My talk is about the part played by religion in the lives of 19th Century Eurasians in India. My research is very much in its early stages so there will be lots of loose ends for which I apologise. Many of those loose ends will never be tied up – the answers are lost in the silences that historians of uncomfortable subjects find all the time – but that’s no excuse for ignoring the questions they raise. I should start by telling you what I mean by Eurasian, why I’m using the term and what it meant and implied. It will then be clear how and why religion became a signifier of race. I will explore Eurasian agency with respect to religion and look at some specifics of how religion could modify perceptions of race. Finally I will look at religion as a profession for Eurasians.
Eurasian is an uncomfortable word. It may jar but I’m going to stick with this term because it was the identifier used by the government of British India from the late 1820s until 1911. It referred officially to many of those whom we might now call Anglo-Indians, who at the time were also known as East-Indian, Indo-British, Indo-Portuguese or Indo-French, and by less savoury terms such as half-castes and country-born. It would be anachronistic to update it to Anglo-Indian because at the time those British who were in India for work referred to themselves as Anglo-Indians, and it would be inaccurate because the two terms refer to populations that do not completely overlap; it is also now a kind of political identity that many people, who might be entitled to call themselves Anglo-Indian, would be very uneasy with – although in our allegedly post-racial society most would probably not want to be referred to as Eurasians either.
The Colonial British administrations, Company and later crown, kept meticulous records and carried out extensive exercises in categorisation so it should be easy to find out about this Eurasian category. In fact, it has always been problematic. In a House of Commons debate in 1925, the Under Secretary of State for India, when asked to clarify the status of Eurasians (by then termed Anglo-Indians) answered thus: For purposes of employment under government and inclusion in schemes of Indianisation members of the Anglo-Indian and Domiciled-European community are Statutory Natives of India; for purposes of education and internal security, their status, so far as it admits of definition, approximates to that of European British Subjects. More than a century after deciding that Eurasians and Europeans were separate communities the British were still institutionally schizophrenic about the status of Eurasians and, to a lesser extent, about those Europeans who failed to leave India.
In nineteenth century census reports there were frequent complaints about the inaccuracy of the data on Eurasians. The British, and Eurasian community leaders, believed that those Eurasians who looked white were returning themselves as Europeans and that Indians were taking on European names and dress and claiming to be Eurasians so as (in both cases) to improve their employment prospects.
children? It is not surprising then, that the margins of this ‘Eurasian’ category were never successfully set. The category was meant to identify those who had mixed European and Indian ancestry and who had been born and bred in India, it was contingent on a mixture of ancestry and lifestyle. It sometimes included people whose ancestry was wholly European but who had been born and raised in India and had no further connection with Europe, the so-called ‘country-born,’ later styled domiciled Europeans. Incidentally, these are now included in India’s constitutional definition of the Anglo-Indian minority community.
Employment adds another variable. Most likely there were other employers who did the same thing, but we know East India Railway for one, included amongst its Eurasian staff some people whose ancestry was known to be wholly Indian but whose education and lifestyle were considered to be sufficiently European for employment as though Eurasian. The category was also used sometimes for other minorities who the British found it expedient to include such as Armenians, Jews and some Parsis. But the Indo-Portuguese, part Indian and part European, and so you would think obviously Eurasian, were often excluded. They sometimes self-excluded because they counted themselves simply Portuguese or Goan – or they were excluded because the British thought Portuguese Eurasians were just as likely to be Indian converts to Catholicism or the descendants of manumitted slaves. So in the 1871 census there was a category for the Indo-Portuguese but by 1881 the category disappeared. ‘Portuguese’ had not grown and only the most Anglicized were re-classified as Eurasian but most were classed as native Christians or ‘Goanese.’
Also excluded from Eurasian classification could be any illegitimate Eurasians whose European fathers had failed to acknowledge them, and Eurasians whose European credentials came from their mothers. All of these were by default, classified as Indians. The British and Eurasian community leaders were unwilling to classify these people as Eurasians for a variety of reasons – all involving prestige.
Including the illegitimate might show that some European men a) had loose morals and b) did not take care of their own, but it also indicated, of course, that there was no legally recognised means for a European man to marry a non-Christian woman.
The same was true the other way around but it was not done to admit publicly that some European women chose Indian husbands. We only know of the 12 year marriage of Mrs Meer Hassan Ali because, avoiding the ire of colonial society, she returned to Britain before publishing her 1832 insider Observations on the Mussalmauns of India. In the nineteenth century European women were supposed to be raped, mutilated and murdered by Indians – not married by them. Victorian sensitivity on this subject meant it was a long wait before a fictional account of a European woman choosing an Indian male was published – that was the novel Anna Lombard, published in 1901.
All of this may seem unimportant to us but that was not the case for people living in a society that was so strongly stratified by the concept of race, a concept for which there was no clear or consistent definition except at its extreme margins.
Undoubtedly many genetic Eurasians were non-Christian, Muslim, even Hindu if their European connections could be hidden well enough – I know it’s a work of fiction but think of Tagore’s Gora; a European orphan raised believing he was a Brahmin – and I shall return to Hindus in a minute. There were people, real people, particularly early in the century or remote from the presidency capitals, who considered their religious beliefs to be as mixed as their genetics. But anyone who made census returns declaring that they were European or Eurasian and Muslim or Buddhist or anything other than Christian had their entries corrected demonstrating the central importance of religion in the government’s perception of Eurasian identity. In Baine’s report on the 1891 census, it is clear that non-Christian Eurasians were enumerated as natives. The author of the Madras report listed every caste name entered in the schedules including ‘Eurasian Hindoo’. But because ‘… caste terms … modified by prefixes or affixes … [were not] considered satisfactory’, any Eurasians who thought themselves Hindu had to be returned either as Eurasian or Hindu, not both. The idea that a Eurasian might profess another religion was met with incredulity, and removed from the records.
European and Eurasian meant Christian. So far as Government and British society in India was concerned. Religion was not just about faith but also about lifestyle; marriage, socialisation, dress, where one lived. Europeans or Eurasians, if properly educated, would never choose to follow any faith except Christianity. So what happened to those who did choose otherwise? Some, like David Dyce Sombre, confused the hell out of the British. He combined Catholicism with Islam. Having been brought up with social values appropriate to a Muslim court he found the behaviour of his British wife, dancing and socialising with men, quite outrageous. To the British he was either mad or Indian. If he was a European then his views proved him mad. If he were Indian then he was perfectly sane. Culturally, he had to be one or other; not a mixture of both.
Eurasians who had never been formally recognised by their European fathers might be left in peace to follow their mother’s faith, but acknowledged children whose fathers had died, left India, or were just poor, might be taken from their families and placed in orphanages, in which case they would be raised as Christians. Take for example, the case of William Short. Born in Lucknow, he was the son of a Eurasian great-nephew of a queen of Awadh Muriam Begum. His father died in 1890 when he was about 10 years old and, even though he lived with his Indian Muslim mother, a British guardian was appointed who insisted that he be sent to a Catholic boarding school. Whilst there he was allowed no contact with his family, not even his Catholic Eurasian grannie who had offered to care for him. His Muslim mother and Eurasian catholic uncle (with whom she now lived) got a court order, removed him from the boarding school, and sent him to a nearby Catholic mission school.
But that was for Indian children so the court order was overturned, the boy was allowed no further contact with his family, and he was returned to the Catholic boarding school until the day he reached his majority when, with the protection of a family lawyer, he ran away. He re-established contact with both his Catholic and Muslim relatives but chose himself to become a Muslim, with the name Baqur Hussein, he married a Muslim but perhaps hedging bets for his own son, named him both Haidar Abbas and James Short. Baqur Hussein was lucky: he had independent means so there was not much the British could do to him.
Many orphanages, probably all of them, were careful to sever ties to any Indian relatives and Indian culture – and this included their own parents. Besides what happened to William Short, there are many examples in the records, of the Madras Military Orphan asylums, for example, of children whose European fathers had died, but whose mother’s existence was not even recorded. The mother was frequently ‘unknown.’ From the record of a girl orphan in the asylum, whose mother was ‘unknown,’ but who was later removed to be cared for by her stepfather we see it is possible to have a stepfather but still an unknown mother – though I cannot imagine how.
A non-Christian Eurasian was perceived as simply ignorant. But it was not just ignorant Eurasians who professed other faiths, as Victorian texts might have us believe. Some parents made pragmatic decisions about their children’s upbringing, including the faith in which they were to be schooled. Colonel William Gardner and his wife Mah Munzel Ool Nissa, with strong connections and status in both British and Mughal society, raised their family to be at home in the highest circles of both, and their children and grandchildren married variously a Mughal prince, British officers and wealthy Eurasians.
Other families, or at least fathers, chose where they thought individual children would be most likely to flourish. Thus a fair-skinned son sent to England for a British education might land a reasonable position in Britain or in British India, but his darker brother might do better, after education in India, perhaps including Persian or a vernacular language and familiarity with court etiquette, and then with employment in a Princely state.
Early in the nineteenth century many European and Eurasian men sought military employment in the Princely States, even though this was often against the wishes of the British authorities and expressly forbidden in many treaties. The nativity of Eurasians, and the inexact wording of many treaties, complicated the issue. Circumstances differed from state to state but a brief look at three in informative.
Those working for Ranjit Singh in the Punjab, especially those who could pass for Indian, could quite easily disappear into the local population and it would have been simplest, if they intended to stay, to raise their children as Sikhs. Grey cites John Holmes, a Eurasian officer with Ranjit Singh, who like all Europeans and Eurasians serving his durbar had to agree to grow a beard, marry locally, give up beef, neither smoke in public nor offend the Sikh religion, and (if required) to fight their erstwhile countrymen. Some were better at blending in than others; Alexander Gardner’s infamous tartan kurta and turban were a little before their time as the first Sikh tartans to gain official recognition in Scotland did not appear until 1999.
Before British annexation, Awadh’s Europeans and Eurasians often lived a hybrid lifestyle, particularly so in Lucknow. Only later did that idea become repugnant to the British. Before that Christians such as Mary Short and Mariam Aish, whose fathers were British and mothers Armenian and Hindu respectively, underwent conversion to Islam in order to become wives to Ghazi-uddin, Haidar, the then King of Awadh, but Mary was still allowed to practice her Roman Catholic faith without interference. In the book ‘The Wasikadas of Awadh’ the author’s European and Eurasian ancestors, with a pension from the Awadhi royal family, were able to choose their own lifestyles, mixing Indian and European, Christian and Muslim, and wearing kurta or western dress, as they chose. We have already met William Short whose pension allowed him to do just that. Only when the family grew and each share of the pension became too small to survive on without the employment opportunities now offered by the British, were they forced to conform and there were several cases of conversion to Christianity so that marriages and children’s legitimacy would be recognised under European personal law.
In Hyderabad, the sheer scale of the kingdom and its strategic importance to the British meant that if the Nizam wished to be open-minded enough to employ Europeans and Eurasians regardless of creed, the British had to tread carefully if they wished to influence him. They had to disguise their concern for British Interests as concern for the Nizam – lest he be duped by an unscrupulous cad. The kingdom was powerful enough for the loyalty of Britain’s own officials to be called into question – especially when they appeared to be ‘going native.’ The Political Agent to Hyderabad was advised as late as 1884 to ‘tread carefully’ before he interfered in its employment of 271 Europeans and Eurasians there. Not only was Hyderabad powerful but the Nizam had the ear of the Viceroy and so could afford to ignore lesser officials. It was far easier for the British to exert pressure in British India where family life could be scrutinised and employment, housing and other opportunities for Eurasians were dependent on conformity.
There was another kind of exception that the British had less control over, even under their own rule, and that was whether or not Indian society could accept Eurasians as their own. A 2006 paper in ‘Men and Masculinities,’ by Janaki Abraham of Delhi University, entitled ‘the stain of white’ identified a Keralan matrilinear community which included (and sometimes excluded) Hindu Eurasians. European men and Indian Hindu women formed long-term and sometimes long distance relationships raising their children within a caste group – the Thiyyas. In Cannanore and Tellicherry the men were British and in Mahe they were French. Some of their children were raised as Christians but this was not universal. Thiyyas’ property and wealth, passed from Mother to daughter so mothers here were in a position to assert themselves. It was not without opposition; some fathers insisted on maintaining open-contact with their children and shaping their futures (within the British sphere) through education. Local communities too would sometimes ‘excommunicate’ Mothers and their Eurasian children, perhaps even their extended family too, to preserve caste pride. Others hid their mixed relationships for many decades. Only recently has caste sensitivity relaxed enough so that some of the descendants of these relationships can open up and talk about their ancestry. Others are still afraid to do so.
It was important to the British that Eurasians should be Christians but why? In the early days of British India, until the last decade of the eighteenth century, the East India Company’s personnel in India largely thought of Eurasians as acclimatised Europeans, potential spies, walking dictionaries, and a cheaper and more available source of labour than imported Europeans. European men were even offered a reward for baptising (as Protestants) any children they had fathered. Those whose fathers could send them to Britain for their education, for example William Dalrymple’s white Mughal James Kirkpatrick and Peter Robb’s Blechyndens, these could anticipate a high degree of acceptance in Britain and British India. Money, class and education could still trump race.
But the number of European soldiers, later added to by railwaymen, working class men who could not afford to send their children home, increased rapidly in the nineteenth century, as did the number of poor uneducated and decidedly brown children they fathered. From the turn of the nineteenth century Eurasians became far more visible, partly because of their increasing numbers, but also because exclusion, first through proscriptions and later through social pressures, left them with worse employment prospects and in a poverty that the British found embarrassing.
There is a constant theme in the literature, fact and fiction, of poor whites and Eurasians, living in the bazaars and amongst the native population, who were not only desperately poor but they were not sending their children to either school or church. This was a problem because a fundamental principle that supposedly legitimised British rule was the racial and cultural superiority of Europeans in general and of the British in particular. Europeans and part-Europeans therefore had to embody this superiority. And a major building block of European culture was Christianity. Chatterton tells us that Bishop Cotton said in around 1860 if there could be one thing fatal to the spread of Christianity, it was the sight of a generation of unchristian, uncared-for Englishmen, springing up in the midst of a heathen population. Incidentally, there had been no barracks for soldiers before 1805 which is why (apart from their relative poverty) the bazaars were a perfectly natural home for so many of them and their Eurasian descendants.
Towards the end of the eighteenth century Parliament enacted Pitt’s India Bill and formed the India office, to try to root out nabobbery and corruption and improve the image of the government of British India. This, together with the concurrent rise of evangelical Christianity, made personal morality very much a part of this process. In Britain keeping mistresses and fathering illegitimate children became less socially acceptable than it had been. The same was true of the British in India, with an added pressure to avoid miscegenation although a lack of women who were both European and Christian made that quite problematic. These attitudes were mirrored in the Eurasian population too through education, emulation, social pressure and they themselves were evangelized.
Christianity was not introduced to India by Europeans; Syrian Christianity predates all Europeans in India by many centuries and was an orthodox (that is very traditional and Eastern) form of Christianity. But the introduction of Western Christianity by the Portuguese, French, Dutch, British, Americans, Germans Danes, and many others, meant that it came in many forms or denominations. By 1891 Christians got to choose between about 50 different labels to describe their religion and between 1706 and 1865 the protestant churches had 41 different missionary societies. The Roman Catholic clergy and, therefore, their congregations, were sub-divided into those clergymen appointed by the King of Portugal and those appointed by the Pope. The protestant divisions were a nightmare to understand so let’s keep it simple: apart from the Quakers - who had no clergy at all, the most important division was between those that had Bishops, and those that did not –the former did not recognise the legitimacy of the latter.
With so many churches to choose from, how did Eurasians decide which to sign up to and did it really matter, since the churches were all Christian? In fact, the decision was often taken for them. If a European father was working class, dead or had left India then his Eurasian child was deemed to be in need of spiritual guidance so that he or she might be turned into a useful citizen. They could not be left with Indian or Eurasian Christian mothers with Indian relatives, living amongst Indians or exposed to Indian cultural mores. akOfficial policy was to raise children in the religion of their fathers – and all Eurasians, like Europeans, were (by default) Christians. In India about 50% of Eurasians were Roman Catholic. This church (and the Portuguese) had been in India since the early 1500s and was firmly established by the time the British arrived. By the 1890s there were over a hundred Catholic orphanages. Until 1829 Catholics at home in the UK were second class citizens and, though the law changed in that year, they remained socially second class for much longer. Prejudice against Roman Catholics in India was compounded by its association with the Irish, French and Portuguese so although Catholicism did not mean exclusion, positions of responsibility would more likely to go to Protestants.
The East India Company, though unable to prevent foreign churches and missions operating in India, was reluctant to allow any British clergy into India other than army chaplains and in 1813 the 35 clergymen it employed to cater to the spiritual needs of the entire official British community. Its hand was forced by Act of Parliament (also in 1813) and the number of British Protestant missionaries and clergymen increased thereafter. However, much as many Christians, especially evangelists, believed that converting Indians to Christianity was their duty, it was also argued that it would be inappropriate for government to tax Indians to pay for clergy and church buildings other than those serving congregations of government servants and their families. The Boxwallahs, the unofficial British, the missionary societies, Eurasians and native Christians were therefore left to raise the funds to provide any other churches and pay for their clergymen.
In Goa, the Catholic Church was very firmly established, a British mission in Danish Serampore was Baptist, and the mission in Tanjore was Lutheran so for many Christians, whatever their race, if there was only one church nearby, there was no real choice to be made. But turning at the Presidency capital cities (Calcutta, Bombay and Madras), these had the largest European and Eurasian populations and several churches and denominations were supported close to each other - eventually.
From the time Richard Wellesley took over as Governor-General, around the turn of the nineteenth century, the official British (including the army) were required to demonstrate by attending Church services, preferably in a Church of England, that the British were a pious people. This was an Anglican Protestant denomination, the Established (or official) church in England and the Government church in British India. By the end of the century each presidency got a Church of England Bishop who oversaw a body of clergyman and a number of churches around British India at places with a significant British population. The non-official Europeans and Eurasians were also well advised to attend church, or risk government officials labelling them un-gentlemanly. Away from the major European population centres, Christian missions were the main providers of clergy and churches catering to the spiritual needs of Europeans and Eurasians but these were primarily intended for the prosecution of mission work among the heathen abroad.
In 19 hundreds Calcutta, the Protestants had a Presidency church (CofE) and an Anglican Mission Church, in both of which services were exclusively in English. Despite the growing size of the European population, regardless of any Indian converts, it was a bit of a battle to get a third Protestant church – mostly because Company policy was to steer clear of interfering with the religion of the people in case it sparked resistance to their presence. Nevertheless, William Carey and his colleagues from the Baptist mission, close close by in Danish Serampore,, had been holding services in an undertaker’s house in the Bazaar. Even though there had already been objections from Hindu residents to opening another Christian church in Calcutta Government permitted them to build the Bazaar chapel, This is a description of the site they bought: At the time, Bow Bazaar was a hotbed of vice and immorality and was also the Tyburn of Calcutta where hangings took place. There was an awful spot called Gullakutta Gully, or throat-cutters' lane. It was surrounded by liquor shops and brothels which were the haunt of sailors. The site itself was being used as a brothel. You might suppose that it would have proven unpopular but it took off, with services in English and Bengali.
Obviously Bengali services were designed to draw Indian converts but why did a chapel in such an unpleasant site attract a large European and Eurasian population? Many of you will know that Bow Bazaar was and is home to many poor whites and Eurasians so, it was convenient, but more importantly William Carey said that he and his brethren: had long wished to establish some place of worship for the benefit of those who, though bearing the Christian name, were too low in the scale of society to intrude into the patrician congregations of the Mission Church and the Presidency Church.
How much we should read into the significance of the language in which sermons were preached I’m not sure, after all the Roman Catholic mass almost everywhere was mostly conducted in Latin until the 1960s. That was no-one’s vernacular tongue and yet 50% of Eurasians, and the largest number of Indian Christians, were Roman Catholics. What is significant is the bishop’s awareness that only the elites felt at home in the other two Churches. He did not complain of patrician clergy but of a patrician congregation making others feel uncomfortable: one example of how Eurasians and poor whites were subjected to social exclusion.
We have now schooling (especially in orphanages), geographical location and numbers of churches, language (for Indian Christians but also for Eurasians whose mother tongue might be any of several European languages), employment prospects, and a social element all playing a part in which type of Christian a Eurasian might be. But personal law was extremely significant. Aside from dress and culture, Eurasians’ status was tied into their official paper trail. Birth or christening and marriage certificates were important proofs of ancestry, legitimacy and respectability. They opened some doors at least, to education and thereafter employment and, as Laura Bear’s work on Indian Railways highlights, were seen as proof of not only lineage but also communal identity. The importance of these cannot be overstated and they are a reason for cooperation between different denominations. We find Lutheran ministers, for example, being ordained into the Church of England so that marriages and baptisms conducted by them in their own churches would have legal standing. We even find Jews having their children baptised into the Church of England so that they would have recourse to British Indian personal law and their children would not face any possible doubt as to their legitimacy or inheritance rights.
Other than attending church, having a Christian education, marking life’s major milestones with the right rites and documentation, what part could Eurasians play in these various churches? Rather like Temples and Mosques, Churches were forever in need of funds, not only for their own infrastructure and clergy, but also to provide schooling and for charitable support. In 1823, for example, St Mary’s Church in Madras was giving money and assistance to 7 and a half thousand people, funded locally by the congregation, and with large donations from three prominent Eurasians one British, one French, and one Portuguese. These were laymen, not ordained clergy, and there were informal roles for lay persons in all churches: playing the organ, singing, acting as parish clerk, teaching children in Sunday school, the all-female Zenana missions, organising fundraising, translating and distributing religious tracts, even helping clergymen during services. But for Eurasians who themselves wanted to become clergymen race was an issue; probably more so than it was for Indian Christians. I know that many churches were less than keen to ordain Dalits, or as they were termed pariahs, into the priesthood, but they were very enthusiastic about converting Brahmins who, as a priestly caste, were thought to be ideal as examples that other Indians might follow. But, these aside, Christian clergy are not born into a priestly caste, they have to feel an individual calling, a vocation, although in the nineteenth century it was a British cliché that families produced a son for themselves, one for the army and another for the church.
Excluding Goa, there were almost 800 Catholic clergymen in 1860s India and up to half of these were described as natives which included Eurasians who were not categorised separately. The Catholic church had a chequered record on race and caste although the Vatican, the final authority for all Catholics, was consistent in saying that all races and castes should worship together and the priesthood was open to all. In reality many Catholic churches across India had separate entrances and internal walls that separated congregations by caste or race but still followed the letter of not the spirit of the pope’s directive in that everyone worshipped in the same church and at the same time.
The effects of race, class and caste on ordination varied but even at the turn of this century in South India, 70% of Catholics but less than 4% of the Catholic priesthood are of Dalit origin. In the nineteenth century, both Bishops and families were uneasy or hostile to the idea of ignoring caste and race when selecting young men to train as priests. The Bishops’ objection was that admitting Dalits to the priesthood would lower the status of the church and thus discourage Caste Indians from following Catholicism; the same belief underpinned British attitudes to the ordination of Eurasians into the Protestant clergy. The Portuguese were more relaxed about such issues readily ordaining Eurasians. The British rather sniffily commented on their ignorance and superstitiousness, just as they did about Catholics everywhere.
In mid-century the Protestant churches’ largest followings were in the south. A history of Protestantism in Madras Presidency up to 1865 (by Frank Penny) lists 443 assorted ordained clergymen and missionaries, amongst whom there were just 19 Indians and 21 Eurasians. Leaving the low number of Indians aside, why were Eurasians so under-represented when they outnumbered Europeans 2 to 1 in India. Even allowing for the fact that half of them were Roman Catholics there still should have been more. A European who did not go to church was still a European but a Eurasian’s identity was at stake so it is surprising to find so few as 21 entering the Protestant clergy. How far did that patrician attitude spotted in C of E congregations by the Baptists, extend to those selecting candidates for training as priests? The first hurdle would of course have been convincing the priest of an aspiring student that he was a suitable candidate for training and as I have already said many Europeans believed that Eurasians would not be respected by Indians and would not be acceptable to the European elite. Were there other factors, apart from racism, discouraging Eurasians from becoming clergymen?
Finding somewhere to train and a means of subsistence during training are fundamentals and these were certainly not easy. Bishop’s college was only established in Calcutta in 1823. Its remit was to train young men from all over India, be they Europeans Indo-Britons or natives as catechists, clergymen, and schoolmasters. It was claimed that until 1848 all the best Indo-Britons from the South were sent to that college. They had to be well off in order to afford a long stay far from home – training to be a priest lasted six years. In Madras Vepary Grammar School was set up in 1826: an extension to an existing mission school, its purpose was to train missionaries for the SPG – the Society for Propogating the Gospel. What it could offer that Calcutta could not, was training in local verneculars and proximity to family which was especially important to the married men. There was also a seminary at Sullivan’s Garden for the CMS – the Church Missionary Society. It is no surprise therefore, that there were no Church of England ordinations in Southern India, of any race, before the last two or three months of 1830. Two more Protestant seminaries were established in Tinnevelly and Tanjore in 1844 and by the end of the century there were perhaps a dozen throughout India.
Once trained, and ordained, a Eurasian priest had to be assigned to a church or a mission, and someone or something had to be found to pay him a stipend. That was not going to come from Government who, with some of the British Missionary Societies, recruited exclusively in Britain, other than a few sons of clergymen who were raised and trained in India. There were ordained Eurasians who worked as catechists, before ordination, and afterwards as missionaries and priests; the 21 recorded in Southern India (that we have already seen) and perhaps another 10 in the North. Of the 21 for whom I have biographical data 19 were trained entirely in India at, Bishop’s college Calcutta and at Vepary Grammar and Sullivan Gardens in Madras. Only 2 attended seminaries in England as well.  In 1838 the first Anglican Bishop of Calcutta, Bishop Wilson, endorsed ‘the Additional Clergy Society’ – a fund raising body to pay the stipends of priests trained at Bishop’s college with (as the Bishop put it) ‘the East-Indian population particularly in view.’ I have only found four Eurasians who were trained before that fund was set up – the two who trained partly in England and two others who appear later to have left the clergy. In Madras ‘the Vepery Church Pastoral Aid Society’ sometimes guaranteed a stipend for a clergyman - such as in 1845 when it funded one man for five years – although he was an import from England. There were also funds to be had from various mission societies and congregations outside of India. Advertisments appealing for subscribers appeared frequently in the British press as do lists of subscribers. Besides all these voluntary donations, at Christ Church, Madras in 1853, the vestry (a committee who ran the church’s finances) decided to let or rent out the pews (the seats) to raise funds – luckily it included a fair number of wealthy government servants in its congregation.
The seminaries may have been open to men of all races for training for the priesthood but the attitudes of individual Bishops could have a profound effect. Government funded employment was not available to Eurasian clergy. Nor were some missions prepared to recruit India trained Eurasians. The paucity of Eurasians was also, in part, because they were paid less than Europeans (about 2/3) and the congregations they might have served were unlikely to include many wealthy people who might augment their stipends. Episcopal churches (like the Church of England) appointed clergymen to specific churches or missions and the congregation did not have a say in who was appointed or from where. The Baptists and other congregationalist denominations (represented by the LMS) allowed congregations the right to elect their own clergyman. In this case, a local man stood a good chance, even a Eurasian. This was another reason Eurasians were attracted to these denominations.
Protestant denominations varied widely in their attitudes to caste and race. Lutherans in the South claimed to be strongly against caste and any sort of separation amongst their followers but felt the need to tread carefully when strong objections were raised and thought that such distinctions were best removed gradually through education. In the 1830s, the Anglicans and Methodists tried to force the issue by banning all caste distinctions, sending ‘catechists of pariah origin … to enter the homes of caste people.’ As a result, Anglican and Methodist congregations shrank violently and Lutheran and Catholic ones grew. Attitudes also varied individually so Bishops Corrie and Spencer both of Madras, who faced a shortage of British clergymen willing to work in India, actively encouraged Eurasian candidates to enter Bishops College in Calcutta
It could of course be, that Eurasians were simply invisible in the records we have. Data for Penny’s multi-denominational study of Priests and Missionaries were garnered from diverse sources. In Badley’s Indian Protestant Missionary Directory of 1881, for example, clergymen were only recorded as European or native. Eurasians or Indo-Britons were not even a target group in this book which tells us that the Free Church of Scotland’s western Mission laboured among Jews, Parsees, Mahomedans, Portuguese and Africans, as well as Hindoos. It may be that he doesn’t mention Eurasians because they were already Christians but since he talks about education and lists seminaries it is more likely that Eurasians were amongst the students at seminaries and amongst the missionaries but were lumped in with either Europeans or natives in this source and we have no way of knowing which. Badley refers to Calcutta’s Bow Bazaar church as a place of worship for Europeans and natives, and we know already that it had a large Eurasian congregation even though he doesn’t mention it.
So, in summary, Eurasians could be non-Christian, but not without losing that Eurasian identity and being re-classified as Indians. For those rich enough or far enough away from British sway, in Princely States, that did not necessarily matter, in fact it could be an advantage to fit better into Muslim or Hindu society. On the other hand, there were certain advantages that came with the label ‘Eurasian’ in British India or where the British were influential. It might have given access to schooling (especially in orphanages) and for the better off in fee-paying schools, to improved employment prospects in reserved occupations, and to the same personal law as Europeans. But this supposedly racial identity was contingent on being a Christian. Which type of Christian a Eurasian might be was itself contingent; on geographical location and numbers of churches, on language (for non-Anglophone Eurasians), and on the social make-up of any given congregation. So besides faith and beliefs, all of these elements affected or effected choice. Wealth, which was not always the same as social standing, determined whether a Eurasian’s philanthropy might be large enough to record, but could also dictate where he might feel most at ease. All of these factors also affected his ability and wish to become an ordained clergyman. What Eurasians could never alter was an underlying trickle of disapproval: Chatterton, writing in 1924 typified this by saying that Milman, Bishop Cotton’s successor in the 1870s, took a deep interest in the Eurasian problem. With very few exceptions, whatever Eurasians did, no matter how European and even pious their lifestyle, they remained … a problem because they muddied the racial legitimation of British colonial rule.
 Earl Winterton, ‘House of Commons Debate, 21 December 1925’, Hansard, vol. 189, 1925-6.
 Letter to the Secretary to Government of India, Home Dept., No.81, Calcutta, 17th July 1880, reprinted in n.a., Annual Report of the Eurasian, 1880, 34-40.
 Jervoise Athelstane Baines, General Report on the Census of India, 1891, HMSO, London, 1893, p. 307.
 This happened with … a few instances, altered on scrutiny, of Buddhists amongst European and Eurasian Christians. Baines, p. 170.
 Speirs, The Wasikadars of Awadh, Rupa & Co, New Delhi, 2008, pp68-76
 Grey & Garrett, European Adventures, 1929, p. 12.
 Speirs, Wasikadars
 NAI, Foreign/Political/Notes/Procs. no. 29, Employment, 1885.
 Ibid., 1884.
 Janika Abraham, ‘The Stain of White: Liaisons, Memories, and White Men as Relatives. Men and Masculinities, Vol 9, No 2, 2006, pp131-151. My grateful thanks to James Chiriyankandath who very kindly gave me this reference.
 Chatterton, History of the C of E, 1924, pp236-9
 Chatterton, History of the C of E, 1924, pp186-7
 Baines 1891, p 179, headings: A. - Church of England, with Churches of India, Ireland, America, all Anglican and Episcopalian churches; B.- Church of Scotland, Presbyterian, United Presbyterian, Reformed Presbyterian, American or Irish Presbyterians, Irish Presbyterian Mission; C. –Baptist; D.- Wesleyan, Wesleyan Methodist, Methodist, Primitive Methodist, Episcopalian Methodist, Bible Christian; E.- Congregationalist, London Mission, Independent, Calvinist, Welsh Calvinist; F. - Nonconformist, Dissenter, Puritan; G. - Plymouth Brethren, Open Brethren, Swedenborgian, New Jerusalem, Catholic Apostolic, Quaker, Friend, Salvationist, Anabaptist; H.-Lutheran, German Mission, Swedish Church, Reformed Dutch, Zwinglian, Moravian, German Church, Evangelical, Evangelist Church, Evangelical Union, Reformed Church; J.- Protestant; K. - Church of Rome; L. - Syrian Church; M. - Greek, Abyssinian, and Armenian.
 Storrow, The history of Protestant missions, 1884, 29 European and 12 North American Societies.
 Murdoch, Indian Missionary Manual, 1895
 Emancipation Act (Catholic Relief Act) of 1829
 Buchanan, Colonial Ecclesiastical Establishment; Submitted to the Consideration of the Imperial Parliament, 2nd edition, Cadell & Davies, London, 1813, pp. 117-19. And Regulating Act 1813
 Penny, Frank, v2, p199
 Marshman, The Life and Times of Carey, Marshman and Ward, 1859, v1, p174
 Marshman, 1859, v1, p174
 Lushington, Charles, The History, Design and Present State of the Religious Benevolent and Charitable Institutions … in Calcutta, Hindustanee Press, Calcutta, 1824, Appx 13, Lord Clive’s Fund, p. 341.
 Murdoch, Indian Missionary Manual, 1895
 Smith, The Life of William Carey, 1885, p34
 Penny, v3, p430
 Penny, v2, p147
 in Tinnevelly (at Sawyerpuiam) and in Tanjore. (at Vediarpuram).
 Penny, Frank, A history of Protestantism in Madras up to from the seventeenth century to 1865.
 Chatterton, History of the C of E, 1924, p176
 Penny, v3, p162
 Penny, v3, p165
 Oddie, Hindu and Christian in SE India, 1991, p176
 Chatterton, History of the C of E, 1924, p193
 Badley, BH, Indian Missionary Directory, 1881, p119
 Badley, p10
 Chatterton, History of the C of E, 1924, p248