Reformers in India, 1793-1833: An Account of the Work of Christian Missionaries on Behalf of Social Reform

Reformers in India, 1793-1833: An Account of the Work of Christian Missionaries on Behalf of Social Reform

Reformers in India, 1793-1833: An Account of the Work of Christian Missionaries on Behalf of Social Reform

Reformers in India, 1793-1833: An Account of the Work of Christian Missionaries on Behalf of Social Reform

Excerpt

The recording of Christian missionary activity in India in the earlier part of the nineteenth century has depended very largely upon the writing of active members of missionary societies or of equally active discreditors of missionary work. In this book I have attempted to describe what the missionaries did rather than what hoped to do or what they ought or ought not to have done. I would say at once, however, that I have written only of the missionaries' more strictly social work, since I believe the extent of their success or failure in their work of evangelism to be beyond human assessment. At the same time, I have tried constantly to show how the virtually subordinate schemes for social reform which the missionaries undertook derived their strength and their impetus from the main task of attempting to spread the Christian teaching.

In order to see the missionaries' activities in their true perspective it has been necessary to set them not only against the background of Indian life but also against that of the rapidly increasing influence of British authority in India. With that aim in view, the year 1793 and 1833 were singularly appropriate limits for a book. In 1793 the first agents of the newer missionary societies arrived in India. In the same year the East India Company's Charter was renewed but the Act of Renewal omitted the House of Commons Resolution which had urged the Presidency Governments to take steps for the improvement of the education and social conditions of their Indian subjects. The year 1813 aptly marks the middle of the period. For, with the further renewal of the Company's Charter, missionaries who hitherto had obtained a licence to enter India from the Court of Directors only with the greatest difficulty, and who had in consequence frequently entered the country without permission, were now able to appeal to the Board of Control against an unfavourable reply to their . . .

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