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by FR. FELIX RAJ, SJ, DIRECTOR |  « back

Fr. H Hosten SJ
Historian and Research Scholar

Author of numerous booklets and articles on the early history of the Catholic Missions in India, Nepal and Tibet, Fr. Henry Hosten, sj died at the age of sixty-two, on the 16th of April, in Brussels, Belgium. Ill health had taken him again to his native land in 1931, after he had spent 29 years in the Calcutta Archdiocese. As a young man in 1893 Fr. Hosten went first to Ceylon, where he was one of the founders of the Papal Seminary at Kandy, and where for six years he lectured on Classics to the youthful seminarians. He was a well-known figure in Bengal, having been a teacher here at St. Xavier’s shortly after his ordination (Kurseong, 1906) and from 1917 onwards at St. Joseph’s Darjeeling. He was a real school–master: himself filled with an insatiable desire for knowing things, he had the rare gift of animating his pupils with his own enthusiasm. His boys actually would come to blows over a point of Latin syntax or the principal parts of an irregular verb! Yet by degrees, Fr. Hosten’s main interest came to lie elsewhere than in the classroom.

No sooner had he landed in India than dolmens and cromlechs and crumbling stones began to fascinate him. Henceforth he lived in the past engrossed in deciphering old parchments, scanning dusty documents or perusing worm eaten tomes. By degrees, he gave up teaching. Documents had by then become a passion with him. Gifted with well nigh incredible powers of application and with a good knowledge of several Western and Oriental languages, he was able to unearth and publish voluminous accounts of the Church’s past in Hindu, Buddhist and Moslem lands. In the index of the Goethals Indian Library at St. Xavier’s the titles of these accounts fill 72 cards. They refer partly to numerous articles Fr. Hosten wrote in English and French for India and European Journals. The Asiatic Society of Bengal, of which he was an associate member for 30 years also received a good many of his learned contributions. He discovered, published and annotated the very valuable 16th century manuscript “Father Monserrate’s Mongolicae Legationis Commentarius.” Many a scholar, among them Sir Edward Maclagan and Vincent Smith, frequently in the course of their studies appealed to this walking encyclopedia to elucidate some knotty point of history. Fr. Hosten’s time and learning were always at the disposal of every student and any scholar was welcome to draw from his inexhaustible store of knowledge. He was always glad to let them use the documents he himself had with great pain and labour unearthed and deciphered. Many of these scholars have paid high tribute to his pains-taking exactness and to his unselfishness. Even in his native Flanders, whenever the doctor did not confine him to his room, he spent his time searching for documents and examining the treasures of public libraries. Till the end, he kept up a very busy correspondence with scholars both in England and in India.

Death came very suddenly, for none of his friends in India were aware that there was any immediate danger. With Fr. Hosten disappears a true scholar a conscientious lover of truth, one that knew much and loved to let others reap the fruit of his own labours, and one who was above all truly a humble and exemplary religious.


Hosten (Rev. H-/ Contribution to the Journal of Punjab Historical Society

The family of Lady Juliana Dias da Costa(1658-1732) Lahore, Punjab Historical society, 1917.

The Annual Relation of Fr. Fernao Guerreiro (1607-08) Lahore, Punjab Historical society, 1918.

Hosten (Rev. H-/ Varia

List of Publications by Catholic: Missionaries of Burma (1776-1913) Rangoon British Burma Press, 1913 (Supplement to Voice)

Bibliographical Notes on Catholic: Missionaries in Burma / Rangoon, British Burma Press,1914.

First step towards our Bibliotheca Catholica Telingana (Repr: from the Catholic: Directory for 1918, Madras 'Good Pastor’ Pr:
Our Paharias at St. Thomas, Calcutta.

Le P Huby aux Indes ou Miroir de l’ame Chez les Protestants. Paris, Lethielleux, 1911.

The Marsden Mss & Indian Mission Bibliography.

Hosten (H-/) Contribution to Bengal Past & Present

The earliest recorded Episcopal Visitation of Bengal (1712-15)

Notes on Fr. Barbier’s Letter ………

The Letters Edifiantes on Bengal.

The Three first Type-Printed Bengali Books.

The Confraternity of the Rosary, Murghihata Cathedral, Calcutta.

A Week at the Bandel Convent, Hugli.

The Princely Beglaroffs.

Christian Tombs at Bankipore & Patna

The Members’ Note Book

The Bandel & Chinsura Church Registers (I757-1913)

The Three First Type-Printed Bengali Books (2nd.Article)

Hosten (H-/ Articles in Journal of U. P. Historical Society

Fray Seb: Marique’s Description of Agra (1640-41)

The Armenian Inscription from the Central Jail Compound, Agra.

Armenian Inscription from the Native Chapel, Catholic Cathedral Compound Agra.

European Art at the Moghul Court.

Hosten (H-/ Articles in Journal of Indian History

Jesuit Annual letter from Mogor (I648-49) translated by Rev. L. de Vos./ Calcutta, Oxford University Press.

The Discovery of Veda translated by H Hosten

Hosten (H-/ Articles dans Revue de L’Inde Francaise

Les registres de L’Eglise de Chandernagor./Trichinopoly, St Joseph’s, 1920

Les registres de L’Eglise de Chandernagor./2nd article/Pondichery, Societe de L’Historie, 1921

Francaise et Anglais aux Indes (1718-61) notes Historiques anonymes publies par … / Pondichery, Impr: Modern, 1922.

Hosten (H-/ Varia: Calcutta, C.O. Press

Jesuit Missionaries in Northern India & Inscriptions on their Tombs, Agra (1580-1803)

The Registers & Inscriptions of the Church of Our Lady of Dolours, Baithakhana (1810-1914) Calcutta, 1915

Fr. A Monserrate’s “Mongolicae Legationis Commentaries”.

Hosten (H-/ Articles in Journal of Asiatic Society of Bengal

Who planned the Taj?

The Marsden MSS In the British Museum.

A Note on “Old Guns in Bengal”

List of Portuguese Jesuit Missionaries in Bengal & Burma (1576-1742)

Fray Joao da Cruz(1638)

Fr. A Monserrate’s description of Delhi (1581) Firoz Shah's Tunnels.

Padre Marco della Tomba & the Asoka Pillars near Bettiah.

The Pitt Diamond- the Eyes of Jagannath (Puri)

Fr. A Monserrate’s account of Akbar (1582)

Firoz Shah’s Tunnels at Delhi

The mouthless Indians of Magasthenes.

Account of an Expedition among the Abors in 1853 by Rev. Fr. Krick & translated by Rev A Gille.

Earliest Jesuit Printing in India from the Spanish of Rev. Cecilio Gomez Rodeles/ translated by Rev L. Cardon.

Two Portuguese Inscriptions in the Kaplesvara Temple of Malipur (Madras)

Rev. L. Bernard among the Abors, & the Cross as a Tattoo Mark (1855)

The Twelve Bhuiyas or Landlords of Bengal.

The Pitt Diamond & the Eyes of Jagannath (Puri) a further note.

Fr. Jerome Xavier’s Persian Lives of the Apostles.

Notes on Fr. Monserrate’s Mongolicae Legationis Commentarius by Beveridge & theSurat incident: Translated by R G Whiteway.

Hosten (H-/ Articles in Journal of Asiatic Society of Bengal (cont)

Some Old Records of the Madras Army (1757-59)

Fr. A Monserrate on Salsette, Chorao, Divar & the Molucas (1579)

Fr. A Monserrate & Capt. F. Wilford

Hosten (H-/ Articles in the Indian Athenaeum


About Job Charnock.

The Poetic Literature of Anglo-India by W. J. Grant.

The Arts – Roads to redemption by A. Duc.

The last human sacrifice in Calcutta by “Asiatius Secundus.

British appreciation of Indian Art by O. C. Gangooly

The Old Kidderpore Bridge.

St. Thomas & San Thome, Mylapore.

Extracts from some Jesuit Annual letters.

St. Thomas in India or Tattah Fakirs & Fr. B Burthey

HOSTEN (H-/ Jesuit Letters & Allied Papers

Introduction to Fr. A Monserrate’s Mongolicae Legationis Commentarius.

Text of Fr.…….. do

Supplement to the Text of ……… do

Index to ………. do

Mirza Zu-l-Qarnain, a Christian Grandee of Three Great Moghuls, with notes on Akbar’s Christian Wife & the Indian Bourbons by H. Hosten

Hosten (H-/ Missionnaires Catholiques et Langues Indigenses du Bengale 2 parts / Bruxelles, Bulens, 1911-13.

Hosten (H-/ Articles dans Missions Belges

Dolmens et Cromlechs, dans les Palnis / Bruxelles, Bulens. 1905.

Une semaine a Mandar/Bruxelles, Bulens, 1909.

HOSTEN (H-/ Articles in Anthropos.

The Authorship of the Portuguese Manuscript on Hindu Mythology.

Prehistoric remains near Kodaikanal, Palnis.

Paharia Burial-Customs (British Sikkim)

HOSTEN (H-/ From the Journal & Proceedings, Asiatic Society of Bengal (New Series)

Fr A. Monserrate sj on Salsette, Chorao, Divaro & Molucas, 1579

Hosten (H. & Rev L Besse / List of Portuguese Jesuit Missionaries in Bengal & Burma (1576-1742)

Hosten (H-/ from the Journal & Proceedings, Asiatic Society of Bengal (New Series)

A letter of Fr. Francisco Godinho from Tibet (1626) translated by ………

A letter of Fr. A de Andrada & of Fr. Gaspar Diaz: translated by ……..

Fr. N Pimenta’s Annual letter on Mogor (1599)

Some Letters of Fr. Jerome Xavier to his Family (1593-1612)

Eulogy of Fr. Jerome Xavier (1549-1617)

Three Letters of Fr. Joseph de Castro & the last year of Jahangir (1627)

Some notes on Bro Bentode Goes sj (1583-1607)

Fr. N Pimenta’s annual of Margao (1601)

Hosten(Rev H-/ Une Semaine a Mandar/Bruxelles, Impr: Scientifique, 1909

Hosten (Rev H -/ Les Registres de L’Eglise de Chandernagor/2 copies:/ Trichinopoly, St. Joseph’s 1920.

Hosten (Rev H-/ Missionnaires Catholiques et Langues Indigenes der Bengale/2 vols./ Bruxelles, Impr, Scientifique, 1911-13 (Extr. des Missions Belges de la S.J.)

Hosten (Rev H-/ My Journey to Mylapore, Pondichery & Trichinopoly, Calcutta, Government Printing, 1922.

Hosten (Rev H -/ Le Bhagavata / Pondichery, Societe de L’Histoire de L’Inde Francaise, 1921

Hosten (Rev H -/ Varia, Government

Record of the Inscriptions at the Catholic Church at Patna/ Patna, Government Printing, 1917.

Inscriptions on Christian Graves & Memorial Tablets in the Purnea District, Patna 1920.

My Journey to Mylapore, Pondichery & Trichinopoly/ Calcutta, Govt: Printing, 1922.

Dutch Records from the Dutch & the British East India Co., Commissions (1762-3) in Bengal./ Calcutta, Govt: Printing, 1923.

Calcutta Exhibition 1923, (List)

Historical Exhibition (List from Calcutta ) Madras, 1924.



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