CAREY’S IMMEDIATE INFLUENCE IN GREAT BRITAIN AND AMERICA
Carey’s relation to the new era–The East India Company’s Charters of 1793, 1813, and 1833–His double influence on the churches and public opinion–The great missionary societies–Missionary journals and their readers–Bengal and India recognised as the most important mission fields–Influence on Robert Haldane–Reflex effect of foreign on home missions–Carey’s power over individuals–Melville Horne and Douglas of Cavers–Henry Martyn–Charles Simeon and Stewart of Moulin–Robert Hall and John Foster–Heber and Chalmers–William Wilberforce on Carey–Mr. Prendergast and the tub story–Last persecution by the Company’s Government–Carey on the persecution and the charter controversy–The persecuting clause and the resolution legalising toleration–The Edinburgh Review and Sydney Smith’s fun–Sir James Mackintosh’s opinion–Southey’s defence and eulogy of Carey and the brotherhood in the Quarterly Review–Political value of Carey’s labours–Andrew Fuller’s death–A model foreign mission secretary–His friendship with Carey–The sixteen years’ dispute–Dr. Carey’s position–His defence of Marshman–His chivalrous seIf-sacrifice–His forgiveness of the younger brethren in Calcutta–His fidelity to righteousness and to friendship.
HIMSELF the outcome of the social and political forces which began in the French Revolution, and are still at work, William Carey was made a living personal force to the new era. The period which was introduced in 1783 by the Peace of Versailles in Europe following the Independence of the United States of America, was new on every side–in politics, in philosophy, in literature, in scientific research, in a just and benevolent regard for the peoples of every land, and in the awakening of the churches from the sleep of formalism. Carey was no thinker, but with the reality and the vividness of practical action and personal sacrifice he led the English-speaking races, to whom the future of the world was then given, to substitute for the dreams of Rousseau and all other theories the teaching of Christ as to His kingdom within each man, and in the progress of mankind.
Set free from the impossible task of administering North America on the absolutist system which the Georges would fain have continued, Great Britain found herself committed to the duty of doing for India what Rome had done for Europe. England was compelled to surrender the free West to her own children only that she might raise the servile and idolatrous East to such a Christian level as the genius of its peoples could in time enable them to work out. But it took the thirty years from 1783 to 1813 to convince British statesmen, from Pitt to Castlereagh, that India is to be civilised not according to its own false systems, but by truth in all forms, spiritual and moral, scientific and historical. It took other twenty years, to the Charter of 1833, to complete the conversion of the British Parliament to the belief that the principles of truth and freedom are in their measure as good for the East as for the West. At the beginning of this new period William Pitt based his motion for Parliamentary reform on this fact, that “our senators are no longer the representatives of British virtue but of the vices and pollutions of the East.” At the close of it Lord William Bentinck, Macaulay, and Duff, co-operated in the decree which made truth, as most completely revealed through the English language and literature, the medium of India’s enlightenment. William Carey’s career of fifty years, from his baptism in 1783 and the composition of his Enquiry to his death in 1834, covered and influenced more than any other one man’s the whole time; and he represented in it an element of permanent healthy nationalisation which these successors overlooked,–the use of the languages of the peoples of India as the only literary channels for allowing the truth revealed through English to reach the millions of the people
It was by this means that Carey educated Great Britain and America to rise equal to the terrible trust of jointly creating a Christian Empire of India, and ultimately a series of self-governing Christian nations in Southern and Eastern Asia. He consciously and directly roused the Churches of all names to carry out the commission of their Master, and to seek the promised impulse of His Spirit or Divine Representative on earth, that they might do greater things than even those which He did. And he, less directly but not less consciously, brought the influence of public opinion, which every year purified and quickened, to bear upon Parliament and upon individual statesmen, aided in this up till 1815 by Andrew Fuller. He never set foot in England again, and the influence of his brethren Ward and Marshman during their visits was largely neutralised by some leaders of their own church. But Carey’s character and career, his letters and writings, his work and whole personality, stood out in England, Scotland, and America as the motive power which stimulated every church and society, and won the triumph of toleration in the charter of 1813, of humanity, education, and administrative reform in the legislation of Lord William Bentinck.
We have already seen how the immediate result of Carey’s early letters was the foundation on a catholic basis of the London Missionary Society, which now represents the great Nonconformist half of England; of the Edinburgh or Scottish and Glasgow Societies, through which the Presbyterians sent forth missionaries to West and South Africa and to Western India, until their churches acted as such; of the Church Missionary Society which the evangelical members of the Church of England have put in the front of all the societies; and of Robert Haldane’s splendid self-sacrifice in selling all that he had to lead a large Presbyterian mission to Hindostan. Soon (1797) the London Society became the parent of that of the Netherlands, and of that which is one of the most extensive in Christendom, the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. The latter, really founded (1810) by Judson and some of his fellow-students, gave birth (1814) to the almost equally great American Baptist Union when Judson and his colleague became Baptists, and the former was sent by Carey to Burma. The Religious Tract Society (1799), and the British and Foreign Bible Society (1804)–each a handmaid of the missionary agencies–sprang as really though less directly from Carey’s action. Such organised efforts to bring in heathen and Mohammedan peoples led in 1809 to the at first catholic work begun by the London Society for promoting Christianity among the Jews. The older Wesleyan Methodist and Gospel Propagation Societies, catching the enthusiasm as Carey succeeded in opening India and the East, entered on a new development under which the former in 1813, and the latter in 1821, no longer confined their operations to the slaves of America and the English of the dispersion in the colonies and dependencies of Great Britain. In 1815 Lutheran Germany also, which had cast out the Pietists and the Moravian brethren as the Church of England had rejected the Wesleyans, founded the principal representative of its evangelicalism at Basel. The succeeding years up to Carey’s death saw similar missionary centres formed, or reorganised, in Leipzig (1819), Berlin (1823), and Bremen (1836).23
The Periodical Accounts sent home from Mudnabati and Serampore, beginning at the close of 1794, and the Monthly Circular Letters after 1807, gave birth not only to these great missionary movements but to the new and now familiar class of foreign missionary periodicals. The few magazines then existing, like the Evangelical, became filled with a new spirit of earnest aggressiveness. In 1796 there appeared in Edinburgh The Missionary Magazine, “a periodical publication intended as a repository of discussion and intelligence respecting the progress of the Gospel throughout the world.” The editors close their preface in January 1797 with this statement:–“With much pleasure they have learned that there was never a greater number of religious periodical publications carried on than at present, and never were any of them more generally read. The aggregate impression of those alone which are printed in Britain every month considerably exceeds thirty thousand.” The first article utilises the facts sent home by Dr. Carey as the fruit of his first two years’ experience, to show “The Peculiar Advantages of Bengal as a Field for Missions from Great Britain.” After describing, in the style of an English statesman, the immense population, the highly civilised state of society, the eagerness of the natives in the acquisition of knowledge, and the principles which the Hindoos and Mohammedans hold in common with Christians, the writer thus continues:–
“The attachment of both the Mohammedans and Hindoos to their ancient systems is lessening every day. We have this information from the late Sir William Jones, one of the Judges of that country, a name dear to literature, and a lover of the religion of Jesus. The Mussulmans in Hindostan are in general but little acquainted with their system, and by no means so zealous for it as their brethren in the Turkish and Persian empires. Besides, they have not the strong arm of civil authority to crush those who would convert them. Mr. Carey’s letters seem to intimate the same relaxation among the Hindoos. This decay of prejudice and bigotry will at least incline them to listen with more patience, and a milder temper, to the doctrines and evidences of the Christian religion. The degree of adhesion to their castes, which still remains, is certainly unfavourable, and must be considered as one of Satan’s arts to render men unhappy; but it is not insuperable. The Roman Catholics have gained myriads of converts from among them. The Danish missionaries record their thousands too: and one (Schwartz) of the most successful missionaries at present in the world is labouring in the southern part of Hindostan. Besides a very considerable number who have thrown aside their old superstition, and make a profession of the Christian religion, he computes that, in the course of his ministry, he has been the instrument of savingly converting two thousand persons to the faith of Christ. Of these, above five hundred are Mohammedans: the rest are from among the different castes of the Hindoos. In addition to these instances, it is proper to notice the attention which the Hindoos are paying to the two Baptist missionaries, and which gives a favourable specimen of their readiness to listen to the preaching of the Gospel…
“Reflect, O disciple of Jesus! on what has been presented to thy view. The cause of Christ is thy own cause. Without deep criminality thou canst not be indifferent to its success. Rejoice that so delightful a field of missions has been discovered and exhibited. Rouse thyself from the slumbers of spiritual languor. Exert thyself to the utmost of thy power; and let conscience be able to testify, without a doubt, even at the tribunal of Jesus Christ, If missionaries are not speedily sent to preach she glorious Gospel in Bengal, it shall not be owing to me.”
That is remarkable writing for an Edinburgh magazine in the year 1797, and it was Carey who made it possible. Its author followed up the appeal by offering himself and his all, for life and death, in a “Plan of the Mission to Bengal,” which appeared in the April number. Robert Haldane, whose journal at this time was full of Carey’s doings, and his ordained associates, Bogue, Innes, and Greville Ewing, accompanied by John Ritchie as printer, John Campbell as catechist, and other lay workers, determined to turn the very centre of Hindooism, Benares, into a second Serampore. Defeated by one set of Directors of the East India Company, he waited for the election of their successors, only to find the East India Company as hostile to the Scottish gentleman as they had been to the English shoemaker four years before.
The formation of the great Missionary and Bible Societies did not, as in the case of the Moravian Brethren and the Wesleyans, take their members out of the Churches of England and Scotland, of the Baptists and Independents. It supplied in each case an executive through which they worked aggressively not only on the non-christian world, but still more directly on their own home congregations and parishes. The foreign mission spirit directly gave birth to the home mission on an extensive scale. Not merely did the Haldanes and their agents, following Whitefield and the Scottish Secession of 1733, become the evangelists of the north when they were not suffered to preach the Gospel in South Asia; every member of the churches of Great Britain and America, as he caught the enthusiasm of humanity, in the Master’s sense, from the periodical accounts sent home from Serampore, and soon from Africa and the South Seas, as well as from the Red Indians and Slaves of the West, began to work as earnestly among the neglected classes around him, as to pray and give for the conversion of the peoples abroad. From first to last, from the early days of the Moravian influence on Wesley and Whitefield, and the letters of Carey, to the successive visits to the home churches of missionaries like Duff and Judson, Ellis and Williams, Moffat and Livingstone, it is the enterprise of foreign missions which has been the leaven of Christendom no less really than of the rest of the world. Does the fact that at the close of the year 1796 there were more than thirty thousand men and women in Great Britain who every month read and prayed about the then little known world of heathenism, and spared not their best to bring that world to the Christ whom they had found, seem a small thing? How much smaller, even to contemptible insignificance, must those who think so consider the arrival of William Carey in Calcutta to be three years before! Yet the thirty thousand sprang from the one, and to-day the thirty thousand have a vast body of Christians really obedient to the Master, in so far as, banded together in five hundred churches and societies, they have sent out eighteen thousand missionaries instead of one or two; they see eighty thousand Asiatics, Africans, and Polynesians proclaiming the Christ to their countrymen, and their praying is tested by their giving annually a sum of £5,000,000, to which every year is adding.
The influence of Carey and his work on individual men and women in his generation was even more marked, inasmuch as his humility kept him so often from magnifying his office and glorifying God as the example of Paul should have encouraged him to do. Most important of all for the cause, he personally called Ward to be his associate, and his writings drew Dr. and Mrs. Marshman to his side, while his apostolic charity so developed and used all that was good in Thomas and Fountain, that not even in the churches of John and James, Peter and Paul, Barnabas and Luke, was there such a brotherhood. When troubles came from outside he won to himself the younger brethren, Yates and Pearce, and healed half the schism which Andrew Fuller’s successors made. His Enquiry, followed “by actually embarking on a mission to India,” led to the publication of the Letters on Missions addressed to the Protestant Ministers of the British Churches by Melville Horne, who, after a brief experience as Church of England chaplain in Zachary Macaulay’s settlement of Sierra Leone, published that little book to excite in all Christians a passion for missions like the Master’s. Referring to the English churches, Established and Nonconformist, he wrote:–“Except the Reverend Mr. Carey and a friend who accompanies him, I am not informed of any…ministers who are engaged in missions.” Such was the impression made by Carey on John Newton that, in 1802, he rebuked his old curate, Claudius Buchanan, for depreciating the Serampore missionaries, adding, “I do not look for miracles, but if God were to work one in our day, I should not wonder if it were in favour of Dr. Carey.”
The Serampore Mission, at an early period, called forth the admiration of the Scottish philanthropist and essayist, James Douglas of Cavers, whose Hints on Missions (1822), a book still full of suggestiveness, contains this passage:–“Education and the press have only been employed to purpose of very late years, especially by the missionaries of Serampore; every year they have been making some improvements upon their former efforts, and…it only requires to increase the number of printing presses, schools, teachers, translators, and professors, to accelerate to any pitch the rate of improvement…To attempt to convert the world without educating it, is grasping at the end and neglecting the means.” Referring to what Carey had begun and the Serampore College had helped to develop in Asia, as in Africa and America, Douglas of Cavers well described the missionary era, the new crusade:–“The Reformation itself needed anew a reform in the spirit if not in the letter. That second Reformation has begun; it makes less noise than that of Luther, but it spreads wider and deeper; as it is more intimate it will be more enduring. Like the Temple of Solomon, it is rising silently, without the din of pressure or the note of previous preparation, but notwithstanding it will be not less complete in all its parts nor less able to resist the injuries of time!”
Henry Martyn died, perhaps the loftiest and most loving spirit of the men whom Carey drew to India. Son of a Cornish miner-captain, after passing through the Truro Grammar School, he was sixteen–the age at which Carey became a shoemaker’s apprentice–when he was entered at St. John’s, and made that ever since the most missionary of all the colleges of Cambridge. When not yet twenty he came out Senior Wrangler. His father’s death drove him to the Bible, to the Acts of the Apostles, which he began to study, and the first whisper of the call of Christ came to him in the joy of the Magnificat as its strains pealed through the chapel. Charles Simeon’s preaching drew him to Trinity Church. In the vicarage, when he had come to be tutor of his college, and was preparing for the law, he heard much talk of William Carey, of his self-sacrifice and his success in India. It was the opening year of the nineteenth century, the Church Missionary Society had just been born as the fruit partly of a paper written by Simeon four years previously, and he offered himself as its first English missionary. He was not twenty-one, he could not be ordained for two years. Meanwhile a calamity made him and his unmarried sister penniless; he loved Lydia Grenfell with a pure passion which enriched while it saddened his short life, and a chaplaincy became the best mode in every way of his living and dying for India. What a meeting must that have been between him and Carey when, already stricken by fever, he found a sanctuary in Aldeen, and learned at Serampore the sweetness of telling to the natives of India in one of their own tongues the love of God. William Carey and Henry Martyn were one in origin, from the people; in industry, as scholars; in genius, as God-devoted; in the love of a great heart not always returned. The older man left the church of his fathers because there was no Simeon and no missionary society, and he made his own university; he laid the foundation of English missions deep and broad in no sect but in Christ, to whom he and Martyn alike gave themselves.
The names of Carey and Simeon, thus linked to each other by Martyn, find another pleasant and fruitful tie in the Rev. Alexander Stewart, D.D., Gaelic scholar and Scottish preacher. It was soon after Carey went out to India that Simeon, travelling in the Highlands, spent a Sunday in the manse of Moulin, where his personal intercourse and his evening sermon after a season of Communion were blessed to the evangelical enlightenment of Stewart. Moulin was the birthplace ten years after of Alexander Duff, whose parents previously came under the power of the minister’s new-found light.24 Like Simeon, Dr. Stewart thenceforth became a warm supporter of foreign missions. Finding in the Periodical Accounts a letter in which Carey asked Fuller to send him a copy of Van der Hooght’s edition of the Hebrew Bible because of the weakness of his eyesight, Dr. Stewart at once wrote offering his own copy. Fuller gladly accepted the kindness. “I with great pleasure,” writes Dr. Stewart, “followed the direction, wrote a letter of some length to Carey, and sent off my parcel to London. I daresay you remember my favourite Hebrew Bible in two volumes. I parted with it with something of the same feelings that a pious parent might do with a favourite son going on a mission to the heathen–with a little regret but with much goodwill.” This was the beginning of an interesting correspondence with Carey and Fuller.
Next to Andrew Fuller, and in the region of literature, general culture and eloquence before him, the strongest men among the Baptists were the younger Robert Hall and John Foster. Both were devoted to Carey, and were the most powerful of the English advocates of his mission. The former, for a time, was led to side with the Society in some of the details of its dispute with Dr. Marshman, but his loyalty to Carey and the principles of the mission fired some of the most eloquent orations in English literature. John Foster’s shrewder common sense never wavered, but inspired his pen alike in the heat of controversy and in his powerful essays and criticisms. Writing in 1828, he declared that the Serampore missionaries “have laboured with the most earnest assiduity for a quarter of a century (Dr. Carey much longer) in all manner of undertakings for promoting Christianity, with such a renunciation of self-interest as will never be surpassed; that they have conveyed the oracles of divine truth into so many languages; that they have watched over diversified missionary operations with unremitting care; that they have conducted themselves through many trying and some perilous circumstances with prudence and fortitude; and that they retain to this hour an undiminished zeal to do all that providence shall enable them in the same good cause.” The expenditure of the Serampore Brotherhood up to that time, leaving out of account the miscellaneous missionary services, he showed to have been upwards of £75,000. Dr. Chalmers in Scotland was as stoutly with Carey and his brethren as Foster was in England, so that Marshman wrote:–“Thus two of the greatest and wisest men of England are on our side, and, what is more, I trust the Lord God is with us.” What Heber thought, alike as man and bishop, his own loving letter and proposal for “reunion of our churches” in the next chapter will show.
Of all the publicists in the United Kingdom during Carey’s long career the foremost was William Wilberforce; he was not second even to Charles Grant and his sons. Defeated in carrying into law the “pious clauses” of the charter which would have opened India to the Christian missionary and schoolmaster in 1793, he nevertheless succeeded by his persuasive eloquence and the weight of his character in having them entered as Resolutions of the House of Commons. He then gave himself successfully to the abolition of the slave-trade. But he always declared the toleration of Christianity in British India to be “that greatest of all causes, for I really place it before the abolition, in which, blessed be God, we gained the victory.” His defeat in 1793, when Dundas and the Government were with him, was due to the apathy of public opinion, and especially of the dumb churches. But in the next twenty years Carey changed all that. Not merely was Andrew Fuller ever on the watch with pen and voice, but all the churches were roused, the Established to send out bishops and chaplains, the Nonconformist and Established Evangelicals together to secure freedom for missionaries and schoolmasters. In 1793 an English missionary was an unknown and therefore a much-dreaded monster, for Carey was then on the sea. In 1813 Carey and the Serampore Brotherhood were still the only English missionaries continuously at work in India, and not the churches only, but governor-generals like Teignmouth and Wellesley, and scholars like Colebrooke and H. H. Wilson, were familiar with the grandeur and political innocency of their labours. Hence this outburst of Wilberforce in the House of Commons on the 16th July 1813, when he used the name of Carey to defeat an attempt of the Company to prevent toleration by omitting the declaratory clauses of the Resolution, which would have made it imply that the privilege should never be exerted though the power of licensing missionaries was nominally conceded.
“One great argument of his opponents was grounded on the enthusiastic character which they imputed to the missionary body. India hitherto has seen no missionary who was a member of the English Church, and imputations could be cast more readily on ‘Anabaptists and fanatics.’ These attacks Mr. Wilberforce indignantly refuted, and well had the noble conduct of the band at Serampore deserved this vindication. ‘I do not know,’ he often said, ‘a finer instance of the moral sublime, than that a poor cobbler working in his stall should conceive the idea of converting the Hindoos to Christianity; yet such was Dr. Carey. Why Milton’s planning his Paradise Lost in his old age and blindness was nothing to it. And then when he had gone to India, and was appointed by Lord Wellesley to a lucrative and honourable station in the college of Fort William, with equal nobleness of mind he made over all his salary (between £1000 and £1500 per annum) to the general objects of the mission. By the way, nothing ever gave me a more lively sense of the low and mercenary standard of your men of honour, than the manifest effect produced upon the House of Commons by my stating this last circumstance. It seemed to be the only thing which moved them.’ Dr. Carey had been especially attacked, and ‘a few days afterwards the member who had made this charge came to me, and asked me in a manner which in a noted duellist could not be mistaken, “Pray, Mr. Wilberforce, do you know a Mr. Andrew Fuller, who has written to desire me to retract the statement which I made with reference to Dr. Carey?” “Yes,” I answered with a smile, “I know him perfectly, but depend upon it you will make nothing of him in your way; he is a respectable Baptist minister at Kettering.” In due time there came from India an authoritative contradiction of the slander. It was sent to me, and for two whole years did I take it in my pocket to the House of Commons to read it to the House whenever the author of the accusation should be present; but during that whole time he never once dared show himself in the House.’”
The slanderer was a Mr. Prendergast, who affirmed that Dr. Carey’s conduct had changed so much for the worse since the departure of Lord Wellesley, that he himself had seen the missionary on a tub in the streets of Calcutta haranguing the mob and abusing the religion of the people in such a way that the police alone saved him from being killed. So, and for the same object of defeating the Resolutions on Toleration, Mr. Montgomerie Campbell had asserted that when Schwartz was in the heat of his discourse in a certain village and had taken off his stock, “that and his gold buckle were stolen by one of his virtuous and enlightened congregation; in such a description of natives did the doctrine of the missionaries operate.” Before Dr. Carey’s exposure could reach England this “tub” story became the stock argument of the anti-christian orators. The Madras barrister, Marsh, who was put up to answer Wilberforce, was driven to such language as this:–
“Your struggles are only begun when you have converted one caste; never will the scheme of Hindoo conversion be realised till you persuade an immense population to suffer by whole tribes the severest martyrdom that has yet been sustained for the sake of religion–and are the missionaries whom this bill will let loose on India fit engines for the accomplishment of this great revolution? Will these people, crawling from the holes and caverns of their original destinations, apostates from the loom and the anvil–he should have said the awl–and renegades from the lowest handicraft employments, be a match for the cool and sedate controversies they will have to encounter should the Brahmans condescend to enter into the arena against the maimed and crippled gladiators that presume to grapple with their faith? What can be apprehended but the disgrace and discomfiture of whole hosts of tub preachers in the conflict?”
Lord Wellesley’s eulogy of the Serampore mission in the House of Lords was much more pronounced than appears from the imperfect report. But even in that he answered the Brahmanised member of the House of Commons thus:–
“With regard to the missionaries, he must say that while he was in India he never knew of any danger arising from their proceedings, neither had he heard of any impression produced by them in the way of conversion. The greater number of them were in the Danish settlement of Serampore; but he never heard of any convulsions or any alarm produced by them. Some of them, particularly Mr. Carey, were very learned men, and had been employed in the College of Fort William. He had always considered the missionaries who were in India in his time a quiet, orderly, discreet, and learned body; and he had employed them in the education of youth and the translation of the Scriptures into the eastern languages. He had thought it his duty to have the Sacred Scriptures translated into the languages of the East, and to give the learned natives employed in the translation the advantage of access to the sacred fountain of divine truth. He thought a Christian governor could not have done less; and he knew that a British governor ought not to do more.”
Carey’s letters to Fuller in 1810-12 are filled with importunate appeals to agitate, so that the new charter might legalise Christian mission work in India. Fuller worked outside of the House as hard as Wilberforce. In eight weeks of the session no fewer than nine hundred petitions were presented, in twenties and thirties, night after night, till Lord Castlereagh exclaimed, “This is enough, Mr. Fuller.” There was more reason for Carey’s urgency than he knew at the time he was pressing Fuller. The persecution of the missionaries in Bengal, excused by the Vellore mutiny, which had driven Judson to Burma and several other missionaries elsewhere, was renewed by the Indian Government’s secretaries and police. The Ministry had informed the Court of Directors that they had resolved to permit Europeans to settle in India, yet after five weeks’ vacillation the Governor-General yielded to his subordinates so far as to issue an order on 5th March 1812, for the expulsion of three missionaries, an order which was so executed that one of them was conducted like a felon through the streets and lodged in the native jail for two hours. Carey thus wrote to Ryland on the persecution:–
“CALCUTTA, 14th April 1813.–Before this reaches you it is probable that you will have heard of the resolution of Government respecting our brethren Johns, Lawson, and Robinson, and will perhaps have even seen Brother Johns, who was by that cruel order sent home on the Castlereagh. Government have agreed that Brother Lawson shall stay till the pleasure of the Court of Directors is known, to whom a reference will be made. Brother Robinson was gone down the river, and was on board a ship bound to Java when the order was issued; he therefore got out without hearing of it, but I understand it will be sent thither after him. Jehovah reigneth!
“Since Brother Johns’s departure I have tried to ascertain the cause of the severity in Government. I had a long conversation with H. T. Colebrooke, Esq., who has been out of Council but a few months, upon the matter. I cannot learn that Government has any specific dislike to us, but find that ever since the year 1807 the orders of the Court of Directors to send home all Europeans not in the service of Her Majesty or the Company, and who come out without leave of the Directors, have been so peremptory and express that Government cannot now overlook any circumstance which brings such persons to notice. Notwithstanding the general way in which the Court of Directors have worded their orders, I cannot help putting several circumstances together, which make me fear that our Mission was the cause of the enforcement of that general law which forbids Europeans to remain in India without the leave of the Court of Directors.
“Whether Twining’s pamphlet excited the alarm, or was only an echo of the minds of a number of men hostile to religion, I cannot say, but if I recollect dates aright the orders of the Court of Directors came as soon as possible after that pamphlet was published; and as it would have been too barefaced to have given a specific order to send home missionaries, they founded their orders on an unjust and wicked clause in the charter, and so enforced it that it should effectually operate on missionaries.
“I hope the friends of religion will persevere in the use of all peaceful and lawful means to prevail on the legislature to expunge that clause, or so to modify it that ministers of the Gospel may have leave to preach, form and visit churches, and perform the various duties of their office without molestation, and that they may have a right to settle in and travel over any part of India for that purpose. Nothing can be more just than this wish, and nothing would be more politic than for it to be granted; for every one converted from among the heathen is from that time a staunch friend of the English Government. Our necks have, however, been more or less under the yoke ever since that year, and preaching the Gospel stands in much the same political light as committing an act of felony. Witness what has been done to Mr. Thompson, the five American brethren, and our three brethren. Mr. Thomason, the clergyman, has likewise hard work to stand his ground.
“I trust, however, it is too late to eradicate the Gospel from Bengal. The number of those born in the country who preach the Word is now very considerable. Fifteen of this description preach constantly, and seven or eight more occasionally exhort their countrymen, besides our European brethren. The Gospel is stationed at eighteen or twenty stations belonging to our Mission alone, and at several of them there are churches. The Bible is either translated or under translation into twenty-four of the languages of the East, eighteen of which we are employed about, besides printing most of the others. Thirteen out of these eighteen are now in the press, including a third edition of the Bengali New Testament. Indeed, so great is the demand for Bibles that though we have eight presses constantly at work I fear we shall not have a Bengali New Testament to sell or give away for the next twelve months, the old edition being entirely out of print. We shall be in almost the same predicament with the Hindostani. We are going to set up two more presses, which we can get made in Calcutta, and are going to send another to Rangoon. In short, though the publishing of the Word of God is a political crime, there never was a time when it was so successful. ‘Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord.’
“Through divine mercy we are all well, and live in peace and love. A small cloud which threatened at the time Brother Johns left us has mercifully blown over, and we are now in the utmost harmony. I will, if possible, write to my nephew Eustace by these ships, but I am so pressed for time that I can never promise to write a letter. The Lord has so blessed us that we are now printing in more languages than we could do before the fire took place.
“Give my love to Eustace, also to all who recollect or think of me. I am now near fifty-two years of age; yet through mercy I am well and am enabled to keep close to work twelve or fourteen hours a day. I hope to see the Bible printed in most of the languages in which it is begun.–I am, very affectionately yours, WM. CAREY.”
Carey had previously written thus to Fuller:–“The fault lies in the clause which gives the Company power thus to send home interlopers, and is just as reasonable as one which should forbid all the people in England–a select few excepted–to look at the moon. I hope this clause will be modified or expunged in the new charter. The prohibition is wrong, and nothing that is morally wrong can be politically right.”
It was left to the charter of 1853 fully to liberalise the Company, but each step was taken too late to save it from the nemesis of 1857 and extinction in 1858. “Let no man think,” Wilberforce had said to the House of Commons in 1813, “that the petitions which have loaded our table have been produced by a burst of momentary enthusiasm. While the sun and moon continue to shine in the firmament so long will this object be pursued with unabated ardour until the great work be accomplished.”
The opposition of Anglo-Indian officials and lawyers, which vainly used no better weapons than such as Mr. Prendergast and his “tub” fabrication, had been anticipated and encouraged by the Edinburgh Review. That periodical was at the height of its influence in 1808, the year before John Murray’s Quarterly was first published. The Rev. Sydney Smith, as the literary and professional representative of what he delighted to call “the cause of rational religion,” was the foe of every form of earnest Christianity, which he joined the mob in stigmatising as “Methodism.” He was not unacquainted with Indian politics, for his equally clever brother, known as Bobus Smith, was long Advocate-General in Calcutta, and left a very considerable fortune made there to enrich the last six years of the Canon’s life. Casting about for a subject on which to exercise at once his animosity and his fun, he found it in the Periodical Accounts, wherein Fuller had undoubtedly too often published letters and passages of journals written only for the eye of the private friend. Carey frequently remonstrated against the publicity given to some of his communications, and the fear of this checked his correspondence. In truth, the new-born enthusiasm was such that, at first, the Committee kept nothing back. It was easy for a litterateur like Sydney Smith in those days to extract passages and to give them such headings as “Brother Carey’s Piety at Sea,” “Hatred of the Natives to the Gospel.” Smith produced an article which, as republished in his collected essays, has a historical value as a test of the bitterness of the hate which the missionary enterprise had to meet in secular literature till the death of Livingstone, Wilson, and Duff opened the eyes of journalism to the facts. In itself it must be read in the light of its author’s own criticism of his articles, thus expressed in a letter to Francis Jeffrey, and of the regret that he had written it which, Jeffrey told Dr. Marshman, he lived to utter:–“Never mind; let them” (his articles) “go away with their absurdity unadulterated and pure. If I please, the object for which I write is attained; if I do not, the laughter which follows my error is the only thing which can make me cautious and tremble.” But for that picture by himself we should have pronounced Carlyle’s drawing of him to be almost as malicious as his own of the Serampore missonaries–“A mass of fat and muscularity, with massive Roman nose, piercing hazel eyes, shrewdness and fun–not humour or even wit–seemingly without soul altogether.”
The attack called forth a reply by Mr. Styles so severe that Sydney Smith wrote a rejoinder which began by claiming credit for “rooting out a nest of consecrated cobblers.” Sir James Mackintosh, then in Bombay, wrote of a similar assault by Mr. Thomas Twining on the Bible Societies, that it “must excite general indignation. The only measure which he could consistently propose would be the infliction of capital punishment on the crime of preaching or embracing Christianity in India, for almost every inferior degree of persecution is already practised by European or native anti-christians. But it fell to Southey, in the very first number of the Quarterly Review, in April 1809, to deal with the Rev. Sydney Smith, and to defend Carey and the Brotherhood as both deserved. The layman’s defence was the more effective for its immediate purpose that he started from the same prejudice as that of the reverend Whig rationalist–“the Wesleyans, the Orthodox dissenters of every description, and the Evangelical churchmen may all be comprehended under the generic name of Methodists. The religion which they preach is not the religion of our fathers, and what they have altered they have made worse.” But Southey had himself faith as well as a literary canon higher than that of his opponent who wrote only to “please” his patrons. He saw in these Methodists alone that which he appreciated as the essence of true faith–“that spirit of enthusiasm by which Europe was converted to Christianity they have in some measure revived, and they have removed from Protestantism a part of its reproach.” He proceeded to tell how “this Mission, which is represented by its enemies as so dangerous to the British Empire in India, and thereby, according to a logic learnt from Buonaparte, to England also, originated in a man by name William Carey, who till the twenty-fourth year of his age was a working shoemaker. Sectarianism has this main advantage over the Established Church, that its men of ability certainly find their station, and none of its talents are neglected or lost. Carey was a studious and pious man, his faith wrong, his feelings right. He made himself competently versed in Latin, Greek, and Hebrew. He is now probably a far more learned orientalist than any European has ever been before him, and has been appointed Professor of Sanskrit and Bengali at the College of Fort William.” Then follow a history of the Mission written in a style worthy of the author of the Life of Nelson, and these statements of the political and the purely missionary questions, which read now almost as predictions:–
“The first step towards winning the natives to our religion is to show them that we have one. This will hardly be done without a visible church. There would be no difficulty in filling up the establishment, however ample; but would the archbishop, bishops, deans, and chapters of Mr. Buchanan’s plan do the work of missionaries? Could the Church of England supply missionaries?–where are they to be found among them? In what school for the promulgation of sound and orthodox learning are they trained up? There is ability and there is learning in the Church of England, but its age of fermentation has long been over; and that zeal which for this work is the most needful is, we fear, possessed only by the Methodists…
“Carey and his son have been in Bengal fourteen years, the other brethren only nine; they had all a difficult language to acquire before they could speak to a native, and to preach and argue in it required a thorough and familiar knowledge. Under these circumstances the wonder is, not that they have done so little, but that they have done so much; for it will be found that, even without this difficulty to retard them, no religious opinions have spread more rapidly in the same time, unless there was some remarkable folly or extravagance to recommend them, or some powerful worldly inducement. Their progress will be continually accelerating; the difficulty is at first, as in introducing vaccination into a distant land; when the matter has once taken one subject supplies infection for all around him, and the disease takes root in the country. The husband converts the wife, the son converts the parent, the friend his friend, and every fresh proselyte becomes a missionary in his own neighbourhood. Thus their sphere of influence and of action widens, and the eventual issue of a struggle between truth and falsehood is not to be doubted by those who believe in the former. Other missionaries from other societies have now entered India, and will soon become efficient labourers in their station. From Government all that is asked is toleration for themselves and protection for their converts. The plan which they have laid for their own proceedings is perfectly prudent and unexceptionable, and there is as little fear of their provoking martyrdom as there would be of their shrinking from it, if the cause of God and man require the sacrifice. But the converts ought to be protected from violence, and all cramming with cow-dung prohibited on pain of retaliation with beef-tea.
“Nothing can be more unfair than the manner in which the scoffers and alarmists have represented the missionaries. We, who have thus vindicated them, are neither blind to what is erroneous in their doctrine or ludicrous in their phraseology; but the anti-missionaries cull out from their journals and letters all that is ridiculous sectarian, and trifling; call them fools, madmen, tinkers, Calvinists, and schismatics; and keep out of sight their love of man, and their zeal for God, their self-devotement, their indefatigable industry, and their unequalled learning. These low-born and low-bred mechanics have translated the whole Bible into Bengali, and have by this time printed it. They are printing the New Testament in the Sanskrit, the Orissa, Mahratta, Hindostan, and Guzarat, and translating it into Persic, Telinga, Karnata, Chinese, the language of the Sieks and of the Burmans, and in four of these languages they are going on with the Bible. Extraordinary as this is, it will appear more so when it is remembered that of these men one was originally a shoemaker, another a printer at Hull, and a third the master of a charity-school at Bristol. Only fourteen years have elapsed since Thomas and Carey set foot in India, and in that time have these missionaries acquired this gift of tongues, in fourteen years these low-born, low-bred mechanics have done more towards spreading the knowledge of the Scriptures among the heathen than has been accomplished, or even attempted, by all the princes and potentates of the world–and all the universities and establishments into the bargain.
“Do not think to supersede the Baptist missionaries till you can provide from your own church such men as these, and, it may be added, such women also as their wives.”
Soon after the Charter victory had been gained “that fierce and fiery Calvinist,” whose dictum Southey adopted, that the question in dispute is not whether the natives shall enjoy toleration, but whether that toleration shall be extended to the teachers of Christianity, Andrew Fuller, entered into rest on the 7th May 1815, at the age of sixty-two. Sutcliff of Olney had been the first of the three to be taken away25 a year before, at the same age. The scholarly Dr. Ryland of Bristol was left alone, and the home management of the Mission passed into the hands of another generation. Up to Fuller’s death that management had been almost ideally perfect. In 1812 the Committee had been increased by the addition of nineteen members, to represent the growing interest of the churches in Serampore, and to meet the demand of the “respectable” class who had held aloof at the first, who were eager that the headquarters of so renowned an enterprise should be removed to London. But Fuller prevailed to keep the Society a little longer at Kettering, although he failed to secure as his assistant and successor the one man whose ability, experience, and prudence would have been equal to his own, and have prevented the troubles that followed–Christopher Anderson. As Fuller lay dying, he dictated a letter to Ryland wherein he thus referred to the evangelical doctrine of grace which he had been the one English theologian of his day to defend from the hyper-calvinists, and to use as the foundation of the modern missionary enterprise:–“I have preached and written much against the abuse of the doctrine of grace, but that doctrine is all my salvation and all my desire. I have no other hope than from salvation by mere sovereign, efficacious grace through the atonement of my Lord and Saviour: with this hope I can go into eternity with composure. We have some who have been giving it out of late that if Sutcliff and some others had preached more of Christ and less of Jonathan Edwards they would have been more useful. If those who talk thus had preached Christ half as much as Jonathan Edwards did, and were half as useful as he was, their usefulness would be double what it is. It is very singular that the Mission to the East originated with one of these principles, and without pretending to be a prophet, I may say if it ever falls into the hands of men who talk in this strain (of hyper-calvinism) it will soon come to nothing.”
Andrew Fuller was not only the first of Foreign Mission Secretaries; he was a model for all. To him his work was spiritual life, and hence, though the most active preacher and writer of his day, he was like Carey in this, that his working day was twice as long as that of most men, and he could spend half of his time in the frequent journeys all over the kingdom to raise funds, in repeated campaigns in London to secure toleration, and in abundant letters to the missionaries. His relation to the Committee, up to the last, was equally exemplary. In the very earliest missionary organisation in England it is due to him that the line was clearly drawn between the deliberative and judicial function which is that of the members, and the executive which is that of the secretary. Wisdom and efficiency, clearness of perception and promptitude of action, were thus combined. Fuller’s, too, was the special merit of realising that, while a missionary committee or church are fellow-workers only with the men and women abroad, the Serampore Brotherhood was a self-supporting, and to that extent a self-governing body in a sense true of no foreign mission ever since. The two triumvirates, moreover, consisted of giants–Carey, Marshman, and Ward abroad; Fuller, Sutcliff, and Ryland at home. To Carey personally the death of Fuller was more than to any other. For almost the quarter of a century he had kept his vow that he would hold the rope. When Pearce died all too soon there was none whom Carey loved like Fuller, while Fuller’s devotion to Carey was all the greater that it was tempered by a wise jealousy for his perfectness. So early as 1797, Fuller wrote thus to the troublesome Fountain:–“It affords us good hope of your being a useful missionary that you seem to love and revere the counsels of Brother Carey. A humble, peaceful, circumspect, disinterested, faithful, peaceable, and zealous conduct like his will render you a blessing to society. Brother Carey is greatly respected and beloved by all denominations here. I will tell you what I have foreborne to tell him lest it should hurt his modesty. Good old Mr. Newton says: ‘Mr. Carey has favoured me with a letter, which, indeed, I accept as a favour, and I mean to thank him for it. I trust my heart as cordially unites with him as though I were a brother Baptist myself. I look to such a man with reverence. He is more to me than bishop or archbishop; he is an apostle. May the Lord make all who undertake missions like-minded with Brother Carey!’” As the home administrator, no less than as the theological controversialist, Andrew Fuller stands only second to William Carey, the founder of Modern English Missions.
Fuller’s last letter to Carey forms the best introduction to the little which it is here necessary to record of the action of the Baptist Missionary Society when under the secretaryship of the Rev. John Dyer. Mr. John Marshman, C.S.I., has written the detailed history of that controversy not only with filial duty, but with a forgiving charity which excites our admiration for one who suffered more from it than all his predecessors in the Brotherhood, of which he was the last representative. The Society has long since ceased to approve of that period. Its opinion has become that of Mr. Marshman, to which a careful perusal of all the documents both in Serampore and England has led us–“Had it been possible to create a dozen establishments like that of Serampore, each raising and managing its own funds, and connected with the Society as the centre of unity in a common cause, it ought to have been a subject of congratulation and not of regret.” The whole policy of every missionary church and society is now and has long been directed to creating self-supporting and self-propagating missions, like Serampore, that the regions beyond may be evangelised–whether these be colleges of catechumens and inquirers, like those of Duff and Wilson, Hislop and Dr. Miller in India, and of Govan and Dr. Stewart in Lovedale, Kafraria; or the indigenous churches of the West Indies, West Africa, the Pacific Ocean, and Burma. To us the long and bitter dispute is now of value only in so far as it brings out in Christ-like relief the personality of William Carey.
At the close of 1814 Dr. Carey had asked Fuller to pay £50 a year to his father, then in his eightieth year, and £20 to his (step) mother if she survived the old man. Protesting that an engraving of his portrait had been published in violation of the agreement which he had made with the artist, he agreed to the wish of each of his relatives for a copy. To these requests Fuller had replied:–“You should not insist on these things being charged to you, nor yet your father’s £50, nor the books, nor anything necessary to make you comfortable, unless it be to be paid out of what you would otherwise give to the mission. To insist on their being paid out of your private property seems to be dictated by resentment. It is thus we express our indignation when we have an avaricious man to deal with.”
The first act of the Committee, after Fuller’s funeral, led Dr. Ryland to express to Carey his unbounded fears for the future. There were two difficulties. The new men raised the first question, in what sense the Serampore property belonged to the Society? They then proceeded to show how they would answer it, by appointing the son of Samuel Pearce to Serampore as Mr. Ward’s assistant. On both sides of their independence, as trustees of the property which they had created and gifted to the Society on this condition, and as a self-supporting, self-elective brotherhood, it became necessary, for the unbroken peace of the mission and the success of their work, that they should vindicate their moral and legal position. The correspondence fell chiefly to Dr. Marshman. Ward and he successively visited England, to which the controversy was transferred, with occasional references to Dr. Carey in Serampore. All Scotland, led by Christopher Anderson, Chalmers, and the Haldanes–all England, except the Dyer faction and Robert Hall for a time, among the Baptists, and nearly all America, held with the Serampore men; but their ever-extending operations were checked by the uncertainty, and their hearts were nearly broken. The junior missionaries in India formed a separate union and congregation by themselves in Calcutta, paid by the Society, though professing to carry out the organisation of the Serampore Brotherhood in other respects. The Committee’s controversy lasted sixteen years, and was closed in 1830, after Ward’s death, by Carey and Marshman drawing up a new trust-deed, in which, having vindicated their position, the old men made over properties which had cost them £7800 to eleven trustees in England, stipulating only that they should occupy them rent free till death, and that their colleagues–who were John Marshman and John Mack, of Edinburgh University–might continue in them for three years thereafter, paying rent to the Society. Such self-sacrifice would be pronounced heroic, but it was only the outcome of a life of self-devotion, marked by the spirit of Him who spake the Sermon on the Mount, and said to the first missionaries He sent forth:–“Be wise as serpents, harmless as doves.” The story is completed by the fact that John Marshman, on his father’s death, again paid the price of as much of the property as the Hoogli had not swallowed up when the Committee were about to put it in the market.
Such was Dr. Carey’s position in the Christian world that the Dyer party considered it important for their interest to separate him from his colleagues, and if not to claim his influence for their side, at least to neutralise it. By trying to hold up Dr. Marshman to odium, they roused the righteous indignation of Carey, while outraging his sense of justice by their blows at the independence of the Brotherhood. Dr. Marshman, when in England, met this course by frankly printing the whole private correspondence of Carey on the subject of the property, or thirty-two letters ranging from the year 1815 to 1828. One of the earliest of these is to Mr. Dyer, who had so far forgotten himself as to ask Dr. Carey to write home, alone, his opinion of his “elder brethren,” and particularly of Dr. Marshman. The answer, covering eleven octavo pages of small type, is a model for all controversialists, and especially for any whom duty compels to rebuke the minister who has failed to learn the charity which envieth not. We reproduce the principal passages, and the later letters to Christopher Anderson and his son Jabez, revealing the nobleness of Carey and the inner life of the Brotherhood:–
“SERAMPORE, 15th July 1819.
“MY DEAR BROTHER–I am sorry you addressed your letter of January the 9th to me alone, because it places me in a most awkward situation, as it respects my elder brethren, with whom I have acted in concert for the last nineteen years, with as great a share of satisfaction and pleasure as could reasonably be expected from a connection with imperfect creatures, and whom I am thereby called to condemn contrary to my convictions, or to justify at the expense of their accusers. It also places me in a disagreeable situation as it respects my younger brethren, whom I highly respect as Christians; but whose whole conduct, as it respects the late unhappy differences, has been such as makes it impossible for me to do otherwise than condemn it…
“You ask, ‘Is there no ground for the charges of profusion, etc., preferred against Brother Marshman?’ Brother Marshman has always been ardently engaged in promoting the cause of God in India, and, being of a very active mind, has generally been chosen by us to draw up our Reports, to write many of our public letters, to draw up plans for promoting the objects of the mission, founding and managing schools, raising subscriptions, and other things of a like nature; so that he has taken a more active part than Brother Ward or myself in these public acts of the mission. These things placed him in the foreground, and it has been no uncommon thing for him to bear the blame of those acts which equally belong to Brother Ward and myself, merely because he was the instrument employed in performing them.
“The charge of profusion brought against Dr. Marshman is more extensive than you have stated in your letter. He is charged with having his house superbly furnished, with keeping several vehicles for the use of his family, and with labouring to aggrandise and bring them into public notice to a culpable extent. The whole business of furniture, internal economy, etc., of the Serampore station, must exclusively belong to ourselves, and I confess I think the question about it an unlovely one. Some person, we know not whom, told some one, we know not whom, ‘that he had been often at Lord Hastings’s table, but that Brother Marshman’s table far exceeded his.’ I have also often been at Lord Hastings’s table (I mean his private table), and I do therefore most positively deny the truth of the assertion; though I confess there is much domestic plainness at the table of the Governor-General of India (though nothing of meanness; on the contrary, everything is marked with a dignified simplicity). I suspect the informant never was at Lord Hastings’s table, or he could have not been guilty of such misrepresentation. Lord Hastings’s table costs more in one day than Brother Marshman’s in ten.
“The following statement may explain the whole business of Brother Marshman’s furniture, etc., which you have all been so puzzled to account for, and have certainly accounted for in a way that is not the true one. We have, you know, a very large school, perhaps the largest in India. In this school are children of persons of the first rank in the country. The parents or guardians of these children frequently call at the Mission-house, and common propriety requires that they should be respectfully received, and invited to take a breakfast or dinner, and sometimes to continue there a day or two. It is natural that persons who visit the Mission-house upon business superintended by Brother Marshman should be entertained at his house rather than elsewhere. Till within the last four or five years we had no particular arrangement for the accommodation of visitors who came to see us; but as those who visited us on business were entertained at Brother Marshman’s, it appeared to be the most eligible method to provide for the entertainment of other visitors there also; but at that time Brother Marshman had not a decent table for persons of the above description to sit down to. We, therefore, voted him a sum to enable him to provide such articles as were necessary to entertain them with decency; and I am not aware that he has been profuse, or that he has provided anything not called for by the rules of propriety. I have no doubt but Brother Ward can enumerate and describe all these articles of furniture. It is, however, evident that you must be very imperfect judges of their necessity, unless you could at the same time form a just estimate of the circumstances in which we stand. It ought also to be considered that all these articles are public property, and always convertible into their full value in cash. I hope, however, that things are not yet come to that pass, that a man who, with his wife, has for nineteen or twenty years laboured night and day for the mission, who by their labour disinterestedly contribute between 2000 and 3000 rupees monthly to it, and who have made sacrifices which, if others have not seen, Brother Ward and I have,–sacrifices which ought to put to the blush all his accusers, who, notwithstanding their cries against him, have not only supported themselves, but also have set themselves up in a lucrative business at the Society’s expense; and who, even to this day, though they have two prosperous schools, and a profitable printing-office, continue to receive their monthly allowance, amounting (including Miss Chaffin’s) to 700 rupees a month from the Society; I feel indignant at their outcry on the subject of expense, and I say, merely as a contrast to their conduct, So did not Brother Marshman. Surely things are not come to that pass, that he or any other brother must give an account to the Society of every plate he uses, and every loaf he cuts.
“Till a very few years ago we had no vehicle except a single horse chaise for me to go backwards and forwards to Calcutta. That was necessarily kept on the opposite side of the river; and if the strength of the horse would have borne it, could not have been used for the purposes of health. Sister Marshman was seized with a disease of the liver, a disease which proves fatal in three cases out of four. Sister Ward was ill of the same disorder, and both of them underwent a long course of mercurial treatment, as is usual in that disease. Exercise was considered by the physicians as of the first importance, and we certainly thought no expense too great to save the valuable lives of our sisters. A single horse chaise, and an open palanquin, called a Tonjon, were procured. I never ride out for health; but usually spend an hour or two, morning and evening, in the garden. Sister Ward was necessitated to visit England for hers. Brother Ward had a saddle horse presented to him by a friend. My wife has a small carriage drawn by a man. These vehicles were therefore almost exclusively used by Brother Marshman’s family. When our brethren arrived from England they did not fail to put this equipage into the account against Brother Marshman. They now keep three single horse chaises, besides palanquins; but we do not think they keep more than are necessary.
“Brother Marshman retains for the school a French master, a music master, and a drawing master. The expenses of these are amply repaid by the school, but Brother Marshman’s children, and all those belonging to the family, have the advantage of their instructions. Brother Marshman’s children are, however, the most numerous, and envy has not failed to charge him with having retained them all for the sake of his own children. Surely a man’s caring for his family’s health and his children’s education is, if a crime, a venial one, and ought not to be held up to blacken his reputation. Brother Marshman is no more perfect than other men, partakers like him of the grace of God. His natural bias and habits are his own, and differ as much from those of other men as theirs differ from one another. I do not deny that he has an inclination to display his children to advantage. This, however, is a foible which most fond parents will be inclined to pardon. I wish I had half his piety, energy of mind, and zeal for the cause of God. These excellencies, in my opinion, so far overbalance all his defects that I am constrained to consider him a Christian far above the common run. I must now close this defence of Brother Marshman by repeating that all matters of furniture, convenience, etc., are things belonging to the economy of the station at Serampore, and that no one beside ourselves has the smallest right to interfere therewith. The Calcutta brethren are now acting on the same principle, and would certainly repel with indignation any attempt made by us to regulate their affairs.
“I have said that ‘I never ride out for the sake of health’; and it may therefore be inquired, ‘Why are vehicles, etc., for the purpose of health more necessary for the other members of the family than for you?’ I reply that my health is in general good, and probably much benefited by a journey to and from Calcutta two or three times a week. I have also a great fondness for natural science, particularly botany and horticulture. These, therefore, furnish not only exercise, but amusement for me. These amusements of mine are not, however, enjoyed without expense, any more than those of my brethren, and were it not convenient for Brother Marshman’s accusers to make a stepping-stone of me, I have no doubt but my collection of plants, aviary, and museum, would be equally impeached as articles of luxury and lawless expenses; though, except the garden, the whole of these expenses are borne by myself.
“John Marshman is admitted a member of the union, but he had for some time previously thereto been a member of the church. I perceive plainly that all your objections to him have been excited by the statements of the Calcutta brethren, which you certainly ought to receive with much caution in all things which regard Bother Marshman and his family. You observe that the younger brethren especially look up to me with respect and affection. It may be so; but I confess I have frequently thought that, had it been so, they would have consulted me, or at least have mentioned to me the grounds of their dissatisfaction before they proceeded to the extremity of dividing the mission. When I engaged in the mission, it was a determination that, whatever I suffered, a breach therein should never originate with me. To this resolution I have hitherto obstinately adhered. I think everything should be borne, every sacrifice made, and every method of accommodation or reconciliation tried, before a schism is suffered to take place…
“I disapprove as much of the conduct of our Calcutta brethren as it is possible for me to disapprove of any human actions. The evil they have done is, I fear, irreparable; and certainly the whole might have been prevented by a little frank conversation with either of us; and a hundredth part of that self-denial which I found it necessary to exercise for the first few years of the mission, would have prevented this awful rupture. I trust you will excuse my warmth of feeling upon this subject, when you consider that by this rupture that cause is weakened and disgraced, in the establishment and promotion of which I have spent the best part of my life. A church is attempted to be torn in pieces, for which neither I nor my brethren ever thought we could do enough. We laboured to raise it: we expended much money to accomplish that object; and in a good measure saw the object of our desire accomplished. But now we are traduced, and the church rent by the very men who came to be our helpers. As to Brother Marshman, seriously, what do they want? Would they attempt to deny his possessing the grace of God? He was known to and esteemed by Brother Ryland as a Christian before he left England. I have lived with him ever since his arrival in India, and can witness to his piety and holy conduct. Would they exclude him from the mission? Judge yourself whether it is comely that a man, who has laboriously and disinterestedly served the mission so many years–who has by his diligence and hard labour raised the most respectable school in India, as well as given a tone to all the others–who has unvaryingly consecrated the whole of that income, as well as his other labours, to the cause of God in India,–should be arraigned and condemned without a hearing by a few young men just arrived, and one of whom had not been a month in the country before he joined the senseless outcry? Or would they have his blood? Judge, my dear brother, yourself, for I am ashamed to say more on this subject.
“I need not say that circumstances must in a great measure determine where missionaries should settle. The chief town of each of these countries would be preferable, if other circumstances permit; but sometimes Government would not allow this, and sometimes other things may close the door. Missionaries however must knock loud and push hard at the door, and if there be the smallest opening, must force themselves in; and, once entered, put their lives in their hands and exert themselves to the utmost in dependence upon divine support, if they ever hope to do much towards evangelising the heathen world. My situation in the college, and Brother Marshman’s as superintending the first academy in India, which, I likewise observe, has been established and brought to its present flourishing state wholly by his care and application, have made our present situation widely different from what it was when first engaged in the mission. As a missionary I could go in a straw hat and dine with the judge of the district, and often did so; but as a Professor in the College I cannot do so. Brother Marshman is placed in the same predicament. These circumstances impose upon us a necessity of making a different appearance to what we formerly did as simple missionaries; but they furnish us with opportunities of speaking to gentlemen of the first power and influence in government, upon matters of the highest importance to the great work in which we are engaged; and, as a proof that our opportunities of this nature have not been in vain, I need only say that, in a conversation which I had some time ago with one of the secretaries to Government, upon the present favourable bias of government and the public in general to favour all plans for doing good, he told me that he believed the whole was owing to the prudent and temperate manner in which we had acted; and that if we had acted with precipitancy and indiscretion, he had every reason to believe the general feeling would have been as hostile to attempts to do good as it is now favourable to them.
“I would not wish you to entertain the idea that we and our brethren in Calcutta are resolved upon interminable hatred. On the contrary, I think that things are gone as far as we may expect them to go; and I now expect that the fire of contention will gradually go out. All the distressing and disagreeable circumstances are, I trust, past; and I expect we shall be in a little time on a more friendly footing. Much of what has taken place originated in England. Mistakes and false conclusions were followed by all the circumstances I have detailed. I think the whole virulence of opposition has now spent itself. Our brethren have no control over us, nor we over them. And, if I am not mistaken, each side will soon acknowledge that it has gone too far in some instances; and ultimate good will arise from the evil I so much deplore.
“Having now written to you my whole sentiments upon the business, and formerly to my very dear Brother Ryland, allow me to declare my resolution not to write anything further upon the subject, however much I may be pressed thereto. The future prosperity of the mission does not depend upon the clearing up of every little circumstance to the satisfaction of every captious inquirer, but upon the restoration of mutual concord among us, which must be preceded by admitting that we are all subject to mistake, and to be misled by passion, prejudice, and false judgment. Let us therefore strive and pray that the things which make for peace and those by which we may edify one another may abound among us more and more. I am, my dear brother, very affectionately, yours in our Lord Jesus Christ, W. CAREY.”
“14th May 1828.
“MY DEAR BROTHER ANDERSON–Yours by the Louisa, of October last, came to hand a few days ago with the copies of Brother Marshman’s brief Memoir of the Serampore Mission. I am glad it is written in so temperate and Christian a spirit, and I doubt not but it will be ultimately productive of good effects. There certainly is a great contrast between the spirit in which that piece is written and that in which observations upon it, both in the Baptist and Particular Baptist Magazines, are written. The unworthy attempts in those and other such like pieces to separate Brother Marshman and me are truly contemptible. In plain English, they amount to thus much–‘The Serampore Missionaries, Carey, Marshman, and Ward, have acted a dishonest part, alias are rogues. But we do not include Dr. Carey in the charge of dishonesty; he is an easy sort of a man, who will agree to anything for the sake of peace, or in other words, he is a fool. Mr. Ward, it is well known,’ say they, ‘was the tool of Dr. Marshman, but he is gone from the present scene, and it is unlovely to say any evil of the dead.’ Now I certainly hold those persons’ exemption of me from the blame they attach to Brother Marshman in the greatest possible contempt. I may have subscribed my name thoughtlessly to papers, and it would be wonderful if there had been no instance of this in so long a course of years. The great esteem I had for the Society for many years, undoubtedly on more occasions than one put me off my guard, and I believe my brethren too; so that we have signed writings which, if we could have foreseen the events of a few years, we should not have done. These, however, were all against our own private interest, and I believe I have never been called an easy fool for signing of them. It has only been since we found it necessary to resist the claims of the Committee that I have risen to this honour.
“It has also been hinted that I intend to separate from Brother Marshman. I cannot tell upon what such hints or reports are founded, but I assure you, in the most explicit manner, that I intend to continue connected with him and Serampore as long as I live; unless I should be separated from him by some unforeseen stroke of Providence. There may be modifications of our union, arising from circumstances; but it is my wish that it should remain in all things essential to the mission as long as I live.
“I rejoice to say that there is very little of that spirit of hostility which prevails in England in India, and I trust what still remains will gradually decrease till scarcely the remembrance of it will continue. Our stations, I mean those connected with Serampore, are of great importance, and some of them in a flourishing state. We will do all we can to maintain them, and I hope the friends to the cause of God in Britain will not suffer them to sink for want of that pecuniary help which is necessary. Indeed I hope we shall be assisted in attempting other stations beside those already occupied; and many such stations present themselves to my mind which nothing prevents being immediately occupied but want of men and money. The college will also require assistance, and I hope will not be without it; I anticipate the time when its salutary operation in the cause of God in India will be felt and acknowledged by all.
“These observations respecting my own conduct you are at liberty to use as you please. I hope now to take my final leave of this unpleasant subject, and have just room to say that I am very affectionately yours, W. CAREY.”
Throughout the controversy thus forced upon him, we find Dr. Carey’s references, in his unpublished letters to the brethren in Calcutta, all in the strain of the following to his son Jabez:–
“15th August 1820.–This week we received letters from Mr. Marshman, who had safely arrived at St. Helena. I am sure it will give you pleasure to learn that our long-continued dispute with the younger brethren in Calcutta is now settled. We met together for that purpose about three weeks ago, and after each side giving up some trifling ideas and expressions, came to a reconciliation, which, I pray God, may be lasting. Nothing I ever met with in my life–and I have met with many distressing things–ever preyed so much upon my spirits as this difference has. I am sure that in all disputes very many wrong things must take place on both sides for which both parties ought to be humbled before God and one another.
“I wish you could succeed in setting up a few more schools…Consider that and the spread of the gospel as the great objects of your life, and try to promote them by all the wise and prudent methods in your power. Indeed we must always venture something for the sake of doing good. The cause of our Lord Jesus Christ continues to prosper with us. I have several persons now coming in who are inquirers; two or three of them, I hope, will be this evening received into the Church. Excuse my saying more as my room is full of people.”
Eight years after, on the 17th April 1828, he thus censured Jabez in the matter of the Society’s action at home:–“From a letter of yours to Jonathan, in which you express a very indecent pleasure at the opposition which Brother Marshman has received, not by the Society but by some anonymous writer in a magazine, I perceive you are informed of the separation which has taken place between them and us. What in that anonymous piece you call a ‘set-down’ I call a ‘falsehood.’ You ought to know that I was a party in all public acts and writings, and that I never intend to withdraw from all the responsibility connected therewith. I utterly despise all the creeping, mean assertions of that party when they say they do not include me in their censures, nor do I work for their praise. According to their and according to your rejoicing…I am either a knave or a fool–a knave if I joined with Brother Marshman; but if, as those gentlemen say, and as you seem to agree with them, I was only led as he pleased, and was a mere cat’s-paw, then of course I am a fool. In either way your thoughts are not very high as it respects me. I do not wonder that Jonathan should express himself unguardedly; his family connection with Mr. Pearce sufficiently accounts for that. We have long been attacked in this country–first by Mr. Adam,26 and afterwards by Dr. Bryce.27 Bryce is now silenced by two or three pieces by John Marshman in his own newspaper, the John Bull; and as to some of the tissues of falsehood published in England, I shall certainly never reply to them, and I hope no one else will. That cause must be bad which needs such means to support it. I believe God will bring forth our righteousness as the noonday.”
On the 12th July 1828 the father again writes to his son Jabez thus:–“Your apologies about Brother Marshman are undoubtedly the best you can offer. I should be sorry to harbour hostile sentiments against any man on the earth upon grounds so slight. Indeed, were all you say matter of fact you ought to forgive it as God for Christ’s sake forgives us. We are required to lay aside all envy and strife and animosities, to forgive each other mutually and to love one another with a pure heart fervently. ‘Thine own friend and thy father’s friend forsake not.’”