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solutely indispensable for accomplishing the desire which they pro fess, in common with us, of furuishing the means of introducing Christianity into India. Indeed it ought to open their eyes to the real practical effect of their own amendment, that they who are the most decidedly hostile to the introduction of Christianity into India, so readily assent to it, or rather so warmly support it.
But, Sir, let me ask, do they not see that if the clause be left out, the Act of Parliament will contain no mention whatever of religion, or morals; no recognition of its being our duty to endeavour to communicate to our East-Indian fellow-subjects the blessings of Christian light and moral improvement? That recognition will still, I grant, be contained in the Resolution of the House of Commons, as well as in that of the House of Lords; but let me ask, will not this be precisely the situation in which the cause has stood, and stood, alas! to no purpose, for the last twenty years? For on the renewal of the Charter in 1793, both Houses of Parliament, as has been repeatedly stated, passed, and have ever since kept on their Journals, a Resolution similar to that which we have now adopted. But, as was unanswerably urged in defence of the Court of Directors, by one of the ablest and most active opponents all attempts to convert the natives of India, this recognition, being only contained in the Votes of the two Houses, but not in the Act of the Legislature, the executive body, whose business it was to carry into execution what Parliament had prescribed by that Act, could not be chargeable with neglecting any duty which that statute had ordained, when, so far from favoring, they rather thwarted and hindered the attempts of the Missionaries. The guilt, as was irresistibly argued by the writer just alluded to; the guilt, if any, of not having favored the endeavours of individuals to convert the natives of India, was not justly chargeable on the East-India Company's Directors, nor yet on the Board of Control, but on the Legislature, which prescribed to both the principles on which the government in India was to be conducted, but said not one syllable about religion or morals. And if the present Act, like the former, were to leave religion and morals unmentioned, the same inference might fairly be drawn from the silence of the Legislature; but with greatly increased force, since the enemies of East-India Missions would truly state, that the subject, which had
formerly attracted little attention, had now been long under the consideration of Parliament; and that, in the House of Comutons especially, it had occasioned much debate. They would allege, that the advocates for the religious and moral improvement of India had maintained that the moral degradation of our East-Indian fellow-subjects, and their pernicious and cruel institutions, renderedit eminently desirable that we should endeavour to impart to them a purer system of faith and morals; that the attempt was perfectly practicable, and that it might be made with safety, nay even with advantage to our political interests;-that, on the other hand, our opponents had maintained that we were bringing forward an unnecessary, nay, a most pernicious project; that the principles of the Hindoo religion were eminently pure, their practice superior to our own; but, were this more doubtful, that the endeavour could not be made without endangering the very existence of our empire in India. Such, I say, it would be alleged had been the state of the argument, and it would be added irresistibly, that Parliament had shown, by rejecting the clause which had been offered by the advocates for Christianity in India, that it disapproved the project they had proposed.
1 If any thing more could then be needed to supply additional force to the above argument, it would be the language which has at length been used by the ablest of our opponents. For happily, Sir, in the progress of our discussions they have warmed in their course, one of them especially; to whose abilities and eloquence I pay no unwilling testimony, though I must say that he has imposed on himself a task which exceeds his, or indeed any human abilities, in undertaking to reconcile the manifest inconsistency of feeling the highest respect for Christianity, and of preserving at the same time any measure of reverence for the Hindoo religion, which, both in its theology and its morals, Christianity utterly abjures and condemns. The Honorable Gentleman, however, has spoken out; (I thank him for it ;) and has relieved the question from all ambiguity, speaking in terms of high admiration of the excellence and sublimity of the Hindoo religion, and pretty plainly intimating that we, who are endeavouring to substitute Christianity in the place of it, are actuated by a zeal the most fanatical and absurd. Indeed he frankly acknowledged to us, that he had it once in con
temptation to move a clause, expressly forbidding all further attempts of Christian Missionaries, leaving us to conclude that he abstained from so doing merely on prudential grounds. All this may be right, or it may be wrong; but after such sentiments have been uttered, and after the exulting approbation with which they were received by our opponents in general, let it no longer be said that we are all of one mind, all wishing alike for the diffusion of Christianity in India, but only differing as to the mode of accomplishing that desirable event. No, Sir; the question is now put on its true basis, and it clearly appears to be no other than this, whether, as Christianity is the religion of the British Empire in Europe, the religion of Brahma and Vishnoo is not to be the acknowledged system of our Asiatic dominions.
I beg pardon, Sir, for having trespassed so long on the indulgence of the House: but the subject is one the importance of which can scarcely be over-estimated. If, Sir, a British judge and jury, the former often at an advanced period of life, after a long course of professional labors, will sit patiently, for more than an entire day, to decide whether the life of some criminal shall be forfeited to the offended laws of his country; nay, even to settle some doubtful question of property; how much less will you grudge, even to me, a still larger portion of your time and attention than I have unwillingly presumed to occupy, when you consider that the question which we are now deciding involves, not the prosperity, not the life merely of an individual, but the religious and moral interests, the temporal at once and the eternal well-being of sixty millions of our fellow-creatures!
RIGHT, EXPEDIENCE, AND INDISCRIMINATE
OBSERVATIONS ON THE TRUE NATURE OF JUSTICE,
Εἴ μοι ξυνείη Φέροντι
Sophocles Cd. Τyr. 863-873,
O that a holy purity to shine
But stand majestic while the ages roll,