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And then we have the following ominous notice relative to the Buchanan Prize Essay, which Mr. Twining describes as a "most improper and a most alarming fact:"
"What must the natives of India think, when they shall know, as most assuredly they will, that Mr. Buchanan has been permitted to engage the national universities of this country, in discussing and determining the best means of diffusing the Christian religion throughout India? It is a fact, and I think, a most improper and a most alarming fact, that the Vice Provost of the Company's College at Fort William, has actually bestowed a Prize of £500, at each of the Universities, for the best disputation on the following question, viz. "What are the best means of civilizing the subjects of British India, and of diffusing the light of the Christian Religion through the Eastern World?"
The letter to the Chairman concludes with the following magniloquent peroration:
"As long as we continue to govern India in the mild and tolerant spirit of Christianity, we may govern it with ease; but, if ever the fatal day should arrive, when religious innovation shall set her foot in that country, indignation will spread from one end of Hindústan to the other, and the arms of fifty millions of people will drive us from that portion of the globe, with as much ease as the sand of the desert is scattered by the wind. But I still hope, Sir, that a perseverance in the indiscreet measures, I have described, will not be allowed to expose our countrymen in India to the horrors of that dreadful day but that our native subjects in every part of the East will be permitted quietly to follow their own religious opinions, their own religious prejudices and absurdities, until it shall please the Omnipotent Power of Heaven to lead them into the paths of light and truth."
This pamphlet called into the field a small regiment of rejoinders. We have now before us, "Cursory remarks on Mr. Twining's letter"-"A letter in answer to Mr. Richard Twining, Tea-dealer"-" An address to the Chairman of the East India Company, occasioned by Mr. Twining's letter," &c. &c. The last named of these publications was the production of Mr. Owen, one of the Secretaries of the Bible Society, and is principally directed to the defence of that institution. In so far, it is a triumphant reply to Mr. Twining's tirade. Mr. Twining had especially commented on the fact, that Lord Teignmouth, Mr. Grant, and Mr. Thornton were on the Committee of the Society -the first being at its head; Mr. Owen, with reference to this, replied that neither Mr. Grant nor Mr. Thornton had once attended a meeting of the Committee, during the period of three years and a half, for which the Society had existed; and he successfully exploded a surmise, to which some weight was attached, that a certain letter from Mr. Brown was addressed to Mr. Grant, by declaring that it was written to himself. Bishop Porteus followed Mr. Owen; and, Scott Waring having taken the field on
the other side, Lord Teignmouth sate down to write his "Considerations" on the duty and expediency of communicating a knowledge of Christianity to the natives of India. It was said at the time, and with undeniable truth, that if this pamphlet had appeared at the beginning of the controversy, no other need have been written. It was sensible, argumentative, and conclusive; and it showed that he had a more prophetic vision than the alarmists, with whom he contended.
The Charter of 1793 wore to its close; and now the great question was about to be formally decided. It had virtually been decided before. Public opinion, before the dawn of 1813, had pronounced the doom of the abnegation system. But still that was a great year. The institution of an episcopal establishment in India was about to be formally proposed in Parliament (somewhat unwillingly, for Lord Castlereagh was to be the proposer); but the people of England were declaring so emphatically in favour of a more open recognition of Christianity by a Christian Government, and the concession of greater liberty to Christian ministers in the East, that it was no longer possible to withstand the tide of popular feeling. Petitions began to pour in from all parts of the country; from all classes of men; from all denominations of Protestant Christians. "On the subject of facilitating the diffusion of Christianity in India," wrote Mr. Simeon to his "dear friend and brother" Thomson, "there are going to be petitions from all quarters. Vast opposi
tion is made to it: Lord Castlereagh is adverse to it; examinations are making in relation to it at the bar of the House of Commons; Mr. Hastings, Lord Teignmouth, and others have given their evidence; Hastings is very adverse. Lord Castlereagh's plan is to send out a Bishop and three Archdeacons; but whether it will be approved by Parliament I cannot tell."* The war was now being waged in earnest. The resolutions had by this time been stated to the House; and,
*Lord Liverpool was at this time Prime Minister. Lord Castlereagh was Foreign Secretary, and leader of the House of Commons. The Earl of Buckinghamshire was President of the Board of Controul. It is believed that the Premier was more liberally disposed than his colleagues towards the promotion of Christianity in India. "Be so good," wrote Buchanan, in July 1812, "as to tell and- that I have received a letter from Colonel Macaulay this morning, informing me that a deputation of Messrs. Wilberforce, Grant, Babington, &c. had waited on Lord Liverpool, on the subject of evangelising India, and that his Lordship surprised them by offering almost more than they wished. He intimated his intention to carry the three following important measures: -1st. To establish a seminary at each presidency in India for instructing natives for the ministry; 2nd. To grant licenses to Missionaries, not from the Court of Directors, but from the Board of Controul; 3d. To consecrate Bishops for India." It is probable that Lord Castlereagh's pruning knife was applied to this scheme; and thence the modified form, which it assumed in the resolutions.
a few days after Simeon's letter was written, the Protestant Dissenters of the country memorialised Parliament, setting forth that "to represent a system of idolatry and superstition as tending to produce moral virtue and human happiness, is no less contrary to the dictates of sound reason and philosophy, than irreconcileable with the first principles on which our faith is built; and that, entertaining a directly opposite sentiment, the petitioners are anxiously desirous. that the light and blessings of Christianity should be gradually diffused over the immense Empire of Great Britain in the East, which, instead of being thereby endangered, would, as they believe on the ground of fact and experience, derive additional strength and stability from the spread of the Christian religion; and that the petitioners are fully aware of the mass of ignorance and prejudice to be encountered, and that the progress of knowledge must be proportionably slow; but whilst the means of persuasion only are employed (and all others they utterly deprecate), they are at a loss to discover from whence any such apprehensions of danger can arise, as 'to induce any wise and good government to discountenance the attempt." Local petitions poured in both from England and Scotland. Glasgow put forth an emphatic appeal, both in behalf of the general dissemination of Christianity throughout India, and, through its ministers and elders, of the claims of the Scottish Church to recognition in India. The Synod of Fife embodied both objects in one comprehensive petition. Mr. Whitbread presented a petition from "the Treasurer, Secretaries, and Directors of a certain voluntary Society, known by the name of the Missionary Society, instituted in 1795;" but, half ashamed of it, begged to be understood as giving no opinion on the subject. Warrington, Sunderland, Leeds, Weymouth, and other places in the north and south, too numerous to specify, poured in their petitions both to the Upper and the Lower House. And whilst the two Houses were receiving these indications of popular opinion out-of-doors, they were busily engaged in taking the evidence of experienced members of the civil and military services, and of the commercial community, regarding the different points embraced in the Charter of the great Company, which was now about to lose some of its dearest privileges, in spite of the most manful efforts to retain them.
Among the remarkable men, examined by the Parliamentary Committees, were Warren Hastings, Sir John Malcolm, Sir Thomas Munro, and Lord Teignmouth. When Hastings was asked by the Commons' Committee, whether he recol
lected any Missionaries in India in his time, he said that he remembered Schwartz, " a very worthy gentleman" in the Carnatic; and another in Calcutta, Kiernander, who might not perhaps be properly described as a Missionary. He stated also, that he remembered one conversion in Calcutta, effected by Kiernander, because it was announced" with great pomp and parade;" and that he remembered a Catholic Priest at Dacca, who boasted that he had a number of Christian converts, but did not not seem to understand Christianity himself. When he was asked, what would be the consequences, if persons were allowed to employ themselves, as Missionaries, unlicensed and subject to no restraint ;" he answered, that he could not suppose such a situation: but, when told that the Committee meant "unrestrained, as to the mode they may think proper to adopt for effecting their object," he said, that, if such people had demeaned themselves properly, he should have taken no notice of them; but that, if they had given out that Government encouraged their designs, he should have exercised his authority in controlling them, or, if necessary, have sent them out of the country. To the question, "What is your opinion as to the political effect of the measure proposed, res pecting a Church Establishment for India?" he gave this an
"The question is one of great intricacy, and of such delicacy, that I should almost fear to speak to it, but that my respect for this Honorable House enjoins it; because, though it specifically mentions only political effects, yet it intimates no allusion to the nature of the office itself. Of the religious uses, or present necessity, of such a creation I cannot be a judge, and therefore can say nothing to it; and, unless I knew both the circumstances and object of the creation, it would be impossible for me to conjecture in what way they could affect the peace of the country. May I say, without offence, that I wish any other time had been chosen for it? A surmise has gone forth of an intention in this Government to force our religion upon the consciences of the people in India, who are subjected to the authority of the Company. It has pervaded every one of the three Establishments of Bengal, Fort St. George, and Bombay, and has unhappily impressed itself with peculiar force upon the minds of our Native Infantry, the men on whom we must depend, in the last resort, for our protection against any disturbances, which might be the effect of such surmises. Much would depend upon the temper, conduct, and demeanour of the person devoted to that sacred office. I dare not say all that is in my mind on this subject; but it is one of great hazard.
And thus expressing his fears, the fine old man stood there,
* We ought to write sate. The accommodation of a chair was offered to Mr. Hastings, then in his eighty-first year; and it is on record, that the motion to afford him a seat, whilst delivering his evidence, was received with one of the loudest bursts of acclamation ever heard in the House. His own account of his examination is to be found in a letter addressed to Sir (then Mr.) Charles D'Oyley.
the embodiment of public opinion, as it was in India some twenty years before. Another Governor-General followed him ; he spoke also, according to the light that was in him-but how different that light! Lord Teignmouth came forward, as the representative of a more enlightened era, laughing to scorn all these vague fears and idle apprehensions. The Committee seemed to know the kind of man they had to deal with, and assailed him at starting by putting an extreme case: "Would it be consistent with the security of the British empire in India, that Missionaries should preach publicly, with a view to the conversion of the native Indians, that Mahomet is an impostor, or should speak in opprobrious terms of the Brahmins, or their religious 'rites ?" To this, of course, Lord Teignmouth replied, that there might be danger in such indiscretion; but that no one contemplated the conversion of the natives of India by such means; and when, soon afterwards, the question was put, "Is your Lordship aware that an opinion prevails in India, that it is the intention of the British Government to take means to convert the natives of the country to the Christian religion?" he answered, without a moment's hesitation, " I never heard it, or suspected it." One would have thought that there was little need after this to put the case hypothetically; but the witness was presently asked whether, allowing such an opinion to exist. among the natives, the appearance of a Bishop on the stage would not increase the danger. "I should think," said Lord Teignmouth, "it would be viewed with perfect indifference." Determined to work the hypothesis a little more, the Committee asked him whether, "were the Hindús possessed with an idea, that we had an intention of changing their religion and converting them into Christians, it would be attended with any bad consequences at all?" "I will expatiate a little in my answer to that question," said Lord Teignmouth; and he then delivered himself of the following explanation, the admirable good sense of which is not to be surpassed by anything to be found in the entire mass of evidence, elicited, throughout the enquiry, upon all points of the Company's Charter:
"Both the Hindús and Muhammedans, subject to the British Government in India, have had the experience of some years, that, in all the public acts of that Government, every attention has been paid to their prejudices,
"By the Commons," he said, "I was under examination between three and four hours; and when I was ordered to withdraw, and was retiring, all the members, by one simultaneous impulse, rose, with their heads uncovered, and stood in silence, till I passed the door of their chamber."-The Duke of Gloucester took him, in his carriage, to the House of Lords, sate with him in the outer room till he was called in to be examined, conducted him to the chamber, and subsequently re-conveyed him home again. Gleig's Life of Warren Hastings.