Notes on Orphanages in Madras

These are extracted from The church in Madras : being the history of the ecclesiastical and missionary action of the East India Company in the presidency of Madras Rev Frank Penny (1904) Publisher Smith, Elder London.

Schwartz had not been very long at Trichinopoly before a grievous accident happened in the Fort, which resulted in the establishment of the Vestry School for European and Eurasian boys. On the 14 Jan. 1772 a powder magazine at the foot of the Rock blew up; 34 European soldiers and 10 Sepoys were killed; 66 Europeans and 44 Sepoys were wounded.

The victims, who mostly belonged to the Company's Artillery, left behind them both widows and children. Schwartz had no difficulty in raising a sufficient sum among the civil officials and the soldiers of all grades in the garrison to take charge of the orphans, and to pay a non-commissioned officer and his wife to look after them and instruct them. Thus originated the Vestry School and the Vestry Fund at Trichinopoly.

In 1774 Schwartz removed to Tanjore and made that place his headquarters. From Tanjore he was summoned to Fort St. George by the Governor in that same year, and commissioned to bear despatches to Hyder Ali of Mysore. On the completion of his mission Hyder presented him with a bag of money for the expenses of his journey. Schwartz explained that his expenses were to be paid by the Madras Government; but Hyder Ali would take no refusal. On his arrival at Madras Schwartz delivered the bag to the Governor and Council. They, however, urged him to take it himself; whereupon he asked their permission to appoint that sum as the foundation of a fund for an English Charity School at Tanjore 2; expressing a hope that some charitable people would increase it. On his return to Tanjore General Munro successfully recommended the plan to the gentlemen of the settlement. Thus originated the Tanjore Vestry Fund and the Tanjore English Charity School.

From other sources it is also known that there was at this period an English school for Eurasians of both sexes at Vepery, as there was at Cuddalore. In 1780, before it was put into the mind and heart of Lady Campbell to do something, and to move the Government to do some thing more than they had hitherto done for European and Eurasian education, there were schools of this kind at St. Mary s Fort St. George, Vepery, Cuddalore, Trichinopoly and Tanjore. None of them were commenced nor were regularly assisted by the Company; with the exception of the first mentioned all were managed by the Missionaries of the S.P.C.K. There was also a Eoman Catholic school in Black Town; but this was not exclusively for Europeans and Eurasians. It was managed by the Capuchin Missionaries;. it was more largely endowed than the others; it had no other connection with the Government than that of benevolent, protection.

The Society has received information that there is a considerable number of children born annually in the British settlements in the East Indies of fathers who are Europeans and mothers who are natives. That of this description there are born annually not less than . . . seven hundred at Madras and on the coast of Choromandel; . . . that the fathers of these children being usually soldiers, sailors and the lower order of people, too often neglect their offspring and suffer them to follow the caste of their mothers; that the children are not only lost to Christianity, but to the society of which they are born members; and, from neglect in their infancy, at 10 or 12 years of age are mixed with the natives; that if a Christian education were bestowed upon them, their manners habits and affections would be English, their services. of value in the capacity of soldiers sailors and servants, and a considerable benefit would accrue to the British interest in India, resulting finally to the advantage of this Kingdom and tending to give stability to the settlements. Induced by these motives the Society has voted a sum of 50 to be paid as an annual stipend as soon as a proper person can be established for instructing the children born in the settlement of Madras.