"One great argument of his opponents was grounded on the enthusiastic character which they imputed to the missionary body. India hitherto has seen no missionary who was a member of the English Church, and imputations could be cast more readily on 'Anabaptists and fanatics.' These attacks Mr. Wilberforce indignantly refuted, and well had the noble conduct of the band at Serampore deserved this vindication. 'I do not know,' he often said, 'a finer instance of the moral sublime, than that a poor cobbler working in his stall should conceive the idea of converting the Hindoos to Christianity; yet such was Dr. Carey. Why Milton's planning his Paradise Lost in his old age and blindness was nothing to it. And then when he had gone to India, and was appointed by Lord Wellesley to a lucrative and honourable station in the college of Fort William, with equal nobleness of mind he made over all his salary (between L1000 and L1500 per annum) to the general objects of the mission. By the way, nothing ever gave me a more lively sense of the low and mercenary standard of your men of honour, than the manifest effect produced upon the House of Commons by my stating this last circumstance. It seemed to be the only thing which moved them.' Dr. Carey had been especially attacked, and 'a few days afterwards the member who had made this charge came to me, and asked me in a manner which in a noted duellist could not be mistaken, "Pray, Mr. Wilberforce, do you know a Mr. Andrew Fuller, who has written to desire me to retract the statement which I made with reference to Dr. Carey?" "Yes," I answered with a smile, "I know him perfectly, but depend upon it you will make nothing of him in your way; he is a respectable Baptist minister at Kettering." In due time there came from India an authoritative contradiction of the slander. It was sent to me, and for two whole years did I take it in my pocket to the House of Commons to read it to the House whenever the author of the accusation should be present; but during that whole time he never once dared show himself in the House.'"
The slanderer was a Mr. Prendergast, who affirmed that Dr. Carey's conduct had changed so much for the worse since the departure of Lord Wellesley, that he himself had seen the missionary on a tub in the streets of Calcutta haranguing the mob and abusing the religion of the people in such a way that the police alone saved him from being killed. So, and for the same object of defeating the Resolutions on Toleration, Mr. Montgomerie Campbell had asserted that when Schwartz was in the heat of his discourse in a certain village and had taken off his stock, "that and his gold buckle were stolen by one of his virtuous and enlightened congregation; in such a description of natives did the doctrine of the missionaries operate." Before Dr. Carey's exposure could reach England this "tub" story became the stock argument of the anti-christian orators. The Madras barrister, Marsh, who was put up to answer Wilberforce, was driven to such language as this:—
"Your struggles are only begun when you have converted one caste; never will the scheme of Hindoo conversion be realised till you persuade an immense population to suffer by whole tribes the severest martyrdom that has yet been sustained for the sake of religion—and are the missionaries whom this bill will let loose on India fit engines for the accomplishment of this great revolution? Will these people, crawling from the holes and caverns of their original destinations, apostates from the loom and the anvil—he should have said the awl—and renegades from the lowest handicraft employments, be a match for the cool and sedate controversies they will have to encounter should the Brahmans condescend to enter into the arena against the maimed and crippled gladiators that presume to grapple with their faith? What can be apprehended but the disgrace and discomfiture of whole hosts of tub preachers in the conflict?"
Lord Wellesley's eulogy of the Serampore mission in the House of Lords was much more pronounced than appears from the imperfect report. But even in that he answered the Brahmanised member of the House of Commons thus:—
"With regard to the missionaries, he must say that while he was in India he never knew of any danger arising from their proceedings, neither had he heard of any impression produced by them in the way of conversion. The greater number of them were in the Danish settlement of Serampore; but he never heard of any convulsions or any alarm produced by them. Some of them, particularly Mr. Carey, were very learned men, and had been employed in the College of Fort William. He had always considered the missionaries who were in India in his time a quiet, orderly, discreet, and learned body; and he had employed them in the education of youth and the translation of the Scriptures into the eastern languages. He had thought it his duty to have the Sacred Scriptures translated into the languages of the East, and to give the learned natives employed in the translation the advantage of access to the sacred fountain of divine truth. He thought a Christian governor could not have done less; and he knew that a British governor ought not to do more."
Carey's letters to Fuller in 1810-12 are filled with importunate appeals to agitate, so that the new charter might legalise Christian mission work in India. Fuller worked outside of the House as hard as Wilberforce. In eight weeks of the session no fewer than nine hundred petitions were presented, in twenties and thirties, night after night, till Lord Castlereagh exclaimed, "This is enough, Mr. Fuller." There was more reason for Carey's urgency than he knew at the time he was pressing Fuller. The persecution of the missionaries in Bengal, excused by the Vellore mutiny, which had driven Judson to Burma and several other missionaries elsewhere, was renewed by the Indian Government's secretaries and police. The Ministry had informed the Court of Directors that they had resolved to permit Europeans to settle in India, yet after five weeks' vacillation the Governor-General yielded to his subordinates so far as to issue an order on 5th March 1812, for the expulsion of three missionaries, an order which was so executed that one of them was conducted like a felon through the streets and lodged in the native jail for two hours. Carey thus wrote to Ryland on the persecution:—
"CALCUTTA, 14th April 1813.—Before this reaches you it is probable that you will have heard of the resolution of Government respecting our brethren Johns, Lawson, and Robinson, and will perhaps have even seen Brother Johns, who was by that cruel order sent home on the Castlereagh. Government have agreed that Brother Lawson shall stay till the pleasure of the Court of Directors is known, to whom a reference will be made. Brother Robinson was gone down the river, and was on board a ship bound to Java when the order was issued; he therefore got out without hearing of it, but I understand it will be sent thither after him. Jehovah reigneth!
"Since Brother Johns's departure I have tried to ascertain the cause of the severity in Government. I had a long conversation with H. T. Colebrooke, Esq., who has been out of Council but a few months, upon the matter. I cannot learn that Government has any specific dislike to us, but find that ever since the year 1807 the orders of the Court of Directors to send home all Europeans not in the service of Her Majesty or the Company, and who come out without leave of the Directors, have been so peremptory and express that Government cannot now overlook any circumstance which brings such persons to notice. Notwithstanding the general way in which the Court of Directors have worded their orders, I cannot help putting several circumstances together, which make me fear that our Mission was the cause of the enforcement of that general law which forbids Europeans to remain in India without the leave of the Court of Directors.
"Whether Twining's pamphlet excited the alarm, or was only an echo of the minds of a number of men hostile to religion, I cannot say, but if I recollect dates aright the orders of the Court of Directors came as soon as possible after that pamphlet was published; and as it would have been too barefaced to have given a specific order to send home missionaries, they founded their orders on an unjust and wicked clause in the charter, and so enforced it that it should effectually operate on missionaries.
"I hope the friends of religion will persevere in the use of all peaceful and lawful means to prevail on the legislature to expunge that clause, or so to modify it that ministers of the Gospel may have leave to preach, form and visit churches, and perform the various duties of their office without molestation, and that they may have a right to settle in and travel over any part of India for that purpose. Nothing can be more just than this wish, and nothing would be more politic than for it to be granted; for every one converted from among the heathen is from that time a staunch friend of the English Government. Our necks have, however, been more or less under the yoke ever since that year, and preaching the Gospel stands in much the same political light as committing an act of felony. Witness what has been done to Mr. Thompson, the five American brethren, and our three brethren. Mr. Thomason, the clergyman, has likewise hard work to stand his ground.
"I trust, however, it is too late to eradicate the Gospel from Bengal. The number of those born in the country who preach the Word is now very considerable. Fifteen of this description preach constantly, and seven or eight more occasionally exhort their countrymen, besides our European brethren. The Gospel is stationed at eighteen or twenty stations belonging to our Mission alone, and at several of them there are churches. The Bible is either translated or under translation into twenty-four of the languages of the East, eighteen of which we are employed about, besides printing most of the others. Thirteen out of these eighteen are now in the press, including a third edition of the Bengali New Testament. Indeed, so great is the demand for Bibles that though we have eight presses constantly at work I fear we shall not have a Bengali New Testament to sell or give away for the next twelve months, the old edition being entirely out of print. We shall be in almost the same predicament with the Hindostani. We are going to set up two more presses, which we can get made in Calcutta, and are going to send another to Rangoon. In short, though the publishing of the Word of God is a political crime, there never was a time when it was so successful. 'Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord.'
"Through divine mercy we are all well, and live in peace and love. A small cloud which threatened at the time Brother Johns left us has mercifully blown over, and we are now in the utmost harmony. I will, if possible, write to my nephew Eustace by these ships, but I am so pressed for time that I can never promise to write a letter. The Lord has so blessed us that we are now printing in more languages than we could do before the fire took place.
"Give my love to Eustace, also to all who recollect or think of me. I am now near fifty-two years of age; yet through mercy I am well and am enabled to keep close to work twelve or fourteen hours a day. I hope to see the Bible printed in most of the languages in which it is begun.—I am, very affectionately yours, WM. CAREY."
Carey had previously written thus to Fuller:—"The fault lies in the clause which gives the Company power thus to send home interlopers, and is just as reasonable as one which should forbid all the people in England—a select few excepted—to look at the moon. I hope this clause will be modified or expunged in the new charter. The prohibition is wrong, and nothing that is morally wrong can be politically right."
It was left to the charter of 1853 fully to liberalise the Company, but each step was taken too late to save it from the nemesis of 1857 and extinction in 1858. "Let no man think," Wilberforce had said to the House of Commons in 1813, "that the petitions which have loaded our table have been produced by a burst of momentary enthusiasm. While the sun and moon continue to shine in the firmament so long will this object be pursued with unabated ardour until the great work be accomplished."
The opposition of Anglo-Indian officials and lawyers, which vainly used no better weapons than such as Mr. Prendergast and his "tub" fabrication, had been anticipated and encouraged by the Edinburgh Review. That periodical was at the height of its influence in 1808, the year before John Murray's Quarterly was first published. The Rev. Sydney Smith, as the literary and professional representative of what he delighted to call "the cause of rational religion," was the foe of every form of earnest Christianity, which he joined the mob in stigmatising as "Methodism." He was not unacquainted with Indian politics, for his equally clever brother, known as Bobus Smith, was long Advocate-General in Calcutta, and left a very considerable fortune made there to enrich the last six years of the Canon's life. Casting about for a subject on which to exercise at once his animosity and his fun, he found it in the Periodical Accounts, wherein Fuller had undoubtedly too often published letters and passages of journals written only for the eye of the private friend. Carey frequently remonstrated against the publicity given to some of his communications, and the fear of this checked his correspondence. In truth, the new-born enthusiasm was such that, at first, the Committee kept nothing back. It was easy for a litterateur like Sydney Smith in those days to extract passages and to give them such headings as "Brother Carey's Piety at Sea," "Hatred of the Natives to the Gospel." Smith produced an article which, as republished in his collected essays, has a historical value as a test of the bitterness of the hate which the missionary enterprise had to meet in secular literature till the death of Livingstone, Wilson, and Duff opened the eyes of journalism to the facts. In itself it must be read in the light of its author's own criticism of his articles, thus expressed in a letter to Francis Jeffrey, and of the regret that he had written it which, Jeffrey told Dr. Marshman, he lived to utter:—"Never mind; let them" (his articles) "go away with their absurdity unadulterated and pure. If I please, the object for which I write is attained; if I do not, the laughter which follows my error is the only thing which can make me cautious and tremble." But for that picture by himself we should have pronounced Carlyle's drawing of him to be almost as malicious as his own of the Serampore missionaries—"A mass of fat and muscularity, with massive Roman nose, piercing hazel eyes, shrewdness and fun—not humour or even wit—seemingly without soul altogether."
The attack called forth a reply by Mr. Styles so severe that Sydney Smith wrote a rejoinder which began by claiming credit for "rooting out a nest of consecrated cobblers." Sir James Mackintosh, then in Bombay, wrote of a similar assault by Mr. Thomas Twining on the Bible Societies, that it "must excite general indignation. The only measure which he could consistently propose would be the infliction of capital punishment on the crime of preaching or embracing Christianity in India, for almost every inferior degree of persecution is already practised by European or native anti-christians. But it fell to Southey, in the very first number of the Quarterly Review, in April 1809, to deal with the Rev. Sydney Smith, and to defend Carey and the Brotherhood as both deserved. The layman's defence was the more effective for its immediate purpose that he started from the same prejudice as that of the reverend Whig rationalist—"the Wesleyans, the Orthodox dissenters of every description, and the Evangelical churchmen may all be comprehended under the generic name of Methodists. The religion which they preach is not the religion of our fathers, and what they have altered they have made worse." But Southey had himself faith as well as a literary canon higher than that of his opponent who wrote only to "please" his patrons. He saw in these Methodists alone that which he appreciated as the essence of true faith—"that spirit of enthusiasm by which Europe was converted to Christianity they have in some measure revived, and they have removed from Protestantism a part of its reproach." He proceeded to tell how "this Mission, which is represented by its enemies as so dangerous to the British Empire in India, and thereby, according to a logic learnt from Buonaparte, to England also, originated in a man by name William Carey, who till the twenty-fourth year of his age was a working shoemaker. Sectarianism has this main advantage over the Established Church, that its men of ability certainly find their station, and none of its talents are neglected or lost. Carey was a studious and pious man, his faith wrong, his feelings right. He made himself competently versed in Latin, Greek, and Hebrew. He is now probably a far more learned orientalist than any European has ever been before him, and has been appointed Professor of Sanskrit and Bengali at the College of Fort William." Then follow a history of the Mission written in a style worthy of the author of the Life of Nelson, and these statements of the political and the purely missionary questions, which read now almost as predictions:—
"The first step towards winning the natives to our religion is to show them that we have one. This will hardly be done without a visible church. There would be no difficulty in filling up the establishment, however ample; but would the archbishop, bishops, deans, and chapters of Mr. Buchanan's plan do the work of missionaries? Could the Church of England supply missionaries?—where are they to be found among them? In what school for the promulgation of sound and orthodox learning are they trained up? There is ability and there is learning in the Church of England, but its age of fermentation has long been over; and that zeal which for this work is the most needful is, we fear, possessed only by the Methodists...
"Carey and his son have been in Bengal fourteen years, the other brethren only nine; they had all a difficult language to acquire before they could speak to a native, and to preach and argue in it required a thorough and familiar knowledge. Under these circumstances the wonder is, not that they have done so little, but that they have done so much; for it will be found that, even without this difficulty to retard them, no religious opinions have spread more rapidly in the same time, unless there was some remarkable folly or extravagance to recommend them, or some powerful worldly inducement. Their progress will be continually accelerating; the difficulty is at first, as in introducing vaccination into a distant land; when the matter has once taken one subject supplies infection for all around him, and the disease takes root in the country. The husband converts the wife, the son converts the parent, the friend his friend, and every fresh proselyte becomes a missionary in his own neighbourhood. Thus their sphere of influence and of action widens, and the eventual issue of a struggle between truth and falsehood is not to be doubted by those who believe in the former. Other missionaries from other societies have now entered India, and will soon become efficient labourers in their station. From Government all that is asked is toleration for themselves and protection for their converts. The plan which they have laid for their own proceedings is perfectly prudent and unexceptionable, and there is as little fear of their provoking martyrdom as there would be of their shrinking from it, if the cause of God and man require the sacrifice. But the converts ought to be protected from violence, and all cramming with cow-dung prohibited on pain of retaliation with beef-tea.
"Nothing can be more unfair than the manner in which the scoffers and alarmists have represented the missionaries. We, who have thus vindicated them, are neither blind to what is erroneous in their doctrine or ludicrous in their phraseology; but the anti-missionaries cull out from their journals and letters all that is ridiculous sectarian, and trifling; call them fools, madmen, tinkers, Calvinists, and schismatics; and keep out of sight their love of man, and their zeal for God, their self-devotement, their indefatigable industry, and their unequalled learning. These low-born and low-bred mechanics have translated the whole Bible into Bengali, and have by this time printed it. They are printing the New Testament in the Sanskrit, the Orissa, Mahratta, Hindostan, and Guzarat, and translating it into Persic, Telinga, Karnata, Chinese, the language of the Sieks and of the Burmans, and in four of these languages they are going on with the Bible. Extraordinary as this is, it will appear more so when it is remembered that of these men one was originally a shoemaker, another a printer at Hull, and a third the master of a charity-school at Bristol. Only fourteen years have elapsed since Thomas and Carey set foot in India, and in that time have these missionaries acquired this gift of tongues, in fourteen years these low-born, low-bred mechanics have done more towards spreading the knowledge of the Scriptures among the heathen than has been accomplished, or even attempted, by all the princes and potentates of the world—and all the universities and establishments into the bargain.
"Do not think to supersede the Baptist missionaries till you can provide from your own church such men as these, and, it may be added, such women also as their wives."
Soon after the Charter victory had been gained "that fierce and fiery Calvinist," whose dictum Southey adopted, that the question in dispute is not whether the natives shall enjoy toleration, but whether that toleration shall be extended to the teachers of Christianity, Andrew Fuller, entered into rest on the 7th May 1815, at the age of sixty-two. Sutcliff of Olney had been the first of the three to be taken away a year before, at the same age. The scholarly Dr. Ryland of Bristol was left alone, and the home management of the Mission passed into the hands of another generation. Up to Fuller's death that management had been almost ideally perfect. In 1812 the Committee had been increased by the addition of nineteen members, to represent the growing interest of the churches in Serampore, and to meet the demand of the "respectable" class who had held aloof at the first, who were eager that the headquarters of so renowned an enterprise should be removed to London. But Fuller prevailed to keep the Society a little longer at Kettering, although he failed to secure as his assistant and successor the one man whose ability, experience, and prudence would have been equal to his own, and have prevented the troubles that followed—Christopher Anderson. As Fuller lay dying, he dictated a letter to Ryland wherein he thus referred to the evangelical doctrine of grace which he had been the one English theologian of his day to defend from the hyper-calvinists, and to use as the foundation of the modern missionary enterprise:—"I have preached and written much against the abuse of the doctrine of grace, but that doctrine is all my salvation and all my desire. I have no other hope than from salvation by mere sovereign, efficacious grace through the atonement of my Lord and Saviour: with this hope I can go into eternity with composure. We have some who have been giving it out of late that if Sutcliff and some others had preached more of Christ and less of Jonathan Edwards they would have been more useful. If those who talk thus had preached Christ half as much as Jonathan Edwards did, and were half as useful as he was, their usefulness would be double what it is. It is very singular that the Mission to the East originated with one of these principles, and without pretending to be a prophet, I may say if it ever falls into the hands of men who talk in this strain (of hyper-calvinism) it will soon come to nothing."
Andrew Fuller was not only the first of Foreign Mission Secretaries; he was a model for all. To him his work was spiritual life, and hence, though the most active preacher and writer of his day, he was like Carey in this, that his working day was twice as long as that of most men, and he could spend half of his time in the frequent journeys all over the kingdom to raise funds, in repeated campaigns in London to secure toleration, and in abundant letters to the missionaries. His relation to the Committee, up to the last, was equally exemplary. In the very earliest missionary organisation in England it is due to him that the line was clearly drawn between the deliberative and judicial function which is that of the members, and the executive which is that of the secretary. Wisdom and efficiency, clearness of perception and promptitude of action, were thus combined. Fuller's, too, was the special merit of realising that, while a missionary committee or church are fellow-workers only with the men and women abroad, the Serampore Brotherhood was a self-supporting, and to that extent a self-governing body in a sense true of no foreign mission ever since. The two triumvirates, moreover, consisted of giants—Carey, Marshman, and Ward abroad; Fuller, Sutcliff, and Ryland at home. To Carey personally the death of Fuller was more than to any other. For almost the quarter of a century he had kept his vow that he would hold the rope. When Pearce died all too soon there was none whom Carey loved like Fuller, while Fuller's devotion to Carey was all the greater that it was tempered by a wise jealousy for his perfectness. So early as 1797, Fuller wrote thus to the troublesome Fountain:—"It affords us good hope of your being a useful missionary that you seem to love and revere the counsels of Brother Carey. A humble, peaceful, circumspect, disinterested, faithful, peaceable, and zealous conduct like his will render you a blessing to society. Brother Carey is greatly respected and beloved by all denominations here. I will tell you what I have foreborne to tell him lest it should hurt his modesty. Good old Mr. Newton says: 'Mr. Carey has favoured me with a letter, which, indeed, I accept as a favour, and I mean to thank him for it. I trust my heart as cordially unites with him as though I were a brother Baptist myself. I look to such a man with reverence. He is more to me than bishop or archbishop; he is an apostle. May the Lord make all who undertake missions like-minded with Brother Carey!'" As the home administrator, no less than as the theological controversialist, Andrew Fuller stands only second to William Carey, the founder of Modern English Missions.
Fuller's last letter to Carey forms the best introduction to the little which it is here necessary to record of the action of the Baptist Missionary Society when under the secretaryship of the Rev. John Dyer. Mr. John Marshman, C.S.I., has written the detailed history of that controversy not only with filial duty, but with a forgiving charity which excites our admiration for one who suffered more from it than all his predecessors in the Brotherhood, of which he was the last representative. The Society has long since ceased to approve of that period. Its opinion has become that of Mr. Marshman, to which a careful perusal of all the documents both in Serampore and England has led us—"Had it been possible to create a dozen establishments like that of Serampore, each raising and managing its own funds, and connected with the Society as the centre of unity in a common cause, it ought to have been a subject of congratulation and not of regret." The whole policy of every missionary church and society is now and has long been directed to creating self-supporting and self-propagating missions, like Serampore, that the regions beyond may be evangelised—whether these be colleges of catechumens and inquirers, like those of Duff and Wilson, Hislop and Dr. Miller in India, and of Govan and Dr. Stewart in Lovedale, Kafraria; or the indigenous churches of the West Indies, West Africa, the Pacific Ocean, and Burma. To us the long and bitter dispute is now of value only in so far as it brings out in Christ-like relief the personality of William Carey.
At the close of 1814 Dr. Carey had asked Fuller to pay L50 a year to his father, then in his eightieth year, and L20 to his (step) mother if she survived the old man. Protesting that an engraving of his portrait had been published in violation of the agreement which he had made with the artist, he agreed to the wish of each of his relatives for a copy. To these requests Fuller had replied:—"You should not insist on these things being charged to you, nor yet your father's L50, nor the books, nor anything necessary to make you comfortable, unless it be to be paid out of what you would otherwise give to the mission. To insist on their being paid out of your private property seems to be dictated by resentment. It is thus we express our indignation when we have an avaricious man to deal with."
The first act of the Committee, after Fuller's funeral, led Dr. Ryland to express to Carey his unbounded fears for the future. There were two difficulties. The new men raised the first question, in what sense the Serampore property belonged to the Society? They then proceeded to show how they would answer it, by appointing the son of Samuel Pearce to Serampore as Mr. Ward's assistant. On both sides of their independence, as trustees of the property which they had created and gifted to the Society on this condition, and as a self-supporting, self-elective brotherhood, it became necessary, for the unbroken peace of the mission and the success of their work, that they should vindicate their moral and legal position. The correspondence fell chiefly to Dr. Marshman. Ward and he successively visited England, to which the controversy was transferred, with occasional references to Dr. Carey in Serampore. All Scotland, led by Christopher Anderson, Chalmers, and the Haldanes—all England, except the Dyer faction and Robert Hall for a time, among the Baptists, and nearly all America, held with the Serampore men; but their ever-extending operations were checked by the uncertainty, and their hearts were nearly broken. The junior missionaries in India formed a separate union and congregation by themselves in Calcutta, paid by the Society, though professing to carry out the organisation of the Serampore Brotherhood in other respects. The Committee's controversy lasted sixteen years, and was closed in 1830, after Ward's death, by Carey and Marshman drawing up a new trust-deed, in which, having vindicated their position, the old men made over properties which had cost them L7800 to eleven trustees in England, stipulating only that they should occupy them rent free till death, and that their colleagues—who were John Marshman and John Mack, of Edinburgh University—might continue in them for three years thereafter, paying rent to the Society. Such self-sacrifice would be pronounced heroic, but it was only the outcome of a life of self-devotion, marked by the spirit of Him who spake the Sermon on the Mount, and said to the first missionaries He sent forth:—"Be wise as serpents, harmless as doves." The story is completed by the fact that John Marshman, on his father's death, again paid the price of as much of the property as the Hoogli had not swallowed up when the Committee were about to put it in the market.
Such was Dr. Carey's position in the Christian world that the Dyer party considered it important for their interest to separate him from his colleagues, and if not to claim his influence for their side, at least to neutralise it. By trying to hold up Dr. Marshman to odium, they roused the righteous indignation of Carey, while outraging his sense of justice by their blows at the independence of the Brotherhood. Dr. Marshman, when in England, met this course by frankly printing the whole private correspondence of Carey on the subject of the property, or thirty-two letters ranging from the year 1815 to 1828. One of the earliest of these is to Mr. Dyer, who had so far forgotten himself as to ask Dr. Carey to write home, alone, his opinion of his "elder brethren," and particularly of Dr. Marshman. The answer, covering eleven octavo pages of small type, is a model for all controversialists, and especially for any whom duty compels to rebuke the minister who has failed to learn the charity which envieth not. We reproduce the principal passages, and the later letters to Christopher Anderson and his son Jabez, revealing the nobleness of Carey and the inner life of the Brotherhood:—
"SERAMPORE, 15th July 1819.
"MY DEAR BROTHER—I am sorry you addressed your letter of January the 9th to me alone, because it places me in a most awkward situation, as it respects my elder brethren, with whom I have acted in concert for the last nineteen years, with as great a share of satisfaction and pleasure as could reasonably be expected from a connection with imperfect creatures, and whom I am thereby called to condemn contrary to my convictions, or to justify at the expense of their accusers. It also places me in a disagreeable situation as it respects my younger brethren, whom I highly respect as Christians; but whose whole conduct, as it respects the late unhappy differences, has been such as makes it impossible for me to do otherwise than condemn it...
"You ask, 'Is there no ground for the charges of profusion, etc., preferred against Brother Marshman?' Brother Marshman has always been ardently engaged in promoting the cause of God in India, and, being of a very active mind, has generally been chosen by us to draw up our Reports, to write many of our public letters, to draw up plans for promoting the objects of the mission, founding and managing schools, raising subscriptions, and other things of a like nature; so that he has taken a more active part than Brother Ward or myself in these public acts of the mission. These things placed him in the foreground, and it has been no uncommon thing for him to bear the blame of those acts which equally belong to Brother Ward and myself, merely because he was the instrument employed in performing them.
"The charge of profusion brought against Dr. Marshman is more extensive than you have stated in your letter. He is charged with having his house superbly furnished, with keeping several vehicles for the use of his family, and with labouring to aggrandise and bring them into public notice to a culpable extent. The whole business of furniture, internal economy, etc., of the Serampore station, must exclusively belong to ourselves, and I confess I think the question about it an unlovely one. Some person, we know not whom, told some one, we know not whom, 'that he had been often at Lord Hastings's table, but that Brother Marshman's table far exceeded his.' I have also often been at Lord Hastings's table (I mean his private table), and I do therefore most positively deny the truth of the assertion; though I confess there is much domestic plainness at the table of the Governor-General of India (though nothing of meanness; on the contrary, everything is marked with a dignified simplicity). I suspect the informant never was at Lord Hastings's table, or he could have not been guilty of such misrepresentation. Lord Hastings's table costs more in one day than Brother Marshman's in ten.
"The following statement may explain the whole business of Brother Marshman's furniture, etc., which you have all been so puzzled to account for, and have certainly accounted for in a way that is not the true one. We have, you know, a very large school, perhaps the largest in India. In this school are children of persons of the first rank in the country. The parents or guardians of these children frequently call at the Mission-house, and common propriety requires that they should be respectfully received, and invited to take a breakfast or dinner, and sometimes to continue there a day or two. It is natural that persons who visit the Mission-house upon business superintended by Brother Marshman should be entertained at his house rather than elsewhere. Till within the last four or five years we had no particular arrangement for the accommodation of visitors who came to see us; but as those who visited us on business were entertained at Brother Marshman's, it appeared to be the most eligible method to provide for the entertainment of other visitors there also; but at that time Brother Marshman had not a decent table for persons of the above description to sit down to. We, therefore, voted him a sum to enable him to provide such articles as were necessary to entertain them with decency; and I am not aware that he has been profuse, or that he has provided anything not called for by the rules of propriety. I have no doubt but Brother Ward can enumerate and describe all these articles of furniture. It is, however, evident that you must be very imperfect judges of their necessity, unless you could at the same time form a just estimate of the circumstances in which we stand. It ought also to be considered that all these articles are public property, and always convertible into their full value in cash. I hope, however, that things are not yet come to that pass, that a man who, with his wife, has for nineteen or twenty years laboured night and day for the mission, who by their labour disinterestedly contribute between 2000 and 3000 rupees monthly to it, and who have made sacrifices which, if others have not seen, Brother Ward and I have,—sacrifices which ought to put to the blush all his accusers, who, notwithstanding their cries against him, have not only supported themselves, but also have set themselves up in a lucrative business at the Society's expense; and who, even to this day, though they have two prosperous schools, and a profitable printing-office, continue to receive their monthly allowance, amounting (including Miss Chaffin's) to 700 rupees a month from the Society; I feel indignant at their outcry on the subject of expense, and I say, merely as a contrast to their conduct, So did not Brother Marshman. Surely things are not come to that pass, that he or any other brother must give an account to the Society of every plate he uses, and every loaf he cuts.
"Till a very few years ago we had no vehicle except a single horse chaise for me to go backwards and forwards to Calcutta. That was necessarily kept on the opposite side of the river; and if the strength of the horse would have borne it, could not have been used for the purposes of health. Sister Marshman was seized with a disease of the liver, a disease which proves fatal in three cases out of four. Sister Ward was ill of the same disorder, and both of them underwent a long course of mercurial treatment, as is usual in that disease. Exercise was considered by the physicians as of the first importance, and we certainly thought no expense too great to save the valuable lives of our sisters. A single horse chaise, and an open palanquin, called a Tonjon, were procured. I never ride out for health; but usually spend an hour or two, morning and evening, in the garden. Sister Ward was necessitated to visit England for hers. Brother Ward had a saddle horse presented to him by a friend. My wife has a small carriage drawn by a man. These vehicles were therefore almost exclusively used by Brother Marshman's family. When our brethren arrived from England they did not fail to put this equipage into the account against Brother Marshman. They now keep three single horse chaises, besides palanquins; but we do not think they keep more than are necessary.
"Brother Marshman retains for the school a French master, a music master, and a drawing master. The expenses of these are amply repaid by the school, but Brother Marshman's children, and all those belonging to the family, have the advantage of their instructions. Brother Marshman's children are, however, the most numerous, and envy has not failed to charge him with having retained them all for the sake of his own children. Surely a man's caring for his family's health and his children's education is, if a crime, a venial one, and ought not to be held up to blacken his reputation. Brother Marshman is no more perfect than other men, partakers like him of the grace of God. His natural bias and habits are his own, and differ as much from those of other men as theirs differ from one another. I do not deny that he has an inclination to display his children to advantage. This, however, is a foible which most fond parents will be inclined to pardon. I wish I had half his piety, energy of mind, and zeal for the cause of God. These excellencies, in my opinion, so far overbalance all his defects that I am constrained to consider him a Christian far above the common run. I must now close this defence of Brother Marshman by repeating that all matters of furniture, convenience, etc., are things belonging to the economy of the station at Serampore, and that no one beside ourselves has the smallest right to interfere therewith. The Calcutta brethren are now acting on the same principle, and would certainly repel with indignation any attempt made by us to regulate their affairs.
"I have said that 'I never ride out for the sake of health'; and it may therefore be inquired, 'Why are vehicles, etc., for the purpose of health more necessary for the other members of the family than for you?' I reply that my health is in general good, and probably much benefited by a journey to and from Calcutta two or three times a week. I have also a great fondness for natural science, particularly botany and horticulture. These, therefore, furnish not only exercise, but amusement for me. These amusements of mine are not, however, enjoyed without expense, any more than those of my brethren, and were it not convenient for Brother Marshman's accusers to make a stepping-stone of me, I have no doubt but my collection of plants, aviary, and museum, would be equally impeached as articles of luxury and lawless expenses; though, except the garden, the whole of these expenses are borne by myself.
"John Marshman is admitted a member of the union, but he had for some time previously thereto been a member of the church. I perceive plainly that all your objections to him have been excited by the statements of the Calcutta brethren, which you certainly ought to receive with much caution in all things which regard Bother Marshman and his family. You observe that the younger brethren especially look up to me with respect and affection. It may be so; but I confess I have frequently thought that, had it been so, they would have consulted me, or at least have mentioned to me the grounds of their dissatisfaction before they proceeded to the extremity of dividing the mission. When I engaged in the mission, it was a determination that, whatever I suffered, a breach therein should never originate with me. To this resolution I have hitherto obstinately adhered. I think everything should be borne, every sacrifice made, and every method of accommodation or reconciliation tried, before a schism is suffered to take place...
"I disapprove as much of the conduct of our Calcutta brethren as it is possible for me to disapprove of any human actions. The evil they have done is, I fear, irreparable; and certainly the whole might have been prevented by a little frank conversation with either of us; and a hundredth part of that self-denial which I found it necessary to exercise for the first few years of the mission, would have prevented this awful rupture. I trust you will excuse my warmth of feeling upon this subject, when you consider that by this rupture that cause is weakened and disgraced, in the establishment and promotion of which I have spent the best part of my life. A church is attempted to be torn in pieces, for which neither I nor my brethren ever thought we could do enough. We laboured to raise it: we expended much money to accomplish that object; and in a good measure saw the object of our desire accomplished. But now we are traduced, and the church rent by the very men who came to be our helpers. As to Brother Marshman, seriously, what do they want? Would they attempt to deny his possessing the grace of God? He was known to and esteemed by Brother Ryland as a Christian before he left England. I have lived with him ever since his arrival in India, and can witness to his piety and holy conduct. Would they exclude him from the mission? Judge yourself whether it is comely that a man, who has laboriously and disinterestedly served the mission so many years—who has by his diligence and hard labour raised the most respectable school in India, as well as given a tone to all the others—who has unvaryingly consecrated the whole of that income, as well as his other labours, to the cause of God in India,—should be arraigned and condemned without a hearing by a few young men just arrived, and one of whom had not been a month in the country before he joined the senseless outcry? Or would they have his blood? Judge, my dear brother, yourself, for I am ashamed to say more on this subject.
"I need not say that circumstances must in a great measure determine where missionaries should settle. The chief town of each of these countries would be preferable, if other circumstances permit; but sometimes Government would not allow this, and sometimes other things may close the door. Missionaries however must knock loud and push hard at the door, and if there be the smallest opening, must force themselves in; and, once entered, put their lives in their hands and exert themselves to the utmost in dependence upon divine support, if they ever hope to do much towards evangelising the heathen world. My situation in the college, and Brother Marshman's as superintending the first academy in India, which, I likewise observe, has been established and brought to its present flourishing state wholly by his care and application, have made our present situation widely different from what it was when first engaged in the mission. As a missionary I could go in a straw hat and dine with the judge of the district, and often did so; but as a Professor in the College I cannot do so. Brother Marshman is placed in the same predicament. These circumstances impose upon us a necessity of making a different appearance to what we formerly did as simple missionaries; but they furnish us with opportunities of speaking to gentlemen of the first power and influence in government, upon matters of the highest importance to the great work in which we are engaged; and, as a proof that our opportunities of this nature have not been in vain, I need only say that, in a conversation which I had some time ago with one of the secretaries to Government, upon the present favourable bias of government and the public in general to favour all plans for doing good, he told me that he believed the whole was owing to the prudent and temperate manner in which we had acted; and that if we had acted with precipitancy and indiscretion, he had every reason to believe the general feeling would have been as hostile to attempts to do good as it is now favourable to them.
"I would not wish you to entertain the idea that we and our brethren in Calcutta are resolved upon interminable hatred. On the contrary, I think that things are gone as far as we may expect them to go; and I now expect that the fire of contention will gradually go out. All the distressing and disagreeable circumstances are, I trust, past; and I expect we shall be in a little time on a more friendly footing. Much of what has taken place originated in England. Mistakes and false conclusions were followed by all the circumstances I have detailed. I think the whole virulence of opposition has now spent itself. Our brethren have no control over us, nor we over them. And, if I am not mistaken, each side will soon acknowledge that it has gone too far in some instances; and ultimate good will arise from the evil I so much deplore.
"Having now written to you my whole sentiments upon the business, and formerly to my very dear Brother Ryland, allow me to declare my resolution not to write anything further upon the subject, however much I may be pressed thereto. The future prosperity of the mission does not depend upon the clearing up of every little circumstance to the satisfaction of every captious inquirer, but upon the restoration of mutual concord among us, which must be preceded by admitting that we are all subject to mistake, and to be misled by passion, prejudice, and false judgment. Let us therefore strive and pray that the things which make for peace and those by which we may edify one another may abound among us more and more. I am, my dear brother, very affectionately, yours in our Lord Jesus Christ, W. CAREY."
"14th May 1828.
"MY DEAR BROTHER ANDERSON—Yours by the Louisa, of October last, came to hand a few days ago with the copies of Brother Marshman's brief Memoir of the Serampore Mission. I am glad it is written in so temperate and Christian a spirit, and I doubt not but it will be ultimately productive of good effects. There certainly is a great contrast between the spirit in which that piece is written and that in which observations upon it, both in the Baptist and Particular Baptist Magazines, are written. The unworthy attempts in those and other such like pieces to separate Brother Marshman and me are truly contemptible. In plain English, they amount to thus much—'The Serampore Missionaries, Carey, Marshman, and Ward, have acted a dishonest part, alias are rogues. But we do not include Dr. Carey in the charge of dishonesty; he is an easy sort of a man, who will agree to anything for the sake of peace, or in other words, he is a fool. Mr. Ward, it is well known,' say they, 'was the tool of Dr. Marshman, but he is gone from the present scene, and it is unlovely to say any evil of the dead.' Now I certainly hold those persons' exemption of me from the blame they attach to Brother Marshman in the greatest possible contempt. I may have subscribed my name thoughtlessly to papers, and it would be wonderful if there had been no instance of this in so long a course of years. The great esteem I had for the Society for many years, undoubtedly on more occasions than one put me off my guard, and I believe my brethren too; so that we have signed writings which, if we could have foreseen the events of a few years, we should not have done. These, however, were all against our own private interest, and I believe I have never been called an easy fool for signing of them. It has only been since we found it necessary to resist the claims of the Committee that I have risen to this honour.
"It has also been hinted that I intend to separate from Brother Marshman. I cannot tell upon what such hints or reports are founded, but I assure you, in the most explicit manner, that I intend to continue connected with him and Serampore as long as I live; unless I should be separated from him by some unforeseen stroke of Providence. There may be modifications of our union, arising from circumstances; but it is my wish that it should remain in all things essential to the mission as long as I live.
"I rejoice to say that there is very little of that spirit of hostility which prevails in England in India, and I trust what still remains will gradually decrease till scarcely the remembrance of it will continue. Our stations, I mean those connected with Serampore, are of great importance, and some of them in a flourishing state. We will do all we can to maintain them, and I hope the friends to the cause of God in Britain will not suffer them to sink for want of that pecuniary help which is necessary. Indeed I hope we shall be assisted in attempting other stations beside those already occupied; and many such stations present themselves to my mind which nothing prevents being immediately occupied but want of men and money. The college will also require assistance, and I hope will not be without it; I anticipate the time when its salutary operation in the cause of God in India will be felt and acknowledged by all.
"These observations respecting my own conduct you are at liberty to use as you please. I hope now to take my final leave of this unpleasant subject, and have just room to say that I am very affectionately yours, W. CAREY."
Throughout the controversy thus forced upon him, we find Dr. Carey's references, in his unpublished letters to the brethren in Calcutta, all in the strain of the following to his son Jabez:—
"15th August 1820.—This week we received letters from Mr. Marshman, who had safely arrived at St. Helena. I am sure it will give you pleasure to learn that our long-continued dispute with the younger brethren in Calcutta is now settled. We met together for that purpose about three weeks ago, and after each side giving up some trifling ideas and expressions, came to a reconciliation, which, I pray God, may be lasting. Nothing I ever met with in my life—and I have met with many distressing things—ever preyed so much upon my spirits as this difference has. I am sure that in all disputes very many wrong things must take place on both sides for which both parties ought to be humbled before God and one another.
"I wish you could succeed in setting up a few more schools...Consider that and the spread of the gospel as the great objects of your life, and try to promote them by all the wise and prudent methods in your power. Indeed we must always venture something for the sake of doing good. The cause of our Lord Jesus Christ continues to prosper with us. I have several persons now coming in who are inquirers; two or three of them, I hope, will be this evening received into the Church. Excuse my saying more as my room is full of people."
Eight years after, on the 17th April 1828, he thus censured Jabez in the matter of the Society's action at home:—"From a letter of yours to Jonathan, in which you express a very indecent pleasure at the opposition which Brother Marshman has received, not by the Society but by some anonymous writer in a magazine, I perceive you are informed of the separation which has taken place between them and us. What in that anonymous piece you call a 'set-down' I call a 'falsehood.' You ought to know that I was a party in all public acts and writings, and that I never intend to withdraw from all the responsibility connected therewith. I utterly despise all the creeping, mean assertions of that party when they say they do not include me in their censures, nor do I work for their praise. According to their and according to your rejoicing...I am either a knave or a fool—a knave if I joined with Brother Marshman; but if, as those gentlemen say, and as you seem to agree with them, I was only led as he pleased, and was a mere cat's-paw, then of course I am a fool. In either way your thoughts are not very high as it respects me. I do not wonder that Jonathan should express himself unguardedly; his family connection with Mr. Pearce sufficiently accounts for that. We have long been attacked in this country—first by Mr. Adam, and afterwards by Dr. Bryce. Bryce is now silenced by two or three pieces by John Marshman in his own newspaper, the John Bull; and as to some of the tissues of falsehood published in England, I shall certainly never reply to them, and I hope no one else will. That cause must be bad which needs such means to support it. I believe God will bring forth our righteousness as the noonday."
On the 12th July 1828 the father again writes to his son Jabez thus:—"Your apologies about Brother Marshman are undoubtedly the best you can offer. I should be sorry to harbour hostile sentiments against any man on the earth upon grounds so slight. Indeed, were all you say matter of fact you ought to forgive it as God for Christ's sake forgives us. We are required to lay aside all envy and strife and animosities, to forgive each other mutually and to love one another with a pure heart fervently. 'Thine own friend and thy father's friend forsake not.'"
CAREY AS AN EDUCATOR—THE FIRST CHRISTIAN COLLEGE IN THE EAST
A college the fourth and perfecting corner-stone of the mission—Carey on the importance of English in 1800—Anticipates Duff's policy of undermining Brahmanism—New educational era begun by the charter of 1813 and Lord Hastings—Plan of the Serampore College in 1818—Anticipates the Anglo-Orientalism of the Punjab University—The building described by John Marshman—Bishop Middleton follows—The Scottish and other colleges—Action of the Danish Government—The royal charter—Visit of Maharaja Serfojee—Death of Ward, Charles Grant and Bentley—Bishop Heber and his catholic letter—Dr. Carey's reply—Progress of the college—Cause of its foundation—The college directly and essentially a missionary undertaking—Action of the Brotherhood from the first vindicated—Carey appeals to posterity—The college and the systematic study of English—Carey author of the Grant in Aid system—Economy in administering missions—The Serampore Mission has eighteen stations and fifty missionaries of all kinds—Subsequent history of the Serampore College to 1883.
The first act of Carey and Marshman when their Committee took up a position of hostility to their self-denying independence, was to complete and perpetuate the mission by a college. As planned by Carey in 1793, the constitution had founded the enterprise on these three corner-stones—preaching the Gospel in the mother tongue of the people; translating the Bible into all the languages of Southern and Eastern Asia; teaching the young, both heathen and Christian, both boys and girls, in vernacular schools. But Carey had not been a year in Serampore when, having built well on all three, he began to see that a fourth must be laid some day in the shape of a college. He and his colleagues had founded and supervised, by the year 1818, no fewer than 126 native schools, containing some 10,000 boys, of whom more than 7000 were in and around Serampore. His work among the pundit class, both in Serampore and in the college of Fort William, and the facilities in the mission-house for training natives, Eurasians, and the missionaries' sons to be preachers, translators, and teachers, seemed to meet the immediate want. But as every year the mission in all its forms grew and the experience of its leaders developed, the necessity of creating a college staff in a building adapted to the purpose became more urgent. Only thus could the otherwise educated natives be reached, and the Brahmanical class especially be permanently influenced. Only thus could a theological institute be satisfactorily conducted to feed the native Church.
On 10th October 1800 the missionaries had thus written home:—"There appears to be a favourable change in the general temper of the people. Commerce has roused new thoughts and awakened new energies; so that hundreds, if we could skilfully teach them gratis, would crowd to learn the English language. We hope this may be in our power some time, and may be a happy means of diffusing the gospel. At present our hands are quite full." A month after that Carey wrote to Fuller:—"I have long thought whether it would not be desirable for us to set up a school to teach the natives English. I doubt not but a thousand scholars would come. I do not say this because I think it an object to teach them the English tongue; but, query, is not the universal inclination of the Bengalees to learn English a favourable circumstance which may be improved to valuable ends? I only hesitate at the expense." Thirty years after Duff reasoned in the same way, after consulting Carey, and acted at once in Calcutta.
By 1816, when, on 25th June, Carey wrote a letter, for his colleagues and himself, to the Board of the American Baptist General Convention, the great idea, destined slowly to revolutionise not only India, but China, Japan, and the farther East, had taken this form:—
"We know not what your immediate expectations are relative to the Burman empire, but we hope your views are not confined to the immediate conversion of the natives by the preaching of the Word. Could a church of converted natives be obtained at Rangoon, it might exist for a while, and be scattered, or perish for want of additions. From all we have seen hitherto we are ready to think that the dispensations of Providence point to labours that may operate, indeed, more slowly on the population, but more effectually in the end: as knowledge, once put into fermentation, will not only influence the part where it is first deposited, but leaven the whole lump. The slow progress of conversion in such a mode of teaching the natives may not be so encouraging, and may require, in all, more faith and patience; but it appears to have been the process of things, in the progress of the Reformation, during the reigns of Henry, Edward, Elizabeth, James, and Charles. And should the work of evangelising India be thus slow and silently progressive, which, however, considering the age of the world, is not perhaps very likely, still the grand result will amply recompense us, and you, for all our toils. We are sure to take the fortress, if we can but persuade ourselves to sit down long enough before it. 'We shall reap if we faint not.'
"And then, very dear brethren, when it shall be said of the seat of our labours, the infamous swinging-post is no longer erected; the widow burns no more on the funeral pile; the obscene dances and songs are seen and heard no more; the gods are thrown to the moles and to the bats, and Jesus is known as the God of the whole land; the poor Hindoo goes no more to the Ganges to be washed from his filthiness, but to the fountain opened for sin and uncleanness; the temples are forsaken; the crowds say, 'Let us go up to the house of the Lord, and He shall teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His statutes;' the anxious Hindoos no more consume their property, their strength, and their lives, in vain pilgrimages, but they come at once to Him who can save to 'the uttermost'; the sick and the dying are no more dragged to the Ganges, but look to the Lamb of God, and commit their souls into His faithful hands; the children, no more sacrificed to idols, are become 'the seed of the Lord, that He may be glorified'; the public morals are improved; the language of Canaan is learnt; benevolent societies are formed; civilisation and salvation walk arm in arm together; the desert blossoms; the earth yields her increase; angels and glorified spirits hover with joy over India, and carry ten thousand messages of love from the Lamb in the midst of the throne; and redeemed souls from the different villages, towns, and cities of this immense country, constantly add to the number, and swell the chorus of the redeemed, 'Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood, unto HIM be the glory;'—when this grand result of the labours of God's servants in India shall be realised, shall we then think that we have laboured in vain, and spent our strength for nought? Surely not. Well, the decree is gone forth! 'My word shall prosper in the thing whereunto I sent it.'"
India was being prepared for the new missionary policy. On what we may call its literary side Carey had been long busy. On its more strictly educational side, the charter of 1813 had conceded what had been demanded in vain by a too feeble public opinion in the charter of 1793. A clause was inserted at the last moment declaring that a sum of not less than a lakh of rupees (or ten thousand pounds) a year was to be set apart from the surplus revenues, and applied to the revival and improvement of literature and the encouragement of the learned natives of India, and for the introduction and promotion of a knowledge of the sciences among the inhabitants of the British territories there. The clause was prompted by an Anglo-Indian of oriental tastes, who hoped that the Brahman and his Veda might thus be made too strong for the Christian missionary and the Bible as at last tolerated under the 13th resolution. For this reason, and because the money was to be paid only out of any surplus, the directors and their friends offered no opposition. For the quarter of a century the grant was given, and was applied in the spirit of its proposer. But the scandals of its application became such that it was made legally by Bentinck and Macaulay, and practically by Duff, the fountain of a river of knowledge and life which is flooding the East.
The first result of the liberalism of the charter of 1813 and the generous views of Lord Hastings was the establishment in Calcutta by the Hindoos themselves, under the influence of English secularists, of the Hindoo, now the Presidency College. Carey and Marshman were not in Calcutta, otherwise they must have realised even then what they left to Duff to act on fourteen years after, the importance of English not only as an educating but as a Christianising instrument. But though not so well adapted to the immediate need of the reformation which they had begun, and though not applied to the very heart of Bengal in Calcutta, the prospectus of their "College for the Instruction of Asiatic, Christian, and Other Youth in Eastern Literature and European Science," which they published on the 15th July 1818, sketched a more perfect and complete system than any since attempted, if we except John Wilson's almost unsupported effort in Bombay. It embraced the classical or learned languages of the Hindoos and Mohammedans, Sanskrit and Arabic; the English language and literature, to enable the senior students "to dive into the deepest recesses of European science, and enrich their own language with its choicest treasures"; the preparation of manuals of science, philosophy, and history in the learned and vernacular languages of the East; a normal department to train native teachers and professors; as the crown of all, a theological institute to equip the Eurasian and native Christian students, by a quite unsectarian course of study, in apologetics, exegetics, and the Bible languages, to be missionaries to the Brahmanical classes. While the Government and the Scottish missionaries have in the university and grant in aid systems since followed too exclusively the English line, happily supplanting the extreme Orientalists, it is the glory of the Serampore Brotherhood that they sought to apply both the Oriental and the European, the one as the form, the other as the substance, so as to evangelise and civilise the people through their mother tongue. They were the Vernacularists in the famous controversy between the Orientalists and the Anglicists raised by Duff. In 1867 the present writer in vain attempted to induce the University of Calcutta to follow them in this. It was left to Sir Charles Aitchison, when he wielded the power and the influence of the Lieutenant-Governor, to do in 1882 what the Serampore College would have accomplished had its founders been young instead of old men, by establishing the Punjab University.
Lord Hastings and even Sir John Malcolm took a personal interest in the Serampore College. The latter, who had visited the missionaries since his timid evidence before the House of Lords in 1813, wrote to them:—"I wish I could be certain that your successors in the serious task you propose would have as much experience as you and your fellow-labourers at Serampore—that they would walk, not run, in the same path—I would not then have to state one reserve." Lord Hastings in Council passed an order encouraging the establishment of a European Medical Professorship in Serampore College, and engaged to assist in meeting the permanent expense of the chair when established. His Excellency "interrupted pressing avocations" to criticise both the architectural plan of the building and the phraseology of the draft of the first report, and his suggestions were followed. Adopting one of the Grecian orders as most suitable to a tropical climate, the Danish Governor's colleague, Major Wickedie, planned the noble Ionic building which was then, and is still, the finest edifice of the kind in British India.
"The centre building, intended for the public rooms, was a hundred and thirty feet in length, and a hundred and twenty in depth. The hall on the ground floor, supported on arches, and terminated at the south by a bow, was ninety-five feet in length, sixty-six in breadth, and twenty in height. It was originally intended for the library, but is now occupied by the classes. The hall above, of the same dimensions and twenty-six feet in height, was supported by two rows of Ionic columns; it was intended for the annual examinations. Of the twelve side-rooms above and below, eight were of spacious dimensions, twenty-seven feet by thirty-five. The portico which fronted the river was composed of six columns, more than four feet in diameter at the base. The staircase-room was ninety feet in length, twenty-seven in width, and forty-seven in height, with two staircases of cast-iron, of large size and elegant form, prepared at Birmingham. The spacious grounds were surrounded with iron railing, and the front entrance was adorned with a noble gate, likewise cast at Birmingham...
"The scale on which it was proposed to establish the college, and to which the size of the building was necessarily accommodated, corresponded with the breadth of all the other enterprises of the Serampore missionaries,—the mission, the translations, and the schools. While Mr. Ward was engaged in making collections for the support of the institution in England, he wrote to his brethren, 'the buildings you must raise in India;' and they determined to respond to the call, and, if possible, to augment their donation from L2500 to L8000, and to make a vigorous effort to erect the buildings from their own funds. Neither the ungenerous suspicion, nor the charge of unfaithfulness, with which their character was assailed in England, was allowed to slacken the prosecution of this plan. It was while their reputation was under an eclipse in England, and the benevolent hesitated to subscribe to the society till they were assured that their donations would not be mixed up with the funds of the men at Serampore, that those men were engaged in erecting a noble edifice for the promotion of religion and knowledge, at their own cost, the expense of which eventually grew under their hands to the sum of L15,000. To the charge of endeavouring to alienate from the society premises of the value of L3000, their own gift, they replied by erecting a building at five times the cost, and vesting it in eleven trustees,—seven besides themselves. It was thus they vindicated the purity of their motives in their differences with the society, and endeavoured to silence the voice of calumny. They were the first who maintained that a college was an indispensable appendage to an Indian mission."
The next to follow Carey in this was Bishop Middleton, who raised funds to erect a chaste Gothic pile beside the Botanic Garden, since to him the time appeared "to have arrived when it is desirable that some missionary endeavours, at least, should have some connection with the Church establishment." That college no longer exists, in spite of the saintly scholarship of such Principals as Mill and Kay; the building is now utilised as a Government engineering college. But in Calcutta the Duff College, with the General Assembly's Institution (now united as the Scottish Churches College), the Cathedral Mission Divinity School, and the Bhowanipore Institution; in Bombay the Wilson College, in Madras the Christian College, in Nagpoor the Hislop College, in Agra St. John's College, in Lahore the Church Mission Divinity School, in Lucknow the Reid College, and others, bear witness to the fruitfulness of the Alma Mater of Serampore.
The Serampore College began with thirty-seven students, of whom nineteen were native Christians and the rest Hindoos. When the building was occupied in 1821 Carey wrote to his son:—"I pray that the blessing of God may attend it, and that it may be the means of preparing many for an important situation in the Church of God...The King of Denmark has written letters signed with his own hand to Brothers Ward, Marshman, and myself, and has sent each of us a gold medal as a token of his approbation. He has also made over the house in which Major Wickedie resides, between Sarkies's house and ours, to us three in perpetuity for the college. Thus Divine generosity appears for us and supplies our expectations." The missionaries had declined the Order of the Dannebrog. When, in 1826, Dr. Marshman visited Europe, one of his first duties was to acknowledge this gift to Count Moltke, Danish Minister in London and ancestor of the great strategist, and to ask for a royal charter. The Minister and Count Schulin, whose wife had been a warm friend of Mrs. Carey, happened to be on board the steamer in which Dr. Marshman, accompanied by Christopher Anderson, sailed to Copenhagen. Raske, the Orientalist, who had visited Serampore, was a Professor in the University there. The vellum charter was prepared among them, empowering the College Council, consisting of the Governor of Serampore and the Brotherhood, to confer degrees like those of the Universities of Copenhagen and Kiel, but not carrying the rank in the State implied in Danish degrees unless with the sanction of the Crown. The King, in the audience which he gave, informed Dr. Marshman that, having in 1801 promised the mission protection, he had hitherto refused to transfer Serampore to the East India Company, since that would prevent him from keeping his word. When, in 1845, the Company purchased both Tranquebar and Serampore, it could be no longer dangerous to the Christian Mission, but the Treaty expressly provided that the College should retain all its powers, and its Christian character, under the Danish charter, which it does. It was thus the earliest degree-conferring college in Asia, but it has never exercised the power. Christian VIII., then the heir to the throne, showed particular interest in the Bible translation work of Carey. When, in 1884, the Evangelical Alliance held its session in Copenhagen, and was received by Christian IX., it did well, by special resolution, to express the gratitude of Protestant Christendom to Denmark for such courageous and continued services to the first Christian mission from England to India.
How Dr. Carey valued the gift of the King is seen in this writing, on the lining of the case of the gold medal, dated 6th November 1823:—
"It is my desire that this medal, and the letter of the King of Denmark, which accompanied it, be given at my death to my dear son Jonathan, that he may keep it for my sake."
The letter of King Frederic VI. is as follows:—
"MONSIEUR LE DOCTEUR ET PROFESSEUR WILLIAM CAREY—
C'est avec beaucoup d'interet que nous avons appris le merite qu'en qualite de membre dirigeant de la Societe de la Mission, vous avez acquis, ainsi que vos co-directeurs, et les effets salutaires que vos louables travaux ont produits et partout ou votre influence a pu atteindre. Particulierement informes qu'en votre dite qualite vous avez contribue a effectuer bien des choses utiles, dont l'etablissement a Fredericsnagore a a se louer, et voulant vous certifier que nous vous en avons gre, nous avons charge le chef du dit etablissement,—notre Lieutenant-Colonel Kraefting, de vous remettre cette lettre; et en meme temps une medaille d'or, comme une marque de notre bienveillance et de notre protection, que vous assurera toujours une conduite meritoire.
"Sur ce nous prions Dieu de vous avoir dans Sa sainte et digne garde.—Votre affectionne FREDERIC.
"Copenhague, ce 7 Juin 1820.
"Au Docteur et Professeur WILLIAM CAREY,
Membre dirigeant de la Societe de la Mission a Fredericsnagore."
The new College formed an additional attraction to visitors to the mission. One of these, in 1821, was the Maharaja Serfojee, the prince of Tanjore, whom Schwartz had tended, but who was on pilgrimage to Benares. Hand in hand with Dr. Carey he walked through the missionary workshop, noticed specially the pundits who were busy with translation to which Lord Hastings had directed his attention, and dilated with affectionate enthusiasm on the deeds and the character of the apostle of South India. In 1823 cholera suddenly cut off Mr. Ward in the midst of his labours. The year after that Charles Grant died, leaving a legacy to the mission. Almost his last act had been to write to Carey urging him to publish a reply to the attack of the Abbe Dubois on all Christian missions. Another friend was removed in Bentley, the scholar who put Hindoo astronomy in its right place. Bishop Heber began his too brief episcopate in 1824, when the college, strengthened by the abilities of the Edinburgh professor, John Mack, was accomplishing all that its founders had projected. The Bishop of all good Christian men never penned a finer production—not even his hymns—than this letter, called forth by a copy of the Report on the College sent to him by Dr. Marshman:—
"I have seldom felt more painfully than while reading your appeal on the subject of Serampore College, the unhappy divisions of those who are the servants of the same Great Master! Would to God, my honoured brethren, the time were arrived when not only in heart and hope, but visibly, we shall be one fold, as well as under one shepherd! In the meantime I have arrived, after some serious considerations, at the conclusion that I shall serve our great cause most effectually by doing all which I can for the rising institutions of those with whom my sentiments agree in all things, rather than by forwarding the labours of those from whom, in some important points, I am conscientiously constrained to differ. After all, why do we differ? Surely the leading points which keep us asunder are capable of explanation or of softening, and I am expressing myself in much sincerity of heart—(though, perhaps, according to the customs of the world, I am taking too great a freedom with men my superiors both in age and in talent), that I should think myself happy to be permitted to explain, to the best of my power, those objections which keep you and your brethren divided from that form of church government which I believe to have been instituted by the apostles, and that admission of infants to the Gospel Covenants which seem to me to be founded on the expressions and practice of Christ himself. If I were writing thus to worldly men I know I should expose myself to the imputation of excessive vanity or impertinent intrusion. But of you and Dr. Carey I am far from judging as of worldly men, and I therefore say that, if we are spared to have any future intercourse, it is my desire, if you permit, to discuss with both of you, in the spirit of meekness and conciliation, the points which now divide us, convinced that, if a reunion of our Churches could be effected, the harvest of the heathen would ere long be reaped, and the work of the Lord would advance among them with a celerity of which we have now no experience.
"I trust, at all events, you will take this hasty note as it is intended, and believe me, with much sincerity, your friend and servant in Christ, REGINALD CALCUTTA.
"3rd June 1824."
This is how Carey reciprocated these sentiments, when writing to Dr. Ryland:—
"SERAMPORE, 6th July 1824.
"I rejoice to say that there is the utmost harmony between all the ministers of all denominations. Bishop Heber is a man of liberal principles and catholic spirit. Soon after his arrival in the country he wrote me a very friendly letter, expressing his wish to maintain all the friendship with us which our respective circumstances would allow. I was then confined, but Brother Marshman called on him. As soon as I could walk without crutches I did the same, and had much free conversation with him. Some time after this he wrote us a very friendly letter, saying that it would highly gratify him to meet Brother Marshman and myself, and discuss in a friendly manner all the points of difference between himself and us, adding that there was every reason to expect much good from a calm and temperate discussion of these things, and that, if we could at any rate come so near to each other as to act together, he thought it would have a greater effect upon the spread of the gospel among the heathen than we could calculate upon. He was then just setting out on a visitation which will in all probability take a year. We, however, wrote him a reply accepting his proposal, and Brother Marshman expressed a wish that the discussion might be carried on by letter, to which in his reply he partly consented. I have such a disinclination to writing, and so little leisure for it, that I wished the discussion to be viva voce; it will, however, make little difference, and all I should have to say would be introduced into the letter."
On the death of Mr. Ward and departure of Dr. Marshman for Great Britain on furlough, after twenty-six years' active labours, his son, Mr. John Marshman, was formally taken into the Brotherhood. He united with Dr. Carey in writing to the Committee two letters, dated 21st January 1826 and 15th November 1827, which show the progress of the college and the mission from the first as one independent agency, and closed with Carey's appeal to the judgment of posterity.
"About seven years ago we felt convinced of the necessity of erecting a College for native Christian youth, in order to consolidate our plans for the spread of gospel truth in India; and, as we despaired of being able to raise from public subscriptions a sum equal to the expense of the buildings, we determined to erect them from our own private funds. Up to the present date they have cost us nearly L14,000, and the completion of them will require a further sum of about L5000, which, if we are not enabled to advance from our own purse, the undertaking must remain incomplete. With this burden upon our private funds we find it impossible any longer to meet, to the same extent as formerly, the demands of our out-stations. The time is now arrived when they must cease to be wholly dependent on the private donations of three individuals, and must be placed on the strength of public contributions. As two out of three of the members of our body are now beyond the age of fifty-seven, it becomes our duty to place them on a more permanent footing, as it regards their management, their support, and their increase. We have therefore associated with ourselves, in the superintendence of them, the Rev. Messrs. Mack and Swan, the two present professors of the college, with the view of eventually leaving them entirely in the hands of the body of professors, of whom the constitution of the college provides that there shall be an unbroken succession.
"To secure an increase of missionaries in European habits we have formed a class of theological students in the college, under the Divinity Professor. It contains at present six promising youths, of whose piety we have in some cases undoubted evidence, in others considerable ground for hope. The class will shortly be increased to twelve, but none will be continued in it who do not manifest undeniable piety and devotedness to the cause of missions. As we propose to allow each student to remain on an average four years, we may calculate upon the acquisition of two, and perhaps three, additional labourers annually, who will be eminently fitted for active service in the cause of missions by their natural familiarity with the language and their acquisitions at college. This arrangement will, we trust, secure the speedy accomplishment of the plan we have long cherished, that of placing one missionary in each province in Bengal, and eventually, if means be afforded, in Hindostan.
"As the completion of the buildings requires no public contribution, the sole expense left on the generosity of its friends is that of its existing establishment. Our subscriptions in India, with what we receive as the interest of money raised in Britain and America, average L1000 annually; about L500 more from England would cover every charge, and secure the efficiency of the institution. Nor shall we require this aid beyond a limited period.
"Of the three objects connected with the College, the education of non-resident heathen students, the education of resident Christian students, and the preparation of missionaries from those born in the country, the first is not strictly a missionary object, the two latter are intimately connected with the progress of the good cause. The preparation of missionaries in the country was not so much recommended as enforced by the great expense which attends the despatch of missionaries from Europe. That the number of labourers in this country must be greatly augmented, before the work of evangelising the heathen can be said to have effectively commenced, can admit of no doubt.
"The education of the increasing body of Native Christians likewise, necessarily became a matter of anxiety. Nothing could be more distressing than the prospect of their being more backward in mental pursuits than their heathen neighbours. The planting of the gospel in India is not likely to be accomplished by the exertions of a few missionaries in solitary and barren spots in the country, without the aid of some well-digested plan which may consolidate the missionary enterprise, and provide for the mental and religious cultivation of the converts. If the body of native Christians required an educational system, native ministers, who must gradually take the spiritual conduct of that body, demanded pre-eminent attention. They require a knowledge of the ingenious system they will have to combat, of the scheme of Christian theology they are to teach, and a familiarity with the lights of modern science. We cannot discharge the duty we owe as Christians to India, without some plan for combining in the converts of the new religion, and more especially in its ministers, the highest moral refinement of the Christian character, and the highest attainable progress in the pursuits of the mind.
"During the last ten years of entire independence the missionary cause has received from the product of our labour, in the erection of the college buildings, in the support of stations and schools, and in the printing of tracts, much more than L23,000. The unceasing calumny with which we have been assailed, for what has been called 'our declaration of independence' (which, by the bye, Mr. Fuller approved of our issuing almost with his dying breath), it is beneath us to notice, but it has fully convinced us of the propriety of the step. This calumny is so unreasonable that we confidently appeal from the decision of the present age to the judgment of posterity."
Under Carey, as Professor of Divinity and Lecturer on Botany and Zoology, Mack and John Marshman, with pundits and moulavies, the college grew in public favour, even during Dr. Marshman's absence, while Mrs. Marshman continued to conduct the girls' school and superintend native female education with a vigorous enthusiasm which advancing years did not abate and misrepresentation in England only fed. The difficulties in which Carey found himself had the happy result of forcing him into the position of being the first to establish practically the principle of the Grant in Aid system. Had his Nonconformist successors followed him in this, with the same breadth of view and clear distinction between the duty of aiding the secular education, while giving absolute liberty to the spiritual, the splendid legacy which he left to India would have been both perpetuated and extended. As it is, it was left to his young colleague, John Marshman, and to Dr. Duff, to induce Parliament, by the charter of 1853, and the first Lord Halifax in the Educational Despatch of 1854, to sanction the system of national education for the multifarious classes and races of our Indian subjects, under which secular instruction is aided by the state on impartial terms according to its efficiency, and Christianity delights to take its place, unfettered and certain of victory, with the Brahmanical and aboriginal cults of every kind.
In 1826 Carey, finding that his favourite Benevolent Institution in Calcutta was getting into debt, and required repair, applied to Government for aid. He had previously joined the Marchioness of Hastings in founding the Calcutta School Book and School Society, and had thus been relieved of some of the schools. Government at once paid the debt, repaired the building, and continued to give an annual grant of L240 for many years. John Marshman did not think it necessary, "to defend Dr. Carey from the charge of treason to the principles of dissent in having thus solicited and accepted aid from the state for an educational establishment; the repudiation of that aid is a modern addition to those principles." He tells us that "when conversation happened to turn upon this subject at Serampore, his father was wont to excuse any warmth which his colleague might exhibit by the humorous remark that renegades always fought hardest. There was one question on which the three were equally strenuous—that it was as much the duty of Government to support education as to abstain from patronising missions."
A letter written in 1818 to his son William, then one of the missionaries, shows with what jealous economy the founder of the great modern enterprise managed the early undertakings.
"MY DEAR WILLIAM—Yours of the 3rd instant I have received, and must say that it has filled me with distress. I do not know what the allowance of 200 rupees includes, nor how much is allotted for particular things; but it appears that Rs. 142:2 is expended upon your private expenses, viz., 78:2 on table expenses, and 64 on servants. Now neither Lawson nor Eustace have more than 140 rupees for their allowance, separate from house rent, for which 80 rupees each is allowed, and I believe all the brethren are on that, or a lower allowance, Brother Yates excepted, who chooses for himself. I cannot therefore make an application for more with any face. Indeed we have no power to add or diminish salaries, though the Society would agree to our doing so if we showed good reasons for it. I believe the allowances of the missionaries from the London Society are about the same, or rather less—viz. L200 sterling, or 132 rupees a month, besides extra expenses; so that your income, taking it at 140 rupees a month, is quite equal to that of any other missionary. I may also mention that neither Eustace nor Lawson can do without a buggy, which is not a small expense.