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The Life of John Wilson
Chapter XVI. The Mutiny and its Good Fruit


The year 1857 a fruitful period—The alleged causes of the Mutiny—Western India quiet in spite of them—The Bombay Rabble—Lord Elphinstone assisted by Dr. Wilson—Deciphering the Treasonable Letters of the Natives—The Massacre of Missionaries at Sialkot—Lord Elphinstone’s correspondence with Dr. Wilson—Loyalty of Bombay City—Dr. Wilson’s Humiliation and Thanksgiving Lectures—The Government of India constitutionally Christian—United Presbyterian Mission to Rajpootana—Dr. Shoolbred’s Narrative of Tour with Dr. and Mrs. Wilson—Timidity of the Authorities—Mrs. Wilson’s Letters—Dr. Wilson’s Interview with the late Gaikwar : with the Maharaja Tukht Singh of Joudhpore ; with Holkar— The Education Despatch of 1854—The result of co-operation between the Missionaries and Government—Dr. Wilson’s Criticism of the new Policy— The three Universities founded in the height of the Mutiny—Dr. Wilson’s Influence on the Bombay University Regulations—Appointed Vice-Chancellor—Eulogy of Native Benefactors when laying Foundation-stone of University Hall.

Whether it hereafter proves true that the history of the British Empire of India began only with the Mutiny campaigns of 1857-1858, to which the century’s conquests and administrative experiments of the East India Company were but a prelude, the annus tristis was also the annus mirabilis —remarkable for the birth of missionary extension and educational reform from the very womb of massacre and revolt. From 1857 Christian missions and philanthropy in India received an impetus which they feel to this hour. Dr. Wilson was the first to guide that to the establishment of the TJnited Presbyterian Church amid the eighteen principalities of Kajpootana. In the smoke of the Mutiny and its punishment the three Universities were legislatively called into existence, and the seeds of systems of primary education were sown. The answer of the Christian rulers of India to the brief but bitter madness of its pampered soldiery and pensioned princes was—more light. There may still be doubt how far the administrative changes, politically and financially, of the Government of the Empress are an improvement on the system under which the Company won and built up the empire it bequeathed to the crown. There can be none as to the vast, even infinite, benefit of the new regime on the side of education and of the complete toleration of all religions, not excluding Christianity as the legislation of the Company did in spite of Lord William Bentinck and Lord Dalhousie.

The panic wave of military and political unrest, which swept over Northern India from the Hooghly to the Upper Indus, found and left the great Western Province peaceable and loyal. In none of the eloquent generalisations which he called “history,” has the late Sir John Kaye been more unfortunate than in his account of Bombay. According to the obsolete school who see in that very progress, which is the sole justification of our Eastern Empire at all, an excuse for revolt, the causes of mutiny abounded more in the land of the Marathas than in any other. Annexation, lapse, resumption of holdings, confiscation of rent-free tenures, and the prose-lytism of Christian missionaries with the consent and educational co-operation of the Government—the five causes of the Mutiny according to some short-sighted conservatives—had been altogether more luxuriant in the West of India than in Oudh or the Delhi territory, or anywhere else. Yet it would be easy to prove that it was these very causes—the extinction, legally and equitably, of centres of intrigue; the care for the peasantry abandoned to irresponsible talookdars; the intelligence and benevolence of reformers like Dr. Wilson and the authorities whom he stirred up, which kept the panic to the north of the Yindhyas, or to two isolated spots where there was not even the ordinary garrison to keep the peace.

But the temper of the Bombay army, and the intelligence of the Bombay people in and out of the capital, were severely tested. So far as the mutiny assumed a Hindoo aspect it was Bombay in its origin. The infamous Nana Dhoondopunt, whom Sir John Malcolm has been blamed for treating so generously, gave himself out as the political representative of his adoptive father, the last of the Peshwas, and as the head of Hindooism. As he had sent his quondam menial Azimoollah to he lionised in London, and to see the weakness of England in the early stages of the Crimean War, so the Satara agent, Rungo Bapoojee, had been active in the old India House. It was to Maharashtra that the ringleaders of the Bengal sepoys looked for the rousing of the whole west and south of India. In reply to a missive from the 75 th Bengal Native Infantry a sepoy wrote from Bombay in an intercepted letter—“ We are your children ; do with us as it may seem best to you ; in your salvation is our safety. We are all of one mind ; on your intimation we shall come running.” Poona and Satara had memories of Sivajee and his generals, of Maratha ambition and Hindoo glories, not second to Delhi in Muhammadan eyes. But Poona and Satara were names to conjure with only in the far-off Ganges valley. Of Western India itself the statement of Dr. Wilson at the time is true—“ Incipient mutiny in the Bombay army at Kolhapore, Ahmedabad, Kurachee, and some other stations, was early discovered and readily crushed.” At two places only did it become overt, Kolhapore and Nurgoond. Of the fifteen hundred English massacred by the sepoys and rabble in 1857-58, of whom 240 were military officers, 4 were chaplains, and 10 were missionaries and their wives, only one fell in Western India—the civilian Mr. Manson. Yet by the three approaches of Rajpootana, of the Yindhyas, and of Nagpore and Hyderabad, the mutineers of the north vainly tried to reach Maharashtra under Tathya Topya and Bala Rao. Instead of their succeeding it was from Bombay that the first help was sent to Lord Canning in the despatch of the troops of the Persian expedition; and from Bombay that Sir Hugh Rose, at a later period, restored peace right up through central India to the Ganges.

While the Mutiny was purely military in its origin, and owed its opportunity to the reduction of the British troops from thirty-seven to twenty-two regiments for the Crimean and Persian wars, in spite of the unanswered protest of Lord Dalhousie, the sepoys found the vilest confederates and agents in the swashbuckler rabble of the great cities and cantonments. Bombay was such a city. To this day the fanatical passions of the Parsee and the Muhammadan sometimes blaze up into a conflict, while the Hindoos there are the boldest in all India. Around the three communities whom English law and institutions, born of the Christian faith, have made at once independent and wealthy, there has gradually gathered the scum of Asia and Africa, sailors and traders, adventurers and pilgrims, criminals and loafers, slave-dealers and eunuch or boy and girl kidnappers, such as the polygamous and sexual cults of the East require as their ministrants. A government like that of the Turk would have made of Bombay at this time what Damascus became in the Syrian massacres soon after. But Lord Elphinstone was not only a firm and wise ruler, favouring none, and fair to all of whatever faith : he was a daring statesman, who had the first virtue of a true ruler, that of knowing his agents on the one hand and his duty to his country on the other. He sent away his European troops to Lord Canning. And, whether against the still unknown temper of the sepoys or the mixed multitude of the capital, he trusted the irresponsible missionary, while he made all proper military arrangements.

The Mutiny in Bengal was not many days old when the Government of India determined that the new cheap postal and telegraph arrangements should not become the instruments of intrigue. Accordingly, all the authorities received instructions to intercept native or vernacular letters, and to forward them for examination and translation by confidential and skilled persons named. When found treasonable the letters were submitted to the secretaries to Government. In Bombay letters so intercepted were sent to Dr. Wilson. Just as our beleaguered countrymen and countrywomen in cities like Lucknow, and in sequestered hiding-places, had recourse to French and to the use of the Greek letters in their desperate attempts to communicate with their friends, so the sepoy ringleaders resorted to all sorts of dialects and characters to blind the post-office. No man then in all India was so equal to their resources as the scholar, who for more than twenty years had been translating alphabets and inscriptions for historical and philanthropic ends. In the last edition of his lecture on the “Religious Excavations” he makes this slight reference to a confidential service, of a value which no reward and no honour could adequately recognise. Alluding to James Prinsep’s deciphering of the rock inscriptions he writes :—

“The key to the character was found by his tracing backwards—from the current Devanagaree—various forms of older letters, of which the Nagaree is the maturer type, adapted to more rapid writing than the original. Our own assurance respecting it was derived from a comparison of copperplate inscriptions in the hands of Vishnoo Shastree, in which we noticed the accordance in number and position of certain letters and words connected with initial salutations of the gods, and the royal signatures on other legible grants, which betokened an agreement in value in the respective characters, as was found to be the case when they were critically examined and compared. By following out this principle, we were able to make out some of the most difficult letters which came into the hands of our vigilant officials during the late Mutiny. We now see very clearly that the great trouble taken with the adjustment of the cave character would have been unnecessary if we had noticed sufficiently early its correspondence with the Phoenician and Greek alphabets, from a combination of which it is manifestly derived, with most ingenious adaptations to the orthoepical expression of the Sanskrit and other languages, most creditable to the ingenuity of the Indians, or those by whom they were adapted to those languages.”

Thus the whole miserable tragedy of the Mutiny on its western side passed before Dr. Wilson, who, moreover, kept up a close correspondence with the Governor. That was of too confidential a character for Dr. Wilson to have kept even copies of it, but Lord Elphinstone’s letters' to him reveal an alliance in the interests of order, of civilisation, and of their country’s good, of the highest honour to both.


“30th July 1857.—This mail, like some which have preceded it, conveys very heavy tidings to Britain. The mutiny and revolt of the Bengal sepoys still continues, and their murderous courses are only beginning to be checked. Many of our countrymen—men, women, and children—have been treacherously butchered by them. Five or six missionaries are among the number slain. Among these, I regret to say, is the Rev. Thomas Hunter, of the Church of Scotland’s mission at Sialkot in the Punjab (the brother of Mr. Hunter of Nagpore), who was destroyed, along with his wife and infant child, on the 9th of this month. They were in Bombay for a few months before they went to their station. We were acquainted with them, and liked them much. We have not heard of the fate of two converts who were with them. Their station was a new one, and very distant ; and it is to be regretted that they went to it before they were more fully acquainted with the country and its languages. The whole of the native army of the Bombay Presidency (as well as that of Madras) has hitherto remained staunch to the British interests. All, thank God, is very quiet in the city of Bombay. So much is this the case, that at a large meeting of Natives and Europeans held lately in our Town-Hall, and presided over by the Governor, I offered to •walk through any of the streets or lanes in the blackest night without a weapon of defence. How long this security may continue is dependent on the will of a gracious Providence. A plot for the murder of the Europeans is suspected to have been formed at Poona, but it has been mercifully detected.

“I enclose copies of some hymns we have used at a prayer-meeting held in Ambrolie in connection with the crisis, and attended by great multitudes. Be sure you let my dear mother know that we are both quite well and safe at present. I hope you all pray for us and for the cause of Christ in India. ”


“6th May 1858.—In the pacification of India a good deal remains to be done, though victory, except in incidental foolish attacks, has in the mercy of God always followed the movements of our troops. The Bombay armies, both in Rajpootana and Central India, have done all that was needful in these important provinces, and much circumscribed the field of action. Sir Colin Campbell is very careful of the lives of his men, and his plau is evidently that of a gradual advance. I don’t think he will be allowed to rest during the hot and rainy months. It is a great mercy that we have been kept free from alarm in Bombay, and that all the plots in this Presidency have been discovered before they could be carried into effect. The plots of the Satara and Kolhapore nobles are of three or four years’ standing, and have had no connection with the Mutiny, except in so far as one set of evil men has encouraged another set of evil men.

“You will be glad to hear that the spirit of our Native Church continues to be most exemplary. The young men and others who joined it last year are a great accession to it, and all is love and harmony within its enclosure.”


“Tuesday, 8th , 1857.

“My dear Dr. Wilson—It was very good of you to remember our conversation about the wild tribes in the North Konkan, and I am much indebted to you for your little volume on the Evangelisation of India, in which you give an account of these tribes. I have always taken a great interest in those poor outcasts of humanity, the aboriginal tribes who are scattered throughout the peninsula of India. I have received with great regret very discouraging reports on the subject of the attempts which have been made in this Presidency to raise them a little in the scale of humanity. I fear that very little has been effected in this way, and that we cannot hope for any rapid progress. The best thing that I have heard was from Mr. Mitchell at Poona, that the Mhar and Mhang schools at that place were making great progress, and that a native had taken a great share in the work of establishing and supporting them.

“Your account of the feelings of the Mussulman population is very satisfactory. I have never given in to the idea of insurrection and conspiracy which seems to haunt many people. As long as the native army are faithful there is no fear of a popular rising ; and although unfortunately we have had one or two cases of mutiny in the Bombay Army, I do not see any signs of general defection. We may now very shortly expect to receive European reinforcements, and I hope that the troops we asked the Government of the Cape to send us are now close at hand. With God’s blessing I believe that we shall be spared the trials and calamities through which our neighbours have passed, and I am sure that we have great reason to be thankful. I beg to enclose a draft for my subscription to the native female school, and remain, my dear Dr. Wilson, very sincerely yours, Elphinstone.”

“I beg to be kindly remembered to Mrs. Wilson. I shall not fail to send the Notes on the Maratha language to my uncle. He still takes as keen an interest in all that is passing in this country as ever, but I am afraid that he is not much more able to appreciate a critical paper on the Maratha than I am myself!”

“April 29, 1859.

“My dear Dr. Wilson — I send you Sir Robert Hamilton’s memo, upon Tantia Topey. It appears that his father was a follower of Bajee Rao’s, and that Tantia was a playfellow of the Nana’s. Dangan, who has been on General Mansfield’s staff in Oudh, says that they always pronounce Tantia Topey’s name as Sir R. Hamilton spells it, Topye, and that they speak of Nana Sahib as Nana Rao.

“I have just received a telegram from Bombay with news from England up to the 4th. It seems that on that day Lord Derby announced in the House of Lords, and Mr. Disraeli in the Commons, that as soon as certain money bills, and bills connected with India, were passed, it was the intention of Her Majesty’s Government to dissolve Parliament. The foreign news does not look pacific, and I believe that soon India will be the quietest place in the world, though we may still have little episodes like the Nuggur Parkur disturbance and Adil Mahomed’s party in the Hoshungabad district.—Believe me, sincerely yours, Elphinstone.”

How accurately Dr. Wilson had gauged the temper of the various communities of Bombay was soon seen in the united and loyal movement which they made on the 15th December 1858, in a public meeting summoned to consider'the propriety of erecting an Economic and Natural History Museum, with pleasure gardens, “to be styled, in our Sovereign's honour, the Victoria Museum and Gardens," presided over by a Hindoo friend of Dr. Wilson, Mr. Jugganath Sunkersett. The united Hindoos, Parsees, and Muhammadans determined to show that they appreciated the blessings of a just Government, under which the city had risen in wealth and importance. The crowd raised fifty thousand rupees on the spot. But far more important was this language in the mouth of its chairman : “No Empire has been more consecrated by time, none more perfectly consolidated, none more great in intellect, more overwhelming in power, more infinite in resources; and yet it is not on its awful might that it is founded, nor on the force of its naval and military greatness, but supremely in the devotion of its people.” Not a few at the Mohurrum festival of 1857 had distrusted the Muhammadans alone, and the police commissioner summoned a meeting of the leaders, at which we meet for the first time in this history with the name of one who had become second only to Dr. Wilson in his identification with the interests of the natives of Bombay. Dr. George Birdwood, now C.S.I., and his father General Birdwood, had early come under Dr. Wilson's influence; and at this, as in all other movements for the good of the natives, that young member of the Medical Service, and Professor in the Grant Medical College, was prominent. Even the Wa-habee Kazee, or high priest of the Bombay Muhammadans, offered his services to keep the peace, while the chief native officer of police was a Wahabee. When the clever detection of the plot of the sepoys of the Bombay garrison at Sonapore, to rise and proclaim the sovereignty of the Nana as Peshwa of the Dekhan, took place, and the mutineers were blown from guns, all fear of even a local riot was passed. In Lord Elphinstone’s opinion, Bombay city saved Poona and Hyderabad, and even Madras. So did Nagpore, and it must not be forgotten how well Madras did its duty to the empire by its European troops under Neill, although the family system and evil arrangements as to its native officers had long demoralised its sepoy army as a fighting and disciplined force. While in Bengal there was only one white soldier to twenty-five sepoys in May 1857, the proportion in Madras was one to seventeen, and in Bombay one to ten, and in the last many sepoys were Jews and Christians.

“Shall there be evil in a city and the Lord hath not done it!” were the words of Amos from which Dr. Wilson lectured to the whole Christian community of Bombay, in a sermon afterwards circulated all over the country under the title of The Indian Military Revolt viewed in its Religious Aspects. The calm, impartial, native-loving evangelist looked beyond the passions the crimes and the follies of the time, and deprecated “ that indiscriminate party and personal inculpation to which many are too prone to resort in these sad days of trouble and rebuke.” These were the warnings he uttered, against an under-estimate of the Christian and an over-estimate of the Gentile character so common among Europeans in India and at home ; against Caste, the great evil; against “ hedging up any bodies of our servants or subjects in India from general enlightenment and Christian instruction; ”against“ shortcomings in the supervision, discipline, and employment of our native army and native officials; ”against a defective Christian example on our own part; against failure “ in enterprises of Christian beneficence, and in works calculated to promote the advancement of European civilisation; ”against forgetfulness of our dependence in a heathen land on the subduing and restraining grace of God ; and against the danger of remaining without a personal interest in the salvation of Christ. Still better was his sermon on the General Thanksgiving-day on the prophet Ezekiel’s message—“Ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I have wrought with you for my name’s sake.”

The events of two years had developed, the Empire had been proclaimed, and the preacher found these eight causes for gratitude—the close of such a war; its restricted limits ; the marvellous supply of a military and civil agency for the suppression of anarchy ; the safety of Western India ; the steadfastness of the native Church, even to martyrdom; the administrative reforms; the lessons to the natives themselves ; and the increased zeal in Great Britain for their good. Dr. Wilson, like all observers on the spot who knew the facts, made this admission—“ Our highest civil authorities were asleep when the catastrophe happened.” Lord Canning’s own confession of his fatal mistakes, especially that of not disarming the Dinapore sepoys and so precipitating the horrors of Cawnpore and delays of Lucknow, is sufficient. But the incapacity of his paralysed advisers bore the one good fruit on his part of an apparently calm clemency, even in the face of the five stern Acts ; and Dr. Wilson noted with satisfaction, in a letter to Mr. C. Fraser Tytler, C.S., that the first Sabbath after the proclamation of the Empire “ both Lord and Lady Canning sent a contribution to the missions at Allahabad,” where the first Viceroy of the Crown then was. A little later he wrote, “ So they have at last got hold of Tatya ‘Topi’—Tokya, I think it will prove to be, for I know some of his family, as I opine, at Toka on the Godavery.”

The events of 1857 awoke the conscience of the English in India and at home. Governors like John Lawrence, and the Punjab school whom he had reared, became puritans almost of a Cromwellian stamp, in such public minutes as that from his pen which reviewed the relation of our Government to Christianity. The present Lord Kinnaird had headed an association to bring about the public and emphatic recognition of the duty of the Government of India to vindicate its character as a Christian administration. When asked to join in this movement Dr. Wilson’s broader knowledge and truer comprehension of the position led him to return this answer: While approving of the object he pronounced the movement inexpedient, because it was better to act on the indisputable fact that the British Government in all its dependencies is Christian, than to make a mere avowal founded on the apprehension that the Indian authorities questioned this. Writing on the 19th May 1860, he said :—

“1. What we ought to do is to assail every act done contrary to our constitutional standing when it occurs. We are stronger, I conceive, in our defiance of all parties violating our constitution than we should be after the most forcible declaration of duty, which might give rise to the surmise that we had doubts of the tenableness of our own position till its principle be reasserted.

“2. Notwithstanding all the sins and shortcomings of the British Government in India, it has not yet ventured to question in any categorical form ‘ the right, privilege, and duty of every Christian to support and promote the Christian religion, or directly called upon any Christian subject of the British Crown to_ relinquish his Christian rights and privileges.’ I do not see the propriety of our insinuating that it has in any general form denied the existence of the rights and privileges here referred to, however inconsistently it may have acted on particular occasions with the existence of these rights and privileges.

“3. The Government of India has done, and dare do, nothing to prevent its Christian servants giving their private funds to religious societies. An attempt to do something like this by the Directors of the East India Company proved abortive. In the face of Lord Ellenborough we find all the religious Societies in India' getting their usual open support from Government officials, even of the highest standing—as for example Lord Elphinstone, who was the official Patron of the Bombay Bible Society, and in his own name a contributor to all the Episcopalian, Presbyterian, Congregational and Lutheran Missions in our neighbourhood. No officials, as far as I know, have been challenged for acting in their private capacity in our evangelistic committees for visiting and examining our mission schools, or of late years for speaking on religious subjects, or distributing bibles, books, or tracts. An unnecessary limit seems to have been hinted at in connection with the attendance of officials at native baptisms, but better seek to remove this limit on its individual demerits by discussions in Parliament and other appliances, than to assail it by a Declaration embracing principles which are yet unchallenged. Even as matters stand, it is just as likely that the Government will take no more notice of the attendance at native baptisms as that any real Christian official will neglect to attend them (when Christian expediency requires him to countenance them) because of the partial restriction of Government.

“4. A Bill is at present before the Legislative Council, the object of which is to free the officials of Government from taking any part as such in the management of Hindoo and Muhammadan endowments. It may be better to watch this bill than to seek subscriptions to a document embracing with various other matters the principle on which it is founded.”

Lord Canning had called on Mr. R. N. Cust, then a high civil officer in the Punjab, for an explanation of his presence at the baptism of a sepoy, and had effectually stopped the work of inquiry in the loyal regiment of Muzbee or low-caste Sikhs. Rut these proved to be the last flickerings of a spirit of antagonism to liberty which was more ignorant or timid than it was malicious. The battle for full toleration and equity, begun when Dr. Wilson landed in Lord William Ben-tinck’s time, was near its close, and such an association as that proposed would only have postponed that close by unnecessarily rousing antagonisms.

Besides the Vernacular Education Society, the special efforts of the Bible, Tract, and great Missionary Societies, and the establishment of an American mission in Oudh, as the results of the Mutiny, the most important and permanently fruitful enterprise was that of the United Presbyterian Church of Scotland. Dr. Wilson had by himself, or by the agents he stimulated, seen the whole field of western and central India, from Bombay to Kathiawar and Sindh, and from Satara to Nagpore, mapped out by the Church, while to Mesopotamia, Arabia, Abyssinia, and eastern Africa, the divine message had sounded out. He had in desire long before taken possession of Rajpootana, and now he sent his brother Kirk in Scotland thither. This was for him the outcome of the Mutiny, the atonement alike for the dark ignorance that prompted and the swift vengeance that overtook its leaders.

At the close of 1858 the Rev. Dr. Somerville, foreign secretary of the United Presbyterian Church—which represents the earlier seceders from the Established Kirk, as the Free Church consists of the later—along with Mr. Cooper, his old colleague in the Konkan, who had become minister of Eala, turned to Dr. Wilson for advice and help in the projected mission to Rajpootana. The case was just that of the Irish Presbyterian Church in Kathiawar over again. Once more Dr. Wilson expressed his “peculiar pleasure,’’ and his gratitude to God that this work was to be done at last. With Rajpootana as a mission field only three others could be compared, he wrote on the 3d March 1859—the Muhammadan state of the Nizam, and the Maratha principalities of Sindia and Holkar, which shut in Rajpootana to the south. But to their claims of area, population, spiritual destitution and influence on others, Rajpootana added the advantage of a central field more directly under British rule at that time, while it was in the line of Presbyterian missions in the west and north-west of India, “ among whom the most friendly relations and co-operations, if not absolute union, at no distant day will doubtless exist.” The English fear of the hot winds he met in his own pleasant way, by declaring, from his experience, that they are not particularly unhealthy or restrictive of missionary labour.

Then follow, in this and the subsequent correspondence, exhaustive details, topographical, political, historical, and ethnological, regarding the Rajpoots and their country. The twenty years’ work of the mission which he established at Beawur, side by side with administrative progress and the annual extension of railways and roads, have since incorporated the wild States and warlike princes of the deserts, hills, and small cities of Rajastan, in one now civilised territory. Dr. Wilson’s letters remain a proof of his unconquerable zeal, rare self-denial, and statesmanlike breadth of view, which, in language most creditable to it, the Church he assisted again and again strove to acknowledge.

The Rev. Messrs. W. Shoolbred, D.D., and Steel, able students of the University of Edinburgh in their day, were the two missionaries sent forth as pioneers. Dr. Wilson had urged their arrival at Bombay in October, that, going with them, he might introduce them to the Maharaja of Jodhpore,. the first king in point of importance in Rajpootana, whose acquaintance he had made in Goojarat in 1840, and who had often referred to the intercourse since ; as well as to Sir George Lawrence, the Governor-General’s agent, who had there succeeded his lamented brother Sir Henry. We leave Dr. Shoolbred to describe his intercourse with Dr. and Mrs. Wilson in the tour which they made together by sea to Surat, and thence for thirty marches to Beawur, during which, at Erinpoora, Mr. Steel died, as Mr. Kerr had done under similar circumstances in Kathiawar :—

“From the end of October 1859, till the middle of March 1860, we were thrown constantly together. As Dr. Wilson moved among the elite of the European society of Bombay, or was honoured in the brilliant receptions of native princes, or mingled among the crowds in the native bazaars, or gathered the village peasantry around him that he might tell them of a Saviour ; in the house and by the way, in bright drawing-rooms and dingy dak bungalows, in health and in sickness, I had abundant opportunities of observing and admiring the true Christian gentleman and devoted missionary of the Cross. In those days, before railways were known or dreamt of in Rajpootana, we made the long journey from Surat to Beawur on horseback or bullock-cart. This in itself involves an amount of hardness and roughness which often severely tries the patience and ruffles the temper even of the most amiable of men. But these trials were greatly intensified during that sad journey by the illness and death of my colleague, Mr. Steel, which protracted the journey, and shed the deepest gloom over the most of its hours. In these trying circumstances, however, the true nobility of his character only shone more clearly out. Never do I remember his temper to have been ruffled or his patience to have given way. His own and his dear wife’s deep sympathy with the sufferer, and the affectionate kindness with which they watched over and nursed him, could scarcely have been surpassed by his own parents’ loving care. All that their great kindness and cheering presence was to me in that hard beginning of my missionary career I would vainly strive to express.

“What struck me most in Dr. Wilson’s character was, perhaps, the rare blending of deep scholarliness with the utmost buoyancy, almost boyishness, of heart. On the literature, philology, and ethnology of India, he was a perfect mine of learning, and delighted to pour out his treasures in the most lavish way into the ear of a sympathising listener. But such was the fresh buoyancy of his nature that a string of pleasantries and puns would succeed a deep disquisition on some obscure philological point, just as the lights and shadows chase each other across the summer hills. I remember his winding up an interesting account of the geology of Elephanta by placing in my hand what, but for its lightness, I would have deemed a specimen of conglomerate rock; and then, after enjoying my puzzled look, laughingly informing me that it was a piece of Scotch plumcake as it appeared after the long voyage to India. Conversations on graver matters at the breakfast-table were now and again relieved by showers of linguistic puns. Punning on the Marathee names for butter, honey, and sugar, he would smilingly ask, "Isn’t it a strange thing that people in India eat muck and mud on their bread, and sweeten their tea with misery? And then, when it came to the dessert, and attention was called to the large pamalo (a species of shaddock) forming the centre dish, he would propound the conundrum,

"Why is the pamalo like William the Third of England V To which came the obvious answer, 'Because it is the Prince of Orange.’ Thus, too, on the journey, many a trying and anxious moment was relieved by little pleasantries that flowed spontaneously from the depths of a simple and loving heart, which long contact with the world and knowledge of men had failed to rob of its fresh boyishness.

“His devotion to archaeological studies was very great, and he never missed an opportunity of prosecuting them. I remember his relating how, when eager to visit the interior of a famous Hindoo temple, he had been almost foiled by the Brahman in charge having insisted on his taking off his boots ; and how he had surmounted the difficulty by getting the Brahman to carry him through the temple on his back for a consideration, and how, as he lingered longer than his sacred ‘ beast of burden ’ bargained for, and the bearer complained of his increasing weight, he easily coaxed him into setting him down, boots and all, on the holy pavement, and was allowed unmolested to pursue his archaeological inquiries to a close.

“On our journey up country, when we arrived at the ancient town of Sidhpore, one of the Hindoos’ sacred places of pilgrimage, his eagerness to visit the shrines was irrepressible. He would scarcely wait till our early dinner was over, and while the sun was still high and hot he hurried me off with him to the town. With characteristic self-forgetfulness he would have exposed himself and me, unprotected, to the fierce sunshine, had not Mrs. Wilson, with her ever-watchful care, furnished us with umbrellas, and insisted on our using them. The eager archaeologist climbed the one hundred and twenty steps leading to the shrines with an alacrity that put to shame his younger companion, and sent my pulse up to fever point. Through the long afternoon and evening he dragged me from shrine to shrine, examining, inquiring, and as often informing those whom he questioned, and finished up by gathering round us a great crowd in the bazaar, and for a full half-hour preaching to these dark idolaters Christ the Saviour, with a power and fervour which his previous labours seemed to have left wholly unexhausted.

“And this leads me to speak of the admirable balance in Dr. Wilson’s character, which ever kept him from sinking the missionary in the man of science, or, in his omnivorous eagerness in the pursuit of knowledge, from forgetting the still higher and nobler work of the Christian missionary—the enlightening and saving of heathen souls. I had been delighted, while in Bombay, to see him with his students in the Institution, pouring out to them the treasures of his almost exhaustless knowledge, and seeking earnestly to lead them to the foot of the Cross. Chiefly had I been touched by seeing how he moved among the members of his Native Church, and was looked up to by them as a dear and loving father, to whom they could come with all their griefs and troubles, ever sure of warm sympathy, consolation, and aid. No less was I delighted on the journey by his constant devoted labours as an evangelist. Whether in the Raja’s palace or beside the village well, to prince and peasant alike, he eagerly seized every opportunity of speaking a word for Christ. And I was ever and again constrained to admire the ease with which he adapted his addresses to the character of his audience, and the readiness with which he won their attention and in many cases enlisted their sympathies in favour of his message.

“Here I would note another contrast in his character, no less striking than that to which I have already called attention. As a writer or speaker of English Dr. Wilson was apt to be somewhat stiff and stilted. His style was heavy and his periods Johnsonian. For this reason he was less effective as an English preacher than his richly varied knowledge and great ability ought to have made him. Judging of his power to persuade solely from his English style, it is not to be wondered at that Dr. Norman Macleod gave expression to the opinion, that even a century of such preaching would fail to make converts. But had the genial Doctor understood the Indian vernacular, and heard Dr. Wilson preach in that, he would have found reason not only to modify but reverse his judgment. As a vernacular preacher he was simple, direct, and effective. Even with my imperfect knowledge of the language in those days, I felt this, and could note the effect which he produced in winning the attention, and not rarely even the sympathies of his audiences. During the whole journey, so long as he could make himself understood in Hindostanee, he continued to preach in the towns and villages through which we passed; and it was only when, after penetrating into Marwar, he found the people with their uncouth dialects unable to understand him, that he was reluctantly obliged to desist. His journal of the tour will show how eagerly he then devoted himself to the study of the dialectic varieties of the Marwaree, so as to form the key to its mastery But his evangelistic efforts were not confined to these more public ministrations. He no less eagerly seized every opportunity while conversing with individual natives of turning the conversation on Christ and His Gospel. With our small guard of Sikh cavalry, and specially with their bright and intelligent Naik, during many a long and weary march he kept up the most lively and interesting conversations on religion as he walked his little hill pony beside their tall and imposing chargers. It was his delight to draw them out about their sacred Granth and its tenets, and to show the more excellent way and sure salvation which Christ offers to all who come to him by faith.

“In his whole character and conduct indeed, he seemed to me the beau ideal of a Christian missionary—uniting in one the scholar, the gentleman, and the evangelist, and consecrating all his scholarship, his great acquirements, his knowledge of men and of the world, to the cherished and absorbing work of commending his Lord and Master to the hearts and consciences of men. Like the great Apostle of the Gentiles, he was willing to become all things to all men, if by any means he might win some.

“I have already spoken of the great kindness and comfort ministered by Dr. and Mrs. Wilson to my lamented colleague so long as he lived, and to myself. In like manner I could speak at great length of his most valuable services in introducing me to my future field of labour at Beawur ; and in breaking up and smoothing my path by his most judicious and valuable advice and counsel. But feeling that I have already unduly extended my notice, I must forbear. I would only add that the true breadth of the great man’s nature came out while initiating an English service at Beawur. Finding that the greater number of English residents at the station were Episcopalians, he at once arranged that their wishes should be met by the commanding officer’s reading the Church of England Service, while the missionaries’ should comprise a brief Presbyterian service, with preaching at its close. He himself began this mixed service, which has been found to work admirably for many years. I shall ever cherish the memory of Dr. Wilson as one of the greatest and best of men and missionaries. I regard his loss with all the greater regret that such a combination of high qualities as he presented is singularly rare, and that with him, I fear, has passed away the last of a noble type of Christian missionary.”

The opening of a Christian Mission among the caste-bound and native tribes of Rajpootana seemed to some in India a delicate experiment just after the Mutiny, and, indeed, as its fruit. But Sir George Edmonstone, then Lieutenant-Governor of the North-Western Provinces of which Ajmer was a part, did not, demi-officially through Sir George Couper, his secretary and now his successor, do more than write thus of the missionaries, after recommending Nusseerabad instead of Beawur as their headquarters:—“These gentlemen cannot be interfered with, and all that can be done is to beg them to be undemonstrative in their operations; to refrain from declaring that they are there with the purpose of converting any particular tribe ; and generally, to exercise their functions unobtrusively and with discretion.” This called forth from Dr. Wilson an expression of “ due appreciation of the kind consideration in which the communication originated,” his reasons for preferring Beawur, and a reply to the doubtless unconscious and certainly well-meant attempt of the officials to smuggle the mission into the province. These hints, he wrote, would meet with the respectful attention of Dr. Shoolbred and those who might join him, but “their evangelistic commission is to all classes of the people, whom it is their admitted duty to conciliate and not unreasonably .to offend, even while they stand on the basis of that religious toleration and civil protection which are extended to all classes of religionists in this country both in profession and in prose-lytism.” Dr. Wilson had fought for this freedom, and had purchased it with the great price of thirty years’ toil, and the Mutiny had confirmed the expediency as well as justice of the claim. Colonel Eden was officiating for Sir George Lawrence at the time, March 1860, or no such correspondence would have taken place probably. It has proved to be the last of the kind even in Native States. But cities like Hyderabad and Gwalior are still without missionaries, although the Rev. Narayan Sheshadri has a prosperous mission at Jalna, in the Nizam’s country, and Dr. Valentine has, like Dr. Bough ton at the court of the Emperor Shah Jahan, used the physician’s art for still nobler ends in the court of Jeypore.

How baseless were even the lurking relics of apprehension in the Lieutenant-Governor’s letter was soon proved by the princes of Rajpootana and Indore themselves, in the avidity with which they sought Dr. Wilson’s presence and the honour with which they received the great missionary and his wife. At Baroda the Gaikwar, Khunde Bao, whose brother and successor was recently banished by Lord Northbrook, was most complimentary to Dr. Wilson at a private audience, especially on the many books the missionary had written, which his Highness pronounced as “works of great difficulty.” Dr. Wilson made vain attempts to induce the Gaikwar to found a secondary school in his capital, and a system of primary schools throughout the State.

“On Sabbath the 22d January, after preaching in Hindostanee and Marathee to our servants and others, I baptized in the open air a Brahman, from the Himalaya mountains, near Kangra, named Chinturam. This young man, of twenty-three years of age, has accompanied us from Bombay, where, for a year and a half residing in the General Assembly’s Institution, he had enjoyed the public services of our mission. He was educated through the Hindostanee, both in Government and Mission schools (those of the Church of England and American Presbyterians in the North-Western Provinces), and has considerable intelligence. On the cruel murder by the mutineers of the Rev. Mr. Hunter and Mrs. Hunter, at Sialkot, where they had been founding a mission in connection with the Established Church of Scotland, he attached himself, from motives of benevolence, to a convert who had accompanied them thither, and assisted in reconducting him to Bombay, where he (Chinturam) was very anxious to make my personal acquaintance, on account of the impression which the perusal of my Exposure of Hindooism in Hindee had made on his mind in his first religious inquiries. He left Bombay with us, desiring to make a profession of Christianity in his native country ; but quickened by the divine word which he had often heard from my lips on this journey, he found that he could no longer delay publicly espousing the cause of the Lord. I have a high opinion of his Christian character.

“Jodhpore, 15th February.—This Mar war is the darkest province of India in which I have ever been ; and greatly is it to be regretted that it has never hitherto been visited by any missionary of the Cross. I saw much of a fearful and obscene character at Palee, its commercial capital, and here at its political capital I find matters in a most extraordinary position both religiously and socially. The Maharaja Tukht Singh (whom we saw at Ahmed-nuggur in 1840) is giving me a most kind reception, and has appointed a grand durbar on my account this evening, at the close of which Mrs. Wilson and I start again for Palee, which, through relays of bullocks, furnished us by the Raja, we hope to reach to-morrow forenoon, though the distance over sandy roads is forty-two miles. Captain Nixon, the Political Agent, is absent investigating a case of Traga, in which a Charan has killed his mother, to bring her blood in a local quarrel upon an opposing party ; but we are most kindly treated by Mrs. Nixon, with whom we are staying. Yesterday I spent many hours with the learned men of the durbar. The chief Brahman is positively like another Sayana Acharya, interpreting the Yedas by the ancient helps to their understanding. The chief Charan has mastered the Mahabliarata and all the local chronicles of the Rajpoots, on which Colonel Tod drew so copiously and credulously. Both these worthies think that Hindooism (as ‘ prophesied ’) is nearly at its end. The blood of all the princes they held to be corrupted by unholy matrimonial alliances, and a departure from the established institutes of their faith. Their achara they consider worse than that of Soodras (low castes). They are in possession of rich literary treasures, grammatical and expository, of which Europeans have yet heard nothing. They were very much interested in the sketch I gave them of the European investigation of the Vedas, and allowed that it explains much which they had observed, while it leaves many difficulties (principally founded on the erroneous idea of the ‘ eternity ’ of the Vedas) unsolved. A report of all that passed between us on Hindooism and Christianity would fill a number of the Oriental Christian Spectator. I see that the Maharaja has a very difficult part to play in the midst of the various powers by which he is surrounded. ‘Non-interference’ has hitherto been the cruel and unjust maxim of the British Government with the Kajpoot States. It is perfectly incompatible with our guarantee to preserve the internal peace of the provinces. Its corollary is ‘ Safe Tyranny.’ ”


“Ambrolie, Bombay, 11th April 1860.— You will be thankful to hear that, through the goodness of God, we have reached our home in safety after a most fatiguing journey. We left our kind friends at Beawur on the evening of the 9th March for Nusseerabad, where we stayed for two days, and on the 12th left by bullock train, via Indore, Malligaum, etc. The advantage of this train is that you can get a change of bullocks every six or eight miles, which enables you to get over the ground more rapidly than by daily stages of ten or twenty miles with the same bullocks, as we used to travel. Our desire was to get home as soon as possible, though the fatigue should be greater, but I should not like to do it again in similar circumstances, as it was too trying for my dear husband. We could not get a spring cart, and were obliged to travel in a common village cart, with a roof of bamboos, and covered with carpets, in which we had to lie by day and night, as the roof was too low for us to sit up.

“Between Neemuch and Mhow there are no traveller’s bungalows, nor any place of shelter, so for some days we just halted for some hours in the middle of the day under some trees, for a little rest and refreshment, quite in gipsy style. When we got to Mhow we hoped to get a more comfortable cart; and we got one much larger and higher in the roof, but it was made of iron, and was very rough, and the noise it made was something fearful. Sleep in it was impossible, and Dr. Wilson got quite knocked up and had a good deal of fever during the last ten days of the journey. I wonder how I stood it so well, for I could sleep neither by day nor by night, and the heat was great, in the day time from 95° to 104°, with a high scorching wind, blowing up the dust in tornadoes, and making us as black as sweeps. We travelled in this way about 700 miles, and the Lord in His great mercy brought us here, in peace and safety, on the evening on the 5th. The last forty miles of our journey was by the railway, and when we got into it the change was most agreeable and soothing to the brain, and to our bones, which had been sorely shaken for three weeks.

“We got to Neemuch on 16th March, and spent two days with friends ; on Sabbath my husband conducted worship in the library. There is neither a church nor a chaplain there, though the European troops amount to fully 1500. It is very sad to see so many large stations without any means of grace. Our next halting-place was Indore, where we spent two days, chiefly with Sir Richmond and Lady Shakespeare. They are very kind, good people. On the afternoon of Friday there was a grand durbar held, when Holkar had the right of adoption granted to him, and he was presented with some handsome presents by the Government for his fidelity during the Mutiny. (He was true to the British, though his loyalty was rather doubtful at the time.

Dr. Wilson had some conversation with him, hut of course that was not the time nor the place for any religious discussion. When we were preparing to leave next day Holkar sent a very urgent request that my husband should meet him in the afternoon at his country palace, as he was most anxious to see him again, and he offered to send us on to Mhow in the evening in his carriage with changes of horses. Dr. Wilson was delighted to have an opportunity of presenting him with a copy of the Bible and other books, and of conversing with him on the Christian religion. I had intended to sit in the carriage in the garden of the palace during the interview, but Holkar very politely sent for me, and begged of me to sit down beside himself and all the learned Brahmans, whom he had assembled to have a discussion with the learned Doctor from Bombay.

“Holkar is a pleasant-looking man about thirty; he was quite plainly dressed, but wore some handsome jewels. He sat in a chair at the end of a long table. At one side sat his prime minister, then Dr. Wilson and myself, and some of his courtiers. On his other side sat a row of learned Pundits and Brahmans, who had been called together for the occasion. At Holkar’s request Dr. Wilson and they entered into a discussion on the sacred books of the Hindus and other kindred subjects. They got quite frightened when my husband repeated some Sanskrit quotations, and when they saw how well prepared he was to argue with them, and to point out the absurdities of their system. Holkar and some others who were present seemed to enjoy their discomfiture. We proceeded to Mhow in his carriage (fourteen miles), where we arrived late at night, and were kindly received by Mr. and Mrs. Paton. They were quite strangers to us; he is the chaplain to the 72d Highlanders, he is of the Established Church, and had lately married a lady from Edinburgh. We spent two days with them very pleasantly. He seems to be a good man, and well suited for the work to which he has been called. At six o’clock on Sabbath morning Dr. Wilson preached to about 800 soldiers and officers.

“Our next Sabbath was spent at Malligaum, where my dear husband was very poorly, but he was able to take the Marathee service in a schoolroom at the request of the missionaries of the Church Mission, two of whom are stationed there. We reached home on the following Thursday evening, when we received such a warm welcome from the dear converts and others as quite affected us. Their faces beamed with delight on seeing us restored to them after so many trials ; and we felt truly thankful to be reunited to them. We feel the soft sea breeze very pleasant, and my dear husband is gradually recovering. He is very busy preparing his reports to go by this mail for the General Assembly.

“Our good friends Dr. and Mrs. Miller leave this evening by the home mail. We shall miss them very much. He has been appointed as elder to the Assembly, and I hope whilst he is at home he may be of use to our mission. There was a large meeting here last evening, a farewell party to the Millers—there were at it about thirty Europeans and a number of converts. After tea an address from the native church to them was read by Mr. Dhunjeebhoy, expressing their gratitude for Dr. Miller’s medical aid extended to them, and for many other acts of kindness and sympathy, and they presented him with a very handsome Bible, and Mrs. Miller with Cowper’s works.”


“We were often as much covered with dust on the road as the sweeps with soot in chimneys in my young days. Yet we had some pleasant interludes by the way, as at Cliittor, Neemucli, Jawara, Indore, etc. The Nawab of Jawara, and Holkar, and their people, I found very inquisitive on the subject of religion, as I had found some other Kajas. Nothing would satisfy Holkar but a long and formal discussion between his Brahmans and myself. He acted as chairman, and that in an impartial spirit. At the close he said to Mrs. Wilson, who was accommodated near the arena, ‘ I shall never forget this day ; I have got much new light to-day.’ He was evidently much disappointed by the appearance made by the Brahmans. They put several questions to me, which the Maharaja declared to be inept; and he himself took their place, boldly asking, ‘ Why do you kill animals ? ’ My answer was in substance as follows :—‘ Maharaja, that is a question for yourself as well as for me. You kill all sorts of clean animals for food, except cows. For the same reason that you kill fowls, goats, sheep, etc., I kill cows, getting suitable food from them not forbidden by God. I admire the Sanskrit language. The best word for man in it is manushya, which means, ‘ he that has a mind.’ The word for cattle is pashu (Latin, pecu), ‘that which may be tied.’ Man is an intellectual and moral being, created for the service of God; cattle are created for the service of man. The Yedas show that the ancient Hindus ate them, and you may eat them too. Death is not to them what it is to us. Even the pain which they suffer at death by violence may be very slight. Dr. Livingstone, when he was overpowered by a lion, from a sort of electrical excitement which he experienced suffered no pain.’ ‘Yes,’ said the Maharaja, ‘the question is my own, and you have given a good answer to it. I am always troubled by my friends opposite. ’ I attribute all the scrupulosity about the use of animal food to the doctrine of the Hindus about birth after birth. I think it would have done the heart of some of our more timid Politicals good to have seen all these go off in good temper on both sides.”

But the new or extended agencies of the Churches of Great Britain, the United States, and Germany, fell short in far-reaching consequences of the catholic system of public instruction which was legislatively established in 1857. That system was directly the work of the missionary party. It was, and is still, the result not of a compromise but of cooperation between the Government or secular State and all non-government or proselytising bodies, Heathen and Christian, who choose to give a sound education to the people in addition to any religious instruction of which the State, as the ruler of millions of men of differing creeds, cults, and customs, can officially take no cognisance at this stage. The State, however, does not ignore natural or even revealed religion. But, calling Universities into existence, and placing them under an executive largely separate from itself, the Government at once puts the higher education in its proper place of self-developing independence, and it provides bodies competent to examine students of all the great religions, as they appear in the literature, the philosophy, the history, the laws, and in fact the sacred books of each. Questions long discussed in the Christian Parliament of the mother country, and not concluded even yet for Ireland, were in 1857, under far more conflicting circumstances, settled for ever on the true basis of complete toleration and fearless confidence in the ultimate triumph of truth. And the men who brought that about were John Marshman, heir of the Serampore men; Alexander Duff; and John Wilson.

Everywhere in India the East India Company first refused to teach or to tolerate teachers, and when compelled by Parliament under the influence of Charles Grant, Wilberforce, and Zachary Macaulay, taught Hindooism and Muhammadanism only, while intolerant to all dissent from either. By 1835 Dr. Duff, Macaulay, and the Anglicists under Lord William Bentinck, gradually changed that in Eastern and Dr. Wilson in Western India. But till 1854 these and other educational reformers were discouraged by Government, as such, because they were also Christian proselytisers. The Government and the independent systems of public instruction went on side by side. All the public money was given to the former, which was neutral only in profession and Hindoo-Muhammadan in practice, the latter being maintained by the Churches of the West so far as it was Christian, and by a few educated native gentlemen so far as it -was aggressively Hindoo. When in 1853 the Company applied to Parliament for what proved to be its last charter, the evidence given by most of the experts, and especially by Dr. Duff and Mr. Marshman, showed the folly of the rivalry on every side —of principle, of even secular efficiency, of economy. Lord Northbrook, accordingly, when private secretary to the present Lord Halifax who was then President of the old Board of Control, drafted a despatch from all the evidence, and also from the notes of Dr. Duff; and the Court of Directors sent that out to Lord Dalhousie, with instructions to carry it into effect. That Governor-General, who had been helping Mr. Thomason with his thousands of primary circle schools in Upper India, and was maintaining the Bethune girls’ school out of his own pocket, was delighted with this despatch of July 1854. At the foundation it placed vernacular schools for the millions, and then a secondary and partly English school in every district or county. Then it recognised existing colleges, State and independent, Hindoo, Muhammadan, and Christian, Parsee and East Indian; offering grants in aid to all on the test of secular efficiency, while maintaining its own until endowed, or independent but aided effort as in England, could relieve it of the burden of direct teaching. The whole arch was bound together by the three Universities of Calcutta, Bombay, and Madras, chiefly examining bodies like that of London, but fitted to have Chairs of their own in time, as some now have. The Senate of each consisted of worthy representatives of all educational agencies, of whatever creed. The Syndicate or. executive body appointed by the Arts, Law, Medical, and Engineering Faculties of the Senate, regulated the whole education of the country by fixing standards and text-books, and selecting the examiners for degrees. Theoretically the scheme was perfect.

Practically the new policy worked well for a time, because men of the wisdom, experience, and tact as well as principle of Wilson and Duff, were able to preside at the launching of what they had designed. In a letter to their committee in Edinburgh, written by Dr. Wilson and signed also by Mr. Nesbit not long before his death, they reviewed the provisions of the despatch. Unhappily the succession, as Governor, of Sir George Clerk, who with all his merits retained the Company’s political prejudices against Christian missions, and the action of Directors and Inspectors of Public Instruction, obstructed the fair working of the new system of grants in aid until the appointment of Sir Alexander Grant as head of the department. But that opposition was temporary, and it did not affect the more independent University and colleges.

“Bombay, 8th May 1855.—Your important letter on the Despatch to the Government of India on the subject of Education was duly received, and copies of it have been forwarded by Dr. Wilson to the Dekhan and Nagpore. We rejoice to learn from it that our Committee at home are disposed to concur in our co-operation with Government in carrying its provisions into effect in so far as they may be found to apply to our missionary establishments. The issue of that Despatch, we conceive, constitutes a new and promising epoch in connection with the intellectual and moral enlightenment of this great country. It fully recognises important principles for which we have long and strenuously contended in this Presidency. It forms a discriminative and judicious estimate of the comparative claims of the vernacular and learned languages of India and of English as media of instruction. It makes a very cordial acknowledgment of the benefits derived by India from the missionary enterprise. It makes the Bible accessible for purposes of consultation to inquisitive youth within the walls of the Government seminaries. It permits the communication to them at extra hours of Christian instruction, voluntarily imparted and voluntarily received. It promises certain grants in aid of secular instruction, for certain definite objects, to all private scholastic institutions permitting government inspection and exacting a fee, however small, from the pupils. It proposes the foundation of Universities at the Presidencies, for granting honours and degrees to India youth of requisite attainments. It sanctions the affiliation with these Universities'of all seminaries rightly conducted and furnishing the requisite amount of education. It has our full approbation as far as it goes, and we shall rejoice to find its provisions speedily carried into effect in the spirit in which it has been framed.

“In referring to the moral relations of that Despatch, we must mention, what the members of our Committee cannot have failed to notice, that it offers the same assistance in the communication of sound secular instruction to seminaries founded and conducted on heathen principles that it does to those which are founded and conducted on Christian principles. In doing so, it does not seem to us to recognise any principle of religious latitudinarianism. It simply offers to all a common blessing, without adopting any action with reference to higher blessings on the one hand, or to what may prove an injury and a curse on the other. It leaves its own expression of respect to Christian institutions to remain unmodified by what it proposes to do with reference to those of another character. Sound secular instruction, imparted without any ignoring or depreciating of Christianity, can in no degree favour heathenism or error of any kind. To a certain extent it will be a counteraction of that error. The grants-in-aid will, we hope, be so administered, according to the Despatch, as to go to the encouragement and support only of sound secular knowledge. We do not see that such an appropriation of them will increase the resources of heathenism. To a certain extent it will direct the native resources to what is good, as they will be needed for that effort which is required to secure the progress in secular knowledge which the Government inspection demands. While we make these remarks, we do not in any degree compromise our own views of the supreme importance of the combination of right religious education and training with secular instruction.

“But it is with the probable effects of the Despatch on our missionary undertakings that we have most to do, though we have considered this reference to its general moral bearings essential to our judgment of its acceptability to the Christian community. It will open a wide field to the operation of our Bible and Tract Societies and missionary presses. It will call for an increase of missionary agency, with a view to the hallowing of the secular instruction which it directly encourages. It will do more than this. It will aid the missionary institutions in that department of their labours which embraces secular knowledge. But missionaries and their supporters must vow before God and man not to dilute or diminish their religious instruction in their seminaries on this account. While, as hitherto, they communicate a sound secular instruction, they must never fail to act on the principle of combining this instruction with that of an infinitely higher character.

“To Government inspection, conducted as we trust it will be in a courteous, liberal, and impartial spirit, we cannot object ; while of course we repudiate all right on the part of Government to interfere with the management of our seminaries. Government is entitled to see to the faithful appropriation of its own educational grants.

“To the exaction of a fee from such of our pupils as may be willing and able to pay it, as a condition of our receiving Government help, we do not object. In fact, in a modified form, we have all along acted on this principle to a certain extent in our higher seminary in Bombay. It is our rule to. exact an admission fee of one rupee from the pupils for the reasons mentioned at p. 484 of Dr. Wilson’s Evangelisation of India. The advanced pupils generally aid us in instructing the lower classes, partly in compensation for the instruction which they themselves receive in our College Department. We are willing to extend our demands in that Institution and in all our schools, without excluding from their benefits any who may be unable or unwilling to make a money payment. The evangelistic feature of our educational establishment must be preserved. To the poor, who are not the least hopeful in a missionary point of view, the Gospel must be taught in all our schools without money and without price. We are willing to adopt the principle of payment, as far as it may be practicable, as a ride, but we must have full liberty to make exceptions whenever they may be proper and expedient. We should never be excused by our own consciences, or by our Christian brethren at home and abroad, were we to act otherwise. We hope that Government will give us full latitude in this matter. At all events, we must follow in regard to it our own solemn convictions. The Government, we believe, will place the charitable support which our schools receive in the place, in some instances, of the fees which are elsewhere exacted. It is perhaps not a matter of much consequence that all our vernacular schools, which are almost wholly devoted to the communication of scriptural knowledge, should in present circumstances be connected with the Government scheme.”

It was on the 18th July 1857, in the darkest hour of the Mutiny, that the University of Bombay received its charter. We applaud the inhabitants of Leyden, said Dr. Wilson afterwards when speaking as its Vice-Chancellor, who concerted measures for founding a University even during the terrible siege of their town by the Spaniards in 1573, when 6000 of their number perished by famine and pestilence, and who devoted to that University the remission of taxes offered them as a reward for their patriotism. Shall we, he asked, withhold the meed of praise from the Government of India ?

Long and detailed were the discussions of the new Senate in working out regulations for the University. The share which Dr. Wilson had in these, and the success with which he secured due recognition of the Christian Philosophy and Literature, side by side with the non-Christian, and solely on the ground of confidence in truth and academic fitness, is seen in the following extracts from letters to Dr. Duff. Dr. Wilson wrote with the experience not only of one of the founders of the University, but as a member of the Syndicate, Dean of the Faculty of Arts, and an examiner in Sanskrit, Persian, Hebrew, Marathee, Goojaratee, and Hindostanee :—

“Had it not been for most strenuous and almost self-destroying efforts and exertions which I made from day to day during the first discussion of the bye-laws, there would have been no recognition in them, as subjects of study, of Moral Philosophy, of Jewish History, and of the Evidences of Christianity in the case of undergraduates electing them ; and had we not had a good backing in the addition to the Senate in 1861 of Messrs. Aitken, Dhunjeebhoy, and Stothert, I verily believe that good which has been since effected in other matters might not have been realised. Our combined yet independent action in the frequent meetings of the Senate and in the Faculty to which we belong, is of a most salutary character, while, as calls are made upon us, we can engage in the University examinations without any interruption of our mission work.”

“I send you the list of books (independent of those mentioned in our bye-laws) which we have lately chosen in our University, for a cycle of five years in advance of 1870. You will see from it that even in our University studies there is a good foundation for Christian tuition in the case of ardent, judicious, and otherwise competent missionaries. This remark has special reference to the English books prescribed, in connection with which the truths of Christianity may be easily and systematically taught. [A lecture which I delivered some three years ago on the Foundational Facts of Milton’s Paradise Lost, was attended by about 700 students.] In our Sanskrit course, till the B.A. is passed, we have prescribed the Tarkasangraha, the fundamental treatise of the Nyaya (the Theistic Philosophy holding, however, the eternity of atoms formed, fashioned, and directed by a Creator). The same Philosophy reappears in three of the five years in the M.A. course. From the Vedanta, which we have admitted for two years, we have eliminated the Brahma Sutras, with the Commentary of that formidable sophist Shankaracharya. The whole Sanskrit course I have all along most profitably contrasted with Christianity. Our Hebrew studies, not yet announced for the cycle, are from the Bible, which can maintain its place spite the Arabic Koran. For our systematic Biblical reading and lecturing we can maintain a due place, by insisting on the conditions of our missionary Institutions. It is a fact that the eagerness for graduation is a temptation to many young men to confine their attention to the studies prescribed by the Universities ; but what would be the consequence if, instead of opposing that temptation, we were to withdraw from the arena ? What would soon be the character of the Universities themselves ? What would soon be the state of the educated mind of India, which rules the native world? What? I may go on for hours suggesting most lamentable consequences.”

From the first meeting of the Senate to the last which he was able to attend, Dr. Wilson guided the course of the University of Bombay with affectionate solicitude and cultured catholicity of spirit. When the Government appointed the zealous Christian missionary and uncompromising pro-selytiser, Vice-Chancellor, it at once proclaimed practically the final abandonment of the last relics of the distrust of truth, and won the applause of educated men of all creeds and races in India. The Governor-General had offered the similar honorary but very influential office, of virtual director of the whole education of millions, to the good and the scholarly Bishop Cotton, who too modestly declined it. Had Dr. Duff remained longer in India he would have been nominated by Lord Lawrence. As Vice-Chancellor of Bombay, when, in the resplendent robes of his office, he took the chief part in the ceremonial of laying the foundation-stone of the University building designed by Sir Gilbert Scott, he thus chronicled the endowments presented by his native and non-Christian friends—endowments to be increased by himself in the foundation of the John Wilson Chair of Comparative Philology :

“The personal benevolence which we are required to acknowledge preceded that of the Government. Mr. Cowasjee Jehangliier Readymoney furnished the University in 1863 with one lakh of rupees (£10,000), now very considerably increased by accumulated interest, towards the erection of a University Hall. In 1864 Mr. Premchund Roychund presented us with two lakhs of rupees for the erection of a Library, and in the same year with another two lakhs of rupees for the erection of a Tower, to contain a large clock and a set of joy bells. Independently of the buildings, several most valuable endowments have been conferred on the University, as Rs. 20,000 in four per cent Government securities, by the Hon. Mnnguldass Nathoobhoy, for establishing a travelling fellowship ; Rs. 5000 (£500), by the family of the late Mr. Manockjee Limjee, for a gold medal to be given for the best English Essay on a prescribed subject ; Rs. 10,000 by Mr. Bugwandass Purshotumdass, for a Sanskrit scholarship ; Rs. 5000 by Mr. Homejee Cursetjee Dady Shet, for an annual gold medal for the best English Poem on a given subject offered in competition ; an endowment of six Sanskrit scholarships (three of Rs. 25 each, and three of Rs. 20 each per mensem), amounting altogether to Rs. 30,000, by Mr. Vinayekrao Jugonnathjee Sunkersett, in memory of his late father, the Hon. Jugonnath Sunkersett, one of the greatest supporters of education in the Bombay Presidency ; Rs. 45,000 by His Highness the Jam of Nowa-nuggur, for an English scholarship to be held by a native of Kathiawar ; Rs. 5000 in four per cent notes, by Mr. Cowasjee Jehangliier Readymoney, for founding a Latin Scholarship ; and Rs. 5000 from the members of the Civil Service and other gentlemen, for an annual gold medal, as a prize in law, for the commemoration of the accomplishments and worth of the Hon. Alexander Kinloch Forbes, Judge of the High Court, and Vice-Chancellor of this University. In all these great and generous gifts, the liberality of Bombay, according to its wont, has been most distinguished and exemplary.

“Our University, thus auspiciously begun, will, it is confidently believed, continue to Mourisli. Under its direction and superintendence the inquisitive and ingenious Indian youth may effectively study the rich and varied languages, literature, history, and laws of England, of Italy, of Greece, of Judea, of Arabia, and of India ; have his mind disciplined and exercised by the sciences of mathematical demonstration and investigation, and of the dialectic art; expatiate in the near and remote, minute and grand regions of physical science ; contemplate what are still more wonderful, the faculties, functions, intuitions, and phenomena of the human mind ; dwell on the moral relationship of man to his Maker and to his fellow-creatures ; consider the economy of social and national government in all its connections ; prepare himself for the practice of the healing art, for the administration of justice, or for the application of engineering in all its departments, to the necessities, convenience, and gratification of the human family ; and train himself for the discharge of the general duties of life in the most varied circumstances. Its influence on the intellectual and moral state of its alumni on their ultimate position in this world, and on their prospects with regard to that which is to come, may surely be expected to be beneficial in no common degree. It is not merely with its alumni, however, that it will have to do. It will affect through them the whole community of Western India, if not of distant provinces and countries. It will, with the blessing of God, which we implore on its behalf, be for ages an eminent instrumentality in the enlightenment, civilisation, and regeneration of The East.”

It was in May 1860 that Bombay lost the services of its Governor, Lord Elphinstone, who had guided the province through perilous times with rare firmness, wisdom, and self sacrifice. He died soon after, leaving a name worthy to be placed beside that of his greater uncle’s, and perpetuated by more than one institution and building in the capital where he ruled so well.

Very beautiful were the relations, of which these glimpses have been given, between the Governor and the Missionary. Good reason had Lord Elphinstone to remark to Dr. H. Miller that to no man was he so indebted personally, for public and private services, as to Dr. Wilson, on whom he could not prevail to accept so much as the value of a shoe-latchet. When, in public meeting, moving the adoption of the farewell address which the province selected him to present to the retiring Governor, Dr. Wilson especially referred to his Excellency’s “ constant recognition of the great principles of religious toleration and humanity,” especially in the suppression of hook-swinging, and in securing to all, out-caste as well as Brahman, access to the public wells and cisterns.

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