Finding Number (Click this to view full catalogue structure)CMS/B/OMS/C I2 E3/67
TitleLetter from Thompson to Secretary: 9 February 1819: Madras
Extent1 doc.
DescriptionLast wrote privately in Jan 1818; important to have "established medium of private correspondence"; writes of Mr. Rhenius; the monthly meetings at the mission house have been given up though their value was apparent to all except Rhenius "there seemed to be no hope of overcoming his repugnance to them"; last March they were given up and their loss was never enquired about; the unhappy affair of Christian the reader had already begun, in which it would have been much better if the missionaries had consulted the committee before sentencing him; then in February Rhenius had been entangled in a claim by natives against government for alleged supplies for the army of Sir Erye Coote in which they needed an impartial person to distribute the money allocated to them in compensation; unfortunately Rhenius allowed them to address a memorial to government representing him as their attorney and receiving no reply wrote personally to the Chief Secretary; the matter was brought before the governor in council; "there are few things of which the government is so impatient as of Europeans undertaking interference like this between it and the natives - and with just cause I believe - for it seems to have been a great means of iniquity and fraud in many known cases"; this was followed by a riot at a distance from Madras which coincided with Rhenius' application for a passport to visit some schools; the passport was refused by government; next when Rhenius applied to the governor for permission to introduce Baker and Barenbruck, the governor asked Thompson to come first; the governor told Thompson that he was unwilling to speak to Rhenius because of his actions with the bullock people, but Thompson smoothed matters over and quoted the postscript of Pratt's letter to Rhenius "Right, said he, right only keep them to that and I am content - we shall have no such occurrence again"; the August committee then dealt with the publication of tracts by the missionaries, where the resolution was passed that the committee must approve of publications because the committee is naturally considered responsible for the missionaries actions; Rhenius objected and persuaded Bernhard Schmid to support him; Strachan suggested privately to Thompson that the Secretaries in London should "convey to Mr. Rhenius more distinctly ….. the society's intentions and expectations as to his dependence on the Corresponding Committee ….. the new English missionaries are all well informed on this subject - but the Lutherans are not …... the altercation which occasionally occurs from his headstrong, self-willed temper is equally distressing to our feelings, hurtful to him, and contrary to the spirit which should prevail between us ….. few men with equal piety could fall into more mistake than he has done since he has been here - but unless he sustains personal mortification he cannot see his error, and not always then - if it is possible for human means to mend him, the Society's commands may - but nothing else, I think, can"; finally there has been further unpleasantness about financial matters "I utterly despair of being able to satisfy Mr. Rhenius with money"; asks about "mode of worship to be adopted in our mission church"; as members of the Church of England and as the church is being built with government support it will be expected to use Church of England liturgy; this would be necessary if, as is essential, they avail themselves of episcopal confirmation and ordination; is unsure how this relates to conditions in missionaries' agreements with Society and as to its interference with rights on conscience particularly for Lutherans; Dr. Rottler uses the liturgy and it is in use in Ceylon, the final decision must come from London "nothing less will prevail with Mr. Rhenius".
Access StatusOpen


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