The Life of William Carey, Shoemaker & Missionary
George Smith

Part 5 out of 8

has treated me with the greatest affection and kindness, and told me
he will give me every information he can, and do anything in his
power to promote my happiness." What Baruch was to the prophet
Jeremiah, that Yates might have been to Carey, who went so far in
urging him to remain for life in Serampore as to say, "if he did not
accept the service it would be, in his judgment, acting against
Providence, and the blessing of God was not to be expected." Yates
threw in his lot with the younger men who, in Calcutta after
Fuller's death, began the Society's as distinct from the Serampore
mission. If Carey was the Wyclif and Tyndale, Yates was the
Coverdale of the Bengali and Sanskrit Bible. Wenger, their
successor, was worthy of both. Bengal still waits for the first
native revision of the great work which these successive pioneers
have gradually improved. When shall Bengal see its own Luther?

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

The first Bengali version of the whole New Testament Carey
translated from the original Greek before the close of 1796. The
only English commentary used was the Family Expositor of Doddridge,
published in 1738, and then the most critical in the language. Four
times he revised the manuscript, with a Greek concordance in his
hand, and he used it not only with Ram Basu by his side, the most
accomplished of early Bengali scholars, but with the natives around
him of all classes. By 1800 Ward had arrived as printer, the press
was perfected at Serampore, and the result of seven years of toil
appeared in February 1801, in the first edition of 2000 copies,
costing £612. The printing occupied nine months. The type was set
up by Ward and Carey's son Felix with their own hands; "for about a
month at first we had a Brahman compositor, but we were quite weary
of him. We kept four pressmen constantly employed." A public
subscription had been opened for the whole Bengali Bible at Rs. 32,
or £4 a copy as exchange then was, and nearly fifty copies had been
at once subscribed for. It was this edition which immediately led
to Carey's appointment to the College of Fort William, and it was
that appointment which placed Carey in a position, philological and
financial, to give the Bible to the peoples of the farther East in
their own tongue.

Some loving memories cluster round the first Bengali version of the
New Testament which it is well to collect. On Tuesday, 18th March
1800, Ward's journal19 records: "Brother Carey took an impression at
the press of the first page in Matthew." The translator was himself
the pressman. As soon as the whole of this Gospel was ready, 500
copies of it were struck off for immediate circulation, "which we
considered of importance as containing a complete life of the
Redeemer." Four days after an advertisement in the official
Calcutta Gazette, announcing that the missionaries had established a
press at Serampore and were printing the Bible in Bengali, roused
Lord Wellesley, who had fettered the press in British India. Mr.
Brown was able to inform the Governor-General that this very
Serampore press had refused to print a political attack on the
English Government, and that it was intended for the spiritual
instruction only of the natives. This called forth the assurance
from that liberal statesman that he was personally favourable to the
conversion of the heathen. When he was further told that such an
Oriental press would be invaluable to the College of Fort William,
he not only withdrew his opposition but made Carey first teacher of
Bengali. It was on the 7th February 1801 that the last sheet with
the final corrections was put into Carey's hands. When a volume had
been bound it was reverently offered to God by being placed on the
Communion-table of the chapel, and the mission families and the
new-made converts gathered around it with solemn thanksgiving to God
led by Krishna Pal. Carey preached from the words (Col. iii. 11)
"Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom." The
centenary was celebrated in Calcutta in 1901, under Dr. Rouse, whose
fine scholarship had just revised the translation.

When the first copies reached England, Andrew Fuller sent one to the
second Earl Spencer, the peer who had used the wealth of Sarah,
Duchess of Marlborough, to collect the great library at Althorp.
Carey had been a poor tenant of his, though the Earl knew it not.
When the Bengali New Testament reached him, with its story, he sent
a cheque for £50 to help to translate the Old Testament, and he took
care that a copy should be presented to George III., as by his own
request. Mr. Bowyer was received one morning at Windsor, and along
with the volume presented an address expressing the desire that His
Majesty might live to see its principles universally prevail
throughout his Eastern dominions. On this the lord in waiting
whispered a doubt whether the book had come through the proper
channel. At once the king replied that the Board of Control had
nothing to do with it, and turning to Mr. Bowyer said, "I am greatly
pleased to find that any of my subjects are employed in this

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

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

The Sanskrit version was translated from the original, and written
out by the toiling scholar himself. Sir William Jones is said to
have been able to secure his first pundit's help only by paying him
Rs. 500 a month, or £700 a year. Carey engaged and trained his many
pundits at a twentieth of that sum. He well knew that the Brahmans
would scorn a book in the language of the common people. "What,"
said one who was offered the Hindi version, "even if the books
should contain divine knowledge, they are nothing to us. The
knowledge of God contained in them is to us as milk in a vessel of
dog's skin, utterly polluted." But, writes the annalist of Biblical
Translations in India, Carey's Sanskrit version was cordially
received by the Brahmans. Destroyed in the fire in 1812, the Old
Testament historical books were again translated, and appeared in
1815. In 1827 the aged saint had strength to bring out the first
volume of a thorough revision, and to leave the manuscript of the
second volume, on his death, as a legacy to his successors, Yates
and Wenger. Against Vedas and Upanishads, Brahmanas and Epics, he
set the Sanskrit Bible.

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

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

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

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

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

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

We may pass over the story of the Dravidian versions, the Telugoo20
New Testament and Pentateuch, and the Kanarese. Nor need we do more
than refer to the Singhalese, "derived from the previous labours of
Dr. Carey" by Tolfrey, the Persian, Malayalam, and other versions
made by others, but edited or carefully carried through the press by
Carey. The wonderful tale of his Bible work is well illustrated by
a man who, next to the Lawrences, was the greatest Englishman who
has governed the Punjab frontier, the hero of Mr. Ruskin's book, A
Knight's Faith. In that portion of his career which Sir Herbert
Edwardes gave to the world under the title of A Year on the Punjab
Frontier in 1848-49, and in which he describes his bloodless
conquest of the wild valley of Bunnoo, we find this gem embedded.
The writer was at the time in the Gundapoor country, of which
Kulachi is the trade-centre between the Afghan pass of Ghwalari and
Dera Ismail Kan, where the dust of Sir Henry Durand now lies:--

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

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

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

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

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

>From 1809 till 1830, or practically through the rest of Carey's
life, the co-operation of Serampore and the Bible Society was
honourable to both. Carey loyally clung to it when in 1811, under
the spell of Henry Martyn's sermon on Christian India, the chaplains
established the Calcutta Auxiliary Bible Society in order to
supersede its corresponding committee. In the Serampore press the
new auxiliary, like the parent Society, found the cheapest and best
means of publishing editions of the New Testament in Singhalese,
Malayalam, and Tamil. The press issued also the Persian New
Testament, first of the Romanist missionary, Sebastiani--"though it
be not wholly free from imperfections, it will doubtless do much
good," wrote Dr. Marshman to Fuller--and then of Henry Martyn, whose
assistant, Sabat, was trained at Serampore. Those three of
Serampore had a Christ-like tolerance, which sprang from the divine
charity of their determination to live only that the Word of God
might sound out through Asia. When in 1830 this auxiliary--which had
at first sought to keep all missionaries out of its executive in
order to conciliate men like Sydney Smith's brother, the
Advocate-General of Bengal--refused to use the translations of Carey
and Yates, and inclined to an earlier version of Ellerton, because
of the translation or transliteration of the Greek words for
"baptism," these two scholars acted thus, as described by the Bible
Society's annalist--they, "with a liberality which does them honour,
permitted the use of their respective versions of the Bengali
Scriptures, with such alterations as were deemed needful in the
disputed word for 'baptism,' they being considered in no way parties
to such alterations." From first to last the British and Foreign
Bible Society, to use its own language, "had the privilege of aiding
the Serampore brethren by grants, amounting to not less than
£13,500." Of this £1475 had been raised by Mr. William Hey, F.R.S.,
a surgeon at Leeds, who had been so moved by the translation memoir
of 1816 as to offer £500 for the publication of a thousand copies of
every approved first translation of the New Testament into any
dialect of India. It was with this assistance that most of the
Hindi and the Pushtoo and Punjabi versions were produced.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Little did these simple scholars, all absorbed in their work, dream
that this fire would prove to be the means of making them and their
work famous all over Europe and America as well as India. Men of
every Christian school, and men interested only in the literary and
secular side of their enterprise, had their active sympathy called
out. The mere money loss, at the exchange of the day, was not under
ten thousand pounds. In fifty days this was raised in England and
Scotland alone, till Fuller, returning from his last campaign,
entered the room of his committee, declaring "we must stop the
contributions." In Greenock, for instance, every place of worship
on one Sunday collected money. In the United States Mr. Robert
Ralston, a Presbyterian, a merchant of Philadelphia, who as Carey's
correspondent had been the first American layman to help missions to
India, and Dr. Staughton, who had taken an interest in the formation
of the Society in 1792 before he emigrated, had long assisted the
translation work, and now that Judson was on his way out they
redoubled their exertions. In India Thomason's own congregation
sent the missionaries £800, and Brown wrote from his dying bed a
message of loving help. The newspapers of Calcutta caught the
enthusiasm; one leading article concluded with the assurance that
the Serampore press would, "like the phoenix of antiquity, rise from
its ashes, winged with new strength, and destined, in a lofty and
long-enduring flight, widely to diffuse the benefits of knowledge
throughout the East." The day after the fire ceased to smoke Monohur
was at the task of casting type from the lumps of the molten metal.

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Ghat murders, caused by the carrying of the dying to the Ganges
or a sacred river, and their treatment there, continue to this day,
although Lord Lawrence attempted to interfere. Ward estimated the
number of sick whose death is hastened on the banks of the Ganges
alone at five hundred a year, in his anxiety to "use no unfair means
of rendering even idolatry detestable," but he admits that, in the
opinion of others, this estimate is far below the truth. We
believe, from our own recent experience, that still it fails to give
any just idea of the destruction of parents by children in the name
of religion.

One class who had been the special objects of Christ's healing power
and divine sympathy was specially interesting to Carey in proportion
to their misery and abandonment by their own people--lepers. When
at Cutwa in 1812, where his son was stationed as missionary, he saw
the burning of a leper, which he thus described:--"A pit about ten
cubits in depth was dug and a fire placed at the bottom of it. The
poor man rolled himself into it; but instantly, on feeling the fire,
begged to be taken out, and struggled hard for that purpose. His
mother and sister, however, thrust him in again; and thus a man, who
to all appearance might have survived several years, was cruelly
burned to death. I find that the practice is not uncommon in these
parts. Taught that a violent end purifies the body and ensures
transmigration into a healthy new existence, while natural death by
disease results in four successive births, and a fifth as a leper
again, the leper, like the even more wretched widow, has always
courted suicide." Carey did not rest until he had brought about the
establishment of a leper hospital in Calcutta, near what became the
centre of the Church Missionary Society's work, and there benevolent
physicians, like the late Dr. Kenneth Stuart, and Christian people,
have made it possible to record, as in Christ's days, that the leper
is cleansed and the poor have the Gospel preached to them.

By none of the many young civilians whom he trained, or, in the
later years of his life, examined, was Carey's humane work on all
its sides more persistently carried out than by John Lawrence in the
Punjab. When their new ruler first visited their district, the Bedi
clan amazed him by petitioning for leave to destroy their infant
daughters. In wrath he briefly told them he would hang every man
found guilty of such murder. When settling the land revenue of the
Cis-Sutlej districts he caused each farmer, as he touched the pen in
acceptance of the assessment, to recite this formula--

"Bewa mat jaláo,
Beti mat máro,
Korhi mat dabao"

("Thou shalt not burn thy widow, thou shalt not kill thy daughters,
thou shalt not bury thy lepers.")

>From the hour of Carey's conversion he never omitted to remember in
prayer the slave as well as the heathen. The same period which saw
his foundation of modern missions witnessed the earliest efforts of
his contemporary, Thomas Clarkson of Wisbeach, in the neighbouring
county of Cambridge, to free the slave. But Clarkson, Granville
Sharp, and their associates were so occupied with Africa that they
knew not that Great Britain was responsible for the existence of at
least nine millions of slaves in India, many of them brought by
Hindoo merchants as well as Arabs from Eastern Africa to fill the
hareems of Mohammedans, and do domestic service in the zananas of
Hindoos. The startling fact came to be known only slowly towards
the end of Carey's career, when his prayers, continued daily from
1779, were answered in the freedom of all our West India slaves.
The East India answer came after he had passed away, in Act V. of
1843, which for ever abolished the legal status of slavery in India.
The Penal Code has since placed the prĉdial slave in such a
position that if he is not free it is his own fault. It is penal in
India to hold a slave "against his will," and we trust the time is
not far distant when the last three words may be struck out.

With true instinct Christopher Anderson, in his Annals of the
English Bible, associates Carey, Clarkson, and Cowper, as the
triumvirate who, unknown to each other, began the great moral
changes, in the Church, in society, and in literature, which mark
the difference between the eighteenth and the nineteenth centuries.
Little did Carey think, as he studied under Sutcliff within sight
of the poet's house, that Cowper was writing at that very time these
lines in The Task while he himself was praying for the highest of
all kinds of liberty to be given to the heathen and the slaves,
Christ's freedom which had up till then remained

By poets, and by senators unpraised,
Which monarchs cannot grant, nor all the powers
Of earth and hell confederate take away;
A liberty which persecution, fraud,
Oppression, prisons, have no power to bind:
Which whoso tastes can be enslaved no more."



Carey's relation to science and economics--State of the
peasantry--Carey a careful scientific observer--Specially a
botanist--Becomes the friend of Dr. Roxburgh of the Company's
Botanic Garden--Orders seeds and instruments of husbandry--All his
researches subordinate to his spiritual mission--His eminence as a
botanist acknowledged in the history of the science--His own botanic
garden and park at Serampore--The poet Montgomery on the daisies
there--Borneo--Carey's paper in the Asiatic Researches on the state
of agriculture in Bengal--The first to advocate Forestry in
India--Founds the Agri-Horticultural Society of India--Issues
queries on agriculture and horticulture--Remarkable results of his
action--On the manufacture of paper--His expanded address on
agricultural reform--His political foresight on the importance of
European capital and the future of India--An official estimate of
the results in the present day--On the usury of the natives and
savings banks--His academic and scientific honours--Destruction of
his house and garden by the Damoodar flood of 1823--Report on the
Horticultural Society's garden--The Society honours its founder.

Not only was the first Englishman, who in modern times became a
missionary, sent to India when he desired to go to Tahiti or West
Africa; and sent to Bengal from which all Northern India was to be
brought under British rule; and to Calcutta--with a safe asylum at
Danish Serampore--then the metropolis and centre of all Southern
Asia; but he was sent at the very time when the life of the people
could best be purified and elevated on its many sides, and he was
specially fitted to influence each of these sides save one. An
ambassador for Christ above all things like Paul, but, also like
him, becoming all things to all men that he might win some to the
higher life, Carey was successively, and often at the same time, a
captain of labour, a schoolmaster, a printer, the developer of the
vernacular speech, the expounder of the classical language, the
translator of both into English and of the English Bible into both,
the founder of a pure literature, the purifier of society, the
watchful philanthropist, the saviour of the widow and the
fatherless, of the despairing and the would-be suicide, of the
downtrodden and oppressed. We have now to see him on the scientific
or the physical and economic side, while he still jealously keeps
his strength for the one motive power of all, the spiritual, and
with almost equal care avoids the political or administrative as his
Master did. But even then it was his aim to proclaim the divine
principles which would use science and politics alike to bring
nations to the birth, while, like the apostles, leaving the
application of these principles to the course of God's providence
and the consciences of men. In what he did for science, for
literature, and for humanity, as in what he abstained from doing in
the practical region of public life, the first English missionary
was an example to all of every race who have followed him in the
past century. From Carey to Livingstone, alike in Asia and Africa,
the greatest Christian evangelists have been those who have made
science and literature the handmaids of missions.

Apart from the extreme south of the peninsula of India, where the
Danish missionaries had explored with hawk's eyes, almost nothing
was known of its plants and animals, its men, as well as its beasts,
when Carey found himself in a rural district of North Bengal in the
closing decade of the eighteenth century. Nor had any writer,
official or missionary, anywhere realised the state of India and the
needs of the Hindoo and Mohammedan cultivators as flowing from the
relation of the people to the soil. India was in truth a land of
millions of peasant proprietors on five-acre farms, rack-rented or
plundered by powerful middlemen, both squeezed or literally tortured
by the Government of the day, and driven to depend on the usurer for
even the seed for each crop. War and famine had alternated in
keeping down the population. Ignorance and fear had blunted the
natural shrewdness of the cultivator. A foul mythology, a saddening
demon-worship, and an exacting social system, covered the land as
with a pall. What even Christendom was fast becoming in the tenth
century, India had been all through the eighteen Christian

The boy who from eight to fourteen "chose to read books of science,
history, voyages, etc., more than others"; the youth whose gardener
uncle would have had him follow that calling, but whose sensitive
skin kept him within doors, where he fitted up a room with his
botanical and zoological museum; the shoemaker-preacher who made a
garden around every cottage-manse in which he lived, and was
familiar with every beast, bird, insect, and tree in the Midlands of
England, became a scientific observer from the day he landed at
Calcutta, an agricultural reformer from the year he first built a
wooden farmhouse in the jungle, as the Manitoba emigrant now does
under very different skies, and then began to grow and make indigo
amid the peasantry at Dinapoor. He thus unconsciously reveals
himself and his method of working in a letter to Morris of

"MUDNABATI, 5th December 1797.--To talk of continuance of friendship
and warm affection to you would be folly. I love you; and next to
seeing your face, a letter from you is one of my greatest
gratifications. I see the handwriting, and read the heart of my
friend; nor can the distance of one-fourth of the globe prevent a
union of hearts.

"Hitherto I have refrained from writing accounts of the country,
because I concluded that those whose souls were panting after the
conversion of the heathen would feel but little gratified in having
an account of the natural productions of the country. But as
intelligence of this kind has been frequently solicited by several
of my friends, I have accordingly opened books of observation, which
I hope to communicate when they are sufficiently authenticated and
matured. I also intend to assign a peculiar share to each of my
stated correspondents. To you I shall write some accounts of the
arts, utensils, and manufactures of the country; to Brother Sutcliff
their mythology and religion; to Brother Ryland the manners and
customs of the inhabitants; to Brother Fuller the productions of the
country; to Brother Pearce the language, etc.; and to the Society a
joint account of the mission."

He had "separate books for every distinct class, as birds, beasts,
fishes, reptiles, etc." Long before this, on 13th March 1795, he
had written to the learned Ryland, his special correspondent on
subjects of science and on Hebrew, his first impressions of the
physiography of Bengal, adding: "The natural history of Bengal would
furnish innumerable novelties to a curious inquirer. I am making
collections and minute descriptions of whatever I can obtain; and
intend at some future time to transmit them to Europe."

"MUDNABATI, 26th November 1796.--I observed in a former letter that
the beasts have been in general described, but that the undescribed
birds were surprisingly numerous; and, in fact, new species are
still frequently coming under my notice. We have sparrows and
water-wagtails, one species of crow, ducks, geese, and common fowls;
pigeons, teal, ortolans, plovers, snipes like those in Europe; but
others, entirely unlike European birds, would fill a volume.
Insects are very numerous. I have seen about twelve sorts of
grylli, or grasshoppers and crickets. Ants are the most omnivorous
of all insects; we have eight or ten sorts very numerous. The
termes, or white ants, destroy everything on which they fasten; they
will eat through an oak chest in a day or two and devour all its
contents. Butterflies are not so numerous as in England, but I
think all different. Common flies and mosquitoes (or gnats) are
abundant, and the latter so tormenting as to make one conclude that
if the flies in Egypt were mosquitoes, the plague must be almost
insupportable. Here are beetles of many species; scorpions of two
sorts, the sting of the smallest not mortal; land crabs in
abundance, and an amazing number of other kinds of insects. Fish is
very plentiful, and the principal animal food of the inhabitants. I
find fewer varieties of vegetables than I could have conceived in so
large a country. Edible vegetables are scarce, and fruit far from
plentiful. You will perhaps wonder at our eating many things here
which no one eats in England: as arum, three or four sorts, and
poppy leaves (Papaver somniferum). We also cut up mallows by the
bushes for our food (Job xxx. 4). Amaranths, of three sorts, we
also eat, besides capsicums, pumpkins, gourds, calabashes, and the
egg-plant fruit; yet we have no hardships in these respects. Rice
is the staple article of food...

"My love to the students. God raise them up for great blessings.
Great things are certainly at hand."

But he was also an erudite botanist. Had he arrived in Calcutta a
few days earlier than he did, he would have been appointed to the
place for which sheer poverty led him to apply, in the Company's
Botanical Garden, established on the right bank of the Hoogli a few
miles below Calcutta, by Colonel Alexander Kyd, for the collection
of indigenous and acclimatisation of foreign plants. There he at
once made the acquaintance, and till 1815 retained the loving
friendship, of its superintendent, Dr. Roxburgh, the leader of a
series of eminent men, Buchanan and Wallich, Griffith, Falconer, T.
Thomson, and Thomas Anderson, the last two cut off in the ripe
promise of their manhood. One of Carey's first requests was for
seeds and instruments, not merely from scientific reasons, but that
he might carry out his early plan of working with his hands as a
farmer while he evangelised the people. On 5th August 1794 he wrote
to the Society:--"I wish you also to send me a few instruments of
husbandry, viz., scythes, sickles, plough-wheels, and such things;
and a yearly assortment of all garden and flowering seeds, and seeds
of fruit trees, that you can possibly procure; and let them be
packed in papers, or bottles well stopped, which is the best method.
All these things, at whatever price you can procure them, and the
seeds of all sorts of field and forest trees, etc., I will regularly
remit you the money for every year; and I hope that I may depend
upon the exertions of my numerous friends to procure them. Apply to
London seedsmen and others, as it will be a lasting advantage to
this country; and I shall have it in my power to do this for what I
now call my own country. Only take care that they are new and dry."
Again he addressed Fuller on 22nd June 1797:--

"MY VERY DEAR BROTHER--I have yours of August 9, 16, which informs
me that the seeds, etc., were shipped. I have received those seeds
and other articles in tolerable preservation, and shall find them a
very useful article. An acquaintance which I have formed with Dr.
Roxburgh, Superintendent of the Company's Botanic Garden, and whose
wife is daughter of a missionary on the coast, may be of future use
to the mission, and make that investment of vegetables more

Thus towards the close of his six years' sacrifice for the people of
Dinapoor does he estimate himself and his scientific pursuits in the
light of the great conflict to which the Captain of Salvation had
called him. He is opening his heart to Fuller again, most trusted
of all:--

"MUDNABATI, 17th July 1799.--Respecting myself I have nothing
interesting to say; and if I had, it appears foreign to the design
of a mission for the missionaries to be always speaking of their own
experiences. I keep several journals, it is true, relating to
things private and public, respecting the mission, articles of
curiosity and science; but they are sometimes continued and
sometimes discontinued: besides, most things contained in them are
of too general or trivial a nature to send to England, and I imagine
could have no effect, except to mock the expectations of our
numerous friends, who are waiting to hear of the conversion of the
heathen and overthrow of Satan's kingdom.

"I therefore only observe, respecting myself, that I have much proof
of the vileness of my heart, much more than I thought of till
lately: and, indeed, I often fear that instead of being instrumental
in the conversion of the heathen, I may some time dishonour the
cause in which I am engaged. I have hitherto had much experience of
the daily supports of a gracious God; but I am conscious that if
those supports were intermitted but for a little time, my sinful
dispositions would infallibly predominate. At present I am kept,
but am not one of those who are strong and do exploits.

"I have often thought that a spirit of observation is necessary in
order to our doing or communicating much good; and were it not for a
very phlegmatic habit, I think my soul would be richer. I, however,
appear to myself to have lost much of my capacity for making
observations, improvements, etc., or of retaining what I attend to
closely. For instance, I have been near three years learning the
Sanskrit language, yet know very little of it. This is only a
specimen of what I feel myself to be in every respect. I try to
observe, to imprint what I see and hear on my memory, and to feel my
heart properly affected with the circumstances; yet my soul is
impoverished, and I have something of a lethargic disease cleaving
to my body...

"I would communicate something on the natural history of the country
in addition to what I have before written, but no part of that
pleasing study is so familiar to me as the vegetable world."

His letters of this period to Fuller on the fruits of India, and to
Morris on the husbandry of the natives, might be quoted still as
accurate and yet popular descriptions of the mango, guava, and
custard apple; plantain, jack, and tamarind; pomegranate,
pine-apple, and rose-apple; papaya, date, and cocoa-nut; citron,
lime, and shaddock. Of many of these, and of foreign fruits which
he introduced, it might be said he found them poor, and he
cultivated them till he left to succeeding generations a rich and
varied orchard.

While still in Dinapoor, he wrote on 1st January 1798: "Seeds of
sour apples, pears, nectarines, plums, apricots, cherries,
gooseberries, currants, strawberries, or raspberries, put loose into
a box of dry sand, and sent so as to arrive in September, October,
November, or December, would be a great acquisition, as is every
European production. Nuts, filberts, acorns, etc., would be the
same. We have lately obtained the cinnamon tree, and nutmeg tree,
which Dr. Roxburgh very obligingly sent to me. Of timber trees I
mention the sissoo, the teak, and the saul tree, which, being an
unnamed genus, Dr. Roxburgh, as a mark of respect to me, has called
Careya saulea."

The publication of the last name caused Carey's sensitive modesty
extreme annoyance. "Do not print the names of Europeans. I was
sorry to see that you printed that Dr. Roxburgh had named the saul
tree by my name. As he is in the habit of publishing his drawings
of plants, it would have looked better if it had been mentioned
first by him." Whether he prevailed with his admiring friend in the
Company's Botanic Garden to change the name to that which the useful
sal tree now bears, the Shorea robusta, we know not, but the term is
derived from Lord Teignmouth's name. Carey will go down to
posterity in the history of botanical research, notwithstanding his
own humility and the accidents of time. For Dr. Roxburgh gave the
name of Careya to an interesting genus of Myrtaceœ. The great
French botanist M. Benjamin Delessert duly commemorates the labours
of Dr. Carey in the Musée Botanique.

It was in Serampore that the gentle botanist found full scope for
the one recreation which he allowed himself, in the interest of his
body as well as of his otherwise overtasked spirit. There he had
five acres of ground laid out, and, in time, planted on the Linnĉan
system. The park around, from which he had the little paradise
carefully walled in, that Brahmani bull and villager's cow, nightly
jackal and thoughtless youth, might not intrude, he planted with
trees then rare or unknown in lower Bengal, the mahogany and deodar,
the teak and tamarind, the carob and eucalyptus. The fine American
Mahogany has so thriven that the present writer was able, seventy
years after the trees had been planted, to supply Government with
plentiful seed. The trees of the park were so placed as to form a
noble avenue, which long shaded the press and was known as Carey's
Walk. The umbrageous tamarind formed a dense cover, under which more
than one generation of Carey's successors rejoiced as they welcomed
visitors to the consecrated spot from all parts of India, America,
and Great Britain. Foresters like Sir D. Brandis and Dr. Cleghorn
at various times visited this arboretum, and have referred to the
trees, whose date of planting is known, for the purpose of recording
the rate of growth.

For the loved garden Carey himself trained native peasants who, with
the mimetic instinct of the Bengali, followed his instructions like
those of their own Brahmans, learned the Latin names, and pronounced
them with their master's very accent up till a late date, when
Hullodhur, the last of them, passed away. The garden with its
tropical glories and more modest exotics, every one of which was as
a personal friend, and to him had an individual history, was more
than a place of recreation. It was his oratory, the scene of prayer
and meditation, the place where he began and ended the day of
light--with God. What he wrote in his earlier journals and letters
of the sequestered spot at Mudnabati was true in a deeper and wider
sense of the garden of Serampore:--"23rd September, Lord's
Day.--Arose about sunrise, and, according to my usual practice,
walked into my garden for meditation and prayer till the servants
came to family worship." We have this account from his son

"In objects of nature my father was exceedingly curious. His
collection of mineral ores, and other subjects of natural history,
was extensive, and obtained his particular attention in seasons of
leisure and recreation. The science of botany was his constant
delight and study; and his fondness for his garden remained to the
last. No one was allowed to interfere in the arrangements of this
his favourite retreat; and it is here he enjoyed his most pleasant
moments of secret devotion and meditation. The arrangements made by
him were on the Linnĉan system; and to disturb the bed or border of
the garden was to touch the apple of his eye. The garden formed the
best and rarest botanical collection of plants in the East; to the
extension of which, by his correspondence with persons of eminence
in Europe and other parts of the world, his attention was constantly
directed; and, in return, he supplied his correspondents with rare
collections from the East. It was painful to observe with what
distress my father quitted this scene of his enjoyments, when
extreme weakness, during his last illness, prevented his going to
his favourite retreat. Often, when he was unable to walk, he was
drawn into the garden in a chair placed on a board with four wheels.

"In order to prevent irregularity in the attendance of the gardeners
he was latterly particular in paying their wages with his own hands;
and on the last occasion of doing so, he was much affected that his
weakness had increased and confined him to the house. But,
notwithstanding he had closed this part of his earthly scene, he
could not refrain from sending for his gardeners into the room where
he lay, and would converse with them about the plants; and near his
couch, against the wall, he placed the picture of a beautiful shrub,
upon which he gazed with delight.

"On this science he frequently gave lectures, which were well
attended, and never failed to prove interesting. His publication of
Roxburgh's Flora Indica is a standard work with botanists. Of his
botanical friends he spoke with great esteem; and never failed to
defend them when erroneously assailed. He encouraged the study of
the science wherever a desire to acquire it was manifested. In this
particular he would sometimes gently reprove those who had no taste
for it; but he would not spare those who attempted to undervalue it.
His remark of one of his colleagues was keen and striking. When
the latter somewhat reprehended Dr. Carey, to the medical gentleman
attending him, for exposing himself so much in the garden, he
immediately replied, that his colleague was conversant with the
pleasures of a garden, just as an animal was with the grass in the

As from Dinapoor, so from Serampore after his settlement there, an
early order was this on 27th November 1800:--"We are sending an
assortment of Hindoo gods to the British Museum, and some other
curiosities to different friends. Do send a few tulips, daffodils,
snowdrops, lilies, and seeds of other things, by Dolton when he
returns, desiring him not to put them into the hold. Send the roots
in a net or basket, to be hung up anywhere out of the reach of salt
water, and the seeds in a separate small box. You need not be at
any expense, any friend will supply these things. The cowslips and
daisies of your fields would be great acquisitions here." What the
daisies of the English fields became to Carey, and how his request
was long after answered, is told by James Montgomery, the Moravian,
who formed after Cowper the second poet of the missionary


"A friend of mine, a scientific botanist, residing near Sheffield,
had sent a package of sundry kinds of British seeds to the learned
and venerable Doctor WILLIAM CAREY. Some of the seeds had been
enclosed in a bag, containing a portion of their native earth. In
March 1821 a letter of acknowledgment was received by his
correspondent from the Doctor, who was himself well skilled in
botany, and had a garden rich in plants, both tropical and European.
In this enclosure he was wont to spend an hour every morning,
before he entered upon those labours and studies which have rendered
his name illustrious both at home and abroad, as one of the most
accomplished of Oriental scholars and a translator of the Holy
Scriptures into many of the Hindoo languages. In the letter
aforementioned, which was shown to me, the good man says:--'That I
might be sure not to lose any part of your valuable present, I shook
the bag over a patch of earth in a shady place: on visiting which a
few days afterwards I found springing up, to my inexpressible
delight, a Bellis perennis of our English pastures. I know not that
I ever enjoyed, since leaving Europe, a simple pleasure so exquisite
as the sight of this English Daisy afforded me; not having seen one
for upwards of thirty years, and never expecting to see one again.'

"On the perusal of this passage, the following stanzas seemed to
spring up almost spontaneously in my mind, as the 'little English
flower' in the good Doctor's garden, whom I imagined to be thus
addressing it on its sudden appearance:--

"Thrice welcome, little English flower!
My mother-country's white and red,
In rose or lily, till this hour,
Never to me such beauty spread:
Transplanted from thine island-bed,
A treasure in a grain of earth,
Strange as a spirit from the dead,
Thine embryo sprang to birth.

"Thrice welcome, little English flower!
Whose tribes, beneath our natal skies,
Shut close their leaves while vapours lower;
But, when the sun's gay beams arise,
With unabashed but modest eyes,
Follow his motion to the west,
Nor cease to gaze till daylight dies,
Then fold themselves to rest.

"Thrice welcome, little English flower!
To this resplendent hemisphere,
Where Flora's giant offspring tower
In gorgeous liveries all the year:
Thou, only thou, art little here,
Like worth unfriended and unknown,
Yet to my British heart more dear
Than all the torrid zone.

"Thrice welcome, little English flower!
Of early scenes beloved by me,
While happy in my father's bower,
Thou shalt the blythe memorial be;
The fairy sports of infancy,
Youth's golden age, and manhood's prime.
Home, country, kindred, friends,--with thee,
I find in this far clime.

"Thrice welcome, little English flower!
I'll rear thee with a trembling hand:
Oh, for the April sun and shower,
The sweet May dews of that fair land.
Where Daisies, thick as starlight, stand
In every walk!--that here may shoot
Thy scions, and thy buds expand
A hundred from one root.

"Thrice welcome, little English flower!
To me the pledge of hope unseen:
When sorrow would my soul o'erpower,
For joys that were, or might have been,
I'll call to mind, how, fresh and green,
I saw thee waking from the dust;
Then turn to heaven with brow serene,
And place in GOD my trust."

>From every distant station, from Amboyna to Delhi, he received seeds
and animals and specimens of natural history. The very schoolboys
when they went out into the world, and the young civilians of Fort
William College, enriched his collections. To Jabez, his son in
Amboyna, we find him thus writing:--"I have already informed you of
the luckless fate of all the animals you have sent. I know of no
remedy for the living animals dying, but by a little attention to
packing them you may send skins of birds and animals of every kind,
and also seeds and roots. I lately received a parcel of seeds from
Moore (a large boy who, you may remember, was at school when the
printing-office was burnt), every one of which bids fair to grow.
He is in some of the Malay islands. After all you have greatly
contributed to the enlargement of my collection."

"17th September 1816.--I approve much of Bencoolen as a place for
your future labours, unless you should rather choose the island of
Borneo...The English may send a Resident thither after a time. I
mention this from a conversation I had some months ago on the
subject with Lord Moira, who told me that there is a large body of
Chinese on that island." They "applied to the late Lieut.-Governor
of Java, requesting that an English Resident may be sent to govern
them, and offering to be at the whole expense of his salary and
government. The Borneo business may come to nothing, but if it
should succeed it would be a glorious opening for the Gospel in that
large island. Sumatra, however, is larger than any one man could
occupy." As we read this we see the Serampore apostle's hope
fulfilled after a different fashion, in Rajah Brooke's settlement at
Sarawak, in the charter of the North Borneo Company, in the opening
up of New Guinea and in the civilisation of the Philippines by the
United States of America.

To Roxburgh and his Danish successor Wallich, to Voigt who succeeded
Wallich in Serampore, and hundreds of correspondents in India and
Germany, Great Britain and America, Carey did many a service in
sending plants and--what was a greater sacrifice for so busy a
man--writing letters. What he did for the Hortus Bengalensis may
stand for all.

When, in 1814, Dr. Roxburgh was sent to sea almost dying, Dr. Carey
edited and printed at his own press that now very rare volume, the
Hortus Bengalensis, or a Catalogue of the Plants of the Honourable
East India Company's Botanic Garden in Calcutta. Carey's
introduction of twelve large pages is perhaps his most
characteristic writing on a scientific subject. His genuine
friendliness and humility shine forth in the testimony he bears to
the abilities, zeal, and success of the great botanist who, in
twenty years, had created a collection of 3200 species. Of these
3000 at least had been given by the European residents in India,
himself most largely of all. Having shown in detail the utility of
botanical gardens, especially in all the foreign settlements of
Great Britain, he declared that only a beginning had been made in
observing and cataloguing the stock of Asiatic productions. He
urged English residents all over India to set apart a small plot for
the reception of the plants of their neighbourhood, and when riding
about the country to mark plants, which their servants could bring
on to the nursery, getting them to write the native name of each.
He desiderated gardens at Hurdwar, Delhi, Dacca, and Sylhet, where
plants that will not live at Calcutta might prosper, a suggestion
which was afterwards carried out by the Government in establishing a
garden at Saharanpoor, in a Sub-Himalayan region, which has been
successfully directed by Royle, Falconer, and Jameson.

On Dr. Roxburgh's death in 1815 Dr. Carey waited to see whether an
English botanist would publish the fruit of thirty years' labour of
his friend in the description of more than 2000 plants, natives of
Eastern Asia. At his own risk he then, in 1820, undertook this
publication, or the Flora Indica, placing on the title-page, "All
Thy works praise Thee, O Lord--David." When the Roxburgh MSS. were
made over to the library of the Botanic Garden at Calcutta, the
fourth and final volume appeared with this note regarding the new
edition:--"The work was printed from MSS. in the possession of Dr.
Carey, and it was carried through the press when he was labouring
under the debility of great age...The advanced age of Dr. Carey did
not admit of any longer delay."

His first public attempt at agricultural reform was made in the
paper which he contributed to the Transactions of the Bengal Asiatic
Society, and which appeared in 1811 in the tenth volume of the
Asiatic Researches. In the space of an ordinary Quarterly Review
article he describes the "State of Agriculture in the District of
Dinapoor," and urges improvements such as only the officials,
settlers, and Government could begin. The soils, the "extremely
poor" people, their "proportionally simple and wretched farming
utensils," the cattle, the primitive irrigation alluded to in
Deuteronomy as "watering with the foot," and the modes of ploughing
and reaping, are rapidly sketched and illustrated by lithographed
figures drawn to scale. In greater detail the principal crops are
treated. The staple crop of rice in its many varieties and harvests
at different seasons is lucidly brought before the Government, in
language which it would have been well to remember or reproduce in
the subsequent avoidable famines of Orissa and North Bihar. Indigo
is set before us with the skill of one who had grown and
manufactured it for years. The hemp and jute plants are enlarged on
in language which unconsciously anticipates the vast and enriching
development given to the latter as an export and a local manufacture
since the Crimean War. An account of the oil-seeds and the faulty
mode of expressing the oil, which made Indian linseed oil unfit for
painting, is followed by remarks on the cultivation of wheat, to
which subsequent events have given great importance. Though many
parts, even of Dinapoor, were fit for the growth of wheat and
barley, the natives produced only a dark variety from bad seed. "For
the purpose of making a trial I sowed Patna wheat on a large
quantity of land in the year 1798, the flour produced from which was
of a very good quality." The pulses, tobacco, the egg-plant, the
capsicums, the cucumbers, the arum roots, turmeric, ginger, and
sugar-cane, all pass in review in a style which the non-scientific
reader may enjoy and the expert must appreciate. Improvements in
method and the introduction of the best kinds of plants and
vegetables are suggested, notwithstanding "the poverty, prejudices,
and indolence of the natives."

This paper is most remarkable, however, for the true note which its
writer was the first to strike on the subject of forestry. If we
reflect that it was not till 1846 that the Government made the first
attempt at forest conservancy, in order to preserve the timber of
Malabar for the Bombay dockyard; and not till the conquest of Pegu,
in 1855, that the Marquis of Dalhousie was led by the Friend of
India to appoint Dietrich Brandis of Bonn to care for the forests of
Burma, and Dr. Cleghorn for those of South India, we shall
appreciate the wise foresight of the missionary-scholar, who, having
first made his own park a model of forest teaching, wrote such words
as these early in the century:--"The cultivation of timber has
hitherto, I believe, been wholly neglected. Several sorts have been
planted...all over Bengal, and would soon furnish a very large share
of the timber used in the country. The sissoo, the Andaman redwood,
the teak, the mahogany, the satin-wood, the chikrasi, the toona, and
the sirisha should be principally chosen. The planting of these
trees single, at the distance of a furlong from each other, would do
no injury to the crops of corn, but would, by cooling the
atmosphere, rather be advantageous. In many places spots now
unproductive would be improved by clumps or small plantations of
timber, under which ginger and turmeric might be cultivated to great
advantage. In some situations saul...would prosper. Indeed the
improvements that might be made in this country by the planting of
timber can scarcely be calculated. Teak is at present brought from
the Burman dominions...The French naturalists have already begun to
turn their attention to the culture of this valuable tree as an
object of national utility. This will be found impracticable in
France, but may perhaps be attempted somewhere else. To England,
the first commercial country in the world, its importance must be

Ten years passed, Carey continued to watch and to extend his
agri-horticultural experiments in his own garden, and to correspond
with botanists in all parts of the world, but still nothing was done
publicly in India. At last, on 15th April 1820, when "the
advantages arising from a number of persons uniting themselves as a
Society for the purpose of carrying forward any undertaking" were
generally acknowledged, the shoemaker and preacher who had a
generation before tested these advantages in the formation of the
first Foreign Mission Society, issued a Prospectus of an
Agricultural and Horticultural Society in India, from the "Mission
House, Serampore." The prospectus thus concluded:--"Both in forming
such a Society and in subsequently promoting its objects, important
to the happiness of the country as they regard them, the writer and
his colleagues will be happy in doing all their other avocations
will permit." Native as well as European gentlemen were
particularly invited to co-operate. "It is peculiarly desirable that
native gentlemen should be eligible as members of the Society,
because one of its chief objects will be the improvement of their
estates and of the peasantry which reside thereon. They should
therefore not only be eligible as members but also as officers of
the Society in precisely the same manner as Europeans." At the
first meeting in the Town Hall of Calcutta, Carey and Marshman found
only three Europeans beside themselves. They resolved to proceed,
and in two months they secured more than fifty members, several of
whom were natives. The first formal meeting was held on 14th
September, when the constitution was drawn up on the lines laid down
in the prospectus, it being specially provided "that gentlemen of
every nation be eligible as members."

At the next meeting Dr. Carey was requested to draw up a series of
queries, which were circulated widely, in order to obtain "correct
information upon every circumstance which is connected with the
state of agriculture and horticulture in the various provinces of
India." The twenty queries show a grasp of principles, a mastery of
detail, and a kindliness of spirit which reveal the practical
farmer, the accomplished observer, and the thoughtful philanthropist
all in one. One only we may quote:--"19. In what manner do you
think the comforts of the peasantry around you could be increased,
their health better secured, and their general happiness promoted?"
The Marquis of Hastings gladly became patron, and ever since the
Government has made a grant to the Society. His wife showed such an
interest in its progress that the members obtained her consent to
sit to Chinnery for her portrait to fill the largest panel in the
house at Titigur. Lord Hastings added the experimental farm, formed
near Barrackpore, to the Botanic Garden, with an immediate view to
its assisting the Agricultural Society in their experiments and
pursuits. The Society became speedily popular, for Carey watched
its infancy with loving solicitude, and was the life of its
meetings. In the first eighty-seven years of its existence seven
thousand of the best men in India have been its members, of whom
seven hundred are Asiatics. Agriculturists, military and medical
officers, civilians, clergy, and merchants, are represented on its
roll in nearly equal proportions. The one Society has grown into
three in India, and formed the model for the Royal Agricultural
Society of England, which was not founded till 1838.

Italy and Scotland alone preceded Carey in this organisation, and he
quotes with approbation the action of Sir John Sinclair in 1790,
which led to the first inquiry into the state of British
agriculture. The Transactions which Carey led the Society to
promise to publish in English, Bengali, and Hindostani, have proved
to be only the first of a series of special periodicals representing
Indian agriculture generally, tea, and forestry. The various
Governments in India have economic museums; and the Government of
India, under Lord Mayo, established a Revenue and Agricultural
Department expanded by Lord Curzon. Carey's early proposal of
premiums, each of a hundred rupees, or the Society's gold medal, for
the most successful cultivation on a commercial scale of coffee and
improved cotton, for the successful introduction of European fruits,
for the improvement of indigenous fruits, for the successful
introduction from the Eastern Islands of the mangosteen or doorian,
and for the manufacture of cheese equal to Warwickshire, had the
best results in some cases. In 1825 Mr. Lamb of Dacca was presented
by "Rev. Dr. Carey in the chair" with the gold medal for 80 lbs. of
coffee grown there. Carey's own head gardener became famous for his
cabbages; and we find this sentence in the Society's Report just
after the founder's death:--"Who would have credited fifteen years
ago that we could have exhibited vegetables in the Town Hall of
Calcutta equal to the choicest in Covent Garden?" The berries two
centuries ago brought from Arabia in his wallet by the pilgrim Baba
Booden to the hills of Mysore, which bear his name, have, since that
Dacca experiment, covered the uplands of South India and Ceylon.
Before Carey died he knew of the discovery of the indigenous
tea-tree in its original home on the Assam border of Tibet--a
discovery which has put India in the place of China as a producer.

In the Society's Proceedings for 9th January 1828 we find this
significant record:--"Resolved, at the suggestion of the Rev. Dr.
Carey, that permission be given to Goluk Chundra, a blacksmith of
Titigur, to exhibit a steam engine made by himself without the aid
of any European artist." At the next meeting, when 109 malees or
native gardeners competed at the annual exhibition of vegetables,
the steam engine was submitted and pronounced "useful for irrigating
lands made upon the model of a large steam engine belonging to the
missionaries at Serampore." A premium of Rs. 50 was presented to
the ingenious blacksmith as an encouragement to further exertions of
his industry. When in 1832 the afterwards well-known
Lieutenant-Governor Thomason was deputy-secretary to Government, he
applied to the Society for information regarding the manufacture of
paper. Dr. Carey and Ram Komal Sen were referred to, and the former
thus replied in his usual concise and clear manner:--

"When we commenced paper-making several years ago, having then no
machinery, we employed a number of native papermakers to make it in
the way to which they had been accustomed, with the exception of
mixing conjee or rice gruel with the pulp and using it as sizing;
our object being that of making paper impervious to insects. Our
success at first was very imperfect, but the process was conducted
as follows:--

"A quantity of sunn, viz., the fibres of Crotolaria juncea, was
steeped repeatedly in limewater, and then exposed to the air by
spreading it on the grass; it was also repeatedly pounded by the
dhenki or pedal, and when sufficiently reduced by this process to
make a pulp, it was mixed in a gumla with water, so as to make it of
the consistence of thick soup. The frames with which the sheets
were taken up were made of mat of the size of a sheet of paper. The
operator sitting by the gumla dipped this frame in the pulp, and
after it was drained gave it to an assistant, who laid it on the
grass to dry: this finished the process with us; but for the native
market this paper is afterwards sized by holding a number of sheets
by the edge and dipping them carefully in conjee, so as to keep the
sheets separate. They are afterwards dried, folded, and pressed by
putting them between two boards, the upper board of which is loaded
with one or more large stones.

"In the English method the pulp is prepared by the mill and put into
cisterns; the frames are made of fine wire, and the workman stands
by the cistern and takes up the pulp on the frames. The sheets when
sufficiently dry are hung on lines to dry completely, after which
they are sized, if sizing be required.

"We now make our paper by machinery, in which the pulp is let to run
on a web of wire, and passing over several cylinders, the last of
which is heated by steam, it is dried and fit for use in about two
minutes from its having been in a liquid state."

Since that reply the Government of India, under the pressure of the
home authorities, has alternately discouraged and fostered the
manufacture of paper on the spot. At present it is in the wiser
position of preferring to purchase its supplies in India, at once as
being cheaper, and that it may develop the use of the many
paper-making fibres there. Hence at the Calcutta Exhibition of
1881-82 the jurors began their report on the machine and hand-made
paper submitted to them, with a reference to Carey and this report
of his. The Serampore mills were gradually crushed by the expensive
and unsatisfactory contracts made at home by the India Office. The
neighbouring Bally mills seem to flourish since the abandonment of
that virtual monopoly, and Carey's anticipations as to the
utilisation of the plantain and other fibres of India are being
realised nearly a century after he first formed them.

Carey expanded and published his "Address respecting an Agricultural
Society in India" in the quarterly Friend of India. He still thinks
it necessary to apologise for his action by quoting his hero,
Brainerd, who was constrained to assist his Indian converts with his
counsels in sowing their maize and arranging their secular concerns.
"Few," he adds with the true breadth of genius which converted the
Baptist shoemaker into the Christian statesman and scholar, "who are
extensively acquainted with human life, will esteem these cares
either unworthy of religion or incongruous with its highest


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