Sunday, June 09, 2013

1813: The Depravity of the Hindoos

Two hundred years ago, this month, there was a debate in the British House of Commons regarding the entry of missionaries into India.  It is long and tendentious.  I have done few of the annotations that I had hoped to do; and may never get to it. Certainly not until winter.   What is most notable are the polemics against the Hindoos that were current back then, and are mostly still current today in missionary circles. 

Happy reading! (if you have the patience).

PS: you may want to read this for some context.
( The Chaplains’ Plot: Missionary Clause Debates of 1813 and the Reformation of British India
Bennie R. Crockett, Jr. and Myron C. Noonkester)

House of Commons Parliamentary debates June 22, 1813
From Google Books, “The Parliamentary Debates from the Year 1803 to the Present Time, Volume XXVI comprising of the time between the 11th of May and the close of the session, 22nd of July 1813, Printed by T.C. Hansard, London, 1813, print pages 827-873.

The resolution debated below was adopted by a vote of 89-36.  It should be noted that in 1813, there were 658 Members of Parliament per Wiki.

The order of the day being read for resuming the adjourned debate on the 13th resolution of the Committee on the Affairs of the East India Company,

Lord Castlereagh rose and said, that, before he proceeded to make his next motion, which would be, that the House do now proceed to discuss the 13th Resolution, he was anxious to offer a few observations upon it. He was the more particularly called upon to do this, because there was no point on which greater misconception and misrepresentation had gone forth, then on this particular resolution. A very general idea had been entertained, that it was intended to encourage an unrestrained and unregulated resort of persons to India, for religious purposes; precisely on the same ground, as it was imagined, that an unrestricted and unlimited commercial intercourse would be permitted to that country.  The House must now be aware that government never contemplated the uncontrolled admission of persons into India, for the purpose of commerce; and, he would add, that it never entered the minds of those who had drawn up the 13th Resolution, that an unrestrained and unrestricted resort of persons, with religious views, would be consonant with the tranquillity and security of the British dominions in India. They did, however, think, that no danger would arise from allowing a certain number of persons, under the cognizance of the Court of Directors, who were again controlled by the Board of Commissioners, to proceed, as missionaries, to India. He thought, as the House had adverted to the interests of religion, in one of the resolutions entered into at the renewal of the Charter, in 1793, and as the subject had been frequently alluded to in the course of their debates, that it would seem as if they were less disposed to the cause of Christianity, on the present occasion, if a proposition of the nature contained in this resolution had not been submitted to the legislature.

His Lordship then contrasted the present resolution with that agreed to in 1793, and argued that the present was preferable, as it provided a salutary controul, both with respect to the number of persons going out, and to their character, which was omitted in the other. As to the dread which some gentlemen seemed to suppose would be created amongst the Hindoos, by the appearance of missionaries in India, he saw no just ground for any apprehension of the kind. He did not think the Hindus would be more alarmed by the appearance of Christian ministers amongst them, than they were by an intercourse with the professors of Mahometanism, or of the various sects into which the country was divided. — There was the less foundation for such an opinion, when it was recollected, that controul would exist to prevent too numerous a body of missionaries proceeding to that country. At the same time, when he considered the length of the voyage, and the expense which individuals proceeding to Hindostan must incur, he was inclined to believe, that the spirit of proselytism was not so exuberant in our times, as to tempt any very alarming body of persons to proceed on religious missions to that country. Under proper controul no evil was likely to occur. What progress Christianity might make, it was impossible for him, who had never been in India, to say. Great advantages he thought, might be obtained from such an intercourse with the people, as might lead them away from many immoral and disgusting habits; such as the sacrifice of women, for instance. This might be a accomplished more speedily than by direct measures of the government, which were not always advisable.  He hoped, therefore, it would be discussed discreetly and completely: and concluded by moving the adjourned Resolution.

Sir Henry Montgomery rose to state his objections. He said that in a residence of 20 years in India he had never known an instance of any convert being made to Christianity, nor had he even heard of any, except one was converted by that very respectable individual Mr Schwartz. It was said, indeed, that that gentleman, who by the bye, was a politician, had many converts: it was true that he was followed by several persons of the lowest class, in the scarce season; and these were called rice Christians. Neither the Portuguese, the Dutch, or even the Mahometans, had ever made any converts except by force. There were, indeed, many Christians in India, as they were Jews, Parsees, and persons of other religions; not that they were converted Hindoos, but descendants of those with settled there. The attempt to introduce Christianity had never succeeded, but it had been productive of endless massacres and mischiefs, and was the cause of the expulsion of the Portuguese from the country both there and in Japan. The Dutch, who succeeded them, were obliged to trample on the cross before they were admitted into the country. These transactions were not forgotten by the natives.  The Romish priests had begun with persuasion, and they had ended with force; had they any reason to suppose that we should not do the same?

The religion of the Hindus was pure and unexceptionable; their custom of exposing children made no part of their religious code. Those to whom he had spoken of it excused it from the miserable state of the country at that time, and from the fear that a certain age they would fall into the hands of the Musselmen.  Neither  was the women limit burning themselves on the death of their husbands any more a religious right than suicide was apart of Christianity. It might be, or it ought to be, prohibited by proclamation of the government.  As to what had been said of the dancing girls and their indecent postures, he had never seen any thing of them or they had no effect upon him. If gentlemen would look at home, and only attend to the number of loose women that they would see in  the street that night, they would have work enough [a laugh.]

He considered the account of Dr. Buchanan as an imposition on this country and a libel on India. If we wish to convert the natives of India, we ought first to reform our own people there, who at present only gave them an example of lying, swearing, drunkenness, and other vices. In the Decan, where he decided, with a capital containing 300,000 inhabitants, and 600,000 in the rest of the district, there were only 88 commitments for every species of crime in 10 years; whereas in the city of London alone, there were 1663 commitments in the last year. He thought the good to be done to the morals of the people very little, and the danger great. The insurrection of Vellore had arisen from a suspicion of a design to change the religion of the country. This, at first, originated merely in the alteration of the form of a cap from square to round; but it was insinuated by the Portuguese, and other evil disposed persons, that it was a prelude to a total subversion of their religious rites and customs. The missionaries were not the cause of the unhappy affair at Vellore; but if missionaries were to be allowed to act without restriction in India, this feeling would revive, and there would be a repetition of the scene of Vellore in every part of India.

The accounts furnished by the missionaries of the number of conversions were not implicitly to be relied on; for instance, he held a missionary publication in his hands, in which the baptisms of 25 men were stated; but upon enquiry it would be found that these 25 men belong to his Majesty's 24th Regiment,  who were probably all baptised before leaving this country. He had lived 20 years in India, and he had lived 10 years in this country since, and he thought the moral character of the Hindoos a great deal better than the moral character of the people of this country in general, taking them high and low. He was more anxious to save the lives of the 30,000 of his fellow countrymen in India, than to save the souls of all the Hindoos by making them Christians at so dreadful a price.

The hon. Frederick Douglas [1]addressed the House for the first time. He contended that religion was not the original cause of the disturbances at Vellore, though it was afterwards called in. He talked missionaries ought rather to be tolerated than encouraged; and that a number of chaplains belonging to the established religion ought to be appointed, with fixed residences, that the civil government might always be able to lay their hands on them. He could not but pay great deference to the facts quoted by the hon. baronet, especially when he considered how great a length of time that individual had resided in India; but in all that had been said by him, he had not heard anything that ought to induce the House to reject the plan proposed in the Resolution before them.
[1] Re: Frederick Douglas: “After voting thrice for Catholic relief in his first session, he made a maiden speech (22 June 1813) in favour of tolerating rather than encouraging the propagation of Christianity in India, ‘with great and general approbation and cheering’, his father was told. The Speaker sent his congratulations to the latter, who reported: ‘when I carried it to Lady Glenbervie she burst into tears and sunk on her knees with fervent expressions of gratitude and thankfulness to God’. He added:
What a blessing to have lived to see the son of my dearest wife, the only male descendant in the second degree of such a father-in-law as Lord Guilford, launched in the world (a Member of the House of Commons for the hereditary borough of the North family), one of the most popular young men in the best society of London, of acknowledged principles of religion and honour and already at the age of little more than 22, distinguished as an elegant writer and a promising public speaker.
Mr. Wilberforce [2] rose and spoke as follows: (from the original edition, printed for J. Hatchard, Piccadilly.)

[2] Re: Wilberforce: “On 22 Mar. 1813, and at greater length on 22 June, by which time he had government favour, he introduced another cause which he had been obliged to put by in 1793 in favour of slave trade abolition: the conversion of India to Christianity. He had made known his views on this before, notably to Perceval, but the renewal of the East India Company charter now presented an occasion for a set piece, probably his best preserved speech, exposing the anomalies of the Hindu religion. He had hoped the established Church would have taken the lead in proselytizing, but finding the dissenters more enterprising he supported their missions too. He carried his point by 89 votes to 36. On 1 July 1813 he vindicated the case for the missionaries by 54 votes to 22. He used the same tactics as he had in the slave trade question, but this time found less apparent opposition and government paid heed to him. He was now reckoned a friend by them.”

I have listened with no little pleasure to the hon. gentleman, who, for the first time, has just been delivering his sentiments; and I cordially congratulate him on the manifestation of talents and principles which, I trust, will render him a valuable access and to this House, and to his country; but before I proceed to the more direct discussion of the question before us, he will allow me to express my dissent from his opinion, that it might be advisable to employ our regular clergy as missionaries. It was a proposition, indeed, which naturally recommended itself to the mind of any one, who, like my hon. friend and myself, being attached, on principle, to the church of England, and being deeply impressed with a sense of the blessings which we ourselves derive from it, are of course and designers of communicating the same blessings to others of our fellow-subjects.

I grant that it is much to be regretted, and among the Roman Catholics it has been the reproach of the Protestant churches, that they have taken so little interest in the conversion of the heathen nations; and I may take this opportunity of declaring it as my opinion, that it is much to be regretted, that our excellent church establishment contains within itself no means of providing fit agents for the important work of preaching Christianity to the heathen. Nor is this a new opinion: on the contrary, I had the honour of stating it many years ago to two venerable and most respected prelates, the late archbishop of Canterbury and the late Bishop of London; and they expressed themselves favourably of a proposition which I submitted to their consideration, that there should be a distinct ordination for missionaries, which should empower them to perform the offices of the church in foreign countries, but should not render them capable of holding church preferments, or even of officiating as clergymen in this kingdom. It is obvious, that the qualifications required in those who discharge the duties of the ministerial office in this highly civilised community, where Christianity also is the established religion of the land, are very different from those for which we ought chiefly to look, in men whose office it will be to preach the gospel to the heathen nations, which they will find unacquainted with the first principles of religion and morality; from the qualifications which we should require in instructors who will probably be cast among barbarians, and besides having to encounter the grossest ignorance and its attendant vices, will also have to endure great bodily hardships and privations. But this is not the time for enlarging farther on this point, or on the suggestion of my hon. friend. It will not, I know, escape him, passing over other objections to the measure, that it necessarily implies, that the missionaries who are to officiate in India, are to be expressly commissioned and employed by the state, or by the East India Company; whereas, I am persuaded, we shall all concur in thinking, that it ought to be left to the spontaneous benevolence and zeal of individual Christians, controuled of course by the description of government, to engage in the work of preaching the Gospel to the natives in our Indian territories; and that the missionaries should be clearly understood to be armed with no authority, furnished with no commission, from the governing power of the country.

Allow me, Sir before we proceed further, to endeavour to do away a misconception of the 13th resolution, which appears generally to prevail, that the only object it has in view is, to secure, to such missionaries as the Board of Control shall sanction, permission to go to India, and to remain there, so long as they shall continue to exercise the duties of their office in a peaceable and orderly manner. This undoubtedly is one object of the Resolution, but by no means the only, perhaps not the principal, one. I bid you to observe, that the very terms of the Resolution, expressly state, that "we are to enlighten and inform the minds of the subjects of our East Indian Empire."  And after much reflection, I do not hesitate to declare, that, from enlightening and informing them, in other words, from education and instruction, from the diffusion of knowledge, from the progress of science, more especially from all these combined with the circulation of the Holy Scriptures in the native languages, I ultimately expect even more than from the direct labours of missionaries, properly so called.

By enlightening the minds of the natives, we should root out their errors without provoking their prejudices; and it would be impossible that men of enlarged and instructed minds could continue enslaved by such a monstrous system of follies and superstitions as that under the yoke of which the natives of Hindostan now groan. They would, in short, become Christians, if I may so express myself, without knowing it.

Before I enter further into the argument, more especially after what we have lately heard from several of my opponents, it is due to myself, as well as respectful to the House, to state, that though I cannot, like them, speak of India from my own personal observation, yet that I do not presume to address them on this important question, without having studied it with the most strenuous and persevering diligence. That my attention has been long directed to the subject, will indeed sufficiently appear, when I remind the House, that I had the honour, in 1793, of moving the Resolution of late so often referred to, which declared it to be the duty of the legislature to defuse among our East Indian fellow-subjects the blessing of useful knowledge and moral improvement; a Resolution which, with little or no opposition, was repeatedly sanctioned by the approbation of the House : and I can truly declare, that I have never since lost sight of this great object, though various circumstances concurred in preventing my again bringing it before the House : above all, that of my being, for almost the whole of that period, engaged in the pursuit of an object of a kindred nature.

Before I enter into the argument, let me also clear away another misconception which has sometimes prevailed, by distinctly and most solemnly assuring the House, that in the work of conversion, I abjure all ideas of compulsion; I disclaim all use of the authority, nay, even of the influence, of government. I would trust altogether to the effects of reason and truth, relying much on the manifest tendency of the principles and precepts of Christianity to make men good and happy, and on their evident superiority in these respects, more especially when the minds of the natives shall become more enlarged and instructed than they are at present, over the monstrous and absurd superstitions of their native faith.

And now, Sir,  let me enter into the discussion, by assuring the House, that there never was a subject which better deserve the attention of a British Parliament than that on which we are now deliberating. Immense regions, with a population amounting, as we are assured, to sixty millions of souls, have providentially come under our dominion. They are deeply sunk, and by their religious superstitions fast bound, in the lowest depths of moral and social wretchedness and degradation. Must we not then be prompted by every motive, and urged by every feeling that can influence the human heart, to endeavour to raise these wretched beings out of their present miserable condition, and above all to communicate to them those blessed truths which would not only improve their understandings and elevated their minds, but would, in ten thousand ways, promote their temporal well-being, and point out to them a sure path to everlasting happiness?

But our opponents confidently assure us, that we may spare ourselves the pains; for that the natives of Hindostan are so firmly, nay, so unalterably, attached to their own religious opinions and practices, however unreasonable they may appear to us, that their conversion is utterly impracticable.

I well know, Sir, and frankly acknowledge, the inveterate nature of the evils with which we have to contend; that their religious system and customs have continued with little alteration, for perhaps thousands of years; that they have diffused themselves so generally throughout their institutions and habits, as to leaven, as it were, the whole mass both of their public and private lives: but, nevertheless, Sir, I boldly affirm, that this position, that their attachment to their own institutions is so fixed that it cannot be overcome, is a gross error, abundantly falsified by much, and even by recent, experience. I beg the House to attend to this point the more carefully, because it serves as a general test by which to estimate the value of the opinions so confidently promulgated by the greater part of those gentlemen who have spoken of Indian affairs, both in this House and out of it, from personal experience. This is a persuasion universally prevalent among them; and if it can be disproved, as easily, as it will shortly I trust appear to you to be, it will follow, that these gentlemen, however respectable where their understandings have fair play, in point both of natural talents and acquired knowledge (and no man admits their claim to both more willingly than myself), are here under the influence of prejudice, and are not therefore entitled to the same degree of weight as if they were free from all undue bias.

And first, Sir, it might afford a strong presumption against the absolute invincibility of the religious principles and customs of the Hindoos, that great and beneficial reforms have been effected in various other most important instances in which their existing systems were, so far as we know, equally dear to them, and which were conceived to be equally unchangeable; for even in these, their religion was more or less implicated, because as I before remarked, it has been most artfully diffused throughout all their other institutions.

In proof of this assertion, it may be sufficient to specify that mighty change introduced about twenty years ago, by which the British government granted to all classes of landholders an hereditary property in their estates; a privilege till then unknown in Asia: the rents to be paid to the government, which, as sovereign of the country, was proprietor of the soil throughout all India, were equitably and unalterably settled; and I ought not to be omit to state, that care was taken to secure to the inferior occupants, no less than to the great chieftains, the secure possession of their properties without any increase of their rents. [3]

[3] For a contrary view, see Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, 1858.

Again: the most important reforms have been introduced into the judicial system; and in the military, even the most confirmed religious principles and habits have in some particulars been quietly overcome, and have fallen into disuse, with little or no observation.  Nay, the general spirit of our government, as it respects the natives, has for some time been such, as even that passionate lover of liberty, sir [sic] William Jones, dared not to anticipate in the case of the natives of India; whom with pain, he, but a few years before, had pronounced to be given up to a unmitigated and unalterable despotism.

But it is not only where their religion has been indirectly concerned, that it has appeared that their institutions are susceptible of the same changes which have taken place in every other country; but also, in many instances in which religion has been directly in question.   How also can we account for that immense number of Mahometans, estimated at from ten to fifteen millions, scattered over India, most of whom are supposed by the best judges to be converts from the Hindoo faith? And let me remind you of the stern and persecuting spirit of Mahometanism, and of the increased difficulty which would be thereby occasioned; since it is now an established truth, that persecution counteracts here own purpose and promotes the prevalence of the religion she would suppress.

Again: what shall we say of the whole nation of the Seiks, so numerous, as to be supposed able to raise 200,000 horse, who within a few centuries have forsaken that Hindoo faith, and freed themselves from its burthensome restrictions?*

*Sir J. Malcolm’s highly interesting publication concerning the Seiks, suggests many most important considerations respecting the mischiefs which, if not provided against by timely precautions, may hereafter result from the galling and severe pressure of the system of Castes on the lower orders of India.

The followers of Budha also, who rejected Caste, are very numerous; and within the pale of the Hindoo faith itself, different sects spring up from time to time as in other countries.  Mr. Orme says, “Every province has fifty sects of Gentoos, and every sect adheres to different observances.”

But we have still surer grounds of hope; we have still better reasons than these for believing, that there is nothing in the nature or principles of a Hindoo which renders it impossible for him to become a Christian; for it is notorious, that from the earliest times there have been many churches of native Christians in India.  For the whole of the last century, the work of conversion has been going on with more or less success; and at this moment, there are hundreds of thousands of native Christians in the East Indies.

But here again, in justice to my argument, I cannot but remind the House of the signal example which this instance affords of the utter ignorance of our opponents on the subject we are now considering : for a gentleman of high character, of acknowledged talents and information, who has passed  thirty years in India and who having fairly made his way to the first situations,   possessed for full ten years a seat in the Supreme Council in Bengal stated at your bar, that he had never heard of the existence of a native Christian in India, until after his return to England; he then learned the fact, to which, however, he seemed to give but a doubting kind of assent, from the writings of Dr.  Buchanan.  Can any thing more clearly prove, that gentlemen, instead of seriously turning their minds to the subject, and opening their eyes to the perception of truth, have imbibed the generally prevailing prejudices of men around them, without question, and have thus suffered themselves to be lead away to the most erroneous conclusions.

Let me mention also another circumstance, which well deserves consideration, if the assertion of our opponents were correct,  that the sensibility of the natives of India in all that regards their religion, is so extremely great that they can scarcely listen with temper or patience to any arguments that are urged against it, it would naturally follow, that Christian missionaries, if, even from the dread of punishment, their lives should be safe, would be universally regarded with jealousy and detestation; whereas, as if on purpose to confute the unreasonable  prejudices of our opponents, the most zealous, laborious and successful missionaries  have commonly been, among all classes of the natives, the most esteemed and beloved of all the Europeans; and, let me repeat it, this is not only true of the ever memorable Swartz, but of Gerické, of Kolhoff, &c., as well of Ziegenbalg and his colleagues, the missionaries of a preceding generation. Swartz’s  eulogium it is unnecessary for me to pronounce, because our opponents themselves are loud in his praise.   And it is acknowledged that, during his long and laborious ministry, he was among the natives, from the greatest to the least, an object of the highest respect and warmest affection. [4][5][6]

[4]  Sir Syed Ahmed Khan’s assessment of the difference in the uneasiness of the natives about the propagation of Christianity.

[5] The different temper of the times was evident even eight decades later. Of when Gandhi was around 16, i.e., around 1885,  he writes in his autobiography (My Experiments with Truth, 1927): ‘In those days Christian missionaries used to stand in a corner near the high school and hold forth, pouring abuse on Hindus and their gods. I could not endure this. I must have stood there to hear them once only, but that was enough to dissuade me from repeating the experiment.’   This abuse might not be so tolerated today.

[6] Some information about the missionaries mentioned here is available here.

But an hon. baronet rather insinuates, that Mr. Swartz’s popularity among the natives might arise from points in his character which were less estimable in a religious view.  Swartz, says the hon. baronet, was a politician.  Yes, Sir; I thank the hon. baronet for reminding me of it; Swartz was a politician, but not a volunteer in that service : he became a politician at the earnest and importunate intreaty of the East India government; because, having to negotiate with Hyder Ally, they could find no one in whose integrity and veracity the chieftain would confide, but Swartz the missionary; he therefore became a politician, and an accredited envoy, because, as a missionary, he had secured to himself the universal confidence both of Mahometans and of Hindoos. [7]

[7] Lutheran Magazine Vol II, 1828, pg 249 tells us that despite the wars raging over the country (around 1780) , “during the time of Mr. Schwartz’s residence with that Prince, Hyder had imbibed such an esteem for Schwartz’s character, that he gave the following general orders to all his officers:  To suffer father Schwartz to pass through the country without molestation; —adding, “he is a holy man and means it well with me.”  Also, “The Rajah of Tanjore entrusted, in the year 1787, his adopted son and heir of the crown, to Mr. Schwartz, to be educated by him, and that young Prince afterwards remained a decisive friend of this faithful servant of Christ and of the mission.”

William Taylor, Memoir of the first centenary of the earliest Protestant mission at Madras (1847) narrates that while Swartz was superintending the construction of a church at Trichinopoly, “a Captain ----- of infidel sentiments, licentious morals, and intemperate habits” came day after day and reviled Swartz “with every species of gibe, and sarcasm.”  Swartz would ignore him, but one day, “he calmly and solemnly addressed his reviler, pointed out to him the general evil of his ways” and “denounced upon him the instant wrath of Almighty God; unless he forthwith repented.”  The Captain went home, and “took to an Indian fit of drinking” for some days, and then fell off the terrace of his dwelling,  “was taken up greatly mangled, and very soon died”.   “The news spread rapidly.  Swartz had not spoken without hearers.  His people considered him possessed of supernatural powers; comparing him with some characters of antiquity.  The heathens regarded him as a Muni-isvara; and did him reverence.   It was this circumstance chiefly that induced the Nabob {Hyder Ali} to converse with him;  and that prepared the Raja of Tanjore Tullajee to regard him as an extraordinary character; for he had heard of him before seeing him.  Brahmans abstained from any discourtesy, or incivility.  The Divinity of his mission, in a manner, was acknowledged. It is easy to talk of common causes.   Natives do not connect such occurrences with ordinary causation.”

Taylor wrote, “He [Swartz] came in the important character of guardian and tutor to Serfojee, claimant to the Raj at Tanjore, an adopted son of Tullajee: and Swartz was a principal means of seeing him righted.” He adds in a footnote, “I use this term, as it is applied in common. Only a few generations had passed since Eckojee, by fraud and force, obtained possession of Tanjore; and the former possessor had acquired his right by like means.”

Taylor also noted, “One cause leading to his [Swartz’s] future celebrity was his personal celibacy.  It is popular in India, with reference to any religious character; if at the same time well guarded.”

But even Swartz’s converts, it is alleged, were all of the lowest class of the people, wretches who had lost caste, or were below it; and the same assertion is generally made concerning the native Christians at this day.   This again, Sir, is one of those wretched prejudices which receive easy credence, because they fall in line with the preconceived notions of the receiver, and pass current from man to man without being questioned, in spite of the plainest and most decisive refutation.   Even our opponents themselves will refer to Mr. Swartz’s own authority; and that excellent man having happened to read in India much such a speech concerning missionaries as the hon. baronet has this day uttered, which had been made in the India-House the year before, by Mr. Montgomery Campbell, he positively contradicted all those stale assertions in disparagement of the missionaries and their followers, which had been so generally circulated;  among the rest, this of the low degraded quality of their converts; by stating that if Mr. Campbell had even once attended their church, he would have observed, that more than two thirds were of the higher caste, and so it was, he said at Tranquebar and Vepery.   [8]

[8]”In the year 1793, during the progress of a bill through the House of Commons for the renewal of the East India Company’s charter, Mr. Montgomery Campbell, who had been private secretary to the Governor of Madras {Sir Archibald Campbell}, took occasion to assail the operations of the Missionaries in  India, and  threw contempt upon all the efforts that had been made for the improvement of the Hindoos; remarking, that the converts in general were notorious for their profligacy.   He, indeed, spoke in praise of Swartz’s personal character; but this was felt to be but a poor compensation for the gross misrepresentations of his speech.   Our Missionary  wrote a masterly reply to this attack, exhibiting in a most  telling and impressive manner the  obligations both of Europeans and natives to the Missionaries.   In answer to Mr. Campbell’s charge, that the converts were in general of low caste and immoral, Swartz replied, “It is not true that the greater part of those people who have been instructed are pariahs.  Had Mr. M. Campbell visited, even once, our church, he would have observed that more than two-thirds were of the higher caste; and so it is at Tranquebar and Vepery.”  The Christian miscellany, and family visiter, page 245, 1863, Second Series, Vol. IX.   To this was added a testimonial to Swartz’s respectable character by the late Cornwallis.  Campbell sent out an apology in response to this, saying that his speech had been erroneously reported by the newspapers.  Campbell’s apology is apparently found in Andrew Fuller, “An apology for the Late Christian Missions to India” (1808), part i, App. 22, which is not accessible to me.
(via, The history of missions: or, Of the propagation of Christianity…,Vol 1, William Brown (1816), page 234 – reference to Report of the Society for promoting Christian Knowledge for 1800, in Fuller’s Apology for Christian Missions, part i. App. 22)

William Taylor, Memoir of the first centenary of the earliest Protestant mission at Madras (1847), remarked on this episode, “It is rather amusing to see Swartz justifying Missionaries by an argument that would, now a days, be held equivalent to avowed unfitness for the work of a Missionary.”

Marvin Perkins, Memoirs to the life and correspondence of the Reverend Christian Frederick Swartz, (1835) provides us Swartz’s letter (page 336).  Mr. Montgomery Campbell in his speech in 1793 had mentioned an incident when someone from Swartz’s Christian congregation had stolen his stock and his gold buckle even while he was preaching to them about the heinousness of theft.  Swartz in his letter, wrote that the truth was that this incident took place in the village of Pudaloor, near Tanjore, inhabited by collaries, whom he characterized as a caste of thieves; and some heathen boys committed the theft.  “That such boys, whose fathers are professed thieves, should commit a theft, can be no matter of wonder.  All the inhabitants of that village were heathens; not one Christian family was found therein.”  Perkins adds in a footnote “In the year 1809, Mr. Kohlhoff, referring, in a letter to the Society, to this story, mentions that many Christians were then to be found in that village.”

In like manner, Dr. Kerr, who was officially commissioned by the Madras government,  in 1806, to visit the Malabar coast, for the express purpose of obtaining every possible information in regard to the establishment &c. of the Christian religion in that part of the peninsula, after stating, that the character of the native Christians, whose numbers, according to the best accounts, are estimated at from 70 to 80,000, is marked by a striking superiority over the heathens in every moral excellence, and that they are remarkable for their veracity and plain dealing, adds, “They are respected very highly by the Nairs” (the nobility of the country), “who do not consider themselves defiled by associating with them, though it is well known that the Nairs are the most particular of all the Hindoos in this respect; and the Rajahs of Travancore and Cochin admit them to rank next to the Nairs*.” [9]

[*] See Dr. Kerr’s Report to the Madras government, dated November 3, 1806. [10]

[9] Wilberforce elided the point that these Christians were not converts by European missionaries.  See footnote 13.

[10] An excerpt of Dr. Kerr’s Report can be found here (Report from the committees (Report from the Select Committee, British House of Commons on Roman Catholics), printed 25 June 1816 and 28 March 1817 and reprinted 14 February 1851), page 315.  An excerpt from there about the west coast of India – “It is well known that the Roman religion was introduced by the Portuguese, at the commencement of the sixteenth century; the number converted in each year, upon an average, reach to nearly 300.  The number of course naturally diminishes.  The morality of the converts is very loose, and they are generally inferior, in this respect, to the heathens of the country.”

Again, a letter from a respectable gentleman in India to the venerable and justly honored  dean of Westminster, Dr. Vincent, published in the Report of 1799 of the Society for promoting Christian knowledge, mentions the almost universal prevalence of the grossest misconceptions, concerning the native converts to Christianity, and strongly opposes them.  After stating that the number is very considerable, he adds; “That they consist of the lower or Pariar cast is a vulgar error; and instead of being, as is often asserted, despised and contemptuously treated by their fellow natives, they are universally respected.” [11]

[11] Some more of the letter than is quoted here can be found on page 625-626 of  Vol. III of The History of Christianity in India, James Hough(1845).

He proceeds, however: “You may ask five gentlemen out of six, who return from India, their opinion of the state of the native Christians; their reply will probably be, that they see no use in the endeavours to propagate Christianity there; and this will be followed by a repetition of the common place idea, transferred from one to another without examination, ‘What can a black fellow know about Christianity?’”

I dwell the more, Sir, on this topic, because, how little soever deserving of notice these prejudices may appear to the eye of truth and reason, they are in fact the most powerful enemies with which we have to contend.  Dr. Vincent’s correspondent truly remarks; “It is from this sort of cant and jargon of ignorance and indifference, that the false ideas respecting the native converts have been instilled into the minds of many at home.”  Miserable, however, as this jargon may be in the estimation of Dr. Vincent’s correspondent, it is not to be despised, when its tendency is to detain an immense region of the earth in darkness and degradation.

What we have heard in this House, may convince us, though it is with pain and shame that we witness the anomaly, that men of excellent understandings and liberal and well-informed minds can be misled by these groundless prepossessions.  Even the excellent historian, Dr. Robertson, did not escape this contagion.  Though commonly he is most justly respected for the accuracy of his statements, he seems, though reluctantly, to admit the impracticability of converting the natives of India; and states, that in 200 years, the converts amount but to about 12,000 in number; whom also, if I mistake not, he represents to be of the very lowest of the people, and, in direct contradiction to the most decisive testimony, to be, even after their conversion, a disgrace to the Christian name. [12] [13] [14][15]

[12]  Some of the observations of Robertson (1721-1793) mentioned above can be found on page 247 of  The Works of William Robertson”, Volume XII (1824).

[13] I am unable to confirm after brief search whether Robertson considered Indian converts to Christianity to often be a disgrace to the Christian name.  Robertson did write: “As Europeans eat the flesh of that animal which the Hindoos deem sacred, and drink intoxicating liquors, in which practices they are imitated by the converts to Christianity, this sinks them to a level with the Pariars, the most contemptible and odious race of men.”

[14] “William Robertson, Early Orientalism and the Historical Disquisition on India”, Stewart J Brown (Citation Information. Scottish Historical Review. Volume 88, Page 289-312 DOI 10.3366/E0036924109000870, ISSN 0036-9241, Available Online Oct 2009 .)  From the abstract: “The article further suggests that Robertson's favourable view of what he perceived as monotheist beliefs underlying ‘classical’ Hinduism reveals much about his own religious attitudes as a clergyman and leader of the ‘moderate’ party in the Church of Scotland. His history of India would be under-valued in Britain (despite its large sales), in large part because his apology for Hinduism and his critique of Christian missions ran counter to the rising tide of the evangelical revival. However, it had a considerable role in promoting interest in India on the European continent, and it represented one of the more significant achievements of the late Scottish Enlightenment”.

[15] Robertson refers us for information about Christian converts in India, to Sketches relating to the history, learning and manners of the Hindoos, Quintin Craufurd (1743-1819) a 1792 edition of which is available on Google Books. Craufurd (page 52) writes of the reasons Christianity was successful, including the examples of the martyrs which “must have greatly contributed to obtain belief, and to supply the place of argument.  The mind is naturally disposed to compassionate those who suffer; their words and actions have more than ordinary weight”.   He then writes, “That the aforementioned causes forwarded the success of Christianity, may be observed from the little progress it has made in Hindostan.   The Hindus respect their own religion, believe in a future state, and persecution is entirely contrary to their doctrines.  Notwithstanding the labours of missionaries, therefore, for upwards of two centuries, and the establishments of different Christian nations, who support and protect them, out of at least thirty millions of Hindoos, that are in the possessions of the English and of the Princes who are dependant on them, there are not, perhaps, above twelve thousand Christians, and those almost entirely Chandalahs, or outcasts.”* Tout Indien, qui embrasse le Christianisme, est "absolument banni de sa tribue, est abandonne aux insultes" (Any Indian who embraces Christianity is "absolutely banished from his tribe, is abandoned to insults".)

Note that Quentin Craufurd was, unlike Robertson (or Wilberforce) actually in India. Per Wiki, he went to India at a young age and returned at forty, with a fortune.
I could multiply facts and arguments; but I trust, Sir, I have already established, that this notion of its being impracticable to convert the Hindoos is a vain and groundless theory; and that, in maintaining the opposite position, my friends and I stand on solid and sure ground of abundant and indisputable experience.

But our opponents encouraging one another in their error, take still higher ground, and affirm, that if it were practicable to convert the Hindoos to Christianity, it is not desirable. The principles of the Hindoos are so good, their morals are so pure; better than our own, as we are told by more than one hon. gentleman; that to attempt to communicate to them our religion and our morality, is, to say the least, a superfluous, perhaps a mischievous attempt. [16]

[16] Some years earlier, the Bengal Officer Charles Stuart, in his Vindication of the Hindoos, Part the Second (1808),  which was a reply to the critics of Part I,   was to observe that before writing his first book, had he consulted Prudence,  she  would have whispered into his ear “However moral or correct the Hindoos, do not compare them with Europeans—it will make them angry; but should you hint at superiority, your opponents will be quite outrageous, and you need expect no mercy.” ‘What! though it accord with consistency and truth!”  “It matters not—you will not be believed; spare these virtues, therefore, to the Reviewers—they may have occasion for them; and a little sustenance will go a long way when one is famishing.  What have the Hindoos ever done for you, that you should thus sacrifice your peace and time at the shrine of indignant sectaries?  Consult then your own interest, and leave the Hindoos to their fate.  If  you embrace not this, my wholesome counsel, they will overwhelm you with one unanswerable argument, borrowed from the regular clergy (see sermon preached at Oxford, November 29, 1807, by the Rev. Edward Nares, M.A.); they will tell you, that the higher you paint the moral virtues of the Hindoos, the more worthy are they of  salvation through the gospel.  This truth you cannot consistently deny; let me, therefore, advise you to throw down your inefficient weapons of inexpediency and impracticability, to retire from the contest, and to be for ever silent.”  Wilberforce must have been aware of Vindication of the Hindoos through the missionary literature that attacked it.

This, by the way, is no new doctrine; but, considering its origin, it is not altogether without shame, as well as grief,  that I find it receiving any countenance in this assembly.  It sprang up among the French sceptical philosophers, by whom it was used for the purpose of discrediting Christianity, by shewing, that in countries that were wholly strangers to its light, the people were in general more gentle and peaceable, and innocant and amiable, than in those countries which had for the longest period professed the Christian faith.  After the practical comment, however, which a neighboring kingdom has afforded the doctrines of the French philosophers, the opinions of our opponents will not experience a more favourable reception in this House, or in this country, on account of their issuing from such a source. [17]

[17]  Voltaire, Lettres sur l'origine des sciences et sur celle des peuples de l'Asia (first published Paris, 1777), letter of 15 December 1775. and Voltaire, Fragments historiques sur l'linde, p. 444 – 445, supposedly has complimentary things about the Hindus. { see #11 on this web-page)

But really, Sir, I can only say, that if the principles and morals of our East Indian fellow-subjects were indeed as admirable, if they were ever better than our own, it would be a fact that would belie the experience of all other times and countries. When was there ever yet a nation on which the light of Christianity never shone, which was not found in a state of the grossest moral darkness, debased by the principles and practices and manners the most flagitious and cruel?  Is not that true of all the most polished nations of antiquity?   Did not more than one practice prevail among them, sanctioned by the wisest and the best among them, which in all Christian countries would now be punished as a capital crime? [18]

[18] This in England, the land of The Bloody Code.  Wiki: The Bloody Code is a term used to refer to the system of laws and punishments in England between 1688 and 1815. It was not referred to as such in its own time, but the name was given later owing to the sharply increased number of crimes that attracted the death penalty as capital crimes.  In 1688 there were 50 offences on the statute book punishable by death, but that number had almost quadrupled by 1776, and it reached 220 by the end of the century. {Reminder: Wilberforce’s speech was made in 1813.} 

In “Crime and Punishment in Eighteenth-Century England” , F. J. McLynn (1989), we are told “It was a capital crime to steal a horse (and after 1741 a sheep); to pickpocket more than a shilling; to steal more than forty shillings in a dwelling place or five shillings in a shop; to purloin linen from a bleaching ground or woollen cloth from a tenter ground; to cut down trees in a garden or orchard; to break the border of a fishpond so as to allow the fish to escape.”

I’m sure Wilberforce would be mortified if he had known that a century later, Presbyterian William Jennings Bryan was to term British rule in India as a system of legalized pillage.  I wonder if that pillage would have merited the death penalty.  A rupee was after all, two shillings, and the British pillaged hundred of millions of rupees each year.

But, Sir, have not moral causes their sure and infallible effects?  Is it not notorious that the nations of India have, from the very earliest times, groaned under the double role of political and religious despotism?  And it can it then be maintained, that these must not have produced a proportionate degradation of their moral character?  And is it in a British House of Commons, above all other places, where such a doctrine as this is maintained?  Are we so little sensible of the value of the free constitution and religious liberty which we enjoy, and so little thankful for them, as to tolerate such propositions?

[19] TBD religious liberties that obtained in 1813 England compared to India.

No, Sir: the common sense of mankind, in this country at least, is not to be so outraged; and, in truth, we find the morals and manners of the natives of India just such as we might have been led to expect from a knowledge of the dark and degrading superstitions, as well as of the political bondage, under which they have been so long bowed down.  To which I may add, that, such is the nature of their institutions and customs, that not religion only, but common humanity, should prompt us to exert all legitimate methods for producing the discontinuance of them.

But honourable gentlemen have read us passages from their religious books, some of which breathe a strain of pure and even sublime morality.  The Institutes of Akbar also have been quoted upon us, and a learned work by a Bengal officer has been published [20], resting almost entirely on this basis, with large extracts from the sacred writings of the Hindoos.

[20] TBD Vindication of the Hindoos

Let me beg the attention of the House, while I ask such of our opponents as urge this argument, whether they did or did not know that which is an undeniable fact (I refer to Mr. Halbed’s translation [21] of the Hindoo laws), that if a Soodra should get by heart, nay, if he should read, or even listen to the sacred books, the law condemns him to a most cruel death.

[21] TBD A Code of Gentoo Laws, or Ordinations of the Pundits, From a Persian Translation, made from the Original, written in the Shanscrit Language, 1776,  Nathaneil Brassey Halbed.

How this code came about and how its origins remain relevant today is described in Madhu Kishwar’s article From Manusmriti to Madhusmriti: Flagellating a Mythical Enemy.

If our opponents were ignorant of this, it shews how little they are qualified to be safe guides to us in the road we are now travelling : if they knew it, was it candid, nay, Sir, was it fair, to quote these passages of sublime morality, in proof of the superior moral state of the bulk of the East Indian population?  Why, Sir, it is much the same in India (only worse) as it was among the most polished nations of the Pagan world.  There, they had their exoteric and their esoteric doctrines; and while, in the writings of their philosophers, we meet with passages of high moral excellence, we know, that the moral opinions and practice of the bulk of the people were such as would appear to us at this day almost insufferably depraved, absurd, and monstrous.  Where can we find more elevated strains than in the lofty speculations of the imperial philosopher Antoninus? And in return for the Institutes of Akbar I might name those of Tamerlane, justly declared to be one of the most bloody tyrants that ever disgraced a throne, which are yet declared by Mr. Gibbon to form one of the most perfect systems ever published on the basis of absolute monarchy.

The topic we are now considering is of so great importance, that in justice to my argument, I must be permitted to enlarge upon it; though, after all, I must leave much unsaid, in order that I amy not trespass on the indulgence of the House too largely; and as the authority of several gentlemen, long resident in India, is urged upon us in proof of the probity and superior morality of the natives of India, I must beg leave to bring forward my authorities also.  And when the House shall have heard all I have to adduce, I am confident that not a doubt will remain in their minds, that my representation of the moral character of the natives of India is borne out by an irresistible weight of unobjectionable testimony.

And first, Sir, let me quote to you some general opinions of the moral state of the Hindoos, which have been given by authors of established credit, as well by others whose authority is still higher, persons who held high stations in the Company’s service for many years, and who, from having lived so long, and having had so much intercourse with them, must be supposed to have been perfectly acquainted with their real character.

Several of the passages which I am about to read to you, are contained in a most valuable document lately laid before the House, the work of a dear and most honoured friend of mine, a member of this House*, whose excellent understanding

* I refer to a Memoir, by Mr. Grant, on the Moral State of India, the causes which have produced, and suggestions for improving it.  The Memoir was principally written as long ago as 1792, soon after his return from India, and was laid before the Court of Directors in 1797.  It contains within a small compass, a large store of most valuable information concerning  the religion and laws, the social and moral state and character, of the Hindoos.  It is earnestly to be hoped, that his great modesty may not prevent his publishing to the world this valuable document and thereby obtaining for it a more general perusal.

Charles Grant, Observations on the State of Society among the Asiatic Subjects of Great Britain, particularly with respect to Morals; and on the means of improving it.—Written chiefly in the Year 1792.  Ordered by the House of Commons, to be printed, 15 June 1813, available at Google Books.

and acknowledged worth entitle all his opinions to be received with the utmost deference, and whose long residence in India, and familiar acquaintance with its inhabitants have rendered him peculiarly competent to form a correct judgment on the point which we are now considering.

 The first witness I shall bring forward is the traveller Bernier, an author of such established credit that his work was allowed to be received as evidence at Mr. Hasting’s trial.  He, who travelled among the natives about one hundred and fifty years ago, places the character of the people in general, and more especially of the brahmins, in the most unfavourable light; but as he no where gives a summary view of it, I will only refer generally to his high authority.

The same unfavourable character of them and more especially of the brahmins, is also expressed by Mr. Scrafton*, whose instructive work was published about fifty years ago;  and Mr. Orme, the excellent historian of the Carnatic, leads us to form a still lower estimate of their moral qualities.

* Reflections on the Governments of Hindostan, by Luke Scrafton, esq.

“Were not the Gentoos infamous for the want of generosity and gratitude in all the commerces of friendship; were they not a tricking, deceitful people in all their dealings; their charity could not be deemed to arise from the influence of superstition.”—Orme’s India, vol. 4, 4to. p. 434.

“Every offence is capable of being expiated by largesses to the brahmins, prescribed by themselves according to their own measures of avarice and sensuality.”

Orme’s character of the East-Indian Mahomedans is still more unfavourable than that of the brahmins.   “A domineering insolence towards all who are in subjection to them, ungovernable wilfulness, inhumanity, cruelty, murders, and assassination, perpetrated with the same calmness and subtlety as the rest of their politics, and insensibility to remorse for these crimes, which are scarcely considered otherwise than as necessary accidents in the course of life; sensual excesses, which revolt against nature; unbounded thirst of power, and a rapaciousness of wealth equal to the extravagance of his propensities and vices!” “This is the character of an Indian Moor.” –Orme on the Manners, &c. of the Indian Moors, Ibid, p. 423*

*Well might Mr. Orme exclaim, after so humiliating a picture of human depravity, “How grateful, how noble, are the reflections inspired by such a retrospect, in favour of the cause of Christianity, and in favour of the cause of liberty”—Orme’s India, vol. 4., p. 430.

Governor Holwell gives a summary account of the native East-Indian character in such clear terms that his own words shall be quoted; and let it be remembered that Holwell’s mind, to say the least, was not in any degree biassed by his attachment to the Christian system, as compared with that of the natives of India :-- “A race of people, who from their infancy, are strangers to the idea of common faith and honesty.  The Gentoos in general are as dangerous and wicked a people as any race of people in the known world, if not eminently more so, especially the common run of brahmins.  We can truly aver, that during almost five years we presided in the judicial cutcherry court of Calcutta, never any murder or other atrocious crime came before us, but it was proved in the end, a brahmin was at the bottom of it.”

Lord Clive’s* testimony is given in the same clear and compendious language:--“The inhabitants of this country we know, by long experience, have no attachment to any obligation.”

*See Bolt’s Considerations, vol 3.

An equally unfavourable character of them is given by governor Verelet*, especially in respect to avarice, treachery and ingratitude.

*See Verelet’s View of the English Government in Bengal.

Mr. Shore* (now Lord Teignmouth) paints their character in still darker colours:-- “The natives are timid and servile: individuals have little sense of honour; and the nation is wholly void of public virtue.   They make not the least scruple of lying, where falsehood is attended with advantage.   To lie, steal, plunder, ravish or murder, are not deemed sufficient crimes to merit explusion from society.”

*See the Parliamentary proceedings against Mr. Hastings.

“With a Hindoo all is centered in himself; his own interest is his guide.” With other particulars of a similar complexion.

Sir John Macpherson, who was governor-general between twenty and thirty years ago, commenting on the foregoing description, thus confirms the accuracy of the delineation: “I am afraid that the picture which he (Mr. Shore) draws, and the low ebb at which he states the popular virtues of the Bengalese, are not fictitious representations.”

Lord Cornwallis proved by his conduct that he considered the natives as unworthy of all confidence; for, contrary to the general usage of men occupying such stations as he filled, he never reposed any trust in any one of them, nor placed a single individual, either Hindoo or Mahomedan, about his person, above the rank of a menial servant.

It is not, perhaps, unworthy of notice, that a character equally unfavourable of the natives of Hindostan, was given four hundred years ago by their great conqueror Tamerlane.  “The native of Hindostan,” he says, “has no pretensions to humanity but the figure; whilst imposture, fraud, and deception, are by him considered as meritorious accomplishments”—The foregoing compilation of authorities is closed by my hon. friend with the following compendious delineation of the native Indian character.

“Upon the whole, we cannot help recognizing in the people of Hindostan a race of men lamentably degenerate and base; retaining but a feeble sense of moral obligation; obstinate in the disregard of what they know to be right; governed by malevolent and licentious passions; strongly exemplifying the effects produced on society by great and general corruption of manners; sunk in misery by their vices, in a country peculiarly calculated by its natural advantages to promote the happiness of its inhabitants.”

But we are from from having laboured through the long and melancholy succession of witnesses, who attest to the moral degradation of the natives of India.  Several of the passages I have already recited are accounts of earlier times; and it might perhaps be hoped, that the moral character of the natives has been improved, a consequence of their having lived so long under our government.

Alas, Sir! Grieved I am to be under the necessity of stating, that this is by no means the fact. I might, I fear, go still farther, and affirm that the moral standard of the natives has even deteriorated of late years.   The first witness whom I shall call in proof of the present depraved state of the natives of India, is a gentleman well known in this House for his talents and his eloquence, and whom there is reason, I trust, to believe,  that we shall shortly have the honour of including in our number: I scarcely need explain, that I am speaking of sir James Mackintosh.  He, it is well known, lately presided on the bench of justice in Bombay; and in a charge to the grand jury at Bombay, delivered in the year 1803, he thus expressed himself:

“I observe, that the accomplished and justly celebrated person, sir William Jones, who carried with him to this country a prejudice in favour of the natives, which he naturally imbibed in the course of his studies, and which in him, though not perfectly rational, was neither unamiable nor ungraceful, I observe, that even he, after long judicial experience, reluctantly confessed their general depravity.  The prevalence of perjury which he strongly states, and which I have myself already observed, is perhaps a more certain sign of the general dissolution of moral principle than other more daring and ferocious crimes, much more horrible to the imagination, and of which the immediate consequences aer more destructive to society.”

Again, at a subsequent period, he remarks; “An offense, of the frequency of which I formerly spoke from information, but can now speak from large and deplorable experience, I mean perjury.—“

A melancholy proof of the low standard of morals in the East was afforded on one of the occasions which drew from sir James Mackintosh the above remarks.  A woman who was one of the witnesses, having prevaricated shockingly, was asked by the Recorder, “Whether there was any harm in false swearing?” she answered, “that she understood the English had a great horror of it, but there was no such horror in her country.”  See the Bombay Law Reports, given in the Asiatic Register for 1804.

But, perhaps, the most decisive proofs of all are contained in the answers to certain interrogatories concerning the moral state of the natives, which were sent round by lord Wellesley, when governor-general.   Lord Wellesley, wishing to obtain the most authentic and complete information, would of course consult such persons as he conceived to be best qualified form the situations which they occupied, to give him the intelligence which he desired.  He therefore applied to the judges of circuit, and also to magistrates permanently settled in the different provinces. 

A vain attempt, indeed, has been made to do away the effect of this testimony, by asking what judgment we should form of the moral character of our own people, if we were to take our estimate of it from the criminals who fill our gaols.  I must say, I wonder that the hon. gentlemen who held this language, were not checked by recollecting that they were in reality reflecting strongly on the discretion of lord Wellesley himself, for having applied for information to a description of persons which he ought to have known not to be qualified to supply it.

But, Sir, you will observe, that it is concerning the general character of the natives that the gentlemen interrogated by Lord Wellesley were questioned; and I cannot conceive that there can be any set of men better qualified in all respects to form a correct opinion of the general character and conduct of the natives, than such of the Company’s servants as are resident magistrates.  I will not weary the House with the whole of the melancholy detail; but a few of the answers I must lay before them.

The first shall be the statement of Mr. Edward Colebrook, second judge of the Patna court of circuit, dated 21st April 1804.   “Another not less heinous offence attaching to those affrays is perjury, to which recourse is invariable had, both for the prosecution and defence of such charges.  To such a pitch of audacity has this crime long since reached in this province that a total distrust of human testimony, on every occasion, is the consequence.   No rank, no caste, is exempt from the contagion.  A zemindary dewan, a brahmin, who had circumstantially sworn to the nature and number and to the authors of the wounds on two of his cutcherry amla (?), alleged to have been murdered in an attempt to dispossess him from the cutcherry, scarcely blushed when the two men were produced alive and unhurt in court, and merely pleaded that had he not sworn as directed, he should have lost his employ.”

Let me now read an equally humiliating extract from the answers of Mr. J.D. Paterson, judge of Decca, Jellelpore, &c. to the president &c. members of the police committee, 30th Aug. 1799.   “As a picture of human degradation and depravity can only give pain to a reflecting mind, I shall be as brief as possible, consistently with the necessity of furnishing the required information.  Their minds are totally uncultivated; of the duties of morality they have no idea; they possess in a great degree that cunning which so generally accompanies depravity of heart.  They are indolent and grossly sensual; they are cruel and cowardly, insolent and abject.  They have superstition without a sense of religion; and in short they have all the vices of savage life, without any of its virtues.  If we look a step higher, we find the same total want of principles with more refined cunning, no attachment but what centers in self, for the ties of relationship seem only to render inveteracy more inveterate.”

“Even the honest men,” say the judges of circuit, in a report made on terminating their session; “Even the honest men as well as the rogues are perjured.  The most simple and the most cunning alike make assertions that are incredible, or that are certainly false.”

“In the course of our judicial duties,” says the report from Moorshedabad, court of appeal and circuit (26th Jan. 1802,) “we still meet with the same barefaced disregard of truth which always characterised the natives of India.”

“No falsehood,” says judge Stracey, “is too extravagant or audacious to be advanced before the court of circuit.  Perjury is extremely common.” – 5th Report of Committee on East India Affairs.

“They are probably somewhat more licentious than formerly.  Chicanery, subornation, and fraud and perjury are certainly more common.” – Judge Stracey’s answer to Interrogatories, 30th Jan. 1802.

“The lower classes are in general profligate and depraved.  The moral duties are little attended to by  the higher ones.   All are litigious in the extreme, and the crime of perjury was never, we believe, more practised amongst all ranks than at present.” – Answers of Magistrated of the 24 Pergunnahs to Interrogatories, &c.

But perhaps the House may, with the least trouble, form a summary opinion of the result of the ansewrs alluded to, by hearing an extract from a judicial letter from the court of directors to Bengal,  dated 25th of April 1805, which will show the impression which the informaton they had received had made on their minds;  and I beg leave to recommend it the rather (?) to the attention of the House, because it will shew what was then the court of directors’ opinion of the moral character of the natives of India, however some of them many now have been led, I must rather say misled, into forming different sentiments.

“The nefarious and dangerous crime of perjury we are much concerned to find continues to prevail in all directions, and even increases to such a pitch to baffle and perplex the judicial proceedings of the courts, so that the judge receives all oral testimony with distrust, and is frequently obliged to investigate the character of the witness more closely than that of the criminal.” 

The directors very judiciously go on to remark on the probable cause of this low state of moral principle:-- “The little obligation attached by the natives to an oath seems to proceed, in a great degree, from the nature of their superstitions and the degraded character of their deities, as well as the almost entire want of moral instruction among them; and this points to the necessity of other remedies, as well as to the most rigourous punishment of a crime as hurtful to society as perjury.”

For another possible reason for the prevalence of perjury,  see my post on Frederick John Shore, brother of aforementioned Lord Teignmouth.    With all the concern of an honorable mind, Mr. Shore pursued the inquiry thus opened to him into the principles and practice of the British Indian administration; and soon, he says, found himself at no loss to comprehend the feelings of the people both towards our government and ourselves.  He then says— 'It would have been astonishing, indeed, had it been otherwise.  The fundamental principle of the English had been to make the whole Indian nation subservient in every possible way to the interests and benefits of themselves.  They had been taxed to the utmost limit; every successive province, as it fell into our hands, had been made a field for higher exaction, and it has always been our boast how greatly we have raised the revenue above that which the native rulers were able to extort.  The Indians have been excluded from every honor, dignity or office which the lowest Englishman could be prevailed upon to accept; while our public offices, and, as we have been pleased to call  them, courts of justice, have been sinks of every species of villany, fraud, chicane, oppression, and injustice, to such extent that men who have been robbed of their property, and whose relations have been murdered, will often pay large sums to the police to prevent investigation from the dread of being compelled to attend one of our courts, even in the character of a prosecutor or witness.'—Vol ii, p. 518, 519.”

It continues:
“The summary,' continues Mr. Shore, 'is that the British-Indian government has been practically one of the most extortionate and oppressive that has ever existed in India; one under which  injustice has been and may be committed, both by the government and by individuals, provided the latter be rich, to an almost unlimited extent, and under which redress from injury is almost unattainable; the consequence of which is that we are abhorred by the people,  who would hail with joy, and instantly join the standard of any power whom they thought strong enough to occasion our downfall....How is it possible, after the treatment they have received, that our government, or ourselves, should be popular with them?  And yet we are pleased to assert that they rejoice in a government by which they are trodden to the dust, and oppressed more than by any of their foreign rulers.' {emphasis in the original} —vol ii, pp. 521, 522.

If such be the moral state of the natives in general, we might well expect, at least it would be expected by all who have a just sense of the intimate connection between virtue and humanity, and on the contrary between depravity and cruelty, that the crimes of the actual violators of the laws, and not of an individual criminal, but of the class of robbers in general would be extremely shocking; but I quote the following passage from Mr. Dowdeswell’s Report on the Police of Bengal, in order to counteract that strange and most unjust persuasion, which has been attempted to be diffused, that the Hindoos are a gentle and humane people. 

“Were I to enumerate only a thousandth part of the atrocities of the Decoits (a set of hereditary robbers) and of the consequent sufferings of the people, and were I to soften that recital in every mode which language would permit, I should still despair of obtaining credit for the accuracy of the narrative.” – Mr. Dowdeswell’s Report on the General State of the Police of Bengal, p. 603.

“Robbery, rape and even murder itself are not the worst figure in this hideous and disgusting picture.  Volumes might be filled with the recital of the atrocities of the Decoits, every line of which make the blood run cold with horror. “ Ibid.

I could corroborate my general representation of the moral degradation of the Hindoos, by still farther extracts, selected form that massy volume on the table.*

*Fifth Report from the East India Committee.

But I will adduce but one more taken from a document I have already referred to, the letter to the venerable dean of Westminster, Dr. Vincent.  Speaking generally of the morals of the natives, his correspondent says; “The state of morality among the natives is very low indeed.  I have had transactions with many of those who have the character of most respectable men, rich, and of good credit.   I declare to you, I never met with one who had any idea of the obligation of an oath, or who would not break it without scruple, provided the crime could be effected without discovery and punishment, and produce to him a pecuniary profit.   There may be natives of a different character; all I can say is, that I have never ment with one.  I am speaking of those who are not Christians.  Now I am clear, no man, in the course of his dealings in England with various characters for some years, could truly make a similar assertion.”

Before we dismiss the long and melancholy train of witnesses whose estimate of the moral character of the natives of India I ahave been laying before you, let me beg that you will attend carefully to two considerations, which are applicable to almost all the opinions which I have adduced.

These are, first, that the statements you have heard, are all of them the opinions of intelligent and respectable men, formed and given, without reference to any particular question, which happened for the time to interest and divide the public mind; and still more, that they are the opinions of men who were upon the spot when those opinions were formed, and whose attention had been specially called to the subject of them, while the natives were actually under their view.

These considerations, Sir, deserve the more attention, because when we find conflicting testimony among men, all of whom we respect, we naturally look for circumstances which may explain the discrepancies which we witness.  Without presuming to take upon me to estimate how much weight is to be assigned to this consideration, I am persuaded that our opponents themselves will frankly acknowledge, that in the two important particulars which I have just now noticed, they are oppositely circumstanced to the individuals whose testimony I have been laying before you.  First, the favourable opinions of the people of India which they deliver, are such as occur to them in this country; which must render them peculiarily subject to the influence of that common cause of erroneous judgment of nations, the drawing of general inferences from individual instances; and secondly, they will not deny, that from the infirmities of our common nature, they cannot but be liable to have their opinions in some degree, though imperceptibly, biassed by the particular occasion on which they are led to form them.

And now, Sir, after the decisive weight of testimony which I have laid before you, in proof of the general depravity of the people of Hindostan, what must we think of the soundness of the judgment pronounced by our opponents, that their morals are in general equal, nay, even superior, to those of the people of this country.   We have been long accustomed, Sir, to read different characters of the same people from different travellers, of the intentions of all of whom, to speak the truth, we have entertained not the slightest suspicion; but a difference like this, I never before witnessed. 

In fact, however, Sir, we are relieved from our difficulty, by the very extent to which the assertion of our opponents is pushed.   Had it been merely attempted to soften the colours in which we had painted the native character, you might have been more at a loss which was the correct representation.  But when, instead of the dark hues which we have assigned to it, our opponents give it almost the fairest and loveliest tints of moral colouring, we are led infallibly to conclude that our opponents are either ill-informed, or that they are under the influence of prejudice; and happily, we are furnished, in the course of our discussion, with such flagrant instances of prejudice on this particular topic of religion, as to furnish a pretty clear explanation of those opinions of our opponents which would otherwise appear the most inexplicable as well as extravagant.

I wonder if Mr. Wilberforce was conscious of that this very argument applied to him as well; instead of shades of grey, he blackened the character of the Hindoos so much that one might conclude he was either ill-informed or else under the influence of prejudice.   This debate and items like Conversion Corrupts suggest that these debates were almost entirely not about any real people in India, but rather about British internal disputes, political or religious or something else.

I have alread had occasion to shew, Sir, in one notable instance, that on this subject alone of religion and morals, as connected with the East Indies, men the most able and best informed on all other topics are strangely and lamentably ignorant.   There is a sort of inaptitude, if I may so term it, in what regards the subject of religion, which we discover in the generality of the Anglo Indians, which causes their judgments, however valuable on other occasions, to fail them egregiously in this.  

We have a curious illustration of this remark in the Fifth Report, which I quote t he rather, because I understand the character of the writer to be excellent, and his authority beyond exception in all other matters.   I speak of Mr. Dowdeswell.  After that shocking account of the state of the police which I lately read to the House, suitably impressed with a sense of the evils which he had been speaking, and very justly remarking also, that these dreadful practices must be severely punished, “but that a great deal more must be done in order to eradicate the seeds of those crimes, the real sources of the evil lying in the corrupt morals of the people,” he adds, (and let me beg, that gentlemen will observe that Mr. Dowdeswell very justly ascribes the perpetration of such rimes to general and moral causes, not merely to individual and accidental depravity;) “if” says he, “we would apply a lasting remedy to the evil, we must adopt means of instruction for the different classes of the community; by which they may be restrained, not only from the commission of public crimes, but also from acts of immorality, by a dread of the punishment denounced both in this world and in a future state by their respective religious opinions.   The task woul dnot, perhaps be so difficult, as it may at first sight appear to be.  Some remains of the old system of Hindoo discipline still exist.  The institutions of Mahomedanism of that description, are still better known.   Both might be revived and gradually moulded into a regular system of instruction for both those great classes of the community.” *

*Fifth Report on East-India Affiars, p. 617. Mr. Dowdeswell’s Report on the Police of Bengal, Sept 22. 1809.

We are led irresistibly, by this passage, to a conclusion, which, I confess, has been suggested to me by various other circumstances, that in the minds of too many of our opponents, Christianity and India are inconsistent, totally incompatible, ideas.  We cannot but be reminded of the expression of a former ornament of this House, (a name of high authority in this country), that “the Europeans were commonly unbaptized in their passage to India.”  I will not presume to adopt so strong a position; but Mr. Burke himself could not have desired a stronger confirmation of his assertion, than some with which we have been supplied in the course of these discussions, more especially with this, wherein we find that a gentleman of intelligence and respectability, long resident in India, bewailing such a dissolution of the moral principle as rendered it difficult for the frame of society to hold together, and looking around soliticiously for some remedy for the evil, never so much as thinks of resorting to Christianity, but proposes to resort to the revival of Hinduism and Mahomedanism, as the only expedient to which it is possible to have recourse.

Agreeing with him in my sense of the virulence of the disease, I differ entirely with respect to the remedy; for, blessed be God, we have a remedy fully adequate, and specially appropriate to the purpose.  That remedy, Sir, is Christianity, which I justly call the appropriate remedy, for Christianity then assumes her true character, no less than she performs her natural and proper office, when she takes under her protection those poor degraded beings, on whom philosophy looks down with disdain, or perhaps with contemptuous condescension.  

On the very first promulgation of Christianity, it was declared by its great Author, as “glad tidings to the poor;” and ever faithful to her character, Christianity still delights to instruct the ignorant, to succour the needy, to comfort the sorrowful, to visit the forsaken.  I confess to you, Sir, that but for my being conscious that we possessed the means of palliating, at least, the moral diseases which I have been describing, if not of effecting a perfect cure of them, I should not have had the heart to persevere in dragging you throug the long and painful succession of humiliating statements to which you have been lately listening.

For, believe me, Sir, though I trust that to many in this House, I scarcely need to vindicate myself against such a charge, that it is not to insult over the melancholy degradation of these unhappy people, or to indulge in the proud triumph of our own superiority, that I have dwelt so long on this painful subject; but it is because I wish to impress you with a just sense of the malignity of their disease, that you may concur with me in the application of a remedy: for, I again and again declare to you, a remedy there doubtless is.  God forbid that we should have only to sit down in hopeless dejection, under the conviction, that though these evils exist they are not to be removed, Sir, such a supposition would be absolute blasphemy; to believe that the Almighty Being, to whom both we and our East Indian fellow-subjects owe our existence, has doomed them to continue for ever, incurably, in that wretched state of moral depravity and degradation, in which they have hitherto remained!  No, Sir, Providence has provided sufficient means for rescuing them from the depths in which they are now sunk, and I now call on you to open t he way for their application; for to us, Sir, I confidently hope, is committed the honourable office of removing the barrier which now excludes the access of Christian light, with its long train of attendant blessings, into that benighted land, and thus, of ultimately cheering their desolate hearts with the beams of heavenly truth, and love, and consolation.

And therefore, Sir, I indignantly repel the charge which has been unjustly brought against me, that I am bring an indictment against the whole native population of India; and “what have they done to provoke my enmity?”

Sir, I have lived long enough to learn the important lesson, that flatterers are not friends: nay, Sir, they are the deadliest enemies.   Let not our opponents, therefore, lay to their souls this flattering unction, that they are acting a friendly part towards the Hindoos.

No, Sir: they, not I, are the real enemies of the natives of India, who, with the language of hollow adulation and ‘mouth honour’ on their tongues, are in reality recommending the course which is to keep those miserable beings bowed down under the heavy yoke which now oppresses them.  The most able of our opponents has told us, that some classes of the natives are as much below others as the inferior animals are below the human species.   Yes, Sir, I well know it; and it is because I wish to do away with this unjust inequality, to raise these poor brutes out of their present degraded state to the just level of their nature, that I am now bringing before you their real condition.

And am not I, therefore, acting the part of the real friend? For true friendship, Sir, is apprehensive and solicitous; it is often jealous and suspicious of evil; often it even dreads the worst concerning the objects of its affection, from the solicitude it feels for their well-being, and its earnestness to promote their happiness.

Animated, Sir, by this unfeigned spirit of friendship for the natives of India, their religious and moral interests are undoubtedly our first concern; but the course we are recommending tends no less to promote their temporal well-being than their eternal welfare; for such is their real condition, that we are prompted to endeavour to communicate to them the benefits of Christian instruction, scarcely less by religious principle than by the feelings of common humanity.  Not, Sir, that I would pretend to conceal from the House, that the hope, which, above all others, chiefly gladdens my heart, is that of being instrumental in bringing them into the paths by which they may be led to everlasting felicity.   But still, were all considerations of a future state out of the question, I hesitate not to affirm, that a regard for their temporal well-being would alone furnish abundant motives for our endeavouring to diffuse among them the blessings of Christian light and moral instruction.

And surely it cannot be necessary for me to attempt in this place to prove, that though much of the large mass of comforts which we in this country enjoy, beyond those, I believe, of any other nation in ancient or in modern times, is owing to our invaluable constitution, yet that it is in no small degree, also, to be ascribed to our religious and moral superiority; for it is with gratitude alike, and with pleasure, that I declare my firm persuasion, that the influence of Christianity is greater in this country than in any other upon earth.

But surely, Sir, after the account we have received of the low state of morals among the natives of India, it cannot be necessary for me to prove by a reference to their various institutions, or to the circumstances of their social condition, that their situation is such as to interest every humane mind in improving it.   For certainly such an enlightened assembly as this scarcely needs to be reminded, that the moral Governor of the universe has established a never-failing and inseparable connection between vice and misery, though for a time they may appear dissevered, and vice may seem even to have associated herself with happiness.

Sir, the evils of India are not merely such as a despotic government never fails to introduce and continue.  In countries, great countries especially, groaning under the most absolute despotism, there may often be much domestic and even social happiness.  It was to the condition of the subjects of an absolute government, that our great poet beautifully alluded when he observed,

“With secret course, which no loud storms annoy,
“Glides the smooth current of domestic joy.”

And truly in the main, though somewhat too broadly and strongly shaded, he adds,

“Of all the ills that human hearts endure,
“How few, that courts or kings can cause or cure.”

But the evils of Hindostan are family, fireside evils; they pervade the whole mass of the population, and embitter the domestic cup, in almost every family.   Why need I, in this country, insist on the evils which arise merely out of the institution of Caste itself; a system which,though, strange to say, it has been complemented as a device of deep political wisdom, must surely appear to every heart of true British temper to be a system at war with truth and nature; a detestable expedient for keeping the lower orders of the community bowed down in an abject state of hopeless and irremediable vassalage.   It is justly, Sir, the glory of this country, that no member of our free community is naturally precluded from rising into the highest classes of society.   And, in fact, we have all witnessed instances of men who have emerged out of their original poverty and obscurity, and have risen to the highest level by the inborn bouyancy of their superior natures; our free constitution, to which such occurrences are scarcely less honourable than to the individuals who are the subjects of them, opening the way for the development, and Providence favouring the exercise of their powers.   Even where slavery has existed, it has commonly been possible (though in the West Indies, alas! artificial difficulties have been interposed,) for individuals to burst their bonds, and assert the privileges of their nature.  But the more cruel shackles of Caste are never to be shaken; as well might a dog, or any other of the brute creation, it is the honourable gentleman’s own illustration, aspire to the dignity and rights of man.

I will not think so injuriously of our opponents as not be persuaded, that they would indignantly spurn at the very idea of introducing such a system into this country.   And are not the natives of India, our fellow-subjects, fairly intitled to all the benefits which we can safely impart to them?  And if there be any which we cannot as yet venture to communicate, should we not at least be longing with eager and almost impatient expectation for the time when we can render them partakers fo the best blessings which we ourselves enjoy?

And here, Sir, in justice to my cause, I cannot but animadvert upon the spirit and tone with which our opponents have descanted on the impossibility of making the natives acquainted with the truths of Christianity, and of thereby effecting the moral improvements which Christianity would produce.  I should have expected, Sir, if they were unwillingly compelled to so unwelcome a conclusion, as that all hopes of thus improving the natives of India must be abandoned as utterly impracticable, that they would form the opinion tardily and reluctantly, and express it with the most manifest concern. 

I need not remind the House with what an air of cheerfulness, not to say of levity, the declaration has been made.  But it is fair to say, that one of the hon. members supplied the explanation, by plainly intimating; that in his opinion, all religions were likewise acceptable to the common Father of the universe; -- the same truth, a little differently expressed, as was taught by one of the brahmins, who stated to one of our missionaries, that heaven was a large palace, to which there was a number of different roads, and that each nation or individual might choose his own at pleasure.

To understand the disconnect between the Heathen and the Christian on this matter, S. N. Balagangadhara’s “The Heathen in his Blindness…” is invaluable.

But, as I have already stated, our opponents should remember that Christianity, independently of its effects on a future state of existence, has been acknowledged even by avowed skeptics, to be, beyond all other institutions that ever existed, favourable to the temporal interests and happiness of man: and never was there a country where there is greater need than in India for the diffusion of its genial influence.

In reasoning concerning the happiness, no less than the virture, of any people, all who consider how many of the charities of life, how large a portion of the greatest and best of our earthly comforts, arise out of our domestic relations, will think it difficult to overrate the sum of the evils produced, and the happiness impaired and lost, from the single circumstance of the prevalence of polygamy.   Here, again, to prove the effects of polygamy, I would refer to one who had no peculiar seal for Christianity; though his understanding was too enlightened and his mind too well informed, for him not to recognize its superior excellencies; I mean, to the president Montesquieu.  Would we see a lively picture of the jealousies, the heart-burnings, the artifice, the falshood [sic], the cruelty, the rage, and the despair of which polygamy is the fertile source, let us look to that great writer’s Persian Letters.

And here also, Sir, we may find a decisive settlement of the question, concerning which there has been some difference of opinion, as to the rank in the scale of being which is assigned to the female sex, among natives of India.  An hon. friend of mine (Mr. Smith) has quoted some passages from their great lawgiver, which speak of women in general in the most disparaging and even contemptuous terms.  We see the same estimate in many of the Hindoo customs and institutions; but this system of polygamy alone might have sufficed to prove, that the female sex could not possess in India that equality, in point of nature and rank, with ours, to which it is considered to be entitled in every Christian country, and on which, in fact, so much of the real dignity and happiness as well as so many of the benefits of the married state essentially depend.

Again in India, we find prevalent that evil, I mean, infanticide, against which we might have hoped nature herself would have supplied adequate restraints, if we had not been taught by experience, that four our deliverance even from this detestable crime, we are indebted to Christianity.   For it is not philosophy, it is not to civilization; it is not to progress in refinement, or in the arts and comforts of social life; it is not even to liberty herself, that the world is indebted for this emancipation.  The friends of Christianity may justly glory in the acknowledgment of one of its greatest enemies, that infanticide was the incorrigible vice of all antiquity; and it is very striking, that both in India and in China, where the light of Revelation has never penetrated, this detestable crime still asserts its superiority over nature itself, no less than over virtue.  To this, in India, is added, the destruction of the sick and the aged, often by their nearest relatives.

Arabs similarly claim that Islam is what ended infanticide in their societies.

There is another practice on the prevalence of which it is the rather necessary for me to insist, because it has been conceived by many gentlemen, otherwise well-informed on East Indian topics, that whatever may have been formerly the case, the practice now exists in a very inconsiderable degree.  The House must have anticipated my mention of the burning of widows on the funeral pile of their deceased husbands.   A writer of great authority, Mr. Dow, many years ago, stated the custom to have become almost extinct. But sorry I am to say, that this is so far from being the truth, that the practice, which Bernier states to have been greatly discouraged, though not absolutely prohibited, by the Mahometan government, and which, in consequence, had considerable declined, has increased since the country came under our dominion.

Great pains were taken by the missionaries, a few years ago, to ascertain the number of widows which were annually burnt in a district thirty miles around Calcutta, and the House will be astonished to hear, that in this comparitively small area, 130 widows were burnt in six months.  In the year 1803, within the same space, the number amounted to 275, one of whom was a girl of eleven years of age. I ought to state that the utmost pains were taken to have the account correct; certain persons were employed purposely to watch and report the number of these horrible exhibitions; and the place, person, and other particulars were regularly certified.  After hearing this, you will not be surprised on being told, that the whole number of these annual sacrificies of women, who are often thus cruelly torn from their children at the very time when, from the loss of their father, they must be in the greatest need of the fostering care of their surviving parent, is estimated, I think, in the Bengal provinces to be 10,000; the same number at which it was calculated, many years ago, by a gentleman whose uncommon proficiency in the native languages gave him peculiar advantages in his inquiries on this subject; the highly respected brother of the late sir Robert Chambers.

Nor must we dare to flatter ourselves, though it would be in truth be a wretched consolation, that as has been sometimes stated, these sacrifices are spontaneous.  Not to mention what Bernier himself relates from his own personal view, that the women are always carefully fastened down, sometimes with strong green bamboos, at others with thick strong ropes thoroughly soaked in water; which is done, as Mr. Marshman was frankly told, lest on feeling the fire they should run away and make their escape; Bernier goes on, “When the wretched victims draw back, I have seen those demons the brahmins thrusting them into the fire with their long poles.”  Sometimes, indeed, the relations and friends of the widow, exerting their utmost influence with her, succeed in persuading her to live; but too commonly, the poor wretcheds are forced into these acts of self-immolation by the joint influence of their hopes and fears.  Their fears, however, are by far the more predominant of the two; and while the brahmins delude them with hopes of glory and immortality if they consign themselves to the flames, their only alternative is a life of hard fare, and servile offices; in short, a life of drudgery, degradation and infamy.

Such, Sir, is the number of these human sacrifices, and such the principle on which they are made.   As to their nature—I should shock the feelings of the hardest heart, if I were to read to you the authenticated statements of the horrid scenes of this kind which are continually taking place; to which the people are so accustomed, that as I lately learned from a private friend of my own, who witnessed one of these dreadful transactions, a great concourse of spectators even in populous districts is not collected; and what is worse than all, the horrible scene is beheld with as much unconcern, and even levity, as we see among the lower orders in this country, when the destruction of one of the inferior animals is the subject of their savage mirth.  But I will spare you the disgusting recital; * and yet I well remember……

*It would scarcely be justifiable to forbear inserting, what perhaps I was culpable in not reading to the House, the following account of one of those horrible scenes, at which the missionary, Mr. Marshman, was present a few years ago.   I will extract his own words, only adding, that he is a man of the most established integrity, in the veracity of whose account entire reliance may be justly placed.   “A person informing us that a woman was about to be burnt with the corpse of her husband, near our house, I, with several of our brethren, hastened to the place; but before we could arrive, the pile was in flames.  It was a horrible sight. The most shocking indifference and levity appeared among those who were present.  I never saw any thing  more brutal than their behaviour.  The dreadful scene had not the least appearance of a religious ceremony.   It resembled an abandoned rabble of boys in England collected for the purpose of worrying to death a cat or a dog.  A bamboo, perhaps twenty feet long, has been fastened to one end of a stake driven into the ground, and held down over the fire by men at the other.  Such were the confusion, the levity, the bursts of brutal laughter, while the poor woman was burning alive before their eyes, that it seemed as if every spark of humanity was extinguished by this accursed superstition.   That which added to the cruelty was the smallness of the fire.   It did not consist of so much wood as we consume in dressing a dinner: not, not this fire that was to consume the living and the dead.   I saw the legs of the poor creature hanging out of the fire while her body was in flames.  After a while, they took a bamboo ten or twelve feet long and stirred it, pushing and beating the unconsumed pieces into the middle.  Perceiving the legs hanging out, they beat them with the bamboo for some time, in order to break them at the knees (for they would not have come near to touch them for the world).  At length they succeeded in bending them upwards into the fire, the skin and muscle giving way, and discovering the knee sockets, bare with the balls of the leg bones: a sight this which, I need not say, made me thrill with horror, especially when I recollected that this hapless victim was alive but a few minutes before.  To have seen savage wolves thus tearing a human body, limb from limb, would have been shocking; but to see relations and neighbours do this to one with whom they had familiarly conversed not an hour before, and to do it with an air of levity, was almost too much for me to bear.”  “You expect, perhaps to hear, that this unhappy victim was the wife of some brahmin of high cast.  Sh was the wife of a barber who dwelt in Serampore, and had died that morning, leaving the son I have mentioned, and a daughter of about eleven years of age.   Thus has this infernal superstition aggravated the common miseries of life and left these children stripped of both their parents in one day.   Nor is this an uncommon case.  It often happens to children far more helpless than these; sometimes to children possessed of property, which is then left, as well as themselves, to the mercy of those who have decoyed their mother to their father’s funeral pile”.

……But I will spare you the disgusting recital; * and yet I well remember what was said nearly in the place where I stand on an occasion not dissimilar, by a right hon. gentleman now no more, (Mr. Fox), “that true humanity consists, not in a squeamish ear, but in feeling for the sufferings of others, and being forward and active in relieving them”.   And, Sir, I am perfectly sure, that people could not make up their minds to the quiet toleration of these practices; they would not suffer them, I mean, to go on, without using every lawful effort to put a stop to them; but for our having not yet learned to consdier India as part of the British empire, and its inhabitants as our fellow-subjects.   The vast distance also of the scene of these barbarities tends considerably to deaden the impression which they would otherwise produce.  If these transactions tooks place in any part of England, instead of the indifference with which they have been too long regarded by men, I am sensible, not inferior in humanity to ourselves, the public zeal would be called forth, and every possible endeavour would be used to put an end to them. 

But here again, Sir, we see the effects of that strange delusion by which our countrymen are led into adopting one set of morals, and principles, and even feelings, for this country, and another for India.   And although, after proofs of the abilities of the Anglo-Indians which have bene exhibited to this House in the course of this very inquiry, the grossest prejudice alone would deny that they are men of superior talents and intelligence; yet, I must say, this very consideration, that they have one rule of judging for India, and another for Great Britain, renders them judges against whose competency I must except, when the question is concerning the introduction of British religion, British morals, and British manners, among the inhabitants of British India.

And now, Sir, I shall do little more than allude to another class of enormities, which by the very enormity, are in some measure shielded from the detestation they would otherwise incur: I allude to the various obscene and bloody rites of their idolatrous ceremonies, with all their unutterable abominations.  A vain attempt has been made in a single instance to do away with this charge; but had the endeavour succeeded, instead of utterly failing, as it certainly did, what would it avail when the obscene and bloody nature of the Hindoo superstitions is established by a cloud of witnesses; and I will add, when from our more intimate acquaintance with the language, books, and institutions of the natives, the light of day is at length beginning to shine into these dens of darkness, and to express their foul contens to our disgust and abhorrence. 

We migth easily anticipate, that the people’s being accustomed to witness the most disgustingly indecent exhibitions* in broad day, must have the effect of destroying all that natural modesty which the Almighty has implanted in us for the most beneficial purposes.

·      I will give one one instance only, as a specimen. It is related by an unexceptionable witness.  “I suppose 2,000 men, women and children, might be assembled.  I observed that one of the men standing before the idol in the boat, dancing and making indecent gestures, was stark naked.  As the boat passed along, he was gazed at by the mob; nor could I perceive that this abominable action produced any other sensation that those of laughter.  Before other images, young men, dressed in women’s clothes, were dancing with other men making indecent gestures.  I cannot help thinking, but that the vulgarest mob in England would have arisen on these impudent beasts, and have almost torn them in pieces.  I have seen the same abominations exhibited before our own door.” Ward’s account of Religion, &c. of Hindoos, 4to. Note p. 296.

And such is in truth the fact: and a gentleman, whose name, if it were mentioned, would at once establish the undeniable truth of any statement which is made on his authority, has assured me, that whole families of both sexes and different ages, will witness together a sort of theatrical or pantomimical entertainment of the most shockingly indecent kind.  Lord Cornwallis, much to his honour, shortly after his arrival in India, declined an invitation to an amusement of this indecent kind, to which he had been asked by the native of the highest rank in the settlement.  

Indeed to all who have made it their business to study the nature of idolatrous worship in general, I scarcely need remark,  that in its superstitious rites, there has commonly been found to be a natural alliance between obscenity and cruelty; and of the Hindoo superstitions it may be truly affirmed that they are scarcely less bloody than lasciviouis; and as the innate modesty of our nature is effaced by the one, so all the natural feelings of humanity are extinguished by the other.

Hence it is, that, as in other instances, as well as in that of the burning of widows, we often read and hear of spectacles and incidents, which would deeply interest the feelings of most Europeans, being witnessed by the natives with utter insensibility.   Were all considerations of humanity to be left out of the question, the consequences of some of the prevalent enormities would deserve our attention, even in a political view, on account of the numbers which fall victims to these pernicious superstitions.  A gentleman of the highest integrity and better qualified than almost any one else to form a correct judgment in this instance; I mean Dr. Carey, the missionary, has calculated that, taking in all the various modes and forms of destruction connected with the worship at the temple of Jaggernaut in Orissa, the lives of 100,000 human beings are annually expended in the services of that single idol.

One of many such works, C. Bates, Beyond Representions: colonial and post-colonial constructions of Indian Identity, 2006, (available here) may be useful.  To reduce a long story to a couple of sentences, “In the nineteenth century this was a lively subject of debate: any encounter by a devout Christian (as most Company servants were in this period) with a barbarian and unknown community would be accompanied by a presumption that human sacrifice was present. Common cause could then readily be found between Christians and radical Hindu reformers who used such issues for quite different purposes in disputes with traditionalists.”

Perhaps a simpler way of understanding it is that Hindoos were found to be perjurers only in the British courts, but not when being the native informers to missionaries full of zeal.

It has often been truly remarked, particularly I think by the historian of America, that the moral character of a people may commonly be known from the nature and attributes of the objects of its worship.  On this principle, we might have anticipated the moral condition of the Hindoos, by ascertaining the character of their deities.  If it was truly affirmed of the old pagan mythology, that scarcely a crime could be committed, the perpetrator of which might not plead in his justification the precedent of one of the national gods; far more truly may it be said, that in the adventures of the countless rabble of Hindoo deities, you may find every possible variety of ever practicable crime.   Here also, more truly than old, every vice had its patron as well as its example.  Their divinities are absolute monsters of lust, injustice, wickedness and cruelty.   In short, their religious system is one grand abomination.  Not but that I know you may sometimes find, in the sacred books of the Hindoos, acknowledgements of the unity of the great Creator of all things; but just as, from a passage of the same sort in Cicero, it would be contrary alike to reason and experience to argue that the common pagan mythology was not the religion of the bulk of mankind in the ancient world, so it is far more absurd and groundless, to contend that more than a fewer of the 33,000,000 of Hindoo God, with their several attributes and adentures, do not constitute the theology of the bulk of the natives of India. 

Both their civil and religious systems are radically and essentially the opposites of our own.   Our religion is sublime, pure and beneficient.  Theirs is mean, licentious and cruel.   Of our civil principles and condition, the common right of all ranks and classes to be governed, protected and punished by equal laws, is the fundamental principle.   Of theirs, the essential and universal pervading character is inequality; despotism in the higher classes, degradation and oppression in t he lower.  And such is the systematic oppression of this despotism, such its universal predominancy, that, not satisfied with condemning the wretched Soodras for life to their miserable debasement, (nay, death itself does not mend their condition) and endeavouring to make that degradation sure, by condemning them to ignorance as well as humiliation, the same inequalities pursue and harass t heir victims, in the various walks and occupations of life.  If they engage in commerce, they are to pay 5l per cent interest for money, while a brahmin pays 1l per cent, and the other two castes
2l and 3l per cent.

Since other books say that a brahmin who engages in commerce would lose his caste, I’m confused.

Their punishments are far more severe than those of the higher classes, for all crimes; although, with any but a Hindoo legislator, their inferior measure of knowledge might be held to extenuate their guilt.   And are these systems which can meet not merely with supporters, but even with panegyrists, in a British House of Commons?  But, Sir, I verily believe, nay, I am fully persuaded, that our opponents would think and speak less favourably of the religious and moral system of the Hindoos if they knew it better; and when their eyes shall at length be irresistibly and fully, though tardily and reluctantly, opened to its real character, by that growing development of its enormities which is daily effecting from the increased and increasing light cast on the subject by new publications, they will, I doubt not, be shocked to reflect of what a system they have been unwarily led to applaud the merits and even contend for the continuance.

There is perhaps something here that needs explanation.   Those Europeans “unbaptized by their passage to India” have a different experience of India from that of the zealous Christians, sufficiently different that it is indeed the subject of debate in the British House of Commons.   I think Balu’s theory of religion can explain why this is so, and stronger, why this is necessarily so.

I beg the House, Sir, to observe, that in all the statements I have made either of the moral character of the natives of India, or of the nature of their superstitious principles and observances, I have not grounded any of my assertions on the authority of Dr. Buchanan; and that, because I knew that endeavours had been diligently, I hope not successfully, used, to call in question the accuracy of this representations; and therefore, if I could establish my positions by other witnesses, against whom no such prejudices prevailed as had been excited in Dr. Buchanan’s instance, prudence suggested to me the expediency of preferring them.

But, Sir, I should be shamefully wanting to the cause of justice and of truth, as well as of friendship, if I were not to protest against the prejudices to which I have alluded, as utterly groundless.  I beg the House to mark by assertion, that although Dr. Buchanan’s statements have been scrutinised with jealous eyes, I am yet to learn one single instance in which any of his statements have been proved erroneous.  But his character shall be laid before the House by a less questionable authority than my own.   Lord Wellesley has publicly recorded his estimate of Dr. Buchanan’s merits, not merely by selecting him for the important office of vice-provost of the College of Calcutta, but by the terms which he used in communicating to the Directors his having appointed Dr. Buchanan to that important office :-- “I have also formed,” says his lordship, “the highest expectations from the abilities, learning, temper and morals of Mr. Buchanan, whose character is also well known in England, and particularly to Dr. Porteus, bishop of London; and to Dr. Milner, master of Queen’s College in the University of Cambridge.”

I will not affirm that Mr. Buchanan is exempt from the ordinary infirmities of our common nature; and that he who has published so much, of course, in some cases, on the authority of others, may never have been misinformed, or may never have been betrayed into the slightest inaccuracy: but this, Sir, I say, and I will even leave it to be determined by those who entertain the strongest prejudices against Dr. Buchanan, and who may complain the most loudly of the supposed inaccuracy of his statements, whether, at least, his conduct was not that of one who was the most anxious and impartial inquirer after truth and whether they themselves could have suggested any method by which the correctness or incorrectness of his statements could be more decisively ascertained than that which he adopted.  He did not wait, as his opponents have done in calling in question his supposed inaccuracies, till his return to England; but he published his chief work while yet in India.  In order to draw more attention to it, he presented it to government; and it was in usual circulation for three years before he left Calcutta, on the very spot, and among the very people, whose opinions, institutions and practices, were the subjects of his publication.

To those who have known as long, and as well as myself, the unblemished integrity of Dr. Buchanan in private life, this attestation to his character will be superfluous; but it is no more than paying a debt of justice to a man to whom, India, I trust, will one day know, and I doubt not, acknowledge, the unspeakable obligations which she owes him, for the degree of zeal and perseverance, scarcely to be paralleled, with which, in contempt of misconstruction and obloquy, he continues to promote her best interests, and to render her services, the amount of which no human language can adequately express.

And now, Sir, I am persuaded, that in all who hear me, there can be but one common feeling of deep commiseration for the unhappy people whose sad state I have been describing to you; together with the most earnest wishes that we should commence, with prudence, but with zeal, our endeavours to communicate to those benighted reigions, the genial life and warmth of our Christian principles and institutions, if it can be attempted without absolute ruin to our political interests in India.

And if we were compelled by any irresistible urgency of political necessity, to abstain from the attempt, however cautiously and prudently it might be made, we should at least require this necessity to be clearly and indisputably established.

For my own part, I confess, that nothing but absolute demonstration could convince me of the existence of such a necessity.   For I should deem it almost morally impossible, that there could be any country in the state in which India is proved, but too clearly, now to be, which would not be likely to find Christianity the most powerful of all expedients for improving its morals, and promoting alike its temporal and eternal welfare.   And I rejoice, Sir, in being able to assure you, that if we proceed with that prudence and caution with which all such measures should be conducted, the endeavour to communicate to our fellow-subjects in India, the benefits of Christian light and moral improvement may not only be made without danger, but, what is more, that there is no way whatever by which we should be so likely to promote our political interests in India; because there is no other way in which we should so greatly strengthen the foundations of our government in that country.  Here, Sir, as in the whole of our case, we stand on the sure and stable ground of fact and experience.

Our opponents represent the natives of India as of such a jealous sensibility, wherever their religion is concerned, that on the most reserved and cautious endeavours to convince hem of the errors of their system, and to bring them over to our purer faith, their passions would be at once inflamed ot madness, and some violent explosion would infallibly ensue.   If this, Sir, were true, how is it then that, for more than a century, Christian missionaries have been labouring in India, sometimes with considerable success, and yet we do not only have heard of none of these tumults, but, as I before remarked, the missionaries themselves, who admitting the statement of our opponents to be correct, must necessarily be supposed to be the objects of universal jealousy and even antipathy, have been, on the contrary, not only the most esteemed, but the most beloved and popular, individuals in the country.  Not longer ago thatn in the year 1803, the missionaries of the venerable Society for promoting Christian Knowledge, as we learn from its report for that year, were eminently successful.   Yet we heard of no insurrection, nay of no discontent, in that part of the country; in short, we only know of the proceedings at all, from the correspondence published by the Society.

In that only instance in which our opponents have been enabled to find any just matter of complaint against any of the missionaries, or rather against any of the converts of the missionaries (for it is only to them that any blame can be imputed), the transaction, taken altogether, and with all its consequences, tends strongly to confirm our conclusions, and to invalidate those of our adversaries. 

The story is this—One of the native converts of the Baptist missionaries, translated into Persian, and printed without the knowledge of the missionaries, a sort of life of Mahomet, containing many abusive and highly objectionable passages.  Of this book, 2,000 copies were struck off, and 300 got into circulation in and about Calcutta, that is, in the very district, where, of all others, the thickness of the population, and the consequent intercourse of the natives with each other, must naturally favour the diffusion of any popular discontent.   Yet what was the result?  Did the circumstance transpire in consequence of some sudden insurrection?   Of all the three hundred copies, one alone was ever heard of.  And what became of that? It was brought by the son of a native merchant to one of the Mahometan professors in the college at Calcutta, with a request that he would write an answer to it, and vindicate the honour of their prophet and the truth of the Mahometan faith.  Could any thing indicate less of that headlong violence which we are told to expect from the natives wheneve we attempt to call in question the tenets of their religion, or to inculcate our own?

Here was a case in which I grant there was imprudence; yet so far from producing any commotion, it scarcely excited the smallest attention; and in the only instance in which it was noticed, it was in that temperate and cool way of reason and argument, which can never tend ot the disturbance of the public peace, or to the endangering of our political interests.

The true conclusion, Sir, from the incident, would be, that the natives were so tolerant and patient in what concerns their religion, that even the grossest imprudence could not arouse them to anger.

At last, one virtue of those wretched Hindoos and Mahometans!  Presumably a vulgar mob of Englishmen would have, under similar circumstances, arisen on those impudent critic and proceeded to tear any such into pieces.

But I ought not to close my account of this transaction without remarking, that no such incident can ever take place again; for it was settled, and indeed willingly conceded by the missionaries themselves that all publications should in future be inspected and licenced by a government officer, appointed for that purpose, before they should be sent into the world.  Neither ought I to dismiss the subject, without remarking, that the whole conduct of the missionaries on this occasion was in the highest degree honourable to their Christian character, and such as could not but obtain for them, as it did, the warm approbation of their superiors.*

*”We observe, with great satisfaction the temperate and respectful conduct of the Society of Missionaries, in the discussions which took place on the subject of the publications to which your attention was directed, and of the measures which you felt yourselves called upon to adopt,” &c.—Letter of Aug 1808, from the Court of Directors to their Presidency at Fort William in Bengal.

In truth, if they had behaved on this occasion otherwise than as they did, they would have acted in a manner wholly inconsistent with their own deliberate purpose; for among other general resolutions for the regulation of their conduct, into which they entered previously to their commencing their professional labours, there is one, the good sense and prudence, as well as the Christian meekness of which, ought to cover with shame those who speak of them as a set of hairbrained fanatics.  

A part of it is as follows:-- “It is necessary,” they say, “in our intercourse with the Hindoos, that, as far as we are able, we abstain from those things which would increase their prejudices against the Gospel.  Those parts of English manners which are most offensive to them should be kept out of sight; nor is it advisable at once to attack their prejudices by exhibiting with acrimony the sins of their gods; neither should we do violence to their images, nor interrupt their worship.” *

*See Baptist Missionary Society’s Report.

In truth, Sir, these Anabaptist missionaries, as among other low epithets bestowed on them, they have been been contemptuously termed, are entitled to our highest respect and admiration.  One of them, Dr. Carey, was originally in one of the lowest stations of society; but, under all the disadvantages of such a situation, he had the genius as well as benevolence to devise the plan which has since been pursued, of forming a society for communicating the blessings of Christian light to the natives of India; and his first care was to qualify himself to act a distinguished part in that truly noble enterprise.   He resolutely applied himself to the study of the learned languages; after making a considerable proficiency in them, he applied himself  to several of the Oriental tongues, more especially to that which I understand is regarded as the parent of them all, the Shanscrit; in which last, his proficiency is acknowledged to be far greater than that of sir William Jones himself, or of any other European.   Of several of these languages he has already published a dictionary, and he has in contemplation still greater literary enterprises.  The very plan of one of them would excite the highest admiration and respect in every unprejudiced literary mind.  All this time, Sir, he is labouring indefatigably as a missionary with a warmth of zeal only equalled by that with which he prosecutes his literary labours.

Merit like this could not escape the distinguishing eye of lord Wellesley, who appointed him to be professor of the Shanscrit, and of another of the native languages in the college at Calcutta.   Another of these Anabaptist missionaries, Mr.  Marshman, has established a seminary for the cultivation of the Chinese language, which he has studied with a success scarcely inferior to that of Dr. Carey in the Shanscrit.

On more than one occasion, at the annual examinations at the college at Calcutta, the highest eulogioum was pronounced on both Carey and Marshman, by the governor general; and the happiest consequences were predicted from the prosecution of their literary labours.*

*I ought not to omit the honourable testimony which hs been borne to these extraordinary men by the rev. Dr. Marsh of Cambridge.   After some account of their literary labours, he proceeds: “Such are the exertions of those extraordinary men, the missionaries at Serampore, who in the course of eleven years from the commencement of 1800, to the latest accounts, have contributed so much to the translation and dispersion of the Scriptures in the Oriental languages, that the united efforts of no society whatever can be compared with them.   These are the men who, before the Bible Society existed, formed the grand design of translating the Scriptures into all the languages of the East; these are the men who have been the grand instruments in the execution of this stupendous work; these are the men who are best qualified to complete the design so nobly begun, and hitherto so successfully performed, who in the knowledge of the language which they themselves have acquired, -- who in the seminary in Serampore, designed for the education of future translators,--who in their extensive connections with men of learning throughout the East, -- who in the missionary printing office, so well supplied with types of almost every description,--and who in the extensive supplies afforded by the Baptist Society, augmented by their own noble contributions, are in possession of the means which are required for that important purpose.  These are men, therefore, who are entitled to the thanks of the British public.”

It is a merit of a more vulgar sort, but to those who are blind to their moral and even their literary excellencies, it may perhaps afford an estimate of value better suited to their principles and habits of calculation, that these men, and Mr. Ward also, another of the missionaries, acquiring from 1000l to 1,500l per annum each, by the various exercise of their talents, throw the whole into the common stock of the mission, which they thus support by their pecuniary contributions only less effectually than by their researches and labours of a higher order.  Such, Sir, are the exertions, such the merits, such the success, of these great and good men, for so I shall not hesitate to term them.

The hon. gentleman concluded with apologising to the Committee for the time he had occupied, and declaring that he should cordially support the Resolution.

Mr. Forbes was apprehensive the admission of missionaries into India would be dangerous to our Eastern empire, and thought that they ought to pause before they risked the lives of Europeans in India by adopting the proposition before the House.  He had no objection to missionaries being suffered to go there as heretofore, but if once they got the sanction of government, and a legislative enactment were made in their favour, he was of the opinion the danger would be very great.

Mr. Fawcett opposed the Resolution.

Mr. P. Moore contended, in answer to Mr. Wilberforce, that there was not a chaster or more meritorious set of men living than the British inhabitants of India.  And as to the boast of making 100 converts, he would ask, whether among them, was there one honest man?   For his part, he never knew one of those converts who did not turn out to be a rogue.   Hitherto he had abstained from saying anything upon the India question, becaues his opinions on the subject were on record; for he had repeatedly stated to that House, and in fact many years ago, those sentiments which were of late echoed by various persons, and upon which, for the most part, government seemed at length disposed to act.

Mr. Alexander resisted the Resolution.

Sir T. Sutton objected to the proposition before the House.  He thought it would defeat its own object, as it was not the way to convert another to our opinions, to set out by stating such to be our intentions.  Every thing desirable to be done with respect to missionaries might be done without danger under the third Resolution.

Mr. Prendergast stated that the conduct of Dr. Carey, which had been so exemplary during lord Wellesley’s government, totally changed on the departure of the noble lord; that one day he harangued a large mob in their native language, and abused the religion of the natives in such terms that the he would have been killed but for the interference of the police.  The hon. gentleman was decidedly agains the resolution.

Mr. R. Thornton was in favour of the Resolution and said it was a libel on truth to suppose its propagation would be attended with evil.

Mr. W. Smith followed on the same side. We could change the whole tenure of the land, he observed; we could take the temple of Jaggernaut, and seize the car of the idol, when a paltry revenue was concerned, but in the present instance we were afraid of alarming the prejudices of the natives.  Let men fear, when there was reason to fear; in atempting to benefit the natives of India, there was no cause for alarm.

Mr. Lushington said the present Resolution would not be dangerous to our government in India.   He was sorry it had not been adopted before, and hoped it would be carried.

Mr. H. Thorton supported the Resolution, and contended that its object could not be obtained under the third Resolution, which had been so often alluded to.

The House divided, when the numbers were—
For the Resolution …………..89
Against it…………………………36

It should be noted that in 1813, there were 658 Members of Parliament per Wiki.