Faith and Family

Annex A

Below are extracts from Rev Charles Mault's report of 6th Jan 1829 from Nagercoil, Travancore, to LMS headquarters in London. His reports are "full of the many problems that the mission was facing although he generally managed to end on an optimistic note":-

"Those [Indians] who live near the mountains at some seasons reside almost entirely in them, and being unable to read, they have no means to improve their own minds. Many of those who climb the Palmyra tree [A palm which rises up to 90 feet without branches, is topped by large fan-shaped leaves and is a valuable source of local income providing materials for thatching and weaving and is tapped for 'toddy' (palm-wine)] are part of the year on this coast and part on the other; and out of the six months we have them with us, they are so very busy half of the time that they have little opportunity for improvement...". "The work is progressing in most places, and the diffusion of light - by the preaching of the Gospel - the reading of scriptures - the distribution of tracts - the conversation of Christians - and the establishment of so many schools which are yearly becoming more efficient will accelerate it in a very considerable degree. The desire that many adults have to learn to read and to improve their own understandings - the decline of prejudice [against] female education and the forming of girls schools in the villages - the marrying of widows, the renunciation of caste and other evil customs are pleasing signs of the times".

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Stephen Luscombe