The Life of William Carey
by George Smith
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Writing in 1904 on the centenary of the British and Foreign Bible Society, Mr. George A. Grierson, C.I.E., Ph.D., D.Litt., the head of the Linguistic Survey of India, sums up authoritatively the work of Carey and his assistants. "The great-hearted band of Serampore missionaries issued translations of the Bible or of the New Testament in more than forty languages. Before them the number of Protestant versions of the Bible in the speeches of India could be counted on the fingers of one hand. The Dutch of Ceylon undertook a Tamil New Testament in 1688, which was followed in 1715 by another version from the pen of Ziegenbalg. The famous missionary, Schultze, between 1727 and 1732 made a Telugu version which was never printed, and later, between 1745 and 1758, he published at Halle a Hindostani translation of the New Testament and of a portion of Genesis. A manuscript version of portions of the Bible in Bengali was made by Thomas in 1791; and then the great Serampore series began with Carey's Bengali New Testament published in 1801. Most of these Serampore versions were, it is true, first attempts and have been superseded by more accurate versions, but the first step is always the most important one, and this was taken by Carey and his brethren."

Carey's correspondent in this and purely scholarly subjects was Dr. Ryland, an accomplished Hebraist and Biblical critic for that day, at the head of the Bristol College. Carey's letters, plentifully sprinkled with Hebrew and Greek, show the jealousy with which he sought to convey the divine message accurately, and the unwearied sense of responsibility under which he worked. Biblical criticism, alike as to the original text and to the exegesis of the sacred writings, is so very modern a science, that these letters have now only a historical interest. But this communication to Ryland shows how he worked from the first:—

"CALCUTTA, 14th Dec. 1803.—We some time ago engaged in an undertaking, of which we intended to say nothing until it was accomplished; but an unforeseen providence made it necessary for us to disclose it. It is as follows: About a year and a half ago, some attempts were made to engage Mr. Gilchrist in the translation of the Scriptures into the Hindostani language. By something or other it was put by. The Persian was also at the same time much talked of, but given up, or rather not engaged in. At this time several considerations prevailed on us to set ourselves silently upon a translation into these languages. We accordingly hired two moonshees to assist us in it, and each of us took our share; Brother Marshman took Matthew and Luke; Brother Ward, Mark and John; and myself the remaining part of the New Testament into Hindostani. I undertook no part of the Persian; but, instead thereof, engaged in translating it into Maharastra, commonly called the Mahratta language, the person who assists me in the Hindostani being a Mahratta. Brother Marshman has finished Matthew, and, instead of Luke, has begun the Acts. Brother Ward has done part of John, and I have done the Epistles, and about six chapters of the Revelation; and have proceeded as far as the second epistle of the Corinthians in the revisal: they have done a few chapters into Persian, and I a few into Mahratta. Thus the matter stood, till a few days ago Mr. Buchanan informed me that a military gentleman had translated the Gospels into Hindostani and Persian, and had made a present of them to the College, and that the College Council had voted the printing of them. This made it necessary for me to say what we had been about; and had it not been for this circumstance we should not have said anything till we had got the New Testament at least pretty forward in printing. I am very glad that Major Colebrooke has done it. We will gladly do what others do not do, and wish all speed to those who do anything in this way. We have it in our power, if our means would do for it, in the space of about fifteen years to have the word of God translated and printed in all the languages of the East. Our situation is such as to furnish us with the best assistance from natives of the different countries. We can have types of all the different characters cast here; and about 700 rupees per month, part of which I hope we shall be able to furnish, would complete the work. The languages are the Hindostani (Hindi), Maharastra, Ooriya, Telinga, Bhotan, Burman, Chinese, Cochin Chinese, Tongkinese, and Malay. On this great work we have fixed our eyes. Whether God will enable us to accomplish it, or any considerable part of it, is uncertain."

But all these advantages, his own genius for languages, his unconquerable plodding directed by a divine motive, his colleagues' co-operation, the encouragement of learned societies and the public, and the number of pundits and moonshees increased by the College of Fort William, would have failed to open the door of the East to the sacred Scriptures had the philological key of the Sanskrit been wanting or undiscovered. In the preface to his Sanskrit grammar, quoted by the Quarterly Review with high approbation, Carey wrote that it gave him the meaning of four out of every five words of the principal languages of the whole people of India:—"The peculiar grammar of any one of these may be acquired in a couple of months, and then the language lies open to the student. The knowledge of four words in five enables him to read with pleasure, and renders the acquisition of the few new words, as well as the idiomatic expressions, a matter of delight rather than of labour. Thus the Ooriya, though possessing a separate grammar and character, is so much like the Bengali in the very expression that a Bengali pundit is almost equal to the correction of an Orissa proof sheet; and the first time that I read a page of Goojarati the meaning appeared so obvious as to render it unnecessary to ask the pundit questions."

The mechanical apparatus of types, paper, and printing seem to have been provided by the same providential foresight as the intellectual and the spiritual. We have seen how, when he was far enough advanced in his translation, Carey amid the swamps of Dinapoor looked to England for press, type, paper, and printer. He got the last, William Ward, a man of his own selection, worthy to be his colleague. But he had hardly despatched his letter when he found or made all the rest in Bengal itself. It was from the old press bought in Calcutta, set up in Mudnabati, and removed to Serampore, that the first edition of the Bengali New Testament was printed. The few rare and venerable copies have now a peculiar bibliographic interest; the type and the paper alike are coarse and blurred.

Sir Charles Wilkins, the Caxton of India, had with his own hands cut the punches and cast the types from which Halhed's Bengali grammar was printed at Hoogli in 1778. He taught the art to a native blacksmith, Panchanan, who went to Serampore in search of work just when Carey was in despair for a fount of the sacred Devanagari type for his Sanskirt grammar, and for founts of the other languages besides Bengali which had never been printed. They thus tell the story in a Memoir Relative to the Translations, published in 1807:—

"It will be obvious that in the present state of things in India it was in many instances necessary to cast new founts of types in several of these languages. Happily for us and India at large Wilkins had led the way in this department; and by persevering industry, the value of which can scarcely be appreciated, under the greatest disadvantages with respect to materials and workmen, had brought the Bengali to a high degree of perfection. Soon after our settling at Serampore the providence of God brought to us the very artist who had wrought with Wilkins in that work, and in a great measure imbibed his ideas. By his assistance we erected a letter-foundry; and although he is now dead, he had so fully communicated his art to a number of others, that they carry forward the work of type-casting, and even of cutting the matrices, with a degree of accuracy which would not disgrace European artists. These have cast for us two or three founts of Bengali; and we are now employing them in casting a fount on a construction which bids fair to diminish the expense of paper, and the size of the book at least one-fourth, without affecting the legibility of the character. Of the Devanagari character we have also cast an entire new fount, which is esteemed the most beautiful of the kind in India. It consists of nearly 1000 different combinations of characters, so that the expense of cutting the patterns only amounted to 1500 rupees, exclusive of metal and casting.

"In the Orissa we have been compelled also to cast a new fount of types, as none before existed in that character. The fount consists of about 300 separate combinations, and the whole expense of cutting and casting has amounted to at least 1000 rupees. The character, though distinct, is of a moderate size, and will comprise the whole New Testament in about 700 pages octavo, which is about a fourth less than the Bengali. Although in the Mahratta country the Devanagari character is well known to men of education, yet a character is current among the men of business which is much smaller, and varies considerably in form from the Nagari, though the number and power of the letters nearly correspond. We have cast a fount in this character, in which we have begun to print the Mahratta New Testament, as well as a Mahratta dictionary. This character is moderate in size, distinct and beautiful. It will comprise the New Testament in perhaps a less number of pages than the Orissa. The expense of casting, etc., has been much the same. We stand in need of three more founts; one in the Burman, another in the Telinga and Kernata, and a third in the Seek's character. These, with the Chinese characters, will enable us to go through the work. An excellent and extensive fount of Persian we received from you, dear brethren, last year."

Panchanan's apprentice, Monohur, continued to make elegant founts of type in all Eastern languages for the mission and for sale to others for more than forty years, becoming a benefactor not only to literature but to Christian civilisation to an extent of which he was unconscious, for he remained a Hindoo of the blacksmith caste. In 1839, when he first went to India as a young missionary, the Rev. James Kennedy[17] saw him, as the present writer has often since seen his successor, cutting the matrices or casting the type for the Bibles, while he squatted below his favourite idol, under the auspices of which alone he would work. Serampore continued down till 1860 to be the principal Oriental typefoundry of the East.[18]

Hardly less service did the mission come to render to the manufacture of paper in course of time, giving the name of Serampore to a variety known all over India. At first Carey was compelled to print his Bengali Testament on a dingy, porous, rough substance called Patna paper. Then he began to depend on supplies from England, which in those days reached the press at irregular times, often impeding the work, and was most costly. This was not all. Native paper, whether mill or hand-made, being sized with rice paste, attracted the bookworm and white ant, so that the first sheets of a work which lingered in the press were sometimes devoured by these insects before the last sheets were printed off. Carey used to preserve his most valuable manuscripts by writing on arsenicated paper, which became of a hideous yellow colour, though it is to this alone we owe the preservation in the library of Serampore College of five colossal volumes of his polyglot dictionary prepared for the Bible translation work. Many and long were the experiments of the missionaries to solve the paper difficulty, ending in the erection of a tread-mill on which relays of forty natives reduced the raw material in the paper-engine, until one was accidentally killed.

The enterprise of Mr. William Jones, who first worked the Raneegunj coal-field, suggested the remedy in the employment of a steam-engine. One of twelve-horse power was ordered from Messrs. Thwaites and Rothwell of Bolton. This was the first ever erected in India, and it was a purely missionary locomotive. The "machine of fire," as they called it, brought crowds of natives to the mission, whose curiosity tried the patience of the engineman imported to work it; while many a European who had never seen machinery driven by steam came to study and to copy it. The date was the 27th of March 1820, when "the engine went in reality this day." From that time till 1865 Serampore became the one source of supply for local as distinguished from imported and purely native hand-made paper. Even the cartridges of Mutiny notoriety in 1857 were from this factory, though it had long ceased to be connected with the mission.

Dr. Carey thus took stock of the translating enterprise in a letter to Dr. Ryland:—

"22nd January 1808.—Last year may be reckoned among the most important which this mission has seen—not for the numbers converted among the natives, for they have been fewer than in some preceding years, but for the gracious care which God has exercised towards us. We have been enabled to carry on the translation and printing of the Word of God in several languages. The printing is now going on in six and the translation into six more. The Bengali is all printed except from Judges vii. to the end of Esther; Sanskrit New Testament to Acts xxvii.; Orissa to John xxi.; Mahratta, second edition, to the end of Matthew; Hindostani (new version) to Mark v., and Matthew is begun in Goojarati. The translation is nearly carried on to the end of John in Chinese, Telinga Kurnata, and the language of the Seeks. It is carried on to a pretty large extent in Persian and begun in Burman. The whole Bible was printed in Malay at Batavia some years ago. The whole is printed in Tamil, and the Syrian Bishop at Travancore is now superintending a translation from Syriac into Malayala. I learnt this week that the language of Kashmeer is a distinct language.

"I have this day been to visit the most learned Hindoo now living; he speaks only Sanskrit, is more than eighty years old, is acquainted with the writings and has studied the sentiments of all their schools of philosophy (usually called the Darshunas of the Veda). He tells me that this is the sixteenth time that he has travelled from Rameshwaram to Harhu (viz. from the extreme cape of the Peninsula to Benares). He was, he says, near Madras when the English first took possession of it. This man has given his opinion against the burning of women."

Four years later, in another letter to Ryland, he takes us into his confidence more fully, showing us not only his sacred workshop, but ingenuously revealing his own humility and self-sacrifice:—"10th December 1811.—I have of late been much impressed with the vast importance of laying a foundation for Biblical criticism in the East, by preparing grammars of the different languages into which we have translated or may translate the Bible. Without some such step, they who follow us will have to wade through the same labour that I have, in order to stand merely upon the same ground that I now stand upon. If, however, elementary books are provided, the labour will be greatly contracted; and a person will be able in a short time to acquire that which has cost me years of study and toil.

"The necessity which lies upon me of acquiring so many languages, obliges me to study and write out the grammar of each of them, and to attend closely to their irregularities and peculiarities. I have therefore already published grammars of three of them; namely, the Sanskrit, the Bengali, and the Mahratta. To these I have resolved to add grammars of the Telinga, Kurnata, Orissa, Punjabi, Kashmeeri, Goojarati, Nepalese, and Assam languages. Two of these are now in the press, and I hope to have two or three more of them out by the end of the next year.

"This may not only be useful in the way I have stated, but may serve to furnish an answer to a question which has been more than once repeated, 'How can these men translate into so great a number of languages?' Few people know what may be done till they try, and persevere in what they undertake.

"I am now printing a dictionary of the Bengali, which will be pretty large, for I have got to page 256, quarto, and am not near through the first letter. That letter, however, begins more words than any two others.

"To secure the gradual perfection of the translations, I have also in my mind, and indeed have been long collecting materials for, An Universal Dictionary of the Oriental languages derived from the Sanskrit. I mean to take the Sanskrit, of course, as the groundwork, and to give the different acceptations of every word, with examples of their application, in the manner of Johnson, and then to give the synonyms in the different languages derived from the Sanskrit, with the Hebrew and Greek terms answering thereto; always putting the word derived from the Sanskrit term first, and then those derived from other sources. I intend always to give the etymology of the Sanskrit term, so that that of the terms deduced from it in the cognate languages will be evident. This work will be great, and it is doubtful whether I shall live to complete it; but I mean to begin to arrange the materials, which I have been some years collecting for this purpose, as soon as my Bengali dictionary is finished. Should I live to accomplish this, and the translations in hand, I think I can then say, 'Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace.'"

The ardent scholar had twenty-three years of toil before him in this happy work. But he did not know this, while each year the labour increased, and the apprehension grew that he and his colleagues might at any time be removed without leaving a trained successor. They naturally looked first to the sons of the mission for translators as they had already done for preachers.

To Dr. Carey personally, however, the education of a young missionary specially fitted to be his successor, as translator and editor of the translations, was even more important. Such a man was found in William Yates, born in 1792, and in the county, Leicestershire, in which Carey brought the Baptist mission to the birth. Yates was in his early years also a shoemaker, and member of Carey's old church in Harvey Lane, when under the great Robert Hall, who said to the youth's father, "Your son, sir, will be a great scholar and a good preacher, and he is a holy young man." In 1814 he became the last of the young missionaries devoted to the cause by Fuller, soon to pass away, Ryland, and Hall. Yates had not been many months at Serampore when, with the approval of his brethren, Carey wrote to Fuller, on 17th May 1815:—"I am much inclined to associate him with myself in the translations. My labour is greater than at any former period. We have now translations of the Bible going forward in twenty-seven languages, all of which are in the press except two or three. The labour of correcting and revising all of them lies on me." By September we find Yates writing:—"Dr. Carey sends all the Bengali proofs to me to review. I read them over, and if there is anything I do not understand, or think to be wrong, I mark it. We then converse over it, and if it is wrong, he alters it; but if not, he shows me the reason why it is right, and thus will initiate me into the languages as fast as I can learn them. He wishes me to begin the Hindi very soon. Since I have been here I have read three volumes in Bengali, and they have but six of consequence in prose. There are abundance in Sanskrit." "Dr. Carey has treated me with the greatest affection and kindness, and told me he will give me every information he can, and do anything in his power to promote my happiness." What Baruch was to the prophet Jeremiah, that Yates might have been to Carey, who went so far in urging him to remain for life in Serampore as to say, "if he did not accept the service it would be, in his judgment, acting against Providence, and the blessing of God was not to be expected." Yates threw in his lot with the younger men who, in Calcutta after Fuller's death, began the Society's as distinct from the Serampore mission. If Carey was the Wyclif and Tyndale, Yates was the Coverdale of the Bengali and Sanskrit Bible. Wenger, their successor, was worthy of both. Bengal still waits for the first native revision of the great work which these successive pioneers have gradually improved. When shall Bengal see its own Luther?

The Bengali Bible was the first as it was the most important of the translations. The province, or lieutenant-governorship then had the same area as France, and contained more than double its population, or eighty millions. Of the three principal vernaculars, Bengali is spoken by forty-five millions of Hindoos and Mohammedans. It was for all the natives of Bengal and of India north of the Dekhan ("south") tableland, but especially for the Bengali-speaking people, that William Carey created a literary language a century ago.

The first Bengali version of the whole New Testament Carey translated from the original Greek before the close of 1796. The only English commentary used was the Family Expositor of Doddridge, published in 1738, and then the most critical in the language. Four times he revised the manuscript, with a Greek concordance in his hand, and he used it not only with Ram Basu by his side, the most accomplished of early Bengali scholars, but with the natives around him of all classes. By 1800 Ward had arrived as printer, the press was perfected at Serampore, and the result of seven years of toil appeared in February 1801, in the first edition of 2000 copies, costing L612. The printing occupied nine months. The type was set up by Ward and Carey's son Felix with their own hands; "for about a month at first we had a Brahman compositor, but we were quite weary of him. We kept four pressmen constantly employed." A public subscription had been opened for the whole Bengali Bible at Rs. 32, or L4 a copy as exchange then was, and nearly fifty copies had been at once subscribed for. It was this edition which immediately led to Carey's appointment to the College of Fort William, and it was that appointment which placed Carey in a position, philological and financial, to give the Bible to the peoples of the farther East in their own tongue.

Some loving memories cluster round the first Bengali version of the New Testament which it is well to collect. On Tuesday, 18th March 1800, Ward's journal[19] records: "Brother Carey took an impression at the press of the first page in Matthew." The translator was himself the pressman. As soon as the whole of this Gospel was ready, 500 copies of it were struck off for immediate circulation, "which we considered of importance as containing a complete life of the Redeemer." Four days after an advertisement in the official Calcutta Gazette, announcing that the missionaries had established a press at Serampore and were printing the Bible in Bengali, roused Lord Wellesley, who had fettered the press in British India. Mr. Brown was able to inform the Governor-General that this very Serampore press had refused to print a political attack on the English Government, and that it was intended for the spiritual instruction only of the natives. This called forth the assurance from that liberal statesman that he was personally favourable to the conversion of the heathen. When he was further told that such an Oriental press would be invaluable to the College of Fort William, he not only withdrew his opposition but made Carey first teacher of Bengali. It was on the 7th February 1801 that the last sheet with the final corrections was put into Carey's hands. When a volume had been bound it was reverently offered to God by being placed on the Communion-table of the chapel, and the mission families and the new-made converts gathered around it with solemn thanksgiving to God led by Krishna Pal. Carey preached from the words (Col. iii. 11) "Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom." The centenary was celebrated in Calcutta in 1901, under Dr. Rouse, whose fine scholarship had just revised the translation.

When the first copies reached England, Andrew Fuller sent one to the second Earl Spencer, the peer who had used the wealth of Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough, to collect the great library at Althorp. Carey had been a poor tenant of his, though the Earl knew it not. When the Bengali New Testament reached him, with its story, he sent a cheque for L50 to help to translate the Old Testament, and he took care that a copy should be presented to George III., as by his own request. Mr. Bowyer was received one morning at Windsor, and along with the volume presented an address expressing the desire that His Majesty might live to see its principles universally prevail throughout his Eastern dominions. On this the lord in waiting whispered a doubt whether the book had come through the proper channel. At once the king replied that the Board of Control had nothing to do with it, and turning to Mr. Bowyer said, "I am greatly pleased to find that any of my subjects are employed in this manner."

This now rare volume, to be found on the shelves of the Serampore College Library, where it leads the host of the Carey translations, is coarse and unattractive in appearance compared with its latest successors. In truth the second edition, which appeared in 1806, was almost a new version. The criticism of his colleagues and others, especially of a ripe Grecian like Dr. Marshman, the growth of the native church, and his own experience as a Professor of Sanskrit and Marathi as well as Bengali, gave Carey new power in adapting the language to the divine ideas of which he made it the medium. But the first edition was not without its self-evidencing power. Seventeen years after, when the mission extended to the old capital of Dacca, there were found several villages of Hindoo-born peasants who had given up idol-worship, were renowned for their truthfulness, and, as searching for a true teacher come from God, called themselves "Satya-gooroos." They traced their new faith to a much-worn book kept in a wooden box in one of their villages. No one could say whence it had come; all they knew was that they had possessed it for many years. It was Carey's first Bengali version of the New Testament of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. In the wide and elastic bounds of Hindooism, and even, as we shall see, amid fanatical Mussulmans beyond the frontier, the Bible, dimly understood without a teacher, has led to puritan sects like this, as to earnest inquirers like the chamberlain of Queen Candace.

The third edition of the Bengali Testament was published in 1811 in folio for the use of the native congregations by that time formed. The fourth, consisting of 5000 copies, appeared in 1816, and the eighth in 1832. The venerable scholar, like Columba at Iona over the thirty-fourth psalm, and Baeda at Jarrow over the sixth chapter of John's Gospel, said as he corrected the last sheet—the last after forty years' faithful and delighted toil: "My work is done; I have nothing more to do but to wait the will of the Lord." The Old Testament from the Hebrew appeared in portions from 1802 to 1809. Such was the ardour of the translator, that he had finished the correction of his version of the first chapter of Genesis in January 1794. When he read it to two pundits from Nuddea, he told Fuller in his journal of that month they seemed much pleased with the account of the creation, but they objected to the omission of patala, their imaginary place beneath the earth, which they thought should have been mentioned. At this early period Carey saw the weakness of Hindooism as a pretended revelation, from its identification with false physics, just as Duff was to see and use it afterwards with tremendous effect, and wrote:—"There is a necessity of explaining to them several circumstances relative to geography and chronology, as they have many superstitious opinions on those subjects which are closely connected with their systems of idolatry." The Bengali Bible was the result of fifteen years' sweet toil, in which Marshman read the Greek and Carey the Bengali; every one of their colleagues examined the proof sheets, and Carey finally wrote with his own pen the whole of the five octavo volumes. In the forty years of his missionary career Carey prepared and saw through the press five editions of the Old Testament and eight editions of the New in Bengali.

The Sanskrit version was translated from the original, and written out by the toiling scholar himself. Sir William Jones is said to have been able to secure his first pundit's help only by paying him Rs. 500 a month, or L700 a year. Carey engaged and trained his many pundits at a twentieth of that sum. He well knew that the Brahmans would scorn a book in the language of the common people. "What," said one who was offered the Hindi version, "even if the books should contain divine knowledge, they are nothing to us. The knowledge of God contained in them is to us as milk in a vessel of dog's skin, utterly polluted." But, writes the annalist of Biblical Translations in India, Carey's Sanskrit version was cordially received by the Brahmans. Destroyed in the fire in 1812, the Old Testament historical books were again translated, and appeared in 1815. In 1827 the aged saint had strength to bring out the first volume of a thorough revision, and to leave the manuscript of the second volume, on his death, as a legacy to his successors, Yates and Wenger. Against Vedas and Upanishads, Brahmanas and Epics, he set the Sanskrit Bible.

The whole number of completely translated and published versions of the sacred Scriptures which Carey sent forth was twenty-eight. Of these seven included the whole Bible, and twenty-one contained the books of the New Testament. Each translation has a history, a spiritual romance of its own. Each became almost immediately a silent but effectual missionary to the peoples of Asia, as well as the scholarly and literary pioneer of those later editions and versions from which the native churches of farther Asia derive the materials of their lively growth.

The Ooriya version was almost the first to be undertaken after the Bengali, to which language it bears the same relation as rural Scotch to English, though it has a written character of its own. What is now the Orissa division of Bengal, separating it from Madras to the south-west, was added to the empire in 1803. This circumstance, and the fact that its Pooree district, after centuries of sun-worship and then shiva-worship, had become the high-place of the vaishnava cult of Jaganath and his car, which attracted and often slew hundreds of thousands of pilgrims every year, led Carey to prepare at once for the press the Ooriya Bible. The chief pundit, Mritunjaya, skilled in both dialects, first adapted the Bengali version to the language of the Ooriyas, which was his own. Carey then took the manuscript, compared it with the original Greek, and corrected it verse by verse. The New Testament was ready in 1809, and the Old Testament in 1815, the whole in four volumes. Large editions were quickly bought up and circulated. These led to the establishment of the General Baptist Society's missionaries at Cuttak, the capital.

In 1814 the Serampore Bible translation college, as we may call it, began the preparation of the New Testament in Maghadi, another of the languages allied to the Bengali, and derived from the Sanskrit through the Pali, because that was the vernacular of Buddhism in its original seat; an edition of 1000 copies appeared in 1824. It was intended to publish a version in the Maithili language of Bihar, which has a literature stretching back to the fourteenth century, that every class might have the Word of God in their own dialect. But Carey's literary enthusiasm and scholarship had by this time done so much to develop and extend the power of Bengali proper, that it had begun to supersede all such dialects, except Ooriya and the northern vernaculars of the valley of the Brahmapootra. In 1810 the Serampore press added the Assamese New Testament to its achievements. In 1819 the first edition appeared, in 1826 the province became British, and in 1832 Carey had the satisfaction of issuing the Old Testament, and setting apart Mr. Rae, a Scottish soldier, who had settled there, as the first missionary at Gowhatti. To these must be added, as in the Bengali character though non-Aryan languages, versions in Khasi and Manipoori, the former for the democratic tribes of the Khasia hills among whom the Welsh Calvinists have since worked, and the latter for the curious Hindoo snake-people on the border of Burma, who have taught Europe the game of polo.

Another immediate successor of the Bengali translation was the Marathi, of which also Carey was professor in the College of Fort William. By 1804 he was himself hard at work on this version, by 1811 the first edition of the New Testament appeared, and by 1820 the Old Testament left the press. It was in a dialect peculiar to Nagpoor, and was at first largely circulated by Lieutenant Moxon in the army there. In 1812 Carey sent the missionary Aratoon to Bombay and Surat just after Henry Martyn had written that the only Christian in the city who understood his evangelical sermon was a ropemaker just arrived from England. At the same time he was busy with a version in the dialect of the Konkan, the densely-peopled coast district to the south of Bombay city, inhabited chiefly by the ablest Brahmanical race in India. In 1819 the New Testament appeared in this translation, having been under preparation at Serampore for eleven years. Thus Carey sought to turn to Christ the twelve millions of Hindoos who, from Western India above and below the great coast-range known as the Sahyadri or "delectable" mountains, had nearly wrested the whole peninsula from the Mohammedans, and had almost anticipated the life-giving rule of the British, first at Panipat and then as Assye. Meanwhile new missionaries had been taking possession of those western districts where the men of Serampore had sowed the first seed and reaped the first fruits. The charter of 1813 made it possible for the American Missionaries to land there, and for the local Bible Society to spring into existence. Dr. John Wilson and his Scottish colleagues followed them. Carey and his brethren welcomed these and retired from that field, confining themselves to providing, during the next seven years, a Goojarati version for the millions of Northern Bombay, including the hopeful Parsees, and resigning that, too, to the London Missionary Society after issuing the New Testament in 1820.

Mr. Christopher Anderson justly remarks, in his Annals of the English Bible, published half a century ago:—"Time will show, and in a very singular manner, that every version, without exception, which came from Carey's hands, has a value affixed to it which the present generation, living as it were too near an object, is not yet able to estimate or descry. Fifty years hence the character of this extraordinary and humble man will be more correctly appreciated."

In none of the classes of languages derived from the Sanskrit was the zeal of Carey and his associates so remarkable as in the Hindi. So early as 1796 he wrote of this the most widely extended offspring of the Sanskrit:—"I have acquired so much of the Hindi as to converse in it and preach for some time intelligibly...It is the current language of all the west from Rajmahal to Delhi, and perhaps farther. With this I can be understood nearly all over Hindostan." By the time that he issued the sixth memoir of the translations Chamberlain's experiences in North-Western India led Carey to write that he had ascertained the existence of twenty dialects of Hindi, with the same vocabulary but different sets of terminations. The Bruj or Brijbhasa Gospels were finished in 1813, two years after Chamberlain had settled in Agra, and the New Testament was completed nine years after. This version of the Gospels led the Brahman priest, Anand Masih, to Christ. In their eagerness for a copy of the Old Testament, which appeared in 1818, many Sepoys brought testimonials from their commanding officers, and in one year it led eighteen converts to Christ. The other Hindi dialects, in which the whole New Testament or the Gospels appeared, will be found at page 177 {see footnote number 16}. The parent Hindi translation was made by Carey with his own hand from the original languages between 1802 and 1807, and ran through many large editions till Mr. Chamberlain's was preferred by Carey himself in 1819.

We may pass over the story of the Dravidian versions, the Telugoo[20] New Testament and Pentateuch, and the Kanarese. Nor need we do more than refer to the Singhalese, "derived from the previous labours of Dr. Carey" by Tolfrey, the Persian, Malayalam, and other versions made by others, but edited or carefully carried through the press by Carey. The wonderful tale of his Bible work is well illustrated by a man who, next to the Lawrences, was the greatest Englishman who has governed the Punjab frontier, the hero of Mr. Ruskin's book, A Knight's Faith. In that portion of his career which Sir Herbert Edwardes gave to the world under the title of A Year on the Punjab Frontier in 1848-49, and in which he describes his bloodless conquest of the wild valley of Bunnoo, we find this gem embedded. The writer was at the time in the Gundapoor country, of which Kulachi is the trade-centre between the Afghan pass of Ghwalari and Dera Ismail Kan, where the dust of Sir Henry Durand now lies:—

"A highly interesting circumstance connected with the Indian trade came under my notice. Ali Khan, Gundapoor, the uncle of the present chief, Gooldad Khan, told me he could remember well, as a youth, being sent by his father and elder brother with a string of Cabul horses to the fair of Hurdwar, on the Ganges. He also showed me a Pushtoo version of the Bible, printed at Serampore in 1818, which he said had been given him thirty years before at Hurdwar by an English gentleman, who told him to 'take care of it, and neither fling it into the fire nor the river; but hoard it up against the day when the British should be rulers of his country!' Ali Khan said little to anybody of his possessing this book, but put it carefully by in a linen cover, and produced it with great mystery when I came to settle the revenue of his nephew's country, 'thinking that the time predicted by the Englishman had arrived!' The only person, I believe, to whom he had shown the volume was a Moolluh, who read several passages in the Old Testament, and told Ali Khan 'it was a true story, and was all about their own Muhommudan prophets, Father Moses and Father Noah.'

"I examined the book with great interest. It was not printed in the Persian character, but the common Pushtoo language of Afghanistan; and was the only specimen I had ever seen of Pushtoo reduced to writing. The accomplishment of such a translation was a highly honourable proof of the zeal and industry of the Serampore mission; and should these pages ever meet the eye of Mr. John Marshman, of Serampore,[21] whose own pen is consistently guided by a love of civil order and religious truth, he may probably be able to identify 'the English gentleman' who, thirty-two years ago on the banks of the Ganges, at the then frontier of British India, gave to a young Afghan chief, from beyond the distant Indus, a Bible in his own barbarous tongue, and foresaw the day when the followers of the 'Son of David' should extend their dominion to the 'Throne of Solomon.'"

Hurdwar, as the spot at which the Ganges debouches into the plains, is the scene of the greatest pilgrim gathering in India, especially every twelfth year. Then three millions of people used to assemble, and too often carried, all over Asia, cholera which extended to Europe. The missionaries made this, like most pilgrim resorts, a centre of preaching and Bible circulation, and doubtless it was from Thompson, Carey's Missionary at Delhi, that this copy of the Pushtoo Bible was received. It was begun by Dr. Leyden, and continued for seven years by the same Afghan maulavee under Carey, in the Arabic character. The Punjabi Bible, nearly complete, issued first in 1815, had become so popular by 1820 as to lead Carey to report of the Sikhs that no one of the nations of India had discovered a stronger desire for the Scriptures than this hardy race. At Amritsar and Lahore "the book of Jesus is spoken of, is read, and has caused a considerable stir in the minds of the people." A Thug, asked how he could have committed so many murders, pointed to it and said, "If I had had this book I could not have done it." A fakeer, forty miles from Lodiana, read the book, founded the community of worshippers of the Sachi Pite Isa, and suffered much persecution in a native State.

When Felix Carey returned to Serampore in 1812 to print his Burmese version of the Gospel of Matthew and his Burmese grammar, his father determined to send the press at which they were completed to Rangoon. The three missionaries despatched with it a letter to the king of Ava, commending to his care "their beloved brethren, who from love to his majesty's subjects had voluntarily gone to place themselves under his protection, while they translated the Bible, the Book of Heaven, which was received and revered" by all the countries of Europe and America as "the source whence all the knowledge of virtue and religion was drawn." The king at once ordered from Serampore a printing-press, like that at Rangoon, for his own palace at Ava, with workmen to use it. In this Carey saw the beginning of a mission in the Burman capital, but God had other designs which the sons and daughters of America, following Judson first of all, are still splendidly developing, from Rangoon to Kareng-nee, Siam, and China. The ship containing the press sank in the Rangoon river, and the first Burmese war soon followed.

Three months after the complete and magnificent plan of translating the Bible into all the languages of the far East, which the assistance of his two colleagues and the college of Fort William led Carey to form, had been laid before Fuller in Northamptonshire, the British and Foreign Bible Society was founded in London. Joseph Hughes, the Nonconformist who was its first secretary, had been moved by the need of the Welsh for the Bible in their own tongue. But the ex-Governor-General, Lord Teignmouth, became its first president, and the Serampore translators at once turned for assistance to the new organisation whose work Carey had individually been doing for ten years at the cost of his two associates and himself. The catholic Bible Society at once asked Carey's old friend, Mr. Udny, then a member of the Government in Calcutta, to form a corresponding committee there of the three missionaries—their chaplain friends, Brown and Buchanan, and himself. The chaplains delayed the formation of the committee till 1809, but liberally helped meanwhile in the circulation of the other appeals issued from Serampore, and even made the proposal which resulted in Dr. Marshman's wonderful version of the Bible in Chinese and Ward's improvements in Chinese printing. To the principal tributary sovereigns of India Dr. Buchanan sent copies of the vernacular Scriptures already published.

From 1809 till 1830, or practically through the rest of Carey's life, the co-operation of Serampore and the Bible Society was honourable to both. Carey loyally clung to it when in 1811, under the spell of Henry Martyn's sermon on Christian India, the chaplains established the Calcutta Auxiliary Bible Society in order to supersede its corresponding committee. In the Serampore press the new auxiliary, like the parent Society, found the cheapest and best means of publishing editions of the New Testament in Singhalese, Malayalam, and Tamil. The press issued also the Persian New Testament, first of the Romanist missionary, Sebastiani—"though it be not wholly free from imperfections, it will doubtless do much good," wrote Dr. Marshman to Fuller—and then of Henry Martyn, whose assistant, Sabat, was trained at Serampore. Those three of Serampore had a Christ-like tolerance, which sprang from the divine charity of their determination to live only that the Word of God might sound out through Asia. When in 1830 this auxiliary—which had at first sought to keep all missionaries out of its executive in order to conciliate men like Sydney Smith's brother, the Advocate-General of Bengal—refused to use the translations of Carey and Yates, and inclined to an earlier version of Ellerton, because of the translation or transliteration of the Greek words for "baptism," these two scholars acted thus, as described by the Bible Society's annalist—they, "with a liberality which does them honour, permitted the use of their respective versions of the Bengali Scriptures, with such alterations as were deemed needful in the disputed word for 'baptism,' they being considered in no way parties to such alterations." From first to last the British and Foreign Bible Society, to use its own language, "had the privilege of aiding the Serampore brethren by grants, amounting to not less than L13,500." Of this L1475 had been raised by Mr. William Hey, F.R.S., a surgeon at Leeds, who had been so moved by the translation memoir of 1816 as to offer L500 for the publication of a thousand copies of every approved first translation of the New Testament into any dialect of India. It was with this assistance that most of the Hindi and the Pushtoo and Punjabi versions were produced.

The cold season of 1811-12 was one ever to be remembered. Death entered the home of each of the staff of seven missionaries and carried off wife or children. An earthquake of unusual violence alarmed the natives. Dr. Carey had buried a grandson, and was at his weekly work in the college at Calcutta. The sun had just set on the evening of the 11th March 1812, and the native typefounders, compositors, pressmen, binders, and writers had gone. Ward alone lingered in the waning light at his desk settling an account with a few servants. His two rooms formed the north end of the long printing-office. The south rooms were filled with paper and printed materials. Close beyond was the paper-mill. The Bible-publishing enterprise was at its height. Fourteen founts of Oriental types, new supplies of Hebrew, Greek, and English types, a vast stock of paper from the Bible Society, presses, priceless manuscripts of dictionaries, grammars, and translations, and, above all, the steel punches of the Eastern letters—all were there, with the deeds and account-books of the property, and the iron safe containing notes and rupees. Suffocating smoke burst from the long type-room into the office. Rushing through it to observe the source of the fire, he was arrested at the southern rooms by the paper store. Returning with difficulty and joined by Marshman and the natives, he had every door and window closed, and then mounting the south roof, he had water poured through it upon the burning mass for four hours, with the most hopeful prospect of arresting the ruin. While he was busy with Marshman in removing the papers in the north end some one opened a window, when the air set the entire building on flame. By midnight the roof fell in along its whole length, and the column of fire leapt up towards heaven. With "solemn serenity" the members of the mission family remained seated in front of the desolation.

The ruins were still smoking when next evening Dr. Carey arrived from Calcutta, which was ringing with the sad news. The venerable scholar had suffered most, for his were the manuscripts; the steel punches were found uninjured. The Sikh and Telugoo grammars and ten Bible versions in the press were gone. Second editions of Confucius. A Dissertation on the Chinese Language, and of Ward on the Hindoos, and smaller works were destroyed. The translation of the Ramayana, on which he and Marshman had been busy for a year, was stopped for ever; fifty years after the present writer came upon some charred sheets of the fourth volume, which had been on the press and rescued. The Circular Letter for April 1812 is printed on paper scorched at the edge. Worst of all was the loss of that polyglot dictionary of all the languages derived from the Sanskrit which, if Carey had felt any of this world's ambition, would have perpetuated his name in the first rank of philologists.

With the delicacy which always marked him Dr. Marshman had himself gone down to Calcutta next morning to break the news to Carey, who received it with choking utterance. The two then called on the friendly chaplain, Thomason, who burst into tears. When the afternoon tide enabled the three to reach Serampore, after a two hours' hard pull at the flood, they found Ward rejoicing. He had been all day clearing away the rubbish, and had just discovered the punches and matrices unharmed. The five presses too were untouched. He had already opened out a long warehouse nearer the river-shore, the lease of which had fallen in to them, and he had already planned the occupation of that uninviting place in which the famous press of Serampore and, at the last, the Friend of India weekly newspaper found a home till 1875. The description of the scene and of its effect on Carey by an eye-witness like Thomason has a value of its own:—

"The year 1812 was ushered in by an earthquake which was preceded by a loud noise; the house shook; the oil in the lamps on the walls was thrown out; the birds made a frightful noise; the natives ran from their houses, calling on the names of their gods; the sensation is most awful; we read the forty-sixth Psalm. This fearful prodigy was succeeded by that desolating disaster, the Serampore fire. I could scarcely believe the report; it was like a blow on the head which stupefies. I flew to Serampore to witness the desolation. The scene was indeed affecting. The immense printing-office, two hundred feet long and fifty broad, reduced to a mere shell. The yard covered with burnt quires of paper, the loss in which article was immense. Carey walked with me over the smoking ruins. The tears stood in his eyes. 'In one short evening,' said he, 'the labours of years are consumed. How unsearchable are the ways of God! I had lately brought some things to the utmost perfection of which they seemed capable, and contemplated the missionary establishment with perhaps too much self-congratulation. The Lord has laid me low, that I may look more simply to Him.' Who could stand in such a place, at such a time, with such a man, without feelings of sharp regret and solemn exercise of mind. I saw the ground strewed with half-consumed paper, on which in the course of a very few months the words of life would have been printed. The metal under our feet amidst the ruins was melted into misshapen lumps—the sad remains of beautiful types consecrated to the service of the sanctuary. All was smiling and promising a few hours before—now all is vanished into smoke or converted into rubbish! Return now to thy books, regard God in all thou doest. Learn Arabic with humility. Let God be exalted in all thy plans, and purposes, and labours; He can do without thee."

Carey himself thus wrote of the disaster to Dr. Ryland:—"25th March 1812.—The loss is very great, and will long be severely felt; yet I can think of a hundred circumstances which would have made it much more difficult to bear. The Lord has smitten us, he had a right to do so, and we deserve his corrections. I wish to submit to His sovereign will, nay, cordially to acquiesce therein, and to examine myself rigidly to see what in me has contributed to this evil.

"I now, however, turn to the bright side; and here I might mention what still remains to us, and the merciful circumstances which attend even this stroke of God's rod; but I will principally notice what will tend to cheer the heart of every one who feels for the cause of God. Our loss, so far as I can see, is reparable in a much shorter time than I should at first have supposed. The Tamil fount of types was the first that we began to recast. I expect it will be finished by the end of this week, just a fortnight after it was begun. The next will be the small Devanagari, for the Hindostani Scriptures, and next the larger for the Sanskrit. I hope this will be completed in another month. The other founts, viz., Bengali, Orissa, Sikh, Telinga, Singhalese, Mahratta, Burman, Kashmeerian, Arabic, Persian, and Chinese, will follow in order, and will probably be finished in six or seven months, except the Chinese, which will take more than a year to replace it. I trust, therefore, that we shall not be greatly delayed. Our English works will be delayed the longest; but in general they are of the least importance. Of MSS. burnt I have suffered the most; that is, what was actually prepared by me, and what owes its whole revision for the press to me, comprise the principal part of the MSS. consumed. The ground must be trodden over again, but no delay in printing need arise from that. The translations are all written out first by pundits in the different languages, except the Sanskrit which is dictated by me to an amanuensis. The Sikh, Mahratta, Hindostani, Orissa, Telinga, Assam, and Kurnata are re-translating in rough by pundits who have been long accustomed to their work, and have gone over the ground before. I follow them in revise, the chief part of which is done as the sheets pass through the press, and is by far the heaviest part of the work. Of the Sanskrit only the second book of Samuel and the first book of Kings were lost. Scarcely any of the Orissa, and none of the Kashmeerian or of the Burman MSS. were lost—copy for about thirty pages of my Bengali dictionary, the whole copy of a Telinga grammar, part of the copy of the grammar of Punjabi or Sikh language, and all the materials which I had been long collecting for a dictionary of all the languages derived from the Sanskrit. I hope, however, to be enabled to repair the loss, and to complete my favourite scheme, if my life be prolonged."

Little did these simple scholars, all absorbed in their work, dream that this fire would prove to be the means of making them and their work famous all over Europe and America as well as India. Men of every Christian school, and men interested only in the literary and secular side of their enterprise, had their active sympathy called out. The mere money loss, at the exchange of the day, was not under ten thousand pounds. In fifty days this was raised in England and Scotland alone, till Fuller, returning from his last campaign, entered the room of his committee, declaring "we must stop the contributions." In Greenock, for instance, every place of worship on one Sunday collected money. In the United States Mr. Robert Ralston, a Presbyterian, a merchant of Philadelphia, who as Carey's correspondent had been the first American layman to help missions to India, and Dr. Staughton, who had taken an interest in the formation of the Society in 1792 before he emigrated, had long assisted the translation work, and now that Judson was on his way out they redoubled their exertions. In India Thomason's own congregation sent the missionaries L800, and Brown wrote from his dying bed a message of loving help. The newspapers of Calcutta caught the enthusiasm; one leading article concluded with the assurance that the Serampore press would, "like the phoenix of antiquity, rise from its ashes, winged with new strength, and destined, in a lofty and long-enduring flight, widely to diffuse the benefits of knowledge throughout the East." The day after the fire ceased to smoke Monohur was at the task of casting type from the lumps of the molten metal.

In two months after the first intelligence Fuller was able to send as "feathers of the phoenix" slips of sheets of the Tamil Testament, printed from these types, to the towns and churches which had subscribed. Every fortnight a fount was cast; in a month all the native establishment was at work night and day. In six months the whole loss in Oriental types was repaired. The Ramayana version and Sanskrit polyglot dictionary were never resumed. But of the Bible translations and grammars, Carey and his two heroic brethren wrote:—"We found, on making the trial, that the advantages in going over the same ground a second time were so great that they fully counter-balanced the time requisite to be devoted thereto in a second translation." The fire, in truth, the cause of which was never discovered, and insurance against which did not exist in India, had given birth to revised editions.



The growth of a language—Carey identified with the transition stage of Bengali—First printed books—Carey's own works—His influence on indigenous writers—His son's works—Bengal the first heathen country to receive the press—The first Bengali newspaper—The monthly and quarterly Friend of India—The Hindoo revival of the eighteenth century fostered by the East India Company—Carey's three memorials to Government on female infanticide, voluntary drowning, and widow-burning—What Jonathan Duncan and Col. Walker had done—Wellesley's regulation to prevent the sacrifice of children—Beginning of the agitation against the Suttee crime—Carey's pundits more enlightened than the Company's judges—Humanity triumphs in 1832—Carey's share in Ward's book on the Hindoos—The lawless supernaturalism of Rome and of India—Worship of Jaganath—Regulation identifying Government with Hindooism—The swinging festival—Ghat murders—Burning of lepers—Carey establishes the Leper Hospital in Calcutta—Slavery in India loses its legal status—Cowper, Clarkson, and Carey.

Like the growth of a tree is the development of a language, as really and as strictly according to law. In savage lands like those of Africa the missionary finds the living germs of speech, arranges them for the first time in grammatical order, expresses them in written and printed form, using the simplest, most perfect, and most universal character of all—the Roman, and at one bound gives the most degraded of the dark peoples the possibility of the highest civilisation and the divinest future. In countries like India and China, where civilisation has long ago reached its highest level, and has been declining for want of the salt of a universal Christianity, it is the missionary again who interferes for the highest ends, but by a different process. Mastering the complex classical speech and literature of the learned and priestly class, and living with his Master's sympathy among the people whom that class oppresses, he takes the popular dialects which are instinct with the life of the future; where they are wildly luxuriant he brings them under law, where they are barren he enriches them from the parent stock so as to make them the vehicle of ideas such as Greek gave to Europe, and in time he brings to the birth nations worthy of the name by a national language and literature lighted up with the ideas of the Book which he is the first to translate.

This was what Carey did for the speech of the Bengalees. To them, as the historians of the fast approaching Christian future will recognise, he was made what the Saxon Boniface had become to the Germans, or the Northumbrian Baeda and Wyclif to the English. The transition period of English, from 1150 when its modern grammatical form prevailed, to the fifteenth century when the rich dialects gave place to the literary standard, has its central date in 1362. Then Edward the Third made English take the place of French as the public language of justice and legislation, closely followed by Wyclif's English Bible. Carey's one Indian life of forty years marks the similar transition stage of Bengali, including the parallel regulation of 1829, which abolished Persian, made by the Mohammedan conquerors the language of the courts, and put in its place Bengali and the vernaculars of the other provinces.

When Carey began to work in Calcutta and Dinapoor in 1792-93 Bengali had no printed and hardly any written literature. The very written characters were justly described by Colebrooke as nothing else but the difficult and beautiful Sanskrit Devanagari deformed for the sake of expeditious writings, such as accounts. It was the new vaishnava faith of the Nuddea reformer Chaitanya which led to the composition of the first Bengali prose.[22] The Brahmans and the Mohammedan rulers alike treated Bengali—though "it arose from the tomb of the Sanskrit," as Italian did from Latin under Dante's inspiration—as fit only for "demons and women." In the generation before Carey there flourished at the same Oxford of India, as Nuddea has been called, Raja Krishna Rai, who did for Bengali what our own King Alfred accomplished for English prose. Moved, however, chiefly by a zeal for Hindooism, which caused him to put a Soodra to death for marrying into a Brahman family, he himself wrote the vernacular and spent money in gifts, which "encouraged the people to study Bengali with unusual diligence." But when, forty years after that, Carey visited Nuddea he could not discover more than forty separate works, all in manuscript, as the whole literature of 30,000,000 of people up to that time. A press had been at work on the opposite side of the river for fifteen years, but Halhed's grammar was still the only as it was the most ancient printed book. One Baboo Ram, from Upper India, was the first native who established a press in Calcutta, and that only under the influence of Colebrooke, to print the Sanskrit classics. The first Bengali who, on his own account, printed works in the vernacular on trade principles, was Gunga Kishore, whom Carey and Ward had trained at Serampore. He soon made so large a fortune by his own press that three native rivals had sprung up by 1820, when twenty-seven separate books, or 15,000 copies, had been sold to natives within ten years.

For nearly all these Serampore supplied the type. But all were in another sense the result of Carey's action. His first edition of the Bengali New Testament appeared in 1801, his Grammar in the same year, and at the same time his Colloquies, or "dialogues intended to facilitate the acquiring of the Bengali language," which he wrote out of the abundance of his knowledge of native thought, idioms, and even slang, to enable students to converse with all classes of society, as Erasmus had done in another way. His Dictionary of 80,000 words began to appear in 1815. Knowing, however, that in the long run the literature of a nation must be of indigenous growth, he at once pressed the natives into this service. His first pundit, Ram Basu, was a most accomplished Bengali scholar. This able man, who lacked the courage to profess Christ in the end, wrote the first tract, the Gospel Messenger, and the first pamphlet exposing Hindooism, both of which had an enormous sale and caused much excitement. On the historical side Carey induced him to publish in 1801 the Life of Raja Pratapaditya, the last king of Sagar Island. At first the new professor could not find reading books for his Bengali class in the college of Fort William. He, his pundits, especially Mritunjaya who has been compared in his physique and knowledge to Dr. Samuel Johnson, and even the young civilian students, were for many years compelled to write Bengali text-books, including translations of Virgil's AEneid and Shakspere's Tempest. The School Book Society took up the work, encouraging such a man as Ram Komal Sen, the printer who became chief native official of the Bank of Bengal and father of the late Keshab Chunder Sen, to prepare his Bengali dictionary. Self-interest soon enlisted the haughtiest Brahmans in the work of producing school and reading books, till now the Bengali language is to India what the Italian is to Europe, and its native literature is comparatively as rich. Nor was Carey without his European successor in the good work for a time. When his son Felix died in 1823 he was bewailed as the coadjutor of Ram Komal Sen, as the author of the first volume of a Bengali encyclopaedia on anatomy, as the translator of Bunyan's Pilgrim, Goldsmith's History of England, and Mill's History of India.

Literature cannot be said to exist for the people till the newspaper appears. Bengal was the first non-Christian country into which the press had ever been introduced. Above all forms of truth and faith Christianity seeks free discussion; in place of that the missionaries lived under a shackled press law tempered by the higher instincts of rulers like Wellesley, Hastings, and Bentinck, till Macaulay and Metcalfe gained for it liberty. When Dr. Marshman in 1818 proposed the publication of a Bengali periodical, Dr. Carey, impressed by a quarter of a century's intolerance, consented only on the condition that it should be a monthly magazine, and should avoid political discussion. Accordingly the Dig-darshan appeared, anticipating in its contents and style the later Penny and Saturday Magazines, and continued for three years. Its immediate success led to the issue from the Serampore press on the 31st May 1818, of "the first newspaper ever printed in any Oriental language"—the Samachar Darpan, or News Mirror.

It was a critical hour when the first proof of the first number was laid before the assembled brotherhood at the weekly meeting on Friday evening. Dr. Carey, fearing for his spiritual work, but eager for this new avenue to the minds of the people who were being taught to read, and had little save their own mythology, consented to its publication when Dr. Marshman promised to send a copy, with an analysis of its contents in English, to the Government, and to stop the enterprise if it should be officially disapproved. Lord Hastings was fighting the Pindarees, and nothing was said by his Council. On his return he declared that "the effect of such a paper must be extensively and importantly useful." He allowed it to circulate by post at one-fourth the then heavy rate. The natives welcomed their first newspaper. Although it avoided religious controversy, in a few weeks an opposition journal was issued by a native, who sought to defend Hindooism under the title of the Destroyer of Darkness. To the Darpan the educated natives looked as the means of bringing the oppression of their own countrymen to the knowledge of the public and the authorities. Government found it most useful for contradicting silly rumours and promoting contentment if not loyalty. The paper gave a new development to the Bengali language as well as to the moral and political education of the people.

The same period of liberty to the press and to native advancement, with which the names of the Marquis of Hastings and his accomplished wife will ever be associated, saw the birth of an English periodical which, for the next fifty-seven years, was to become not merely famous but powerfully useful as the Friend of India. The title was the selection of Dr. Marshman, and the editorial management was his and his able son's down to 1852, when it passed into the hands of Mr. Meredith Townsend, long the most brilliant of English journalists, and finally into those of the present writer. For some years a monthly and for a time a quarterly magazine till 1835, when Mr. John Marshman made it the well-known weekly, this journal became the means through which Carey and the brotherhood fought the good fight of humanity. In the monthly and quarterly Friend, moreover, reprinted as much of it was in London, the three philanthropists brought their ripe experience and lofty principles to bear on the conscience of England and of educated India alike. As, on the Oriental side, Carey chose for his weapon the vernacular, on the other he drew from Western sources the principles and the thoughts which he clothed in a Bengali dress.

We have already seen how Carey at the end of the eighteenth century found Hindooism at its worst. Steadily had the Pooranic corruption and the Brahmanical oppression gone on demoralising the whole of Hindoo society. In the period of virtual anarchy, which covered the seventy-five years from the death of Aurangzeb to the supremacy of Warren Hastings and the reforms of Lord Cornwallis, the healthy zeal of Islam against the idolatrous abominations of the Hindoos had ceased. In its place there was not only a wild licence amounting to an undoubted Hindoo revival, marked on the political side by the Maratha ascendency, but there came to be deliberate encouragement of the worst forms of Hindooism by the East India Company and its servants. That "the mischievous reaction" on England from India—its idolatry, its women, its nabobs, its wealth, its absolutism—was prevented, and European civilisation was "after much delay and hesitation" brought to bear on India, was due indeed to the legislation of Governor-Generals from Cornwallis to Bentinck, but much more, to the persistent agitation of Christian missionaries, notably Carey and Duff. For years Carey stood alone in India, as Grant and Wilberforce did in England, in the darkest hour of England's moral degradation and spiritual death, when the men who were shaping the destinies of India were the Hindooising Stewarts and Youngs, Prendergasts, Twinings, and Warings, some of whom hated missions from the dread of sedition, others because their hearts "seduced by fair idolatresses had fallen to idols foul."

The most atrociously inhuman of all the Brahmanical customs, and yet the most universal, from the land of the five rivers at Lahore to the far spice islands at Bali, was the murder of widows by burning or burying them alive with the husband's corpse. We have seen how the first of the many such scenes which he was doomed to witness for the next thirty years affected Carey. After remonstrances, which the people met first by argument and then by surly threats, Carey wrote:—"I told them I would not go, that I was determined to stay and see the murder, and that I should certainly bear witness of it at the tribunal of God." And when he again sought to interfere because the two stout bamboos always fixed for the purpose of preventing the victim's escape were pressed down on the shrieking woman like levers, and they persisted, he wrote: "We could not bear to see more, but left them exclaiming loudly against the murder and full of horror at what we had seen." The remembrance of that sight never left Carey. His naturally cheerful spirit was inflamed to indignation all his life through, till his influence, more than that of any other one man, at last prevailed to put out for ever the murderous pyre. Had Lord Wellesley remained Governor-General a year longer Carey would have succeeded in 1808, instead of having to wait till 1829, and to know as he waited and prayed that literally every day saw the devilish smoke ascending along the banks of the Ganges, and the rivers and pools considered sacred by the Hindoos. Need we wonder that when on a Sunday morning the regulation of Lord William Bentinck prohibiting the crime reached him as he was meditating his sermon, he sent for another to do the preaching, and taking his pen in his hand, at once wrote the official translation, and had it issued in the Bengali Gazette that not another day might be added to the long black catalogue of many centuries?

On the return of the Marquis Wellesley to Calcutta from the Tipoo war, and his own appointment to the College of Fort William, Carey felt that his time had come to prevent the murder of the innocents all over India in the three forms of female infanticide, voluntary drowning, and widow-burning or burying alive. His old friend, Udny, having become a member of Council or colleague of the Governor-General, he prepared three memorials to Government on each of these crimes. When afterwards he had enlisted Claudius Buchanan in the good work, and had employed trustworthy natives to collect statistics proving that in the small district around Calcutta 275 widow murders thus took place in six months of 1803, and when he was asked by Dr. Ryland to state the facts which, with his usual absence of self-regarding, he had not reported publicly, or even in letters home, he thus replied:—

"27th April 1808.—The report of the burning of women, and some others, however, were made by me. I, at his expense, however, made the inquiries and furnished the reports, and believe they are rather below the truth than above it. I have, since I have been here, through a different medium, presented three petitions or representations to Government for the purpose of having the burning of women and other modes of murder abolished, and have succeeded in the case of infanticide and voluntary drowning in the river. Laws were made to prevent these, which have been successful."

But there was a crime nearer home, committed in the river flowing past his own door, and especially at Sagar Island, where the Ganges loses itself in the ocean. At that tiger-haunted spot, shivering in the cold of the winter solstice, every year multitudes of Hindoos, chiefly wives with children and widows with heavy hearts, assembled to wash away their sins—to sacrifice the fruit of their body for the sin of their soul. Since 1794, when Thomas and he had found in a basket hanging on a tree the bones of an infant exposed, to be devoured by the white ants, by some mother too poor to go on pilgrimage to a sacred river-spot, Carey had known this unnatural horror. He and his brethren had planned a preaching tour to Sagar, where not only mothers drowned their first born in payment of a vow, with the encouragement of the Brahmans, but widows and even men walked into the deep sea and drowned themselves at the spot where Ganga and Sagar kiss each other, "as the highest degree of holiness, and as securing immediate heaven." The result of Carey's memorial was the publication of the Regulation for preventing the sacrifice of children at Sagar and other places on the Ganges:—"It has been represented to the Governor-General in Council that a criminal and inhuman practice of sacrificing children, by exposing them to be drowned or devoured by sharks, prevails...Children thrown into the sea at Sagar have not been generally rescued...but the sacrifice has been effected with circumstances of peculiar atrocity in some instances. This practice is not sanctioned by the Hindoo law, nor countenanced by the religious orders." It was accordingly declared to be murder, punishable with death. At each pilgrim gathering sepoys were stationed to check the priests and the police, greedy of bribes, and to prevent fanatical suicides as well as superstitious murders.

The practice of infanticide was really based on the recommendation of Sati, literally the "method of purity" which the Hindoo shastras require when they recommend the bereaved wife to burn with her husband. Surely, reasoned the Rajpoots, we may destroy a daughter by abortion, starvation, suffocation, strangulation, or neglect, of whose marriage in the line of caste and dignity of family there is little prospect, if a widow may be burned to preserve her chastity!

In answer to Carey's third memorial Lord Wellesley took the first step, on 5th February 1805, in the history of British India, two centuries after Queen Elizabeth had given the Company its mercantile charter, and half a century after Plassey had given it political power, to protect from murder the widows who had been burned alive, at least since the time of Alexander the Great. This was the first step in the history of British but not of Mohammedan India, for our predecessors had by decree forbidden and in practice discouraged the crime. Lord Wellesley's colleagues were still the good Udny, the great soldier Lord Lake and Sir George Barlow. The magistrate of Bihar had on his own authority prevented a child-widow of twelve, when drugged by the Brahmans, from being burned alive, after which, he wrote, "the girl and her friends were extremely grateful for my interposition." Taking advantage of this case, the Government asked the appellate judges, all Company's servants, to "ascertain how far the practice is founded on the religious opinions of the Hindoos. If not founded on any precept of their law, the Governor-General in Council hopes that the custom may gradually, if not immediately, be altogether abolished. If, however, the entire abolition should appear to the Court to be impracticable in itself, or inexpedient, as offending any established religious opinion of the Hindoos," the Court were desired to consider the best means of preventing the abuses, such as the use of drugs and the sacrifice of those of immature age. But the preamble of this reference to the judges declared it to be one of the fundamental principles of the British Government to consult the religious opinions of the natives, "consistently with the principles of morality, reason, and humanity." There spoke Carey and Udny, and Wellesley himself. But for another quarter of a century the funeral pyres were to blaze with the living also, because that caveat was set aside, that fundamental maxim of the constitution of much more than the British Government—of the conscience of humanity, was carefully buried up. The judges asked the pundits whether the woman is "enjoined" by the shaster voluntarily to burn herself with the body of her husband. They replied "every woman of the four castes is permitted to burn herself," except in certain cases enumerated, and they quoted Manoo, who is against the custom in so far as he says that a virtuous wife ascends to heaven if she devotes herself to pious austerities after the decease of her lord.

This opinion would have been sufficient to give the requisite native excuse to Government for the abolition, but the Nizamat Adawlat judges urged the "principle" of "manifesting every possible indulgence to the religious opinions and prejudices of the natives," ignoring morality, reason, and humanity alike. Lord Wellesley's long and brilliant administration of eight years was virtually at an end: in seven days he was to embark for home. The man who had preserved the infants from the sharks of Sagar had to leave the widows and their children to be saved by the civilians Carey and he had personally trained, Metcalfe and Bayley, who by 1829 had risen to Council and become colleagues of Lord W. Bentinck. But Lord Wellesley did this much, he declined to notice the so-called "prohibitory regulations" recommended by the civilian judges. These, when adopted in the year 1812, made the British Government responsible by legislation for every murder thereafter, and greatly increased the number of murders. From that date the Government of India decided "to allow the practice," as recognised and encouraged by the Hindoo religion, except in cases of compulsion, drugging, widows under sixteen, and proved pregnancy. The police—natives—were to be present, and to report every case. At the very time the British Parliament were again refusing in the charter discussions of 1813 for another twenty years to tolerate Christianity in its Eastern dependency, the Indian legislature legalised the burning and burying alive of widows, who numbered at least 6000 in nine only of the next sixteen years, from 1815 to 1823 inclusive.

From Plassey in 1757 to 1829, three quarters of a century, Christian England was responsible, at first indirectly and then most directly, for the known immolation of at least 70,000 Hindoo widows. Carey was the first to move the authorities; Udny and Wellesley were the first to begin action against an atrocity so long continued and so atrocious. While the Governor-Generals and their colleagues passed away, Carey and his associates did not cease to agitate in India and to stir up Wilberforce and the evangelicals in England, till the victory was gained. The very first number of the Friend of India published their essay on the burning of widows, which was thereafter quoted on both sides of the conflict, as "a powerful and convincing statement of the real facts and circumstances of the case," in Parliament and elsewhere. Nor can we omit to record the opinion of Carey's chief pundit, with whom he spent hours every day as a fellow-worker. The whole body of law-pundits wrote of Sati as only "permitted." Mritunjaya, described as the head jurist of the College of Fort William and the Supreme Court, decided that, according to Hindooism, a life of mortification is the law for a widow. At best burning is only an alternative for mortification, and no alternative can have the force of direct law. But in former ages nothing was ever heard of the practice, it being peculiar to a later and more corrupt era. "A woman's burning herself from the desire of connubial bliss ought to be rejected with abhorrence," wrote this colossus of pundits. Yet before he was believed, or the higher law was enforced, as it has ever since been even in our tributary States, mothers had burned with sons, and forty wives, many of them sisters, at a time, with polygamous husbands. Lepers and the widows of the devotee class had been legally buried alive. Magistrates, who were men like Metcalfe, never ceased to prevent widow-murder on any pretext, wherever they might be placed, in defiance of their own misguided Government.

Though from 4th December 1829—memorable date, to be classed with that on which soon after 800,000 slaves were set free—"the Ganges flowed unblooded to the sea" for the first time, the fight lasted a little longer. The Calcutta "orthodox" formed a society to restore their right of murdering their widows, and found English lawyers ready to help them in an appeal to the Privy Council under an Act of Parliament of 1797. The Darpan weekly did good service in keeping the mass of the educated natives right on the subject. The Privy Council, at which Lord Wellesley and Charles Grant, venerable in years and character, were present, heard the case for two days, and on 24th June 1832 dismissed the petition!

Though the greatest, this was only one of the crimes against humanity and morality which Carey opposed all his life with a practical reasonableness till he saw the public opinion he had done so much to create triumph. He knew the people of India, their religious, social, and economic condition, as no Englishman before him had done. He stood between them and their foreign Government at the beginning of our intimate contact with all classes as detailed administrators and rulers. The outcome of his peculiar experience is to be found not only in the writings published under his own name but in the great book of his colleague William Ward, every page of which passed under his careful correction as well as under the more general revision of Henry Martyn. Except for the philosophy of Hindooism, the second edition of A View of the History, Literature, and Mythology of the Hindoos, including a Minute Description of their Manners and Customs, and Translations from their Principal Works, published in 1818 in two quarto volumes, stands unrivalled as the best authority on the character and daily life and beliefs of the 200,000,000 to whom Great Britain had been made a terrestrial providence, till Christianity teaches them to govern themselves and to become to the rest of Asia missionaries of nobler truth than that wherewith their Buddhist fathers covered China and the farther East.

All the crimes against humanity with which the history of India teems, down to the Mutiny and the records of our courts and tributary states at this hour, are directly traceable to lawless supernaturalism like that of the civilised world before the triumph of Christianity. In nothing does England's administration of India resemble Rome's government of its provinces in the seven centuries from the reduction of Sicily, 240 B.C., to the fall of the Western Empire, 476 A.D., so much as in the relation of nascent Christianity to the pagan cults which had made society what it was. Carey and the brotherhood stood alone in facing, in fighting with divine weapons, in winning the first victories over the secular as well as spiritual lawlessness which fell before Paul and his successors down to Augustine and his City of God. The gentle and reasonable but none the less divinely indignant father of modern missions brings against Hindoo and Mohammedan society accusations no more railing than those in the opening passage of the Epistle to the Romans, and he brings these only that, following Paul, he may declare the more excellent way.

As Serampore, or its suburbs, is the most popular centre of Jaganath worship next to Pooree in Orissa, the cruelty and oppression which marked the annual festival were ever before the missionaries' eyes. In 1813 we find Dr. Claudius Buchanan establishing his veracity as an eye-witness of the immolation of drugged or voluntary victims under the idol car, by this quotation from Dr. Carey, whom he had to describe at that time to his English readers, as a man of unquestionable integrity, long held in estimation by the most respectable characters in Bengal, and possessing very superior opportunities of knowing what is passing in India generally: "Idolatry destroys more than the sword, yet in a way which is scarcely perceived. The numbers who die in their long pilgrimages, either through want or fatigue, or from dysenteries and fevers caught by lying out, and want of accommodation, is incredible. I only mention one idol, the famous Juggernaut in Orissa, to which twelve or thirteen pilgrimages are made every year. It is calculated that the number who go thither is, on some occasions, 600,000 persons, and scarcely ever less than 100,000. I suppose, at the lowest calculation, that in the year 1,200,000 persons attend. Now, if only one in ten died, the mortality caused by this one idol would be 120,000 in a year; but some are of opinion that not many more than one in ten survive and return home again. Besides these, I calculate that 10,000 women annually burn with the bodies of their deceased husbands, and the multitudes destroyed in other methods would swell the catalogue to an extent almost exceeding credibility."

After we had taken Orissa from the Marathas the priests of Jaganath declared that the night before the conquest the god had made known its desire to be under British protection. This was joyfully reported to Lord Wellesley's Government by the first British commissioner. At once a regulation was drafted vesting the shrine and the increased pilgrim-tax in the Christian officials. This Lord Wellesley indignantly refused to sanction, and it was passed by Sir George Barlow in spite of the protests of Carey's friend, Udny. In Conjeeveram a Brahmanised civilian named Place had so early as 1796 induced Government to undertake the payment of the priests and prostitutes of the temples, under the phraseology of "churchwardens" and "the management of the church funds." Even before the Madras iniquity, the pilgrims to Gaya from 1790, if not before, paid for authority to offer funeral cakes to the manes of their ancestors and to worship Vishnoo under the official seal and signature of the English Collector. Although Charles Grant's son, Lord Glenelg, when President of the Board of Control in 1833, ordered, as Theodosius had done on the fall of pagan idolatry in A.D. 390, that "in all matters relating to their temples, their worship, their festivals, their religious practices, their ceremonial observances, our native subjects be left entirely to themselves," the identification of Government with Hindooism was not completely severed till a recent period.

The Charak, or swinging festival, has been frequently witnessed by the present writer in Calcutta itself. The orgie has been suppressed by the police in great cities, although it has not ceased in the rural districts. In 1814 the brotherhood thus wrote home:—

"This abominable festival was held, according to the annual custom, on the last day of the Hindoo year. There were fewer gibbet posts erected at Serampore, but we hear that amongst the swingers was one female. A man fell from a stage thirty cubits high and broke his back; and another fell from a swinging post, but was not much hurt. Some days after the first swinging, certain natives revived the ceremonies. As Mr. Ward was passing through Calcutta he saw several Hindoos hanging by the heels over a slow fire, as an act of devotion. Several Hindoos employed in the printing-office applied this year to Mr. Ward for protection, to escape being dragged into these pretendedly voluntary practices. This brought before us facts which we were not aware of. It seems that the landlords of the poor and other men of property insist upon certain of their tenants and dependants engaging in these practices, and that they expect and compel by actual force multitudes every year to join the companies of sunyassees in parading the streets, piercing their sides, tongues, etc. To avoid this compulsion, many poor young men leave their houses and hide themselves; but they are sure of being beaten if caught, or of having their huts pulled down. The influence and power of the rich have a great effect on the multitude in most of the idolatrous festivals. When the lands and riches of the country were in few hands, this influence carried all before it. It is still very widely felt, in compelling dependants to assist at public shows, and to contribute towards the expense of splendid ceremonies."

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