Faith and Family

Annex C

Extract from Eliza Caldwell's reply dated June 1887 to Rev W Relton, Secretary of the Madras Diocesan Committee (SPG), on being notified that the committee refused to recognise her long-standing Female College at Tuticorin on the grounds that it was technically 'new' although it had actually been established in 1878:-

"...I beg to call your attention to the fact that the Committee were never asked to recognise my school so that it was gratuitous on their part to pass such an unfeeling and uncalled for resolution. I cannot help feeling that an insult has been offered to my life-long voluntary labours of forty-three years in the cause of female education. If the Committee took the trouble to read my report of 1878 they would have discovered that this branch of the school was then established... Now that the Committee have thus gone out of their way to ignore my labours, I consider myself quite independent of them (for I receive no help from them) and I intend acting henceforth on my own responsibility without reference to them. When the action of the Committee is known to friends at home I wonder who will be the sufferers."

The Caldwell name had considerable influence in England, and Eliza's last sentence was not an idle threat. Appeals were made to the SPG President about this ruling and the whole role of the MDC. The Archbishop decided that the SPG organisation should be restructured as a result but his 'advice' seems to have had virtually no effect on the SPG in Madras (see Annex D).

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Stephen Luscombe