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"These Churches," said the Portuguese, “belong " to the Pope.” “Who is the Pope," said the natives, we never heard of him.”

The European priests were yet more alarmed, when they found that these Hindoo Christians maintained the order and discipline of a regular Church under Episcopal Jurisdiction : and that, for 1300 years past, they had enjoyed a succession of Bishops appointed by the Patriarch of Antioch.

We," said they, are of the true faith, whatever “you from the West may be; for we come from the place where the followers of Christ were first called Christians.”

When the power of the Portuguese became sufficient for their purpose, they invaded these tranquil Churches, seized some of the Clergy, and devoted them to the death of heretics. Then the inhabitants heard for the first time that there was a place called the Inquisition; and that its fires had been lately lighted at Goa, near their own land. But the Portuguese, finding that the people were resolute in defending their ancient faith, began to try more conciliatory measures. They seized the Syrian Bishop, Mar Joseph, and sent him prisoner to Lisbon, and then convened a Synod at one of the Syrian Churches called Diamper, near Cochin, at which the RomishArchbishop Menezes presided. At this compulsory

Synod, 150 of the Syrian Clergy appeared. They were accused of the following practices and opinions, “That they had married wives; that they owned but two Sacraments, Baptism and the Lord's Supper; that they neither invoked

Saints, nor worshipped Images, nor believed "in Purgatory : and that they had no other “ orders or names of dignity in the Church, " than Bishop, Priest, and Deacon." These tenets they were called on to abjure, or to suffer suspension from all Church benefices. It was also decreed that all the Syrian books on Ecclesiastical subjects that could be found, should be burned; "in order,” said the Inquisitors, " that no pretended apostolical monuments may remain."

The Churches on the sea-coast were thus compelled to acknowledge the supremacy of the Pope : but they refused to pray in Latin, and insisted on retaining their own language and Liturgy. This point they said they would only give up with their lives. The Pope compromised with them: Menezes purged their Liturgy of its errors : and they retain their Syriac Language, and have a Syriac College unto this day. These are called the Syro-Roman Churches, and are principally situated on the sea-coast.

The Churches in the interior would not yield to Rome. After a show of submission for a little

while, they proclaimed eternal war against the Inquisition; they hid their books, fled occasionally to the mountains, and sought the protection of the Native Princes, who had always been proud of their alliance.

Two centuries had elapsed without any particular information concerning the Syrian Christians in the interior of India. It was doubted by many whether they existed at all; but if they did exist, it was thought probable that they must possess some interesting documents of Christian antiquity. The Author conceived the design of visiting them, if practicable, in his tour through Hindoostan. He presented a short memoir on the subject in 1805, to Marquis Wellesley, then Governor-General of India; who was pleased to give orders that every facility should be afforded to him in the prosecution of his inquiries. About a year after that Nobleman had left India, the Author proceeded on his Tour. It was necessary that he should visit first the Court of the Rajah of Travancore, in whose dominions the Syrian Christians resided, that he might obtain permission to pass to their country. The two chief objects which he proposed to himself in exploring the state of this ancient people, were these : First, to investigate their literature and history, and to collect Biblical manuscripts. Secondly, if he should find them to be an intelligent people, and well acquainted with the Syriac Scriptures, to endeavour to make them instruments of illuminating the Southern part of India, by engaging them in translating their Scriptures into the Native Languages. He had reason to believe that this had not yet been done; and he was prepared not to wonder at the delay, by the reflection how long it was before his own countrymen began to think it their duty to make versions of the Scriptures, for the use of other nations.

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Palace of Travancore, 19th Oct. 1806. . I have now been a week at the Palace of Trivan duram, where the Rajah resides. A letter of introduction from Lieut.-Colonel Macauley, the British Resident at Travancore, procured me a proper reception. At my first audience His Highness was very inquisitive as to the objects of my journey. As I had servants with me of different casts and languages, it was very easy for the Brahmins to discover every particular they might wish to know, in regard to my profession, pursuits, and manner of life. When I told the Rajah that the Syrian Christians were supposed to be of the same religion with the English, he said he thought that could not be the case, else he must have heard it before; if, however, it was so, he considered my desire to visit them as being

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very reasonable.

I assured His Highness that their Shaster and ours was the same; and shewed him a Syriac New Testament which I had at hand. The book being bound and gilt after the European manner, the Rajah shook his head, and said he was sure there was not a native in his dominions who could read that book. I observed that this would be proved in a few days. The Dewan (or Prime Minister) thought the character something like what he had seen sometimes in the houses of the Sooriani. The Rajah said he would afford me every facility for my journey in his power. He put an emerald ring on my finger, as a mark of his friendship, and to secure me respect in passing through his country; and he directed his Dewan to send proper persons with me as guides.

'I requested that the Rajah would be pleased to present a Catalogue of all the Hindoo Manuscripts in the Temples of Travancore to the College of Fort-William in Bengal. The Brahmins were very averse to this ; but when I shewed the Rajah the catalogues of the books in the Temples of Tanjore, given by the Rajah of Tanjore, and of those of the Temple of Ramisseram, given me by order of the Rannie (or Queen) of Ramnad; he desired it might be done: and orders have been sent to the Hindoo College of Trichoor for that purpose.'*

* These three Catalogues, together with that of the Rajah of Cochin, which the Author procured afterwards, are now deposited in the College of Fort-William, and probably contain all the Hindoo literature of the South of India.

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