Abbildungen der Seite

VI.-Mr. Longueville Clarke and the Missionaries. Our readers will remember, that about a year ago, we inserted in the Observer some unfair and invidious remarks on the Missionaries, by H. H. Wilson, Esq. of Sanscrit celebrity ; together with an able and triumphant vindication*. It is now our lot to direct their attention to a still more unjust and ungenerous attack, by L. Clarke, Esq. of legal notoriety. The attack was recently made, in the presence of the Supreme Court, on the hearing of the case of Brijonauth Ghose, of the nature of which a succinct notice

арpeared in our last. Mr. Clarke's unreasonable and unfounded charge led to an immediate correspondence between himself and the Rev. A. Duff

. Many of our readers must long ere now have become acquainted with the issue. No satisfactory explanation having been granted, the correspondence, with additional remarks, was published in the John Bull. It was soon afterwards extracted in another of the daily, and one of the weekly, Journals of the Presidency. On this account, we should not have felt ourselves called upon

to insert the whole in our pages, had it not been that many of our subscribers have urgently requested us to furnish them with a copy of the whole, in a form more likely to prove permanent than that of an ephemeral newspaper. We have yielded to the earnest solicitations of so respectable a number of our supporters; and lengthened though the correspondence be, we have resolved to give it a place in our pages :-appending a few additional notes and observations by Mr. Dufft.

The Editor of the Bull, we understand, with a promptitude that did him infinite honour, received and published the correspondence; and with a readiness scarcely less commendable, the Editors of the Calcutta Courier and the Philanthropist extracted the whole in their pages. And now we cannot do better than introduce the subject to our readers in the editorial remarks of the Bull. They are as follows: “ We offer no apology to our readers for surrendering a considerable portion of our space to a correspondence which has recently passed between Mr. Longueville Clarke, the Barrister, and the Rev. Mr. Duff, the Missionary, arising out of some expressions used by the former on the hearing of the case of Brijonauth Ghose. No class of men has at different times, and in different places, been more frequently the objects of unmerited vituperation than the Christian Missionaries, who are labouring in a right cause in India, and yet no men, we will make bold to say, have exhibited more patient endurance under their wrongs, or less anxiety to thrust their grievances before the public eye. They

* See Calcutta Christian Observer, Vol. i. Oct. 1832, p. 233.
+ These are distinguished by being enclosed in brackets.

have almost uniformly suffered the scoffs of their enemies to pass by them as the idle wind, preferring to leave to the silent but certain operation of time, the triumphant vindication of their conduct and the just appreciation of their cause. Such a course, however, though deserving of commendation, is not at all times safe. Repeated calumnies, exhibited to an unthinking multitude, and not refuted through the same medium as that which was chosen for their utterance, are liable to be caught up and adopted to the infinite prejudice of the parties concerned. It hence becomes a matter of duty occasionally to meet the calumniator on his own ground, and put him to the necessity of establishing the truth of his allegations, prove

his slanders to be false and unmerited. This course has been taken by Mr. Duff in the present instance, and when the importance of his cause is considered, and the probable effect of the imputations cast upon his labours and those of his brethren duly weighed, he will not be thought to have acted wrong.”


To the Editor of the John Bull. Sir,-) beg leave to submit to you the following correspondence and remarks. As the subject is deeply interesting to a large body of the community, I trust that you will insert the whole in your columns.

Your's very truly, 29th July, 1833.


Sir,—In a report of a case of Brijonauth Ghose, which appeared in the John Bull of this morning, you are represented, after making other remarks, to have added, “ that this was a case of great importance, as the rights of Hindoo parents were too often invaded by the Missionaries in Calcutta.”

Had this assertion occurred among the statements of an anonymous writer in a newspaper ; or had it involved merely matters of opinion, in reference to which every one has an undoubted right to judge for himself; or had it been called forth in the course of private conversation ;-it might well have been passed over in silence. But uttered, as it is reported to have been, by a gentleman of high legal reputation, and in the presence of the Supreme Court of this land, I think its tendency must be to create unfavourable impressions in the minds of the ignorant, or of those who are placed beyond the range of personal inquiry.

Now, being entirely unconscious myself of ever having invaded either the legal or the natural rights of Hindoo parents in this city, and being wholly unaware of any invasion of these rights on the part of other Missionaries, I am sure you will excuse me for respectfully soliciting an answer to the following queries :-Ist, Were the above-mentioned or similar terms employed by you in presence of the Court ? 2nd, If not, will there be any objection to a public correction of the mistake? 3rd, If so, are these terms intended to include indiscriminately the whole body of Missionaries? 4th, In what respect, or to what particular cases of illegality, was it designed that they should be understood as applicable ?

I have the honor to remain, your's respectfully, 4, Wellington Square, 17th July, 1833. ALEXANDER DUFF. To L. CLARKE, Esq., Barrister, &c. fc.

Calcutta, 18th July, 1833. Sır,-I was engaged in Court when your letter was delivered to me, and have only this moment left it; but for this detention, you should have had an immediate reply.

In answer to your first and second questions, I have only to say that, to the best of my recollection, I did utter (and at all events I intended to utter) the words which you quote, and therefore there is no mistake to correct.

In reply to your third question, permit me in explanation to state, that I employed the words “in Galcutta,to prevent any application of my censure to the Missionaries at Serampore, of whose conduct and utility' I entertain the highest opinion.

Sincerely do I wish that it were in my power to bear similar testimony to the labors of the Missionaries in Calcutta, but their errors of judgment and imprudent zeal lead them to acts alike detrimental to the true interests of Christianity, and the extension of education.

This opinion has been formed after having resided in this city upwards of ten years, during which period I have often been consulted, sometimes as a counsel, sometimes as a friend, by numerous Hindoos, the peace of whose families they have represented to me as having been disturbed by the practices of the Missionaries.

As a professional man, I am precluded from mentioning the names of the parties by whom I have been consulted, or disclosing the circumstances of their cases; but I can assure you that I have had frequent complaints made to me of conduct full as flagitious and dangerous as that which it became my duty on Tuesday last to submit to the Supreme Court. I have the honor to remain, Rev. Sir,

Your obedient servant,


SIR,—While I cordially acknowledge the readiness and the frankness with which you replied to my former note, I must candidly confess that the reply has left involved, in as great obscurity as ever, the main points in which I feel most interested.

It is altogether needless to enter into any abstract discussion respecting “ errors of judgment” and “ imprudent zeal:” for in all probability what would be so characterized by you, and those who coincide with you in opi. nion, might be accounted “exercises of sound judgment,” and “ zeal according to knowledge,” by me and the thousands who think as I do. But when you refer to the outward acts of particular agents—these must certainly be held as more obviously cognizable by other men. The Great Author of Christianity himself has given his sanction to the rule,“ By their fruits ye shall know them.” Now, I have no desire to act the part of an inquisitor, to search officiously for the names of parties, or to pry into the details of specific cases. But, surely, when you charge Missionaries with “ acts alike detrimental to the true interests of Christianity, and the extension of education," and with conduct at once“ fagitious and dangerous,” you cannot regard me as exceeding the bounds of moderation, when I earnestly wish to know something of the general nature of such reprehensible conduct and acts, You cannot, I should suppose, have any hesitation in stating, in a general way, what kind of acts those have been which you so pointedly condemn, and what sort of conduct that has been which calls for the use of epithets of censure so unmeasured on your part. The charges are conveyed in terms suffi. ciently condemnatory, and yet in terms so vague and indefinite that it is impossible to conjecture what they are designed to represent and hold up to public reprobation. All that I urge, then, is the reasonable request, that you be kindly pleased to lift up the veil, even partially, and so far remove the mystery as to let us distinctly understand towards what portion of the doings of Missionaries you intend to evoke the disapprobation of Europeans and Natives. You must allow that tamely to lie under grievous charges, that are either unknown or unproven, would indicate a destitution of moral feeling, and a degree of base cowardice not less dishonourable than unchris. tian. Should you kindly comply, and I see no reason why you should decline complying with my present moderate request, it will be in the power of those concerned, and of their friends, to judge how far the charges preferred are just or unjust. If the former, then must the Missionaries acknowledge their error, and confess their guilt ; if otherwise, they must be honourably acquitted as guiltless.

Again, you exempt the Serampore Missionaries from blame and animad. version. Now, though no one can yield to myself in admiration of the general conduct of the Missionaries at Serampore, I cannot divine in what respect their proceedings towards the natives have essentially differed from those of their junior brethren in Calcutta. But letting that pass, permit me to ask-Does your censure extend to all the Missionaries of every de. nomination in Calcutta? If not, to what class or classes do you specially refer? Do you include me in the number of those who have been guilty of committing is acts alike detrimental to the true interests of Christainity, and the extension of education,” and whose “conduct has been at once flagitious and dangerous ?”

I have the honour to remain, your's respectfully, 4, Wellington Square, 19th July, 1833. ALEXANDER DUFF. To L. CLARKE, Esq., Barrister, fc. &c.

Calcutta, 19th July, 1833. Rev. Sir, I believe that the following is the sentence in my letter, of which you desire that I should give you an explanation,—“ But I can as. sure you that I have had frequent complaints made to me of conduct as flagitious and dangerous as that which it became my duty on Tuesday last to submit to the Supreme Court.”

What that conduct was in this particular case will appear from the affdavit made by the father of the boy, and the return to the Habeas Corpus by the School-master. What that conduct has been, in other instances, was described in my address to the court, namely, "an invasion of the rights of Hindoo parents.”

You have asked me if you are among the number to whom I allude? My reply is, that I spoke generally of a body of men, and that, as I have not pointed at any individual, the acknowledged usages of the world do not confer on you any right to call on me to be more specific. To the other matter contained in your letter I decline giving any reply.

I have the honour to remain, Rev. Sir,
Your obedient servant,


SIR, -As the charge preferred by you against the Missionaries was brought forward in open court, and published in the public journals, I trust that

you will have no objection to my giving a like publicity to your explanations, if I should deem it proper to do so.

Your's respectfully, 4, Wellington Square, 20th July, 1833. ALEXANDER DUFF. To L. CLARKE, Esq. Barrister, &c. &c.

Calcutta, July 20, 1833. Rev. SIR,—You must be well aware that my answers to those letters which you have addressed to me were written on the spur of the moment, and without any notion that they were to be laid before the public. On this account, I am desirous of explaining one expression of which I have made use.

I have charged the Missionaries with an invasion of the rights of Hindoo fathers. Now the right to which I allude is, the right which every father possesses, of rearing up his child in the faith in which he himself conscientiously believes. The invasion of this right, with which I charge the Missionaries, consists in their instructing the child in a religion different from his father's, while he is yet of that early age that the right of instruction is in the father alone.

I have applied the words “as flagitious” to the conduct of the Missionaries, in allusion to cases similar to that which I brought before the Supreme Court, but the particulars of which cases I am not at liberty to detail ; and I have also applied the word “ dangerous” to their conduct, because I have known instances of the natives having withdrawn their children from certain places of public education, when they found that instruction was the pretext, but that apostacy was the object, of the teachers.

I have the honor to remain, Rev. Sir,

Your obedient servant,

LONGUEVILLE CLARKE. P. S.-I need hardly suggest to you that, if you make any appeal to the public, that the whole of our correspondence, and not a portion of it, ought to be published.


Having thus laid before you the correspondence, suffer me now to address a few remarks to Mr. Clarke.

SIR,-Aroused by the harshness and injustice of your indiscriminate censure, I hastened to write, on my own individual responsibility, for an explanation ; and I did so privately, because I wished and hoped that such an answer might be returned as would prevent the matter from being dragged before the public in a form offensive to either party. But the very unsatisfactory nature of your replies soon convinced me that the wish was vain and the hope illusive, and that there was no alternative as to the course that ought to be pursued.

No one will suspect you of insincerity in your attack upon the Missionaries, though many may fairly call in question your honour. In vain will you take shelter under the much-abused pretext of hazarding doubtful statements merely in vindication of your client. The Court deprived you of this flimsy evasion by laying an arrest on your intended career of censure: the Court virtually rebuked you for beginning to wander on for. bidden ground. And it did right. To attack a defenceless party, under any circumstances, were unmanly : to prefer an irrelevant accusation against a respectable party were disorderly; but virulently to assail an absent party was unbecoming and cowardly in the extreme.

Conscious of my own innocence, and anxious to correct the mis-statement, I earnestly entreated you to explain. How did you meet my entreaty ? Partly by subterfuge, and partly by a reiteration of the censure in terms not less vague, but far more opprobrious than before. Was this the part of sterling integrity ? Was this the part of openness and candour? Was this the part of a man of honour ? You may have written on the spur of the moment: your expressions may have been unguarded and unadvised; and, in your haste, you may not have cared one jot for the feelings which vituperative language might lacerate. But how can all this furnish an excuse for your deliberate resolve to enter into no explanation whatever with me as a

« ZurückWeiter »