The Life of William Carey
by George Smith
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Meanwhile, in 1789, Carey had left Moulton[6] for Leicester, whither he was summoned to build up a congregation, ruined by antinomianism, in the mean brick chapel of the obscure quarter of Harvey Lane. This chapel his genius and Robert Hall's eloquence made so famous in time that the Baptists sent off a vigorous hive to the fine new church. In an equally humble house opposite the chapel the poverty of the pastor compelled him to keep a school from nine in the morning till four in winter and five in summer. Between this and the hours for sleep and food he had little leisure; but that he spent, as he had done all his life before and did all his life after, with a method and zeal which doubled his working days. "I have seen him at work," writes Gardiner in his Music and Friends, "his books beside him, and his beautiful flowers in the windows." In a letter to his father we have this division of his leisure—Monday, "the learned languages;" Tuesday, "the study of science, history, composition, etc;" Wednesday, "I preach a lecture, and have been for more than twelve months on the Book of Revelation;" Thursday, "I visit my friends;" Friday and Saturday, "preparing for the Lord's Day." He preached three times every Sunday in his own chapel or the surrounding villages, with such results that in one case he added hundreds to its Wesleyan congregation. He was secretary to the local committee of dissenters. "Add to this occasional journeys, ministers' meetings, etc., and you will rather wonder that I have any time, than that I have so little. I am not my own, nor would I choose for myself. Let God employ me where he thinks fit, and give me patience and discretion to fill up my station to his honour and glory."

"After I had been probationer in this place a year and ten months, on the 24th of May 1791 I was solemnly set apart to the office of pastor. About twenty ministers of different denominations were witnesses to the transactions of the day. After prayer Brother Hopper of Nottingham addressed the congregation upon the nature of an ordination, after which he proposed the usual questions to the church, and required my Confession of Faith; which being delivered, Brother Ryland prayed the ordination prayer, with laying on of hands. Brother Sutcliff delivered a very solemn charge from Acts vi. 4—'But we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word.' And Brother Fuller delivered an excellent address to the people from Eph. v. 2—'Walk in love.' In the evening Brother Pearce of Birmingham preached from Gal. vi. 14—'God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me and I unto the world.' The day was a day of pleasure, and I hope of profit to the greatest part of the Assembly."

Carey became the friend of his neighbour, Thomas Robinson, evangelical rector of St. Mary's, to whom he said on one occasion when indirectly charged in humorous fashion with "sheep-stealing:" "Mr. Robinson, I am a dissenter, and you are a churchman; we must each endeavour to do good according to our light. At the same time, you may be assured that I had rather be the instrument of converting a scavenger that sweeps the streets than of merely proselyting the richest and best characters in your congregation." Dr. Arnold and Mr. R. Brewin, a botanist, opened to him their libraries, and all good men in Leicester soon learned to be proud of the new Baptist minister. In the two chapels, as in that of Moulton, enlarged since his time, memorial tablets tell succeeding generations of the virtues and the deeds of "the illustrious W. Carey, D.D."

The ministers' meeting of 1792 came round, and on 31st May Carey seized his opportunity. The place was Nottingham, from which the 1784 invitation to prayer had gone forth. Was the answer to come just there after nine years' waiting? His Enquiry had been published; had it prepared the brethren? Ryland had been always loyal to the journeyman shoemaker he had baptised in the river, and he gives us this record:—"If all the people had lifted up their voices and wept, as the children of Israel did at Bochim, I should not have wondered at the effect. It would only have seemed proportionate to the cause, so clearly did he prove the criminality of our supineness in the cause of God." The text was Isaiah's (liv. 2, 3) vision of the widowed church's tent stretching forth till her children inherited the nations and peopled the desolate cities, and the application to the reluctant brethren was couched in these two great maxims written ever since on the banners of the missionary host of the kingdom—


The service was over; even Fuller was afraid, even Ryland made no sign, and the ministers were leaving the meeting. Seizing Fuller's arm with an imploring look, the preacher, whom despair emboldened to act alone for his Master, exclaimed: "And are you, after all, going again to do nothing?" What Fuller describes as the "much fear and trembling" of these inexperienced, poor, and ignorant village preachers gave way to the appeal of one who had gained both knowledge and courage, and who, as to funds and men, was ready to give himself. They entered on their minutes this much:—"That a plan be prepared against the next ministers' meeting at Kettering for forming a Baptist Society for propagating the Gospel among the Heathen." There was more delay, but only for four months. The first purely English Missionary Society, which sent forth its own English founder, was thus constituted as described in the minutes of the Northampton ministers' meeting.

"At the ministers' meeting at Kettering, October 2, 1792, after the public services of the day were ended, the ministers retired to consult further on the matter, and to lay a foundation at least for a society, when the following resolutions were proposed, and unanimously agreed to:—

"1. Desirous of making an effort for the propagation of the gospel among the heathen, agreeably to what is recommended in brother Carey's late publication on that subject, we, whose names appear to the subsequent subscription, do solemnly agree to act in society together for that purpose.

"2. As in the present divided state of Christendom, it seems that each denomination, by exerting itself separately, is most likely to accomplish the great ends of a mission, it is agreed that this society be called The Particular [Calvinistic] Baptist Society for Propagating the Gospel among the Heathen.

"3. As such an undertaking must needs be attended with expense, we agree immediately to open a subscription for the above purpose, and to recommend it to others.

"4. Every person who shall subscribe ten pounds at once, or ten shillings and sixpence annually, shall be considered a member of the society.

"5. That the Rev. John Ryland, Reynold Hogg, William Carey, John Sutcliff, and Andrew Fuller, be appointed a committee, three of whom shall be empowered to act in carrying into effect the purposes of this society.

"6. That the Rev. Reynold Hogg be appointed treasurer, and the Rev. Andrew Fuller secretary.

"7. That the subscriptions be paid in at the Northampton ministers' meeting, October 31, 1792, at which time the subject shall be considered more particularly by the committee, and other subscribers who may be present.

"Signed, John Ryland, Reynold Hogg, John Sutcliff, Andrew Fuller, Abraham Greenwood, Edward Sherman, Joshua Burton, Samuel Pearce, Thomas Blundel, William Heighton, John Eayres, Joseph Timms; whose subscriptions in all amounted to L13:2:6."

The procedure suggested in "brother Carey's late publication" was strictly followed—a society of subscribers, 2d. a week, or 10s. 6d. a year as a compromise between the tithes and the penny a week of the Enquiry. The secretary was the courageous Fuller, who once said to Ryland and Sutcliff: "You excel me in wisdom, especially in foreseeing difficulties. I therefore want to advise with you both, but to execute without you." The frequent chairman was Ryland, who was soon to train missionaries for the work at Bristol College. The treasurer was the only rich man of the twelve, who soon resigned his office into a layman's hands, as was right. Of the others we need now point only to Samuel Pearce, the seraphic preacher of Birmingham, who went home and sent L70 to the collection, and who, since he desired to give himself like Carey, became to him dearer than even Fuller was. The place was a low-roofed parlour in the house of Widow Wallis, looking on to a back garden, which many a pilgrim still visits, and around which there gathered thousands in 1842 to hold the first jubilee of modern missions, when commemorative medals were struck. There in 1892 the centenary witnessed a still vaster assemblage.

Can any good come out of Kettering? was the conclusion of the Baptist ministers of London with the one exception of Booth, when they met formally to decide whether, like those of Birmingham and other places, they should join the primary society. Benjamin Beddome, a venerable scholar whom Robert Hall declared to be chief among his brethren, replied to Fuller in language which is far from unusual even at the present day, but showing the position which the Leicester minister had won for himself even then:—

"I think your scheme, considering the paucity of well-qualified ministers, hath a very unfavourable aspect with respect to destitute churches at home, where charity ought to begin. I had the pleasure once to see and hear Mr. Carey; it struck me he was the most suitable person in the kingdom, at least whom I knew, to supply my place, and make up my great deficiencies when either disabled or removed. A different plan is formed and pursued, and I fear that the great and good man, though influenced by the most excellent motives, will meet with a disappointment. However, God hath his ends, and whoever is disappointed He cannot be so. My unbelieving heart is ready to suggest that the time is not come, the time that the Lord's house should be built."

The other Congregationalists made no sign. The Presbyterians, with a few noble exceptions like Dr. Erskine, whose Dutch volume Carey had translated, denounced such movements as revolutionary in a General Assembly of Socinianised "moderates." The Church of England kept haughtily or timidly aloof, though king and archbishop were pressed to send a mission. "Those who in that day sneered that England had sent a cobbler to convert the world were the direct lineal descendants of those who sneered in Palestine 2000 years ago, 'Is not this the carpenter?'" said Archdeacon Farrar in Westminster Abbey on 6th March 1887. Hence Fuller's reference to this time:—"When we began in 1792 there was little or no respectability among us, not so much as a squire to sit in the chair or an orator to address him with speeches. Hence good Dr. Stennett advised the London ministers to stand aloof and not commit themselves."

One man in India had striven to rouse the Church to its duty as Carey had done at home. Charles Grant had in 1787 written from Malda to Charles Simeon and Wilberforce for eight missionaries, but not one Church of England clergyman could be found to go. Thirty years after, when chairman of the Court of Directors and father of Lord Glenelg and Sir Robert Grant, he wrote:—"I had formed the design of a mission to Bengal: Providence reserved that honour for the Baptists." After all, the twelve village pastors in the back parlour of Kettering were the more really the successors of the twelve apostles in the upper room of Jerusalem.




Tahiti v. Bengal—Carey and Thomas appointed missionaries to Bengal—The farewell at Leicester—John Thomas, first medical missionary—Carey's letter to his father—The Company's "abominable monopoly"—The voyage—Carey's aspirations for world-wide missions—Lands at Calcutta—His description of Bengal in 1793—Contrast presented by Carey to Clive, Hastings, and Cornwallis—The spiritual founder of an Indian Empire of Christian Britain—Bengal and the famine of 1769-70—The Decennial Settlement declared permanent—Effects on the landed classes—Obstacles to Carey's work—East India Company at its worst—Hindooism and the Bengalees in 1793—Position of Hindoo women—Missionary attempts before Carey's—Ziegenbalg and Schwartz—Kiernander and the chaplains—Hindooised state of Anglo-Indian society and its reaction on England—Guneshan Dass, the first caste Hindoo to visit England—William Carey had no predecessor.

Carey had desired to go first to Tahiti or Western Africa. The natives of North America and the negroes of the West Indies and Sierra Leone were being cared for by Moravian and Wesleyan evangelists. The narrative of Captain Cook's two first voyages to the Pacific and discovery of Tahiti had appeared in the same year in which the Northampton churches began their seven years' concert of prayer, just after his own second baptism. From the map, and a leather globe which also he is said to have made, he had been teaching the children of Piddington, Moulton, and Leicester the great outlines and thrilling details of expeditions round the world which roused both the scientific and the simple of England as much as the discoveries of Columbus had excited Europe. When the childlike ignorance and natural grace of the Hawaiians, which had at first fired him with the longing to tell them the good news of God, were seen turned into the wild justice of revenge, which made Cook its first victim, Carey became all the more eager to anticipate the disasters of later days. That was work for which others were to be found. It was not amid the scattered and decimated savages of the Pacific or of America that the citadel of heathenism was found, nor by them that the world, old and new, was to be made the kingdom of Christ. With the cautious wisdom that marked all Fuller's action, though perhaps with the ignorance that was due to Carey's absence, the third meeting of the new society recorded this among other articles "to be examined and discussed in the most diligent and impartial manner—In what part of the heathen world do there seem to be the most promising openings?"

The answer, big with consequence for the future of the East, was in their hands, in the form of a letter from Carey, who stated that "Mr. Thomas, the Bengal missionary," was trying to raise a fund for that province, and asked "whether it would not be worthy of the Society to try to make that and ours unite with one fund for the purpose of sending the gospel to the heathen indefinitely." Tahiti was not to be neglected, nor Africa, nor Bengal, in "our larger plan," which included above four hundred millions of our fellowmen, among whom it was an object "worthy of the most ardent and persevering pursuit to disseminate the humane and saving principles of the Christian Religion." If this Mr. Thomas were worthy, his experience made it desirable to begin with Bengal. Thomas answered for himself at the next meeting, when Carey fell upon his neck and wept, having previously preached from the words—"Behold I come quickly, and My reward is with Me." "We saw," said Fuller afterwards, "there was a gold mine in India, but it was as deep as the centre of the earth. Who will venture to explore it? 'I will venture to go down,' said Carey, 'but remember that you (addressing Fuller, Sutcliff, and Ryland) must hold the ropes.' We solemnly engaged to him to do so, nor while we live shall we desert him."

Carey and Thomas, an ordained minister and a medical evangelist, were at this meeting in Kettering, on 10th January 1793, appointed missionaries to "the East Indies for preaching the gospel to the heathen," on "L100 or L150 a year between them all,"—that is, for two missionaries, their wives, and four children,—until they should be able to support themselves like the Moravians. As a matter of fact they received just L200 in all for the first three years when self-support and mission extension fairly began. The whole sum at credit of the Society for outfit, passage, and salaries was L130, so that Fuller's prudence was not without justification when supported by Thomas's assurances that the amount was enough, and Carey's modest self-sacrifice. "We advised Mr. Carey," wrote Fuller to Ryland, "to give up his school this quarter, for we must make up the loss to him." The more serious cost of the passage was raised by Fuller and by the preaching tours of the two missionaries. During one of these, at Hull, Carey met the printer and newspaper editor, William Ward, and cast his mantle over him thus—"If the Lord bless us, we shall want a person of your business to enable us to print the Scriptures; I hope you will come after us." Ward did so in five years.

The 20th March 1793 was a high day in the Leicester chapel, Harvey Lane, when the missionaries were set apart like Barnabas and Paul—a forenoon of prayer; an afternoon of preaching by Thomas from Psalm xvi. 4; "Their sorrows shall be multiplied that hasten after another God;" an evening of preaching by the treasurer from Acts xxi. 14, "And when he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, the will of the Lord be done;" and the parting charge by Fuller the secretary, from the risen Lord's own benediction and forthsending of His disciples, "Peace be unto you, as My Father hath sent Me, even so send I you." Often in after days of solitude and reproach did Carey quicken his faith by reading the brave and loving words of Fuller on "the objects you must keep in view, the directions you must observe, the difficulties you must encounter, the reward you may expect."

Under date four days after we find this entry in the Church Book—"Mr. Carey, our minister, left Leicester to go on a mission to the East Indies, to take and propagate the Gospel among those idolatrous and superstitious heathens. This is inserted to show his love to his poor miserable fellow-creatures. In this we concurred with him, though it is at the expense of losing one whom we love as our own souls." When Carey's preaching had so filled the church that it became necessary to build a front gallery at a cost of L98, and they had applied to several other churches for assistance in vain, he thus taught them to help themselves. The minister and many of the members agreed to pay off the debt "among ourselves" by weekly subscriptions,—a process, however, which covered five years, so poor were they. Carey left this as a parting lesson to home congregations, while his people found it the easier to pay the debt that they had sacrificed their best, their own minister, to the work of missions for which he had taught them to pray.

John Thomas, four years older than Carey, was a surgeon, who had made two voyages to Calcutta in the Oxford Indiaman, had been of spiritual service to Charles Grant, Mr. George Udny, and the Bengal civilian circle at Malda, and had been supported by Mr. Grant as a missionary for a time until his eccentricities and debts outraged his friends and drove him home at the time of the Kettering meetings. Full justice has been done to a character and a career somewhat resembling those of John Newton, by his patient and able biographer the Rev. C. B. Lewis. John Thomas has the merit of being the first medical missionary, at a time when no other Englishman cared for either the bodies or souls of our recently acquired subjects in North India, outside of Charles Grant's circle. He has more; he was used by God to direct Carey to the dense Hindoo population of Bengal—to the people and to the centre, that is, where Brahmanism had its seat, and whence Buddhism had been carried by thousands of missionaries all over Southern, Eastern, and Central Asia. But there our ascription of merit to Thomas must stop. However well he might speak the uncultured Bengali, he never could write the language or translate the Bible into a literary style so that it could be understood by the people or influence their leaders. His temper kept Charles Grant back from helping the infant mission, though anxious to see Mr. Carey and to aid him and any other companion. The debts of Thomas caused him and Carey to be excluded from the Oxford, in which his friend the commander had agreed to take them and their party without a licence; clouded the early years of the enterprise with their shadow, and formed the heaviest of the many burdens Carey had to bear at starting. If, afterwards, the old association of Thomas with Mr. Udny at Malda gave Carey a home during his Indian apprenticeship, this was a small atonement for the loss of the direct help of Mr. Grant. If Carey proved to be the John among the men who began to make Serampore illustrious, Thomas was the Peter, so far as we know Peter in the Gospels only.

Just before being ejected from the Oxford, as he had been deprived of the effectual help of Charles Grant through his unhappy companion, when with only his eldest son Felix beside him, how did Carey view his God-given mission? The very different nature of his wife, who had announced to him the birth of a child, clung anew to the hope that this might cause him to turn back. Writing from Ryde on the 6th May he thus replied with sweet delicacy of human affection, but with true loyalty to his Master's call:—

"Received yours, giving me an account of your safe delivery. This is pleasant news indeed to me; surely goodness and mercy follow me all my days. My stay here was very painful and unpleasant, but now I see the goodness of God in it. It was that I might hear the most pleasing accounts that I possibly could hear respecting earthly things. You wish to know in what state my mind is. I answer, it is much as when I left you. If I had all the world, I would freely give it all to have you and my dear children with me; but the sense of duty is so strong as to overpower all other considerations; I could not turn back without guilt on my soul. I find a longing desire to enjoy more of God; but, now I am among the people of the world, I think I see more beauties in godliness than ever, and, I hope, enjoy more of God in retirement than I have done for some time past...You want to know what Mrs. Thomas thinks, and how she likes the voyage...She would rather stay in England than go to India; but thinks it right to go with her husband...Tell my dear children I love them dearly, and pray for them constantly. Felix sends his love. I look upon this mercy as an answer to prayer indeed. Trust in God. Love to Kitty, brothers, sisters, etc. Be assured I love you most affectionately. Let me know my dear little child's name.—I am, for ever, your faithful and affectionate husband,


"My health never was so well. I believe the sea makes Felix and me both as hungry as hunters. I can eat a monstrous meat supper, and drink a couple of glasses of wine after it, without hurting me at all. Farewell."

She was woman and wife enough, in the end, to do as Mrs. Thomas had done, but she stipulated that her sister should accompany her.

By a series of specially providential events, as it seemed, such as marked the whole early history of this first missionary enterprise of modern England, Carey and Thomas secured a passage on board the Danish Indiaman Kron Princessa Maria, bound from Copenhagen to Serampore. At Dover, where they had been waiting for days, the eight were roused from sleep by the news that the ship was off the harbour. Sunrise on the 13th June saw them on board. Carey had had other troubles besides his colleague and his wife. His father, then fifty-eight years old, had not given him up without a struggle. "Is William mad?" he had said when he received the letter in which his son thus offered himself up on the missionary altar. His mother had died six years before:—

"LEICESTER, Jan. 17th, 1793.

"DEAR AND HONOURED FATHER,—The importance of spending our time for God alone, is the principal theme of the gospel. I beseech you, brethren, says Paul, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable, which is your reasonable service. To be devoted like a sacrifice to holy uses, is the great business of a christian, pursuant to these requisitions. I consider myself as devoted to the service of God alone, and now I am to realise my professions. I am appointed to go to Bengal, in the East Indies, a missionary to the Hindoos. I shall have a colleague who has been there five or six years already, and who understands their language. They are the most mild and inoffensive people in all the world, but are enveloped in the greatest superstition, and in the grossest ignorance...I hope, dear father, you may be enabled to surrender me up to the Lord for the most arduous, honourable, and important work that ever any of the sons of men were called to engage in. I have many sacrifices to make. I must part with a beloved family, and a number of most affectionate friends. Never did I see such sorrow manifested as reigned through our place of worship last Lord's-day. But I have set my hand to the plough.—I remain, your dutiful son,


When in London Carey had asked John Newton, "What if the Company should send us home on our arrival in Bengal?" "Then conclude," was the reply, "that your Lord has nothing there for you to accomplish. But if He have, no power on earth can hinder you." By Act of Parliament not ten years old, every subject of the King going to or found in the East Indies without a licence from the Company, was guilty of a high crime and misdemeanour, and liable to fine and imprisonment. Only four years previously a regulation had compelled every commander to deliver to the Hoogli pilot a return of the passengers on board that the Act might be enforced. The Danish nationality of the ship and crew saved the missionary party. So grievously do unjust laws demoralise contemporary opinion, that Fuller was constrained to meet the objections of many to the "illegality" of the missionaries' action by reasoning, unanswerable indeed, but not now required: "The apostles and primitive ministers were commanded to go into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature; nor were they to stop for the permission of any power upon earth, but to go, and take the consequences. If a man of God, conscious of having nothing in his heart unfriendly to any civil government whatever, but determined in all civil matters to obey and teach obedience to the powers that are, put his life in his hand, saying, I will go, and if I am persecuted in one city I will flee to another'...whatever the wisdom of this world may decide upon his conduct, he will assuredly be acquitted, and more than acquitted, at a higher tribunal."

Carey's journal of the voyage begins with an allusion to "the abominable East Indian monopoly," which he was to do more than any other man to break down by weapons not of man's warfare. The second week found him at Bengali, and for his companion the poems of Cowper. Of the four fellow-passengers one was a French deist, with whom he had many a debate.

"Aug. 2.—I feel myself to be much declined, upon the whole, in the more spiritual exercises of religion; yet have had some pleasant exercises of soul, and feel my heart set upon the great work upon which I am going. Sometimes I am quite dejected when I see the impenetrability of the hearts of those with us. They hear us preach on the Lord's-day, but we are forced to witness their disregard to God all the week. O may God give us greater success among the heathen. I am very desirous that my children may pursue the same work; and now intend to bring up one in the study of Sanskrit, and another of Persian. O may God give them grace to fit them for the work! I have been much concerned for fear the power of the Company should oppose us...

"Aug. 20.—I have reason to lament over a barrenness of soul, and am sometimes much discouraged; for if I am so dead and stupid, how can I expect to be of any use among the heathen? Yet I have of late felt some very lively desires after the success of our undertaking. If there is anything that engages my heart in prayer to God, it is that the heathen may be converted, and that the society which has so generously exerted itself may be encouraged, and excited to go on with greater vigour in the important undertaking...

"Nov. 9.—I think that I have had more liberty in prayer, and more converse with God, than for some time before; but have, notwithstanding, been a very unfruitful creature, and so remain. For near a month we have been within two hundred miles of Bengal, but the violence of the currents set us back when we have been at the very door. I hope I have learned the necessity of bearing up in the things of God against wind and tide, when there is occasion, as we have done in our voyage."

To the Society he writes for a Polyglot Bible, the Gospels in Malay, Curtis's Botanical Magazine, and Sowerby's English Botany, at his own cost, and thus plans the conquest of the world:—"I hope the Society will go on and increase, and that the multitudes of heathen in the world may hear the glorious words of truth. Africa is but a little way from England; Madagascar but a little way farther; South America, and all the numerous and large islands in the Indian and Chinese seas, I hope will not be passed over. A large field opens on every side, and millions of perishing heathens, tormented in this life by idolatry, superstition, and ignorance, and exposed to eternal miseries in the world to come, are pleading; yea, all their miseries plead as soon as they are known, with every heart that loves God, and with all the churches of the living God. Oh, that many labourers may be thrust out into the vineyard of our Lord Jesus Christ, and that the gentiles may come to the knowledge of the truth as it is in Him!"

On the 7th November, as the ship lay in the roads of Balasore, he and Thomas landed and "began our labours." For three hours the people of the bazaar listened with great attention to Thomas, and one prepared for them a native dinner with plantain leaf for dish, and fingers for knives and forks. Balasore—name of Krishna—was one of the first settlements of the English in North India in 1642, and there the American Baptist successors of Carey have since carried on his work. On the 11th November, after a five months' voyage, they landed at Calcutta unmolested. The first fortnight's experience of the city, whose native population he estimated at 200,000, and of the surrounding country, he thus condenses:—"I feel something of what Paul felt when he beheld Athens, and 'his spirit was stirred within him.' I see one of the finest countries in the world, full of industrious inhabitants; yet three-fifths of it are an uncultivated jungle, abandoned to wild beasts and serpents. If the gospel flourishes here, 'the wilderness will in every respect become a fruitful field.'"

Clive, Hastings (Macpherson during an interregnum of twenty-two months), and Cornwallis, were the men who had founded and administered the empire of British India up to this time. Carey passed the last Governor-General in the Bay of Bengal as he retired with the honours of a seven years' successful generalship and government to atone for the not unhappy surrender of York Town, which had resulted in the independence of the United States. Sir John Shore, afterwards Lord Teignmouth, who had been selected by Pitt to carry out the reforms which he had elaborated along with his predecessor, had entered on his high office just a fortnight before. What a contrast was presented, as man judges, by the shy shoemaker, schoolmaster, and Baptist preacher, who found not a place in which to lay his head save a hovel lent to him by a Hindoo, to Clive, whose suicide he might have heard of when a child; to Hastings, who for seventeen years had stood before his country impeached. They were men described by Macaulay as of ancient, even illustrious lineage, and they had brought into existence an empire more extensive than that of Rome. He was a peasant craftsman, who had taught himself with a skill which Lord Wellesley, their successor almost as great as themselves, delighted publicly to acknowledge—a man of the people, of the class who had used the Roman Empire to build out of it a universal Christendom, who were even then turning France upside down, creating the Republic of America, and giving new life to Great Britain itself. The little Englishman was about to do in Calcutta and from Serampore what the little Jew, Paul, had done in Antioch and Ephesus, from Corinth and Rome. England might send its nobly born to erect the material and the secular fabric of empire, but it was only, in the providence of God, that they might prepare for the poor village preacher to convert the empire into a spiritual force which should in time do for Asia what Rome had done for Western Christendom. But till the last, as from the first, Carey was as unconscious of the part which he had been called to play as he was unresting in the work which it involved. It is no fanatical criticism, but the true philosophy of history, which places Carey over against Clive, the spiritual and secular founders, and Duff beside Hastings, the spiritual and secular consolidators of our Indian Empire.

Carey's work for India underlay the first period of forty years of transition from Cornwallis to Bentinck, as Duff's covered the second of thirty years to the close of Lord Canning's administration, which introduced the new era of full toleration and partial but increasing self-government directed by the Viceroy and Parliament.

Carey had been sent not only to the one people outside of Christendom whose conversion would tell most powerfully on all Asia, Africa, and their islands—the Hindoos; but to the one province which was almost entirely British, and could be used as it had been employed to assimilate the rest of India—Bengal. Territorially the East India Company possessed, when he landed, nothing outside of the Ganges valley of Bengal, Bihar, and Benares, save a few spots on the Madras and Malabar coasts and the portion just before taken in the Mysore war. The rest was desolated by the Marathas, the Nizam, Tipoo, and other Mohammedan adventurers. On the Gangetic delta and right up to Allahabad, but not beyond, the Company ruled and raised revenue, leaving the other functions of the state to Mohammedans of the type of Turkish pashas under the titular superiority of the effete Emperor of Delhi. The Bengali and Hindi-speaking millions of the Ganges and the simpler aborigines of the hills had been devastated by the famine of 1769-70, which the Company's officials, who were powerless where they did not intensify it by interference with trade, confessed to have cut off from ten to twelve millions of human beings. Over three-fifths of the area the soil was left without a cultivator. The whole young of that generation perished, so that, even twenty years after, Lord Cornwallis officially described one-third of Bengal as a jungle inhabited only by wild beasts. A quarter of a century after Carey's language was, as we have seen, "three-fifths of it are an uncultivated jungle abandoned to wild beasts and serpents."

But the British peace, in Bengal at least, had allowed abundant crops to work their natural result on the population. The local experience of Shore, who had witnessed the horrors he could do so little to relieve, had united with the statesmanship of Cornwallis to initiate a series of administrative reforms that worked some evil, but more good, all through Carey's time. First of all, as affecting the very existence and the social development of the people, or their capacity for being educated, Christianised, civilised in the highest sense, there was the relation of the Government to the ryots ("protected ones") and the zameendars ("landholders"). In India, as nearly all over the world except in feudalised Britain, the state is the common landlord in the interests of all classes who hold the soil subject to the payment of customary rents, directly or through middlemen, to the Government. For thirty years after Plassey the Government of India had been learning its business, and in the process had injured both itself and the landed classes, as much as has been done in Ireland. From a mere trader it had been, more or less consciously, becoming a ruler. In 1786 the Court of Directors, in a famous letter, tried to arrest the ruin which the famine had only hastened by ordering that a settlement of the land-tax or revenue or rent be made, not with mere farmers like the pashas of Turkey, but with the old zameendars, and that the rate be fixed for ten years. Cornwallis and Shore took three years to make the detailed investigations, and in 1789 the state rent-roll of Bengal proper was fixed at L2,858,772 a year. The English peer, who was Governor-General, at once jumped to the conclusion that this rate should be fixed not only for ten years, but for ever. The experienced Bengal civilian protested that to do that would be madness when a third of the rich province was out of cultivation, and as to the rest its value was but little known, and its estates were without reliable survey or boundaries.

We can now see that, as usual, both were right in what they asserted and wrong in what they denied. The principle of fixity of tenure and tax cannot be over-estimated in its economic, social, and political value, but it should have been applied to the village communities and cultivating peasants without the intervention of middlemen other than the large ancestral landholders with hereditary rights, and that on the standard of corn rents. Cornwallis had it in his power thus to do what some years afterwards Stein did in Prussia, with the result seen in the present German people and empire. The dispute as to a permanent or a decennial settlement was referred home, and Pitt, aided by Dundas and Charles Grant, took a week to consider it. His verdict was given in favour of feudalism. Eight months before Carey landed at Calcutta the settlement had been declared perpetual; in 1795 it was extended to Benares also.

During the next twenty years mismanagement and debt revolutionised the landed interest, as in France at the same time, but in a very different direction. The customary rights of the peasant proprietors had been legislatively secured by reserving to the Governor-General the power "to enact such regulations as he may think necessary for the protection and welfare of the dependent talookdars, ryots, and other cultivators of the soil." The peasants continued long to be so few that there was competition for them; the process of extortion with the aid of the courts had hardly begun when they were many, and the zameendars were burdened with charges for the police. But in 1799 and again in 1812 the state, trembling for its rent, gave the zameendars further authority. The principle of permanence of assessment so far co-operated with the splendid fertility of the Ganges valley and the peaceful multiplication of the people and spread of cultivation, that all through the wars and annexations, up to the close of the Mutiny, it was Bengal which enabled England to extend the empire up to its natural limits from the two seas to the Himalaya. But in 1859 the first attempt was made by the famous Act X. to check the rack-renting power of the zameendars. And now, more than a century since the first step was taken to arrest the ruin of the peasantry, the legislature of India has again tried to solve for the whole country these four difficulties which all past landed regulations have intensified—to give the state tenants a guarantee against uncertain enhancements of rent, and against taxation of improvements; to minimise the evil of taking rent in cash instead of in kind by arranging the dates on which rent is paid; and to mitigate if not prevent famine by allowing relief for failure of crops. As pioneering, the work of Carey and his colleagues all through was distinctly hindered by the treatment of the land question, which at once ground down the mass of the people and created a class of oppressive landlords destitute for the most part of public spirit and the higher culture. Both were disinclined by their circumstances to lend an ear to the Gospel, but these circumstances made it the more imperative on the missionaries to tell them, to teach their children, to print for all the glad tidings. Carey, himself of peasant extraction, cared for the millions of the people above all; but his work in the classical as well as the vernacular languages was equally addressed to their twenty thousand landlords. The time of his work—before Bentinck; and the centre of it—outside the metropolis, left the use of the English weapon against Brahmanism largely for Duff.

When Cornwallis, following Warren Hastings, completed the substitution of the British for the Mohammedan civil administration by a system of courts and police and a code of regulations, he was guilty of one omission and one mistake that it took years of discussion and action to rectify. He did not abolish from the courts the use of Persian, the language of the old Mussulman invaders, now foreign to all parties; and he excluded from all offices above L30 a year the natives of the country, contrary to their fair and politic practice. Bengal and its millions, in truth, were nominally governed in detail by three hundred white and upright civilians, with the inevitable result in abuses which they could not prevent, and oppression of native by native which they would not check, and the delay or development of reforms which the few missionaries long called for in vain. In a word, after making the most generous allowance for the good intentions of Cornwallis, and conscientiousness of Shore, his successor, we must admit that Carey was called to become the reformer of a state of society which the worst evils of Asiatic and English rule combined to prevent him and other self-sacrificing or disinterested philanthropists from purifying. The East India Company, at home and in India, had reached that depth of opposition to light and freedom in any form which justifies Burke's extremest passages—the period between its triumph on the exclusion of "the pious clauses" from the Charter of 1793 and its defeat in the Charter of 1813. We shall reproduce some outlines of the picture which Ward drew:—[7]

"On landing in Bengal, in the year 1793, our brethren found themselves surrounded with a population of heathens (not including the Mahometans) amounting to at least one hundred millions of souls.

"On the subject of the divine nature, with the verbal admission of the doctrine of the divine unity, they heard these idolaters speak of 330,000,000 of gods. Amidst innumerable idol temples they found none erected for the worship of the one living and true God. Services without end they saw performed in honour of the elements and deified heroes, but heard not one voice tuned to the praise or employed in the service of the one God. Unacquainted with the moral perfections of Jehovah, they saw this immense population prostrate before dead matter, before the monkey, the serpent, before idols the very personifications of sin; and they found this animal, this reptile, and the lecher Krishnu {u-caron} and his concubine Radha, among the favourite deities of the Hindoos...

"Respecting the real nature of the present state, the missionaries perceived that the Hindoos laboured under the most fatal misapprehensions; that they believed the good or evil actions of this birth were not produced as the volitions of their own wills, but arose from, and were the unavoidable results of, the actions of the past birth; that their present actions would inevitably give rise to the whole complexion of their characters and conduct in the following birth; and that thus they were doomed to interminable transmigrations, to float as some light substance upon the bosom of an irresistible torrent...

"Amongst these idolaters no Bibles were found; no sabbaths; no congregating for religious instruction in any form; no house for God; no God but a log of wood, or a monkey; no Saviour but the Ganges; no worship but that paid to abominable idols, and that connected with dances, songs, and unutterable impurities; so that what should have been divine worship, purifying, elevating, and carrying the heart to heaven, was a corrupt but rapid torrent, poisoning the soul and carrying it down to perdition; no morality, for how should a people be moral whose gods are monsters of vice; whose priests are their ringleaders in crime; whose scriptures encourage pride, impurity, falsehood, revenge, and murder; whose worship is connected with indescribable abominations, and whose heaven is a brothel? As might be expected, they found that men died here without indulging the smallest vestige of hope, except what can arise from transmigration, the hope, instead of plunging into some place of misery, of passing into the body of some reptile. To carry to such a people the divine word, to call them together for sacred instruction, to introduce amongst them a pure and heavenly worship, and to lead them to the observance of a Sabbath on earth, as the preparative and prelude to a state of endless perfection, was surely a work worthy for a Saviour to command, and becoming a christian people to attempt."

The condition of women, who were then estimated at "seventy-five millions of minds," and whom the census shows to be now above 144,000,000, is thus described after an account of female infanticide:—

"To the Hindoo female all education is denied by the positive injunction of the shastru {u-caron}, and by the general voice of the population. Not a single school for girls, therefore, all over the country! With knitting, sewing, embroidery, painting, music, and drawing, they have no more to do than with letters; the washing is done by men of a particular tribe. The Hindoo girl, therefore, spends the ten first years of her life in sheer idleness, immured in the house of her father.

"Before she has attained to this age, however, she is sought after by the ghutuks, men employed by parents to seek wives for their sons. She is betrothed without her consent; a legal agreement, which binds her for life, being made by the parents on both sides while she is yet a child. At a time most convenient to the parents, this boy and girl are brought together for the first time, and the marriage ceremony is performed; after which she returns to the house of her father.

"Before the marriage is consummated, in many instances, the boy dies, and this girl becomes a widow; and as the law prohibits the marriage of widows, she is doomed to remain in this state as long as she lives. The greater number of these unfortunate beings become a prey to the seducer, and a disgrace to their families. Not long since a bride, on the day the marriage ceremony was to have been performed, was burnt on the funeral pile with the dead body of the bridegroom, at Chandernagore, a few miles north of Calcutta. Concubinage, to a most awful extent, is the fruit of these marriages without choice. What a sum of misery is attached to the lot of woman in India before she has attained even her fifteenth year!

"In some cases as many as fifty females, the daughters of so many Hindoos, are given in marriage to one bramhun {u-caron}, in order to make these families something more respectable, and that the parents may be able to say, we are allied by marriage to the kooleens...

"But the awful state of female society in this miserable country appears in nothing so much as in dooming the female, the widow, to be burnt alive with the putrid carcase of her husband. The Hindoo legislators have sanctioned this immolation, showing herein a studied determination to insult and degrade woman. She is, therefore, in the first instance, deluded into this act by the writings of these bramhuns {u-caron}; in which also she is promised, that if she will offer herself, for the benefit of her husband, on the funeral pile, she shall, by the extraordinary merit of this action, rescue her husband from misery, and take him and fourteen generations of his and her family with her to heaven, where she shall enjoy with them celestial happiness until fourteen kings of the gods shall have succeeded to the throne of heaven (that is, millions of years!) Thus ensnared, she embraces this dreadful death. I have seen three widows, at different times, burnt alive; and had repeated opportunities of being present at similar immolations, but my courage failed me...

"The burying alive of widows manifests, if that were possible, a still more abominable state of feeling towards women than the burning them alive. The weavers bury their dead. When, therefore, a widow of this tribe is deluded into the determination not to survive her husband, she is buried alive with the dead body. In this kind of immolation the children and relations dig the grave. After certain ceremonies have been attended to, the poor widow arrives, and is let down into the pit. She sits in the centre, taking the dead body on her lap and encircling it with her arms. These relations now begin to throw in the soil; and after a short space, two of them descend into the grave, and tread the earth firmly round the body of the widow. She sits a calm and unremonstrating spectator of the horrid process. She sees the earth rising higher and higher around her, without upbraiding her murderers, or making the least effort to arise and make her escape. At length the earth reaches her lips—covers her head. The rest of the earth is then hastily thrown in, and these children and relations mount the grave, and tread down the earth upon the head of the suffocating widow—the mother!"

Before Carey, what had been done to turn the millions of North India from such darkness as that? Nothing, beyond the brief and impulsive efforts of Thomas. There does not seem to have been there one genuine convert from any of the Asiatic faiths; there had never been even the nucleus of a native church.

In South India, for the greater part of the century, the Coast Mission, as it was called, had been carried on from Tranquebar as a centre by the Lutherans whom, from Ziegenbalg to Schwartz, Francke had trained at Halle and Friedrich IV. of Denmark had sent forth to its East India Company's settlement. From the baptism of the first convert in 1707 and translation of the New Testament into Tamil, to the death in 1798 of Schwartz, with whom Carey sought to begin a correspondence then taken up by Guericke, the foundations were laid around Madras, in Tanjore, and in Tinnevelli of a native church which now includes nearly a million. But, when Carey landed, rationalism in Germany and Denmark, and the Carnatic wars between the English and French, had reduced the Coast Mission to a state of inanition. Nor was Southern India the true or ultimate battlefield against Brahmanism; the triumphs of Christianity there were rather among the demon-worshipping tribes of Dravidian origin than among the Aryan races till Dr. W. Miller developed the Christian College. But the way for the harvest now being reaped by the Evangelicals and Anglicans of the Church of England, by the Independents of the London Missionary Society, the Wesleyans, and the Presbyterians of Scotland and America, was prepared by the German Ziegenbalg and Schwartz under Danish protection. The English Propagation and Christian Knowledge Societies sent them occasional aid, the first two Georges under the influence of their German chaplains wrote to them encouraging letters, and the East India Company even gave them a free passage in its ships, and employed the sculptor Bacon to prepare the noble group of marble which, in St. Mary's Church, Madras, expresses its gratitude to Schwartz for his political services.

It was Clive himself who brought to Calcutta the first missionary, Kiernander the Swede, but he was rather a chaplain, or a missionary to the Portuguese, who were nominal Christians of the lowest Romanist type. The French had closed the Danish mission at Cuddalore, and in 1758 Calcutta was without a Protestant clergyman to bury the dead or baptise or marry the living. Two years before one of the two chaplains had perished in the tragedy of the Black Hole, where he was found lying hand in hand with his son, a young lieutenant. The other had escaped down the river only to die of fever along with many more. The victory of Plassey and the large compensation paid for the destruction of Old Calcutta and its church induced thousands of natives to flock to the new capital, while the number of the European troops and officials was about 2000. When chaplains were sent out, the Governor-General officially wrote of them to the Court of Directors so late as 1795:—"Our clergy in Bengal, with some exceptions, are not respectable characters." From the general relaxation of morals, he added, "a black coat is no security." They were so badly paid—from L50 to L230 a year, increased by L120 to meet the cost of living in Calcutta after 1764—that they traded. Preaching was the least of the chaplains' duties; burying was the most onerous. Anglo-Indian society, cut off from London, itself not much better, by a six months' voyage, was corrupt. Warren Hastings and Philip Francis, his hostile colleague in Council, lived in open adultery. The majority of the officials had native women, and the increase of their children, who lived in a state worse than that of the heathen, became so alarming that the compensation paid by the Mohammedan Government of Moorshedabad for the destruction of the church was applied to the foundation of the useful charity still known as the Free School. The fathers not infrequently adopted the Hindoo pantheon along with the zanana. The pollution, springing from England originally, was rolled back into it in an increasing volume, when the survivors retired as nabobs with fortunes, to corrupt social and political life, till Pitt cried out; and it became possible for Burke almost to succeed in his eighteen years' impeachment of Hastings. The literature of the close of the eighteenth century is full of alarm lest the English character should be corrupted, and lest the balance of the constitution should be upset.

Kiernander is said to have been the means of converting 209 heathens and 380 Romanists, of whom three were priests, during the twenty-eight years of his Calcutta career. Claudius Buchanan declares that Christian tracts had been translated into Bengali—one written by the Bishop of Sodor and Man—and that in the time of Warren Hastings Hindoo Christians had preached to their countrymen in the city. The "heathen" were probably Portuguese descendants, in whose language Kiernander preached as the lingua franca of the time. He could not even converse in Bengali or Hindostani, and when Charles Grant went to him for information as to the way of a sinner's salvation this happened—"My anxious inquiries as to what I should do to be saved appeared to embarrass and confuse him exceedingly. He could not answer my questions, but he gave me some good instructive books." On Kiernander's bankruptcy, caused by his son when the father was blind, the "Mission Church" was bought by Grant, who wrote that its labours "have been confined to the descendants of Europeans, and have hardly ever embraced a single heathen, so that a mission to the Hindoos and Mohammedans would be a new thing." The Rev. David Brown, who had been sent out the year after as master and chaplain of the Military Orphan Society, for the education of the children of officers and soldiers, and was to become one of the Serampore circle of friends, preached to Europeans only in the Mission Church. Carey could find no trace of Kiernander's work among the natives six years after his death.[8] The only converted Hindoo known of in Northern India up to that time was Guneshan Dass, of Delhi, who when a boy joined Clive's army, who was the first man of caste to visit England, and who, on his return with the Calcutta Supreme Court Judges in 1774 as Persian interpreter and translator, was baptised by Kiernander, Mr. justice Chambers being sponsor.

William Carey had no predecessor in India as the first ordained Englishman who was sent to it as a missionary; he had no predecessor in Bengal and Hindostan proper as the first missionary from any land to the people. Even the Moravians, who in 1777 had sent two brethren to Serampore, Calcutta, and Patna, had soon withdrawn them, and one of them became the Company's botanist in Madras—Dr. Heyne. Carey practically stood alone at the first, while he unconsciously set in motion the double revolution, which was to convert the Anglo-Indian influence on England from corrupting heathenism to aggressive missionary zeal, and to change the Bengal of Cornwallis into the India of Bentinck, with all the possibilities that have made it grow, thus far, into the India of the Lawrences.




Carey's two missionary principles—Destitute in Calcutta—Bandel and Nuddea—Applies in vain to be under-superintendent of the Botanic Garden—Housed by a native usurer—Translation and preaching work in Calcutta—Secures a grant of waste land at Hasnabad—Estimate of the Bengali language, and appeal to the Society to work in Asia and Africa rather than in America—The Udny family—Carey's summary of his first year's experience—Superintends the indigo factory of Mudnabati—Indigo and the East India Company's monopolies—Carey's first nearly fatal sickness—Death of his child and chronic madness of his wife—Formation of first Baptist church in India—Early progress of Bible translation—Sanskrit studies; the Mahabarata—The wooden printing-press set up at Mudnabati—His educational ideal; school-work—The medical mission—Lord Wellesley—Carey seeks a mission centre among the Bhooteas—Describes his first sight of a Sati—Projects a mission settlement at Kidderpore.

Carey was in his thirty-third year when he landed in Bengal. Two principles regulated the conception, the foundation, and the whole course of the mission which he now began. He had been led to these by the very genius of Christianity itself, by the example and teaching of Christ and of Paul, and by the experience of the Moravian brethren. He had laid them down in his Enquiry, and every month's residence during forty years in India confirmed him in his adhesion to them. These principles are that (1) a missionary must be one of the companions and equals of the people to whom he is sent; and (2) a missionary must as soon as possible become indigenous, self-supporting, self-propagating, alike by the labours of the mission and of the converts. Himself a man of the people yet a scholar, a shoemaker and a schoolmaster yet a preacher and pastor to whom the great Robert Hall gloried in being a successor, Carey had led the two lives as Paul had done. Now that he was fairly in Calcutta he resumed the divine toil, and ceased it not till he entered on the eternal rest. He prepared to go up country to Malda to till the ground among the natives of the rich district around the ruined capital of Gour. He engaged as his pundit and interpreter Ram Basu, one of the professing inquirers whom Thomas had attracted in former days. Experience soon taught him that, however correct his principle, Malda is not a land where the white man can be a farmer. So he became, in the different stages of his career, a captain of labour as an indigo planter, a teacher of Bengali, and professor of Sanskrit and Marathi, and the Government translator of Bengali. Nor did he or his associates ever make the mistake—or commit the fraud—of the Jesuit missionaries, whose idea of equality with the people was not that of brotherhood in Christ, but that of dragging down Christian doctrine, worship and civilisation, to the level of idolatrous heathenism, and deluding the ignorant into accepting the blasphemous compromise.

Alas! Carey could not manage to get out of Calcutta and its neighbourhood for five months. As he thought to live by farming, Thomas was to practise his profession; and their first year's income of L150 had, in those days when the foreign exchanges were unknown, to be realised by the sale of the goods in which it had been invested. As usual, Thomas had again blundered, so that even his gentle colleague himself half-condemned, half-apologised for him by the shrewd reflection that he was only fit to live at sea, where his daily business would be before him, and daily provision would be made for him. Carey found himself penniless. Even had he received the whole of his L75, as he really did in one way or other, what was that for such a family as his at the beginning of their undertaking? The expense of living at all in Calcutta drove the whole party thirty miles up the river to Bandel, an old Portuguese suburb of the Hoogli factory. There they rented a small house from the German hotel-keeper, beside the Augustinian priory and oldest church in North India, which dates from 1599 and is still in good order. There they met Kiernander, then at the great age of eighty-four. Daily they preached or talked to the people. They purchased a boat for regular visitation of the hamlets, markets, and towns which line both banks of the river. With sure instinct Carey soon fixed on Nuddea, as the centre of Brahmanical superstition and Sanskrit learning, where "to build me a hut and live like the natives," language recalled to us by the words of the dying Livingstone in the swamps of Central Africa. There, in the capital of the last of the Hindoo kings, beside the leafy tols or colleges of a river port which rivals Benares, Poona, and Conjeeveram in sanctity, where Chaitanya the Vaishnaiva reformer was born, Carey might have attacked Brahmanism in its stronghold. A passage in his journal shows how he realised the position. Thomas, the pundit, and he "sought the Lord by prayer for direction," and this much was the result—"Several of the most learned Pundits and Brahmans wished us to settle there; and, as that is the great place for Eastern learning, we seemed inclined, especially as it is the bulwark of heathenism, which, if once carried, all the rest of the country must be laid open to us." But there was no available land there for an Englishman's cultivation. From Bandel he wrote home these impressions of Anglo-Indian life and missionary duty:—

"26th Dec. 1793.—A missionary must be one of the companions and equals of the people to whom he is sent, and many dangers and temptations will be in his way. One or two pieces of advice I may venture to give. The first is to be exceedingly cautious lest the voyage prove a great snare. All the discourse is about high life, and every circumstance will contribute to unfit the mind for the work and prejudice the soul against the people to whom he goes; and in a country like this, settled by Europeans, the grandeur, the customs, and prejudices of the Europeans are exceeding dangerous. They are very kind and hospitable, but even to visit them, if a man keeps no table of his own, would more than ten times exceed the allowance of a mission; and all their discourse is about the vices of the natives, so that a missionary must see thousands of people treating him with the greatest kindness, but whom he must be entirely different from in his life, his appearance in everything, or it is impossible for him to stand their profuse way of living, being so contrary to his character and so much above his ability. This is a snare to dear Mr. Thomas, which will be felt by us both in some measure. It will be very important to missionaries to be men of calmness and evenness of temper, and rather inclined to suffer hardships than to court the favour of men, and such who will be indefatigably employed in the work set before them, an inconstancy of mind being quite injurious to it."

He had need of such faith and patience. Hearing of waste land in Calcutta, he returned there only to be disappointed. The Danish captain, knowing that he had written a botanical work, advised him to take it to the doctor in charge of the Company's Botanic Garden, and offer himself for a vacant appointment to superintend part of it. The doctor, who and whose successors were soon to be proud of his assistance on equal terms, had to tell him that the office had been filled up, but invited the weary man to dine with him. Houseless, with his maddened wife, and her sister and two of his four children down with dysentery, due to the bad food and exposure of six weeks in the interior, Carey found a friend, appropriately enough, in a Bengali money-lender.[9] Nelu Dutt, a banker who had lent money to Thomas, offered the destitute family his garden house in the north-eastern quarter of Manicktolla until they could do better. The place was mean enough, but Carey never forgot the deed, and he had it in his power long after to help Nelu Dutt when in poverty. Such, on the other hand, was the dislike of the Rev. David Brown to Thomas, that when Carey had walked five miles in the heat of the sun to visit the comparatively prosperous evangelical preacher, "I left him without his having so much as asked me to take any refreshment."

Carey would not have been allowed to live in Calcutta as a missionary. Forty years were to pass before that could be possible without a Company's passport. But no one was aware of the existence of the obscure vagrant, as he seemed, although he was hard at work. All around him was a Mohammedan community whom he addressed with the greatest freedom, and with whom he discussed the relative merits of the Koran and the Bible in a kindly spirit, "to recommend the Gospel and the way of life by Christ." He had helped Thomas with a translation of the book of Genesis during the voyage, and now we find this in his journal two months and a half after he had landed:—

"Through the delays of my companion I have spent another month, and done scarcely anything, except that I have added to my knowledge of the language, and had opportunity of seeing much more of the genius and disposition of the natives than I otherwise could have known. This day finished the correction of the first chapter of Genesis, which moonshi says is rendered into very good Bengali. Just as we had finished it, a pundit and another man from Nuddea came to see me. I showed it to them; and the pundit seemed much pleased with the account of the creation; only they have an imaginary place somewhere beneath the earth, and he thought that should have been mentioned likewise...

"Was very weary, having walked in the sun about fifteen or sixteen miles, yet had the satisfaction of discoursing with some money-changers at Calcutta, who could speak English, about the importance and absolute necessity of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. One of them was a very crafty man, and tried much to entangle me with hard questions; but at last, finding himself entangled, he desisted, and went to his old occupation of money-changing again. If once God would by his Spirit convince them of sin, a Saviour would be a blessing indeed to them: but human nature is the same all the world over, and all conviction fails except it is produced by the effectual working of the Holy Spirit."

Ram Basu was himself in debt, was indeed all along a self-interested inquirer. But the next gleam of hope came from him, that the Carey family should move to the waste jungles of the Soondarbans, the tiger-haunted swamps south-east of Calcutta, and there cultivate a grant of land. With a sum of L16 borrowed from a native at twelve per cent. by Mr. Thomas, a boat was hired, and on the fourth day, when only one more meal remained, the miserable family and their stout-hearted father saw an English-built house. As they walked up to it the owner met them, and with Anglo-Indian hospitality invited them all to become his guests. He proved to be Mr. Charles Short, in charge of the Company's salt manufacture there. As a deist he had no sympathy with Carey's enterprise, but he helped the missionary none the less, and the reward came to him in due time in the opening of his heart to the love of Christ. He afterwards married Mrs. Carey's sister, and in England the two survived the great missionary, to tell this and much more regarding him. Here, at the place appropriately named Hasnabad, or the "smiling spot," Carey took a few acres on the Jamoona arm of the united Ganges and Brahmapootra, and built him a bamboo house, forty miles east of Calcutta. Knowing that the sahib's gun would keep off the tigers, natives squatted around to the number of three or four thousand. Such was the faith, the industry, and the modesty of the brave little man that, after just three months, he wrote thus:—"When I know the language well enough to preach in it, I have no doubt of having a stated congregation, and I much hope to send you pleasing accounts. I can so far converse in the language as to be understood in most things belonging to eating and drinking, buying and selling, etc. My ear is somewhat familiarised to the Bengali sounds. It is a language of a very singular construction, having no plural except for pronouns, and not a single preposition in it: but the cases of nouns and pronouns are almost endless, all the words answering to our prepositions being put after the word, and forming a new case. Except these singularities, I find it an easy language. I feel myself happy in my present undertaking; for, though I never felt the loss of social religion so much as now, yet a consciousness of having given up all for God is a support; and the work, with all its attendant inconveniences, is to me a rich reward. I think the Society would do well to keep their eye towards Africa or Asia, countries which are not like the wilds of America, where long labour will scarcely collect sixty people to hear the Word: for here it is almost impossible to get out of the way of hundreds, and preachers are wanted a thousand times more than people to preach to. Within India are the Maratha country and the northern parts to Cashmere, in which, as far as I can learn, there is not one soul that thinks of God aright...My health was never better. The climate, though hot, is tolerable; but, attended as I am with difficulties, I would not renounce my undertaking for all the world."

It was at this time that he drew his strength often from the experience of the first missionary, described by Isaiah, in all his solitude:—"Look unto Abraham your father, for I called him alone and blessed him and increased him. For the Lord shall comfort Zion; He will comfort all her waste places." The sun of His comfort shone forth at last.

Carey's original intention to begin his mission near Malda was now to be carried out. In the opening week of 1794 the small English community in Bengal were saddened by the news that, when crossing the Hoogli at Calcutta, a boat containing three of its principal merchants and the wife of one of them, had been upset, and all had been drowned. It turned out that two of the men recovered, but Mr. R. Udny and his young wife perished. His aged mother had been one of the godly circle in the Residency at Malda to whom Thomas had ministered; and Mr. G. Udny, her other son, was still the Company's commercial Resident there. A letter of sympathy which Thomas sent to them restored the old relations, and resulted in Mr. G. Udny inviting first the writer and then Carey to become his assistants in charge of new indigo factories which he was building on his own account. Each received a salary equivalent to L250 a year, with the prospect of a commission on the out-turn, and even a proprietary share. Carey's remark in his journal on the day he received the offer was:—"This appearing to be a remarkable opening in divine providence for our comfortable support, I accepted it...I shall likewise be joined with my colleague again, and we shall unitedly engage in our work." Again:—"The conversion of the heathen is the object which above all others I wish to pursue. If my situation at Malda should be tolerable, I most certainly will publish the Bible in numbers." On receiving the rejoinder to his acceptance of the offer he set this down:—"I am resolved to write to the Society that my circumstances are such that I do not need future help from them, and to devote a sum monthly for the printing of the Bengali Bible." This he did, adding that it would be his glory and joy to stand in the same relation to the Society as if he needed support from them. He hoped they would be the sooner able to send another mission somewhere—to Sumatra or some of the Indian Islands. From the first he lived with such simplicity that he gave from one-fourth to one-third of his little income to his own mission at Mudnabati.

Carey thus sums up his first year's experience before leaving his jungle home on a three weeks' voyage up the Ganges, and records his first deliberate and regular attempt to preach in Bengali on the way.

"8th April 1794.—All my hope is in, and all my comfort arises from, God; without His power no European could possibly be converted, and His power can convert any Indian; and when I reflect that He has stirred me up to the work, and wrought wonders to prepare the way, I can hope in His promises, and am encouraged and strengthened...

"19th April.—O how glorious are the ways of God! 'My soul longeth and fainteth for God, for the living God, to see His glory and beauty as I have seen them in the sanctuary.' When I first left England, my hope of the conversion of the heathen was very strong; but, among so many obstacles, it would entirely die away unless upheld by God. Nothing to exercise it, but plenty to obstruct it, for now a year and nineteen days, which is the space since I left my dear charge at Leicester. Since that I have had hurrying up and down; a five months' imprisonment with carnal men on board the ship; five more learning the language; my moonshi not understanding English sufficiently to interpret my preaching; my colleague separated from me; long delays and few opportunities for social worship; no woods to retire to, like Brainerd, for fear of tigers (no less than twenty men in the department of Deharta, where I am, have been carried away by them this season from the salt-works); no earthly thing to depend upon, or earthly comfort, except food and raiment. Well, I have God, and His Word is sure; and though the superstitions of the heathen were a million times worse than they are, if I were deserted by all, and persecuted by all, yet my hope, fixed on that sure Word, will rise superior to all obstructions, and triumph over all trials. God's cause will triumph, and I shall come out of all trials as gold purified by fire. I was much humbled to-day by reading Brainerd. O what a disparity betwixt me and him, he always constant, I as inconstant as the wind!

"22nd April.—Bless God for a continuance of the happy frame of yesterday. I think the hope of soon acquiring the language puts fresh life into my soul; for a long time my mouth has been shut, and my days have been beclouded with heaviness; but now I begin to be something like a traveller who has been almost beaten out in a violent storm, and who, with all his clothes about him dripping wet, sees the sky begin to clear: so I, with only the prospect of a more pleasant season at hand, scarcely feel the sorrows of the present.

"23rd.—With all the cares of life, and all its sorrows, yet I find that a life of communion with God is sufficient to yield consolation in the midst of all, and even to produce a holy joy in the soul, which shall make it to triumph over all affliction. I have never yet repented of any sacrifice that I have made for the Gospel, but find that consolation of mind which can come from God alone.

"26th May.—This day kept Sabbath at Chandureea; had a pleasant day. In the morning and afternoon addressed my family, and in the evening began my work of publishing the Word of God to the heathen. Though imperfect in the knowledge of the language, yet, with the help of moonshi, I conversed with two Brahmans in the presence of about two hundred people, about the things of God. I had been to see a temple, in which were the images of Dukkinroy, the god of the woods, riding on a tiger; Sheetulla, goddess of the smallpox, without a head, riding on a horse without a head; Punchanon, with large ears; and Colloroy, riding on a horse. In another apartment was Seeb, which was only a smooth post of wood, with two or three mouldings in it, like the base of a Tuscan pillar. I therefore discoursed with them upon the vanity of idols, the folly and wickedness of idolatry, the nature and attributes of God, and the way of salvation by Christ. One Brahman was quite confounded, and a number of people were all at once crying out to him, 'Why do you not answer him? Why do you not answer him?' He replied, 'I have no words.' Just at this time a very learned Brahman came up, who was desired to talk with me, which he did, and so acceded to what I said, that he at last said images had been used of late years, but not from the beginning. I inquired what I must do to be saved; he said I must repeat the name of God a great many times. I replied, would you, if your son had offended you, be so pleased with him as to forgive him if he were to repeat the word 'father' a thousand times? This might please children or fools, but God is wise. He told me that I must get faith; I asked what faith was, to which he gave me no intelligible reply, but said I must obey God. I answered, what are His commands? what is His will? They said God was a great light, and as no one could see him, he became incarnate, under the threefold character of Brhumma, Bishno, and Seeb, and that either of them must be worshipped in order to life. I told them of the sure Word of the Gospel, and the way of life by Christ; and, night coming on, left them. I cannot tell what effect it may have, as I may never see them again."

At the beginning of the great rains in the middle of June Carey joined Mr. Udny and his mother at the chief factory. On each of the next two Sabbaths he preached twice in the hall of the Residency of the Company, which excluded all Christian missionaries by Act of Parliament. As an indigo planter he received the Company's licence to reside for at least five years. So on 26th June he began his secular duties by completing for the season of indigo manufacture the buildings at Mudnabati, and making the acquaintance of the ninety natives under his charge. Both Mr. Udny and he knew well that he was above all things a Christian missionary. "These will furnish a congregation immediately, and, added to the extensive engagements which I must necessarily have with the natives, will open a very wide door for activity. God grant that it may not only be large but effectual."

These were the days, which continued till the next charter, when the East India Company was still not only a body of merchants but of manufacturers. Of all the old monopolies only the most evil one is left, that of the growth, manufacture, and sale of opium. The civil servants, who were termed Residents, had not political duties with tributary sovereigns as now, but from great factory-like palaces, and on large salaries, made advances of money to contractors, native and European, who induced the ryots to weave cloth, to breed and feed the silkworm, and to grow and make the blue dye to which India had long given the name of "indigo." Mr. Carey was already familiar with the system of advances for salt, and the opium monopoly was then in its infancy. The European contractors were "interlopers," who introduced the most valuable cultivation and processes into India, and yet with whom the "covenanted" Residents were often at war. The Residents had themselves liberty of private trade, and unscrupulous men abused it. Clive had been hurried out thirty years before to check the abuse, which was ruining not only the Company's investments but the people. It had so spread on his departure that even judges and chaplains shared in the spoils till Cornwallis interfered. In the case of Mr. G. Udny and purely commercial agents the evil was reduced to a minimum, and the practice had been deliberately sanctioned by Sir John Shore on the ground that it was desirable to make the interests of the Company and of individuals go hand in hand.

The days when Europe got its cotton cloth from India, calling it "calico," from Calicut, and its rich yellow silks, have long since passed, although the latter are still supplied in an inferior form, and the former is once more raising its head, from the combination of machinery and cheap labour. For the old abuses of the Company the Government by Parliament has to some extent atoned by fostering the new cultures of tea, coffee, and cinchona, jute and wheat. The system of inducing the ryots to cultivate by advances, protected by a stringent contract law, still exists in the case of opium. The indigo culture system of Carey's time broke down in 1860 in the lower districts, where, following the Company itself, the planter made cash advances to the peasant, who was required to sow indigo on land which he held as a tenant but often as a proprietor, to deliver it at a fixed rate, and to bear the risk of the crop as well as the exactions of the factory servants. It still exists in the upper districts of Bihar, especially in Tirhoot, on a system comparatively free from economic objections.

The plant known as "Indigofera Tinctoria" is sown in March in soil carefully prepared, grows to about 5 feet, is cut down early in July, is fermented in vats, and the liquor is beaten till it precipitates the precious blue dye, which is boiled, drained, cut in small cakes, and dried. From first to last the growth and the manufacture are even more precarious than most tropical crops. An even rainfall, rigorous weeding, the most careful superintendence of the chemical processes, and conscientious packing, are necessary. One good crop in three years will pay where the factory is not burdened by severe interest on capital; one every other year will pay very well. Personally Carey had more than the usual qualifications of a successful planter, scientific knowledge, scrupulous conscientiousness and industry, and familiarity with the native character, so soon as he acquired the special experience necessary for superintending the manufacture. That experience he spared no effort to gain at once.

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