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pal doctrines of Christianity. He sat with another of the Bible Society's Syriac Testaments before him; and referred to it, in confirmation of his opinions, with a readiness that proved him to be familiar with the Sacred Text. Several of the Catanars, whom I saw in the interior, shewed me, with apparent pleasure, their copies of the same work, carefully folded up in white cloth; and gave me reason to believe that they knew the value of the boon. When Dr. Buchanan was with them, they were much in want of the Syriac Bible; and it was only upon his promise to repay them an hundred-fold, that they entrusted to him their most valuable Manuscripts. Just before the arrival of the first supply from England, they grew so impatient, that they began to suspect that the Doctor had imposed upon them. But their suspicions were soon removed; and I had the satisfaction of hearihg them express their gratitude for the treasure which the Bible Society had sent them.
The Abbé Dubois says, (p. 22,) "The Jesuits, on their first arrival in India, hearing of them, in one way or another converted the greatest part to the Catholic Faith." It was not till upwards of forty years after the arrival of the Portuguese in India, that any attempts were made to
seduce the Syrians from their own Communion, or compel them, " in one way or another," to enter into that of Rome: and the duplicity, stratagem, arrogance, cruelty, and violence, even unto blood, of Don Alexion de Menezes, Archbishop of Goa, and other persecutors, cover their names with infamy; and fill us with admiration at the constancy of the Syrians, who resisted such means used to convert them*.
"There remains," he says (p. 22), "still among them, large Congregations, consisting of 70,000 or 80,000 Christians, of whom twothirds are Catholics, and a third Nestorians."
By this estimate, he computes the number of Faithful Syrians at about 25,000. At the time I was with them, their number was stated to be 53,000. They have since been reckoned at 13,000 families; which, allowing 5 to a family, will raise them to 65,000.
He says, "They are all designated under the contemptuous name of Nazarany, and held by the Pagans in still greater contempt than the Christians of this part of the country. The Nairs chiefly keep them at the greatest distance." (p. 22.)
It will be seen, by reference to La Croze,
• The history of these transactions is given in the Seventeenth Report of the Church Missionary Society, just mentioned.
that, at the time the Portugese arrived in India, and for a few years subsequent to that period, the Syrian Christians stood high in the estimation of their Heathen Rulers and neighbours. They enjoyed many privileges under the Native Princes; ranked with the Nobility of the Country; the authority of their Bishops was allowed to extend to all Civil as well as Ecclesiastical affairs; they were carefully instructed in the use of arms, from their eighth to their twenty-fifth year, and were excellent hunters: the more of them a Pagan Prince had in his dominions, the more was he feared and esteemed; and not more than two hundred years ago, they furnished the Rajah of Cochin with 50,000 of the best soldiers: on that account, as well as on that of their fidelity and strict attachment to the truth in every thing, the Native Princes cherished and countenanced them in every possible way. In virtue of privileges granted by Sharen Permaul, former Emperor of Malabar, they took precedency of the Nairs, who are the Nobility of the country; and they were second in rank only to the Brahmins. The Kings themselves manifested an extraordinary veneration for them. The inferior castes looked up to them for protection against the oppres
sions of the higher castes. They depended directly on the Prince or Minister, and not on the Provincial Governors. They themselves punished any infringement of their privileges, or insult offered them, by a Pagan. The Nairs, who are the Nobility and Warriors in Malabar, then respected them very highly, and considered it a great honour to be regarded as their brothers. So numerous were their privileges, that La Croze says it would be tiresome to describe them all. It was permitted only to the Brahmins, and them, to have inclosed porches before their houses. They were authorised to ride and travel on elephants; a distinction accorded only to them and the Heirs of the Crown. They sat in presence of the King and his Ministers, even on the same carpet; a privilege granted to Embassadors only. The King of Paroor, having wished, during the preceding century, to extend this privilege to the Nairs, the Christians declared war against him, and obliged him to restore affairs to their former state.
Lieutenant-Colonel John Munro, late Resident at the Court of Travancore, in his* "Address to the Government of Fort St.
* This Address was published in the Appendix of the Twentieth Report of the Church Missionary Society.
George on the State of Christianity in that Residency," cites this account of the Syrians' privileges and respectability, in proof of the extraordinary advancement of the Christian Religion in a country governed and inhabited by the Hindoos. I quote it, to shew that they were not, in La Croze's time, so contemptible in the eyes of the Heathen as the Abbé Dubois represents them at present. At the period of the Roman-Catholics unwarrantable interference with them, they lived in the full enjoyment of these immunities : and though they subsequently lost much of their respectability (for which they have to blame only their Popish persecutors), they are yet held in greater estimation than the Native Roman Catholics; and at the very time when the Abbé wrote the Letter in which he asserts the contrary, and represents them as held in great contempt, they were actually rising again in respectability, and in the estimation of their Rulers.
In 1818, three years subsequent to the date of the Abbé's Letter, Lieutenant-Colonel Munro, who had for some time known the Syrians intimately, thus described them, in his Address to the Madras Government, already referred to
"Notwithstanding the misfortunes which