|CHAPTER 15 -- History
of Father Ephraim, Capuchin, and how he was cast into the Inquisition at
[] The Shaikh who married the eldest of the Princesses of Golconda was unable, as I have related [in Chapter 10], to induce the Rev. Father Ephraim to stay at Bhagnagar, where he offered to build him a house and church, so he gave him an ox and two servants to convey him to Masulipatam, where he expected to embark for Pegu, according to the instructions received from his Superiors. But as he could not find any vessel in which he could embark, the English managed so well that they attracted him to Madrespatan [=*Madras*] , where they have a fort named Fort St. George, and a general office for all dependencies of [] the kingdom of Golconda and the countries of Bengal and Pegu. They advised him that he would have a greater harvest to reap there than in any other part of India where he could go, and they built him a good house and a church. But in reality the English were not seeking the good of Father Ephraim so much as their own; and you must know why they wished to retain him among them. Madras is only half a league from *St. Thomé*, a small maritime town on the Coromandel coast, fairly well built, and belonging at that time to the Portuguese.
Its trade was considerable, especially in cottons, and many artisans and merchants dwelt there, the majority of whom would have been very glad to settle with the English at Madras, but for the fact that there were opportunities at that time for the exercise of their religion in that place. But since the English built this church and kept Father Ephraim, many of the Portuguese left St. Thomé, attracted principally by the great care which this devout man took to instruct the people, preaching to them every Sunday and on all festivals, both in Portuguese and in the language of the country-- a thing which was very unusual while they dwelt at St. Thomé. Father Ephraim came from Auxerre, and was a brother of M. de Château des Bois, Counsellor of the Parliament of Paris, and he possessed a happy genius for all kinds of languages, so that in a short time he acquired both English and Portuguese in perfection.
The ecclesiastics of St. Thomé, observing that Father Ephraim enjoyed a high reputation, and attracted by his teaching large numbers of their flock to Madras, conceived so much jealousy of him that they resolved to ruin him; and they made use of the following means to accomplish their object: --The English and Portuguese being such close neighbours, they naturally had occasional differences, and generally both nations employed Father Ephraim to settle these, because he was a man of peace and of good [] sense, and knew both languages perfectly. One day the Portuguese purposely picked a quarrel and beat some English sailors, whose ship was in the St. Thomé roads [=harbor area]. The English President thereupon demanding satisfaction for this insult, strife began to kindle between the two nations, and would have ruined all the trade of the country if the merchants on both sides had not set themselves to arrange the affair, knowing nothing of the vile plot which certain persons were wearing to catch Father Ephraim. But all the mediation of these merchants availed nothing, and by the intrigues of the Portuguese ecclesiastics, it was so managed that the Father got mixed up in the matter, became the mediator, and undertook to conduct the negotiations between both sides-- a part which he very readily undertook.
But he had no sooner entered St. Thomé than he was seized by ten or twelve officers of the *Inquisition*, who placed him in a small armed frigate, which at once set sail for Goa. They put irons on his feet and hands, and during a voyage of twenty-two days they never permitted him to land, although the majority of those on the frigate slept on shore nearly every night, it being the custom to sail from place to place along these coasts. On arrival at Goa, they waited till dark to land Father Ephraim and conduct him to the house of the Inquisition, for they feared lest by landing him in the daytime the people might have wind of it, and make an attempt to release a person so venerated in all that part of India. The report spread however in many directions that Father Ephraim the Capuchin was in the hands of the Inquisition, and as many people arrived daily at Surat from the Portuguese territories, we were among the first to receive the news, which amazed all the *Franks* residing there.
Father Zenon the Capuchin, who had formerly been a companion of Father Ephraim, was most surprised and most specially annoyed; and after consulting with his friends regarding the affair, he resolved to go to Goa at the risk of himself falling into the hands of the Inquisition. It was in truth a risk; for after a man is shut up in the Inquisition, if any one has the hardihood to speak for him to the Inquisitor, or to any member of his Council, he is himself immediately placed in the Inquisition, and is regarded as more criminal [] than the person on whose behalf he desired to speak. Neither the Archbishop of Goa nor the Viceroy himself dare interpose, they being the only persons over whom the Inquisition has no power. But even should they do anything which gives offence, the Inquisitor and his Council write to Portugal, and if it be so ordered by the King and the Inquisitor-General, when the answers arrive, proceedings are taken against these dignitaries, and they are remanded to Portugal....
On his arrival at Goa, Father Zenon was at first visited by some friends there, who, knowing the object of his journey, advised him to be careful not to open his mouth on behalf of Father Ephraim, unless he wished to be sent to keep him company in the Inquisition. Every one knows the strictness of this tribunal, and not only is it forbidden, as I have said, [] to speak for a prisoner, but moreover the accused is never confronted with those who give evidence against him, nor even allowed to know their names. Father Zenon, perceiving that he was unable to accomplish anything at Goa,.... went straight to Madras to find out more exactly all that had passed in connection with the arrest of Father Ephraim. When he had ascertained the treachery practised upon Father Ephraim at St. Thomé, he resolved to get to the bottom of it, and without the knowledge of the English President, confided his plan to the captain in command of the fort, who, like the soldiers, was much enraged at the outrage which had been perpetrated on Father Ephraim. Not only did the captain strongly approve of Father Zenon's plan, but he promised to give it his support and to back him in his execution.
The Father, by means of the spies whom he had placed in the country, ascertained that the Governor of St. Thomé went every Saturday, early in the morning, to say his prayers in a chapel half a league from the town, situated on a small hill dedicated to the Holy Virgin. He caused three iron gratings to be placed on the window of a small room in the convent, with two good locks on the door and as many padlocks, and having taken all these precautions he went to the captain of the fort, an Irishman of great personal bravery, who kept the promise he had made him to aid in the ambuscade which was laid for the Governor of St. Thomé. He himself headed thirty of his soldiers, and accompanying father Zenon they all went out of the fort towards midnight, and concealed themselves till daylight in a part of the mountain upon which this chapel of the Holy Virgin was situated, where they could not be seen. The Governor of St. Thomé, according to his custom, did not fail to go to the chapel shortly after sunrise, and when he got out of his palankeen and ascended the hill, which was rough, on foot, he was immediately seized by the Irish captain and his soldiers, who emerged from the ambuscade with Father Zenon, carried him off to Madras to the convent of the Capuchins, and [] imprisoned him in the chamber which had been prepared for him.
The Governor, much surprised at finding himself carried off in this manner, protested strongly to Father Zenon, and threatened him with the resentment of the King of Portugal when he heard of this outrage against a Governor of one of his towns. This was his daily discourse during the time he was kept in the cell, and Father Zenon simply replied that he believed he was much more gently treated at Madras than Father Ephraim was in the Inquisition at Goa, whither he, the Governor, had sent him; that he had only to cause the Father to be brought back, and they would replace him at the foot of the hill where he had been seized with as much right as the others had to carry off Father Ephraim. However, for five or six days the St. Thomé road was crowded with people who came to beseech the English President to exercise his authority and release the Governor. But the President only replied that he was not in his hands, and that after their action towards Father Ephraim he could not in common justice compel Father Zenon to release a person who was one of the authors of the injury done to his companion. The President contented himself with asking the Father to have the goodness to permit his prisoner to dine at his table, promising to surrender him whenever he wished; this request he obtained easily, but was unable afterwards to keep his promise.
The drummer of the garrison, who was a Frenchman, and a merchant of Marseilles named Roboli, who was then in the fort, two days after the Governor of St. Thomé had entered it, offered him their services to aid him to escape, provided that they were well rewarded; this he promised them, and also that they should have a free passage on the first vessel sailing from Goa to Portugal. This agreement being made, on the following day the drummer beat the reveille at an earlier hour than usual, and with great vigour, and at the same time the merchant Roboli and the Governor, tying sheets together, let themselves down by the corner of the bastion, which was not high. The drummer at the same time left his drum and followed them quickly, so that St. Thomé being only a good half league from Madras, they were all three inside [] it before anything was known of their departure....
[] In the meantime the imprisonment of Father Ephraim made a great sensation in Europe. M. de Château des Bois, his brother, complained of it to the Portuguese Ambassador, who not feeling too sure of his position, wrote promptly about it to the King his master; so that, by the first vessels which left for Goa, an order was sent that Father Ephraim should be released. The Pope also wrote saying that if he were not set free he would excommunicate all the clergy of Goa. But all these letters were of no avail, and Father Ephraim had only the King of Golconda, who loved him and who had done all he could to induce him to remain at Bhagnagar, to thank for his liberty. The King had learnt from him some mathematics, like his son-in-law the Arab Prince, who had offered to build a house and church for the Father at his own expense. This he had afterwards done for two Augustin clerics who had come from Goa.
The King was then at war with the Raja of the Province of Carnatica, and his army was close to St. Thomé; as soon therefore as he heard of the evil trick which the Portuguese had played on Father Ephraim he sent an order to Mir Jumla, the General of his troops, to lay siege to St. Thomé, and to kill and burn all if he could not obtain a definite promise from the Governor of the place that in two months Father Ephraim would be set at liberty. A copy of the King's order was sent to the Governor, and the town was so alarmed that nothing was to be seen but boat after boat setting forth for Goa in order to urge the Viceroy to take measures for Father Ephraim's speedy release. He was accordingly set free, and messengers came to tell him, on the part of the Inquisitor, that he might leave.
But although the door was open to him he refused to quit the prison till all the clerics in Goa came in procession to bring him forth. This they promptly did, and after he came out he went to pass fifteen days in the Convent of the Capuchins, who are a kind of Recollects [=members of a branch of the Franciscans]. I have heard Father Ephraim many times say [] what distressed him most during his imprisonment was to witness the ignorance of the Inquisitor and his council when they examined him, and he believed that not one of them had ever read the Holy Scriptures. They had placed him in a cell with a Maltese, who was one of the greatest scoundrels under heaven. He did not speak two words without scoffing at God, and passed all the day and a part of the night smoking tobacco, which must have been most unpleasant to Father Ephraim.
When the Inquisition seizes any person he is at once searched and all that is found in his house in the way of furniture and effects is inventoried to be returned to him should he be found innocent. But as regards gold, silver, or jewels, they are not recorded, and are never seen again, being taken to the Inquisitor for the expenses of the trial. The Rev. Father Ephraim when entering the Inquisition was searched, but there were only found, in the pocket which these monks have sewn to their cloaks in the middle of the back, a comb, an inkhorn, and some pocket handkerchiefs. The searchers forgot that the Capuchins have also a small receptacle in the mantle under the armpit, where some small requisites are carried, and Father Ephraim was not searched in that direction. This left him four or five lead pencils which are covered with wood lest they should be broken, and as the pencil is used you pare off the wood. These pencils afforded a resource whereby Father Ephraim was less wearied during his imprisonment than he otherwise would have been.... [he] carefully collected all these pieces of white paper in which the tobacco brought to the Maltese was packed, and it was upon them he wrote with his pencil his daily thoughts in prison....
Ephraim passed fifteen days at Goa in the Convent of the Capuchins, to
regain some strength, after fifteen or twenty months spent in prison, and
then set out to return to Madras; when passing Golconda, he went to thank
the King and the Arabian Prince, his son-in-law, for the kindness they
had shown in interesting themselves so much in procuring his freedom. The
King again begged him to live at Bhagnagar, but perceiving that he wished
to return to his convent [=monastery] at Madras, he gave him, as on the
first occasion, an ox, attendants, and money for his conduct thither.
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