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Daniel Schreyvogel was born in Lindau in the South of Germany, in the year 1777. Lindau is a city and an island on Lake Constance.

He received a good education as its recorded that he graduated in Leipzig. He was known for being meditative, contemplative and observant. He did not frequently join in games and sports with his school fellows; instead he was happy to enjoy his own thoughts in some solitary walk. The acuteness of observation he practised from boyhood, stood him in good stead in later life as a Missionary in India.

He decided to become a missionary and was admitted into a college at Halle in Saxony, to be instructed for the ministry. Halle accommodates Germany's oldest Evangelic Bible college and was founded by August Francke which became a stronghold of Pietism. Pietism was basically a loosening of strict Lutheran orthodoxy and is generally regarded as the 3rd phase of Lutheranism.
In 1803 he sailed from Copenhagen to join The Royal Danish Mission in Tranquebar, South India.
Daniel Schreyvogel was a prolific writer of letters and a diarist. A vast source of material concerning him is held in documents, most in old German script, at the Francke Foundation Hall in Halle, Germany. I was only able to skim the surface of some of these documents; they would be invaluable source to someone someday who intended to delve much deeper into his life.From all these sources I was able glean some trivia; I found bills for the clothes and shoes he bought and bills for his lodgings and travel expenses and even a record of his clothes being stolen; all this prior to him leaving Germany for India. Also, his son Daniel Henry who was born in India is acknowledged to be the first German to settle in South Australia in 1836.
On a more serious side, documents show he was a dedicated learner and became proficient in several languages in addition to his studies of scripture. He came across as being extraordinarily passionate and committed to spreading the word about Jesus Christ, the bible and the conversion and shepherding of his flock. I was able to form an impression of his character; he was single minded and totally devoted to everything he did, although sometimes with impatience. He was a man of strong views and made these views known through his sermons and letter writing. He rarely took nofor an answer and pursued all quests to the very end.

A story of the life and times of Rev. Daniel Schreyvogel, a Christian missionary to India in the early 1800s


Schreyvogel's Mission

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He laboured tirelessly in Tranquebar till 1826 when he was appointed Missionary of Trichinopoly by Bishop Heber. He left the Danish Mission which was falling apart and joined the English Society for the Propogation of Christian Knowledge.

He was also one of moral character. He was one of the first to have and to forcibly express views about the unfairness of the Hindu caste system and indeed was central to the change in the Anglican Churchs attitude to it. Having learnt Tamil and being able to have free intercourse with the nativesin the vernacular, he came to realise the true nature of caste. He said It compelled a certain section of society to be permanently disadvantaged. He perceived that this was diametrically opposed to Christianity, inconsistent with its principles, and opposed to humanity and justice. However strongly he put his views on this and other matters, privately he had a softer side and often expressed his hope that while being forthright he had not given offence. This book contains several aspects that show the more tender side of his life especially in the period immediately prior to his death

The difficulties faced by mission work is summed up in his own words in one of his letters in which he states, “I
made many fatiguing journeys from village to village, to spread the Gospel under this vertical sun and often in burning winds; that you had frequently not been able to procure a draught of clear water nor a little milk ; and in some parts, by day and night, had no other shelter than the canopy of heaven, and no other comfort than the hope of being made instrumental in bringing souls to Christ.

He was acquainted with several well known people of the time including Johan Peter Rottler an eminent missionary and botanist, Bishop Heber the second Lord Bishop of Calcutta, Bishop Wilson, Serforji II the Maharaja of Tanjore and George Fife Angas a merchant, landowner, banker, member of Parliament, prominent Christian and philanthropist noted for sending the first settler ships to South Australia.His life came indirectly in contact with Horatio Nelson’s battle of Copenhagen in 1801 which stopped him leaving Copenhagen for India and was also affected by Napoleon Bonaparte’s attack on Leipzic in 1813 which hampered all communications between himself and the mission headquarters at Halle for some time.

He married Charlotte Lloyd the daughter of an English officer of the East India Company in 1813. Together they had a daughter Charlotte Eliza and a son Daniel Henry. His wife died in 1819 and is buried in the New Jerusalem Church in Tanquebar. His daughter Charlotte married an English Chaplain/Missionary Edward Jarrett Jones in 1835.


  Rev. Edward Jarrett Jones became the Chaplain of Cuddalore and administered to Europeans and Eurasians. It was in Cuddalore that Rev. Schreyvogel came to spend the last months of his life with his daughter and son-in-law. He passed away in nearby
Pondicherry on 16th January 1840, his 63rd birthday. Memorial stones were placed in churches at both Cuddalore and Trichinopoly.