, in that of the man, of a piece of cloth wrapped round the loins; and in cold weath
er another bit of cloth is thrown over the upper parts of the
person. The females use but one piece of cloth, the one end of which goes round the middle, hanging half way down the leg, the other end covers the head and upper parts of the
body. Ornaments for the neck, ears, nose, arms, and ancles,
are innumerable, and in great variety. Their principal food is rice, and some other vegetables, mixed with curry. All articles of food are here very cheap. From a census which was taken about four years ago, including Vizagapatam, and its immediate vicinity, it appeared that there were about 35,000 souls. The great mass of the people are Hindoos, or Gentoos, only one-fifteenth being Mahommedans. The Teloogoo language is that which is commonly spoken. There are about two hundred Europeans, principally invalid soldiers. About three hundred are Indo-Britons, or country-born; and there is a considerable number of the descendants of Portuguese, who have almost lost their own language, and are in nearly the same spiritual and moral condition as their Gentoo neighbors. The missionaries, Messrs. Gordon and Dawson, appear to be diligently employed in their several departments, and to the extent of their strength. Mr. Gordon is exercised in the work of translation, and has got the whole of the Old Testament in a state of forwardness. He also takes part in the English services, and, every evening, visits some of the schools. He is highly esteemed by the people, and appears to be a truly excellent man; but we regret to say that his health seems to be in a very precarious state. His illness has continued for the last four months. A voyage is recommended
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by his medical adviser, as being essentially necessary to his restoration. He is said to have a very extensive knowledge of the Teloogoo language. The school department is immediately under the direction of Mr. Dawson. The schools are in an excellent state. There are at this time twelve in connection with this mission in the town and neighborhood. One of them is a school of girls, under the kind care of Mrs. Waughan. Two of the schools are composed of country-born children; the rest are the children of Hindoos, with a mixture of Mahommedans. Besides the girls' school, there are several girls at the boys' schools, both in the town and villages. All these schools are conducted entirely on Christian principles; the Scriptures are read, Watts's catechisms are taught, &c. They also learn writing and ciphering. The masters, in general, appear to be suitable and well-selected men. - Though our time was very limited here, yet, with great exertion, we saw all the schools, generally at their own school-rooms, but, in an instance or two, two or three schools assembled in the same place. In examining these, both in reading and also as to their knowledge of the principles of Christianity, we had every reason to be well satisfied. No schools in India, so far as we have yet gone, are in a better state. All the school-rooms are remarkably neat and clean, with sand strewed over the floors, on which the children write with their fingers. There are many children among them of respectable parents. There are, besides these twelve schools, two others in the town for Indo-Britons, and one kept by a poor private soldier, gratis. So that there are fifteen schools in the town and its vicinity, containing about 400 children of both sexes, all under direct Christian instruction, and highly promising. This statement includes the orphan schools, of about forty girls and thirty boys, mostly the descendants of European parents, We are happy to state, also, that they appear to be well and very frequently superintended, each school being visited several times in the week, and carefully examined as to their proficiency. The brethren are not in the habit of preaching formally to the natives. But, in visiting the schools, the people assemble around them, when they address them, while catechising the children. This is an excellent method; but we wish that it were accompanied by preaching in the streets and bazaars.