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Full text of "India's cries to British humanity, relative to infanticide, British connection with idolatry, ghaut murders, suttee, slavery, and colonization in India; to which are added, Humane hints for the melioration of the state of society in British India"

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ti& (Sfcttion, rcbtscU anU cnl.ivgctJ 

"It was painful to mo to think, how few relics, if the Knglish were now expelled fron. 
India, would he left, of their religion, their power, or their civil and military magnificence. 
Still little, very little, is done, in comparison with all which is to do." 11,-ftrr. 








, Printer, Ldceter. 



THE Author, during his residence in India, having wit 
nessed the horrid rite of burning a widow with the body of 
her deceased husband, the miseries of pilgrimage to the 
great Temple of Juggernaut in Orissa (the celebrity of which 
is increased by British regulation and support), the exposure 
of the sick and the dead on the banks of the Ganges, and 
other cruelties of Hinduism, has, since his return to his native 
country, in 1826, laboured to diffuse information respecting 
these things, and to urge the propriety and facility of their 
suppression. In prosecution of this object, he has published 
two editions of a pamphlet entitled, " The SuttecJ Cry to 
"# two editions of " Piltjrhn T<LV in Indid ;" an 

edition of " Ghnut Murder* in [>tdi<i ;" and a small edition 
of " Infanticide in Jnflia. n Tlic principal part of these 
pamphlets have been put in circulation. Through the liberal 
exertions of numerous friends, a considerable number have 
been circulated gratuitously in this country, and also in the 
different Presidencies of India, among the various Function 
aries of Government. To shew the propriety of these exer 
tions, and to encourage similar and extended efforts, the. 
Author (though witli much hesitation) is induced to refer, to 
an extract of a letter from the private Secretary of the Go 
vernor General of India, Lord \V. Bentinck, in Dec. 1^*28, 
acknowledging the receipt of the Suttee and Pilgrim Tax 
Pamphlets, which had been forwarded to his Lordship. u 1 
am directed to acknowledge the receipt of vour letter to the 
Governor General, dated the 7th of April last. His Lord 
ship desires me, at the same time, to present his best thanks 
for the copies of your Pamphlets which accompanied it; and 
to assure you, that the one on the Suttee question relates to a 
subject which lias engaged his particular attention." In per 
fect accordance with these .sentiments is the following notice, 
which, says a correspondent in India, in March, ls-_><> 5 ap 
pears daily in the papers: " The Governor General invites 

* The Coventry Society for the abolition of Human Sacrifice* in India, 
has published an abridgement of this pamphlet, cnihlcd, " .1 I our fnmi 


the communication of all suggestions tending to promote any 
branch of national industry ; to improve the commercial in 
tercourse by land or water ; to amend the defects in the ex 
isting establishments ; to encourage the diffusion of education 
and useful knowledge ; and to advance the general prosperity 
and happiness of the British empire in India." Surely a 
brighter day has dawned on the East. 

To this edition is added The present state of Infanticide 
and Slavery in British India. Upon these subjects but little 
correct information appears to be possessed. A very general 
impression prevails that Infanticide is abolished ; and a late 
celebrated writer 011 India has stated " No slavery legally 
exists in the British territories at this moment;" with what 
surprise will the reader hear, that there are two volumes of 
Parliamentary Papers on Infanticide, and that a voluminous 
collection of Papers, of nearly 1,000 folio pages, on Slavery 
in India, were " ordered to be printed by the lion. House of 
Commons, Mar. 12, 1828." From these valuable documents 
full and accurate information may be procured. 

For the Parliamentary Papers on the Burning of Hindoo 
Widows, Infanticide, the Temple of Juggernaut, and Slavery 
in India, the Author is under the highest obligation to T. F. 
Buxton, Esq., M. P., and to W. Smith, Esq., M. P. If this 
volume contain information of a nature calculated to pro 
mote the welfare of British India, it is chiefly to be attributed 
to the important materials supplied by these valuable Papers. 
The Author s labour, in a considerable part of the work, has 
been little more than selection and arrangement ; and. with 
out such important materials, he should never have presumed 
to publish upon the different topics discussed in these pages. 
The necessity of circulating information respecting the state 
of India, for the purpose of promoting the abolition of the 
cruelties of heathenism, appears evident. " Shall superstition 
be suffered to issue her decrees, from year to year, and from 
age to age, against the lives of poor defenceless and discon 
solate widows [and, it may be added, of female infants, pil 
grims, and the sick exposed by the Ganges], hundreds of 
Avhom are annually sacrificed to its relentless cruelty, and yet 
no voice be lifted up on their behalf? Then where are hu 
man sympathies ? and what are nature s claims ? But no : 
humanity can refrain no longer. A cry has at length been 
raised for the daughters of sorrow on the plains of India. It 
has reached the British Isle, and reverberated from her shores : 
it has sounded in the ears of her Legislature : it is heard in 
the midst of our citv : it is a loud and bitter crv ! v 

It is lioj>ed that this revised, uniform, and enlarged edition, 
of the various piercing plaints of India to British humanity, 
will be encouraged by a humane and liberal public. The 
infatuated Suttee, the murdered female Infant, the perish 
ing Pilgrim (allured to the shrines of Idolatry, rendered more 
celebrated by British connection and support), the sick ex 
posed by the Ganges, and the degraded Slave, present their 
cry to Britain; and shall not that cry be heard and reiterated, 
from " Dan to Beersheba," till the Senate and the Throne 
hear, and feel, and redress their wrongs ? " The continued 
sanction of these enormities is one of those national delin 
quencies, ich ich press like an incubus, with intolerable we //////, 
un t/ie prosperity and stability of our country ; ich He if uj>- 
poses (in (ilinost insurmountable barrier to 1lie free jtroaress 
of the Gospel." (Mis. Reg. Aug. 18-29.) The proceeds of the 
editions of those parts of the volume which have been pub 
lished in Pamphlets, have been devoted to gratuitous circu 
lation and missionary exertions in India. The profits of this 
edition are to be devoted to liquidate the debt, on the Sabbath - 
school Rooms belonging to the Author s friends in Coventry. 
It is a source of the highest gratification to him, still to labour 
for the welfare of the millions of India; and the promotion of 
this great object, in connection with those of a local nature in 
Britain, is peculiarly grateful to the writer s feelings. U ith 
great diffidence, and humble dependance on Divine Provi 
dence, this work is sent forth into the world. May "the Father 
of the fatherless, and the Judge of the widow," even " God in 
his holy habitation," incline those who hold in their hands 
the destinies of India, to regard " India s Cries to Jirilitth 
Humanity ; n and thus bring upon themselves "the blessing 
of them that were ready to perish, and cause the widow s 
heart to sing for joy." 

Feb. 15, 1830. 

A D V E R T i S K M K i\ T 


As the present period is eventful for India, and many be 
neficial changes are anticipated in its administration, the 
Author trusts that the re-publication of this volume mav direct 
attention to the evils of which it treats. He has been encou 
raged to undertake this edition, by the public spirit of some 
Gentlemen in the Staffordshire Potteries ; one engaging to 
procure him forty subscribers; a second subscribing for 
twenty copies ; a third for fifty, and a fourth for one hundred 
and fifty. To this edition a book is added on Colonization 
in India, a subject of great interest, viewed in connection with 
the civilization and evangelization of British India. Every 
part of the work has been carefully revised, and additional 
information given, particularly on the subject of British connec 
tion with Hindoo Idolatry; the successful measures pursued 
for the suppression of the Suttee, and its probable prevalence 
at the present period ; and the nature and extent of Slavery in 
the East. The profits of this edition, as of the former, arc 
devoted to a benevolent object in this city. The Hindoos 
say, " It is the duty of a king, to pursue every object till it be 
accomplished. " The recent abolition of the Suttee should 
encourage the friends of India, not to relax their efforts till 
everv inhuman custom is "buried midst the wreck of 
things that were;" and as a modern writer observes, " In 
effecting these desirable movements, dare much ; dare what 
ever your own good sense suggests, whatever the common 
sense of mankind will approve. Doubt not of success ; suc 
cess is fond of a confident suitor. In their admiration of your 
promptitude and boldness, men will forget to murmur, or, at 
least, fear to oppose you." 


(! os ford Terrace, 
l)r<: 10,1832. 



CHAP, i 


Introductory remarks sketch of the early and extensive preva 
lence of Infanticide and Hainan Sacrifices in various countries 1 


Infanticide in India. Oriirin nature crime extent present 
state demoralizing influence .... .13 

CHAP. in. 

Success of eflbrts, ancient and modern, for the suppression of 
Human Sacrifices and Infanticide Difficulties of the entire 
abolition of Infanticide in India . . . . . . 3> 

(HAP. IV. 

The necessity and propriety of adopting measures for the entire 
and immediate abolition of Infanticide decisive steps requisite 
objections answered facilities enjoyed for its abolition 
concluding remarks. ........ .03 




Origin, nature, proceeds, and appropriation of the Pilgrim Tax. 
Traces of British connection with Idolatrv and Mahomed- 
anism, in various parts of India . . 

The idolatrous establishments chiellv supported by the Pilgrim 
Tax system at Juggernaut, Cva, Allahabad, &c. . 

The miseries resulting from this System, and its general character II! 


CHAP. IV. Page- 

The facility and advantages of the repeal of the Pilgrim Tax 
confirmation of the statements ... . 135 


Objections to the repeal of the Pilgrim Tax System obviated 
concluding appeal 153 




Origin nature atrocity and appalling scenes connected with 
the practice, of exposing the sick on the banks of the Ganges 169 


Extent of the prevalence of this inhuman practice . . . 183 


The impossibility of detecting murder with the permission of 
this custom palliation of it absurd the propriety of adopting 
measures for the suppression of its atrocities utility of at 
tending to the sick confirmation of the statements con 
cluding remarks . 191 




Introductory remarks origin nature number cause of for 
mer prevalence in Bengal and atrocity of Suttees . . 213 


The Suttee not an integral part of Hindoism, shewn in the 
review of a pamphlet written in Bengalee, in defence of the 
burning of Hindoo widows ...... 229 


The tendency of partial interference to promote the increase, 
celebrity, and legality of the Suttee authorities to shew the 
propriety, safely, arid facility of the abolition of the practice 2 12 


CHAP. IV. pfcec. 

.Nature and success of efforts by the British Government in 
fmlia, for the abolition of the Suttee probable prevalence of 
the practice at the present period necessity and propriety of 
persevering exertions till it is annihilated .... 254 




Introductory remarks origin, nature, and evils of Slavery in 
India 27 J 


Nature and success of efibrts for the abolition of the Slave Trade 
in India melioration of Slavery by the Hindoos, Mussul 
mans, French, Dutch, and British ..... H2 


The present state and extent of Slavery in Hindostan . . 32N 


Methods proposed for the melioration and abolition of Slavery in 
India answers to objections to its abolition, arising from the 
supposed kind treatment of slaves the preservation of children 
and adults in famine by selling themselves for support the 
indifference of the slaves to emancipation decreasing the 
population of an island or district Mabomedan prejudices 
prohibiting any other than slaves attending their women, and 
that they cannot dispense with slaves and the interest of the 
slave-owners and the government concluding remarks . . }(<> 




Introductory remarks general outline of Colonization in India 
necessity of Colonization in India, arising from the state of 
its agriculture and manufactures, the general inattention to 
improvement, and the pernicious influence of cast the extent 
of uncultivated land, and the condition of some of the native tribes 



the state of learning, morals, and religion the paucity of 
European inhabitants and Christian ministers and the slow 
progress of the civilization and evangelization of India . . 387 


The utility of Colonization in India, apparent in the improve 
ment of its produce the increase of British trade and com 
merce with India, and the Eastern world the permanence of 
the British power in Hindostan increase of the civilization and 
consequent happiness of its inhabitants and the accelerated 
progress of Christianity, with all its valuable institutions 
confirmation of the statements ...... 418 


Answers to objections to Colonization in India, arising from the 
number and character of its population the supposition that 
the Natives would be deprived of their property by the set 
tlers apprehended injurious tendency to the present measures 
adopted for the improvement of India probable character of 
the emigrants and its tendency to promote the independence 
of India concluding remarks, on the relation of Britain to 
India, China, and the Eastern world ..... 4o4 


Humane Hints for the melioration of the state of Society in 
British India . ..... . 475 

References to the Enyravinys. 

Temple of Gya, before the Title-paye. 
Destruction and Preservation of Infants in India 
Temple of Juggernaut ..... 

Juggernaut and his Brother and Sister 
Dole Jattra, or swinging of .Juggernaut 
Idol Juggernaut ...... 

Procession of Juggernaut s Car .... 

Ganges Water-carrier ..... 

Temples of Bobuneswer ..... 

Exposure of the Sick ..... 

The Suttee 

Burying alive a Hindoo widow 
A Suttee by burying alive ..... 
Temples of Gorucknaut ..... 
A I lindoo School . . ... 

Relieving the sick on the banks of the Ganges 


THE SITTEES Car TO BRITAIN. "We strongly recommend the perusal 
of Mr. Peggs s Pamphlet, which, to the feeling testimony of AN EYE-WITNESS of 
the horrible practice he describes, adds a mass of information, and documents of 
the most, valuable and decisive nature." Eclec. Rev. June, 1827. 

" This interesting Pamphlet is every way deserving of serious perusal and 
extensive circulation." Chris. Guardian, June. 

"To this Publication, we solicit the attention of such readers as desire to make 
themselves acquainted with the farther details of this important question" (the 
Suttee). Orient. Her. May, 1829. 

" Mr. Peggs s Appeal is forcible, but dispassionate ; and we hope that, in behalf 
of the widows in India, he will not plead in vain." Ini]). Mag. July, 1827, ami 
May, 1*28. 

"A valuable collection of papers." Evan. Mag. An^. 1828. 

" The able Pamphlet before us contains much information, collected from tin- 
most authentic sources." U es. Mag. June, 1827. 

"This excellent Pamphlet is evidently the result of much labour and research." 
Uai>. Mug. June, 1827. 

See also "Congregat. Mag." Jan. 1828. "Missionary Heg.," " Asiatic 
Journal," "Sailors" "Part. 15ap. Mag.," "Gen. Bap. Kepos.," 1827. "Tin- 
World Paper," April, Is-JO. 

mend the perusal of these fads and observations to the consideration of the 
Christian public." I .clec. Rev. March, 182K. 

"The Pilgrim Tax levied by the Indian Government on idolaters going on 
pilgrimages, whatever was its design, has had the acknowledged effect of sanc 
tioning and Icgali/.ing this destructive and wicked superstition. The Rev. .1. 
Peggs, late a Missionary near the Temple of Juggernaut, has recently published 
a Pamphlet, in which he has collected abundant testimony to the duty, facility, 
and advantages of the entire and immediate abandonment of this pernicious 
system." Mis. Iteg. Fe!>. 

"This Pamphlet relates to a subject which appears to have received a very in 
adequate share of public attention, and with the details of which, we suspect, 
many of the best informed and mo-t influential members of society are very im 
perfectly acquainted. We cordially recommend it to the attention of our 
readers." lia/i. ttitcellany, Oct. 

"Great credit is due to the excellent Author of these two Pamphlets [the 
Suttees Cry and Pilgrim Tax], for the pains which he has taken in collecting 
information concerning i-omc of the most cruel and destructive superstitions of 
India, and in presenting it to the British public in a cheap firm. We know of 
no publications in the English language, which, in so small a compass, contain 
so much information oil these subject-, so interesting to every friend of humanity 
and religion." ll e.t. Mug. Mai/. 

" We believe that tin: Pamphlet before us, is the only ri//i>.siie r>/ the system 
which has found it* nay through the />ro> to the Knglish public. We hope it will l.e 
widely circulated, and followed by others, in increasing numbers, until the evil is 
at an end, and the disgrace wiped away." Month. Rep. l)tc. 1H2*.>. 

" Indeed it is no secret that Mr. P. has addressed the public in a very able 
work on this subject." J. Poynder, Ksq. .-Us. Jour. Oct. 1830. p. |0<). 

See also "Congregat. Maga/ine," Jan. and Feb. " Bap. Magazine," "Gen. 
Bap. Repository," "The World," April, 1*28. 


1829. "Imp. Mag." " Gen. Bap. Rep." 1829. Ori. Quar. Rev." Jan. 18:30. 

"INDIA S CRIES TO BRITISH HUMANITY. " We believe Mr. Peggs is actu 
ated by sincere and philanthropical motives in putting forth this publication, and 
that his experience has afforded him many opportunities of witnessing the 
practices which he condemns, in their most odious and repulsive forms." Asi. 
Jour. March, 1829; Oct. 1830. 

" The perusal of this work, which has been some time before the public, has 
afforded us very considerable pleasure and instruction. Mr. Peggs s meritorious 
exertions, in drawing the attention of the British Government of this country to 
the horrid and inhuman practices prevailing in India, under the cloak of religious 
sanction, deserve great praise." East India Mag. March, 1832. 

" Mr. Peggs s volume, especially in its enlarged form, is an admirable book of 
reference on the most prominent miseries of India, and aloud call upon the peo 
ple of England to combine their efforts to obtain a complete extinction of those 
enormities." Wes. Meth. Mag. April, 1830. 

"This volume furnishes on this subject (the abolition of Suttees), and on the 
several subjects to which its title-page refers, the most accurate and ample infor 
mation. Mr. Peggs has entitled himself to the thanks of the British public 
for his reiterated appeals. We beseech our readers to acquaint themselves with 
his statements, and to let no opportunity be neglected of advancing his 
benevolent aim." The World, July, 1829. 

" These publications are the fruits of Mr. P. s observation and reading, and de 
mand attention from all who desire to free their country from the guilt of con 
niving at the atrocious practices therein exposed." Mis. Reg. March. 

"A very valuable little volume." J. S. Buckingham, Esq. 

"The public are much indebted to Mr. P., for his enlightened and indefatigable 
labours in the cause of humanity. He has fairly made out his premises, that, all 
the murderous customs now practised bi) the Hindoos, may be abolished with safety and 
honour to the British Government. We earnestly entreat our readers to peruse 
these Tracts. They are altogether resistless in their appeals." Evan. Mag. 
March, 1829. 

"Those who, like Mr. Peggs, furnish us with a faithful representation of facts 
on which to ground our efforts for the melioration of the state of the Hindoos, 
deserve the thanks, not of India alone, but of every friend of humanity in the 
country which governs India. For the zeal and industry, with which this gen 
tleman has been enabled to lay before the public so large a body of important 
facts, and for the benevolence with which he has long laboured to redress the 
miseries of the heathen population of India, his Christian brethren of every de. 
nomination, must feel deeply indebted to him. We hope that his exertions will 
result in success ; and that his appeal, to the natural sympathies and benevolent 
principles of his countrymen, will not be unheard or disregarded." Monthly 
Rep. De*. 1829. 

See "Cong.," March, "Imp. Mag.," May, 1829. "Friend s Mag.," April, 
"Imp. Mag.," June, 1830." Bap. Mag," Nov. 1831. "New Meth. Mag.," May, 




Introductory remarks sketch of tJic early and extensive 
prevalence of Infanticide and Hnnmn Sacrifices in mrions 

THE abolition of Infanticide in British India has been the 

subject of history, and the triumph of the philanthropist. 

"Moor s Hindoo Infanticide 1 was published in 1H11 ; and in 

IHI.J appeared " Cormack s Account of the Abolition of Fe 

male Infanticide in (iiizerat, trif/i Considerations on the 

fjiH sfion of promoting the Gospel in 1 ndia" Through the cir 

culation of these publications the well-known suppression of 

the destruction of children at Saugur Island, by the Marquis 

Wcllesley in 1HO2 and, the little that is known in Britain 

respecting the Peninsula of Guzerat, a very general impression 

prevails that Infanticide is abolished in India. It is a 

painful, but necessary task to remove this impression to show 

that the evil still exists to a considerable extent, and to rouse 

he friends of humanity and religion to prosecute the abolition 

f this and every sanguinary custom in British India.* The, 

arliamentary Papers on Hindoo Infanticide, of June 1824, 

and July 1S-2H, fully substantiate the fact, that, notwithstand- 

ng the philanthropic and successful efforts of Colonel Walker 

,nd (Jovernor Duncan to abolish this unnatural custom, it has 

(revived; and that the most decisive measures are requisite t 


* " As late as 181H, it was calculated that there were not less than 1,<>OO 
ifants destroyed; and in a j opulation of 1 2,OO() males, there were not more 
dan thirty frinale/i alive! The harharous custom, it is to he feared, eon- 
inues in full force, as was evident from a census of the Jahrejah villages, 
vhich we saw in 1H 2(J; though some think it is on the decrease." Kl wood s 
)verland Journev to India. A$i. Jour. Nov. 




: c H cct its entire abolition. When shall every cruel custom, 

; now prevalent in Hindustan, be abolished, and thus the 
progress of Christianity in that country facilitated ? Let the 

^sentiments of the eloquent Burke be known and considered: 

"The blood of man should never be shed but to redeem the 

blood of man. It is well shed for our family, for our friends, 

for our Cod, for our kind. The rest is vanity the rest is 

.\ crime." 

The prevalence of human sacrifices, and the continuance of 
female Infanticide, in the nineteenth century of the Christian 

7 era, and in the British Dominions, is a fact deeply interesting 
to every philanthropic mind. The learned Jacob Bryant has 
given a comprehensive view of the nature and extent of these 
sacrifices in different ages and countries. "One would think 
it scarcely possible," says he, " that so unnatural a custom as 
that of human sacrifices could have existed in the world; but 
it is certain that it. not only existed, but almost universally 
prevailed. The Egyptians of old brought no victims to their 
temples, nor shed any blood at their altars. But human vic 
tims, and the blood of men, must here be cxcepted, which, at 
one period they offered to their gods. The Cretans had the 
same custom, and adhered to it a much longer time. The 
nations of Arabia did the same. The people of Duma, in 
particular, sacrificed every year a child, and buried it beneath 
an altar, which they made use of instead of an idol; for they 
did not admit of images. The Persians buried people alive. 
Aincstris, the wife of Xerxes, entombed twelve persons alive, 
for the good of her soul. It would be endless to enumerate 
every city, or province, where these practices obtained. The 
Cyprians, the Rhodians, the Phoenicians, those of Chios, 
Lesbos, Tenedos, all had human sacrifices. The natives of 
the Tauric Chersonesus offered to Diana every stranger whom 
chance threw upon their coasts. Hence arose that expostu 
lation in Euripides, upon the inconsistency of the proceeding, 
wherein much good reasoning is implied. Tphigcnia wonders, 
as the goddess delighted in the blood of men, that every villain 
and murderer should be privileged to escape; nay, be driven 
from the threshold of the temple; whereas, if an honest man 
chanced to stray thither, he was seized and put to death. The 
Pelasgi, in a time of scarcity, vowed that they would give, 
tjtc tenth of all tliat should he born to them for a sacrifice, 
in order to procure plenty ! Aristomenes, the Messenian, 
slew three hundred noble Lacedemonians, among whom was 
Theopompus, the king of Sparta, at the altar of Jupiter, at 
Ithome: without doubt the Lacedemonians did not fail to 


make ample returns, for they were a severe ami revengeful 
people, and offered the like victims to Mars. Their festival 
of the Deamastigosis is well known, when the Spartan boys 
were whipped, in the sight of their parents, with such severity 
before the altar of Diana Orthia that they often expired under 
the torture. Phylarchus affirms, as he is quoted by Porphyry, 
that of old, every Grecian state made it a rule, before they 
marched towards an enemy, to solicit a blessing on their under 
takings by the sacrifice of human victims. 

"The Romans were accustomed to the like sacrifices. 
They devoted themselves to the infernal gods, and constrained 
others to submit to the same horrid doom. Hence we read in 
Titus Livius, that in the consulate of Omilius Paulus and 
Terentius Varro, two Gauls, a man and woman, and two in 
like manner of Greece, were buried alirc (it Rome, in the ox- 
market; where was a place under ground walled round to re 
ceive them, which had before been made use of for such cruel 
purposes. lie, says it was a sacrifice, not properly Roman, 
that is, not originally of Roman institution ; yet it was fre 
quently practised, and that by public authority ! Plutarch 
makes mention of a like instance, a few years before, in the 
consulship of Flaminius and Furius. There is reason to think, 
that all the principal captives who graced the triumphs of the 
Romans were, at the close of that cruel pagcantrv, put to 
death at the altar of Jupiter Capitolinus ! Cains Marius 
offered up his <nvti daughter, for a ricffi/t lo Ut< Dii Awr- 
A-////<V, to procure success in a battle against the Cinibri, ;i^ 
we are informed by Dorothens, quoted by Clemens; it is like 
wise attested by Plutarch, who says her name was Calpurnia. 
Cicero, making mention of this custom being conmi in in 
Gaul, adds, that it prevailed among that people even at the 
time he was speaking; whence we may be led to infer that it 
was then discontinued among the Romans; and we are told 
by Plinv that it had then, and not very long, been discouraged. 
Tin-re was a law enacted, when Lentnhis and Crassus were 
consuls, so late as the 657th year of Rome, that then? should 
be no more human sacrifices. But, however discontinued 
they may have been for a time, they were again renewed; for, 
not very long after this, it is reported of Augustus Ca-sar, 
(when Persia surrendered in the time of the second triumvirate,) 
that besides multitudes executed in a militarv manner, he ol- 
fered, upon the Ides of March, Ilircc hundred clmscii /^>//.v, 
of the equestrian and senatorial! order, at an altar dedicated 
to the manes of his uncle Julius. Kvrn at Home itself, thi^ 
custom was revived; and Porphyry assures us that, in In* 

B >> 


time, a man was erery year sacrificed at the shrine of Jupiter 
Latiaris. Heliogabalus offered the like victims to the Syrian 
deity, which lie introduced among the Romans. The same is 
said of Aurelian.* 

"The Gauls and the Germans were so devoted to this shock 
ing custom, that no business of any moment was transacted 
among them, without being prefaced by the blood of men. 
They were offered to various gods, but particularly to Hesus, 
Taranis, and Shautates. These deities are mentioned by 
Lucan, where he enumerates the various nations that followed 
the fortunes of Csesar. The altars of these gods were far 
removed from the common resort of men, being generally 
situated in the depth of woods, that the gloom might add 
to the horror of the operation, and give a reverence to the 
proceeding. The persons devoted were led thither by the 
Druids, who presided at the solemnity, and performed the 
cruel offices of the sacrifice. Tacitus takes notice of the 
cruelty of the Hermunduri in a war with the Catti, wherein they 
had greatly the advantage ; at the close of which they made 
one general sacrifice of all that were taken in battle. The 
poor remains of the legions under Varrus suffered, in some 
degree, the same fate. There were many places destined for 
this purpose all over Gaul and Germany, but especially in the 
mighty woods of Arduenna, and the greater Hercinian forest, 
a wild that extended above thirty days journey in length. 
The places set apart for the solemnity were held in the utmost 
reverence, and only approached at particular seasons. Lucan 
mentions a grove of this sort near Masselea, which even the 
Roman soldiers were afraid to violate, though commanded by 
Caesar. Claudian compliments Stillico that, among other ad 
vantages accruing to the Roman armies through his conduct, 
they could now venture into the awful forest of Hercinia, and 
follow the chase in those so much dreaded woods, and other 
wise make use of them. 

" These practices prevailed among all the people of the 
North. The Massageta, the Scythians, the Getcs, the Sar- 
matians, all the various nations upon the Baltic, particularly 
the Suevi and Scandinavians, held it as a fixed principle, 

* " Jn Homer and Virgil, \ve have accounts of human sacrifices, com 
municated in such a way as indicates no abhorrence in the poet, and was 
meant to inspire none on the part of the reader. Ca?sar informs us that it 
was a prevalent maxim amoiifj the Gauls, that the deity could not he ap 
peased unless the life of one man, which had been forfeited by p;uilt, were 
atoned by the life of another who was innocent." De Bel. Gal. L. vi. c. 15. 
(Cormack s Inf. p. Ml.) Ami. 


Hint their happiness and security could not be obtained but 
til the e.rpense of the tires of others. Their chief gods were 
Tlior and Woden, whom they thought they could never suffi 
ciently glut with blood. They hud many celebrated places of 
worship, especially in the island of Rugen, near the mouth of 
the Oder, and in Zealand. But the most reverenced and fre 
quented was at Upsal, where there was every year a grand 
celebrity, which continued for nine days. During this term 
they sacrificed animals of all sorts, but the most acceptable 
victims, and tJie most numerous, irere men 

"Of these sacrifices none were esteemed so auspicious and 
salutary, as a sacrifice of the prince of the country. When 
the lot fell for the king to die, it was received with universal 
acclamations; this once happened in the time of a famine, when 
they cast lots, and it fell to the king Domalder to be the people s 
victim, and he was accordingly put to death. Olaus Triliger, 
another prince, was burnt alive to Woden ! Tliey did not spare 
their oirn children . Harold, the son of Gimild, the lirst of 
that name, slew two of his children to obtain a storm of wind. 
Saxo Grammaticus mentions a like fact; he calls the king H;i- 
quin, and speaks of the persons put to death as two hopeful 
young princes. Another king slew nine sonx in order to pra- 
lony his ofrtt life Such instances did not often occur; but 
the common victims were very numerous. 

" The manner in irliicli the victims ire re slaughtered tca\ in different places. Some of the Gaulish nations 
chined them with the stroke of an axe. The Celts placed the 
man who was to be ottered for a sacrifice upon a block, or an 
altar, with his breast upward, and with a sword struck him 
forcibly across the sternum ; then, tumbling him to the ground, 
from his agonies and convulsions, as well as from the effusion 
of blood, they formed a judgment of future events. The 
Cimbri ripped open the bowels, and from them they pretended 
to divine. In Norway they beat men s brains out with an ox- 
yoke. The same operation was performed in Iceland, by 
dashing them against an altar of stone. In many places they 
transfixed them with arrows. After they were dead they sus 
pended them upon the trees, and left them to putrefy. One 
of the writers above quoted mentions, that, in his time, serenty 
carcases of this sort were found in the wood of the Suevi. 
Dithmar, of Mursburgh, an author of nearly the same age, 
speaks of a place called Sedu, in Zealand, where there were, 
every year, ninety and nine persons sacrificed to the yod 
Su antoicite. During these bloody festivals a general joy 
prevailed, and banquets were most royally sened. They fed, 


and gave a loose to indulgence, which, al other times, \vasnof. 
permitted ! They imagined that there was something myste 
rious in the number nine, for which reason these feasts were, 
in some places, celebrated every ninth year, in others every 
ninth month, and continued for nine days ; when all was ended 
they washed the image of the deity in a pool, and then dis 
missed the assembly. Their servants were numerous, who 
attended during the term of their feasting, and partook of the 
banquet. At the close of all, they were smothered in (lie 
same pool, or otherwise made away with ! 

" The like custom prevailed in a great degree in Mexico, 
and even under the mild government of the Peruvians, and in 
most parts of America. In Africa it is still kept up, where, 
in the inland parts, they sacrifice some of the captives taken 
in war to their fetiches, in order to secure their favour. 
Snelgrave was in the king of Dahoomi s cam]"), alter his inroad 
into the countries of Adra and Whidaw, and was a witness to 
the cruelty of this prince, whom he saw sacrifice multitudes 
to the deity of his nation. The sacrifices, if we except some 
few instances, consisted of persons doomed by war, or assigned 
by lot to be offered. But, among the nations of Canaan, the 
victims were peculiarly chosen. Their own children, and 
whatever w r as nearest and dearest to them, were deemed the 
most worthy offering to their god. 

" The Carthaginians, a colony from Tyre, carried with them 
the religion of their mother country, and instituted the same 
worship in the parts where they settled. It consisted in the 
adoration of several deities, but particularly of Kronus ; to 
whom they offered human sacrifices, and especially the blood 
of children ! If the parents were not at hand to make an im 
mediate offer, the magistrates did not fail to make choice of 
what was most promising, that the god might not be defrauded 
of his dues ! Upon a check being received in Sicily, and 
some other alarming circumstances happening, Hamilcar, 
without any hesitation, laid hold of a boy, and offered him on 
the spot to Kroiuis ; and, at the same time, drowned a num 
ber of priests to appease the deity of the sea. The Cartha 
ginians, upon a great defeat of their army by Agathocles, im 
puted the miscarriage to the anger of this god, whose services 
had been neglected; and, seeing the enemy at their gates, 
they seized tico 1m ml red children of the chief nobility, and 
offered them in public for a sacrifice. Three hundred per 
sons, who were somehow obnoxious, offered themselves volun 
tarily, and /cere put to death with the others ! The neglect 
of which they accused themselves, consisted in sacrificing 


children purchased of parents among the poorer sort, who 
reared them for that purpose ! and not selecting the most pro 
mising, and the most honourable, as had been the custom of 
old. There tcere particular children brouyht up for I he 
a/tar, <tx sJieep are fattened for tin shambles: and they 
were brought and butchered in the same manner; but this in 
discriminate way of proceeding was thought to have given 
oflencc. It is remarkable that the Kgyptions looked for (In 
most handsome person to be sacrificed. The Albanians pitched 
upon the best man of the community, and made him pav for 
the wickedness of the rest. The Carthaginians chose what 
they thought the most excellent, and at the same time most 
dear to them, which made the lot fall heavy upon their chil 
dren. This is taken notice of by Silius Italius in his fourth 
book. Kronus, to whom those sacrifices were exhibited, \\ a: 
an oriental deity, the god of light and lire ; and therefore 
always worshipped with some reference to that element. The 
Carthaginians introduced him into Africa ; he was the same 
as the Orus of the Egyptians, and the Alorus of the eastern 
nations. lie was universally adored in Cyprus, but particu 
larly in this part, which Porphyry supposes to have been 
Salaniis. This deity was the Moloch of the Tyrians and Ca- 
naanitcs, and the Melech of the cast ; that is, the great and 
principal god, the god of light, of whom lire was esteemed a 
symbol ; and at whose shrine, instead of viler victims, they 
offered the blood of men. 

"Such was the Kronus of the Greeks, and the Moloch of 
the Phoenicians; and nothing can appear more shocking than 
the sacrifices of the Tyrians and the Carthaginians which 
they performed to the idol. In .all emergencies of state, and 
times of general calamity, they devoted that which was most 
necessary and valuable to them for an offering to the gods, 
particularly to Moloch. Ik-sides these undetermined times 
of bloodshed, they had particular and prescribed seasons ex er\ 
year, when children were chosen out <>( Hie t/tosf noble UK! 
reputable families. If a person had an onh/ cliild, it xvas 
the more liable to be put to death, as being esteemed more 
acceptable to the deity, and more efficacious ,f the general 
good. Those who were sacrificed to Kronus, were thrown 
into the arms of a molten idol, which stood in the midst of a 
large fire, and was red with heat. The arms of it xven- 
stretched out, with the hands turned upwards, as il were to 
receive them, yet sloping downwards so that they dropt into a 
glowing furnace below. To other gods they wciv otherwise 
slaughtered, and, as it is implied, by the very hands of their 


parents. Justin describes this unnatural custom very pathe 
tically. Such was their blind zeal, that this was continually 
practised ; and so much natural affection was still leii unex- 
tinguished, as to render the scene ten times more shocking 
from the tenderness which they seemed to express. They 
embraced their children with great fondness, and encouraged 
them in the gentlest terms, that they might not be appalled, 
begging them to submit with cheerfulness. If there was any 
appearance of a tear rising, or a cry escaping, the mother 
smothered it with her kisses, that there might not be any show 
of constraint, but that the whole might be a free-will offering ! 
These cruel endearments over, they stabbed them to the heart, 
or otherwise opened the sluices of life, and with the blood, 
warm as it ran, besmeared the altar and the grim visage of 
the idol. These were the customs which the Israelites learned 
of the people of Canaan, and for which they are upbraided 
by the Psalmist : They did not destroy the nations concern 
ing whom the Lord commanded them, but were mingled 
among the heathen, and learned their works ; yea, they sacri 
ficed their sons and their daughters unto devils, and shed in 
nocent blood, even the blood of their sons and of their 
daughters, whom they sacrificed unto the idols of Canaan, 
and the laud was polluted with blood : thus were they defiled 
with their own works, and went a whoring with their own 

" These cruel rites, practised in so many nations, made 
Plutarch debate with himself, Whether it would not have 
been better for the Galato, or for the Scythians, to have had 
no tradition or conception of any superior beings, than to have 
formed to themselves notions of gods who delighted in the 
blood of men; of gods who esteemed human victims the 
most acceptable and perfect sacrifice ? Would it not, says 
he, have been more eligible for the Carthaginians to have 
had the atheist Critias, or Diagoras, their lawgiver, at the 
commencement of their polity, and to have been taught that 
there was neither god nor demon, than to have sacrificed in 
the manner they were wont to the god which they adored ? 
Wherein they acted not as the person did whom Empedocles 
describes in some poetry, where he exposes this unnatural 
custom. The lather, with many idle vows, offers up unwil 
lingly his son for a sacrifice, but the youth was so changed in 
feature and figure that his father did not know him. These 
people used wilfully to go through this bloody work, and 
slaughter their own offspring. Even they who were childless 
would not be exempted from this tribute, but purchased chil- 


dien of the poorer sort, and put them to death. The mother 
who sacrificed her child stood by, without any seeming sense 
of what she was losing, and without uttering a groan. li a 
sigh by chance escaped, she lost all the honour which she 
proposed to herself in the offering, and the child was notwith 
standing slain. All the time of this celebrity, while the chil 
dren were murdering, there was a noise of clarions and tam- 
bors sounding before the idol, that the cries and shrieks of the 
victims might not be heard. Tell me, said Plutarch, if the 
monsters of old, the Typhous and the Giants, were to expel 
the gods, and to rule the world in their stead, could they re 
quire a service more horrid than these infernal rites and 
sacrifices ? "* 

" Mr. Bryant," says Colonel Walker, " does not appear to 
be aware of the existence of human sacrifices among the Hin 
doos ; and it is melancholy to add to the list of human infir 
mity, by citing the translation of the Rudheradhyaya from the 
Calican Puran, bv Mr. Blaquiere, as an evidence of this bar 
barous rite being sanctioned by the Hindoo Legislature. It 
was not only enjoined, but in the ancient rites of the Hindoos 
was frequently practised, under the denomination of l\Ier 
Mcd, or }\ nd, the sacrifice of a man. There is, at this day, 
a numerous class of Brahmuns who are accused of this prac 
tice. They are called Kurrada, and are inhabitants of the 
C oncan. The object of their worship is Maha Lukshmee, to 
whom human sacrifices are acceptable; and the more so if 
the victim is a Brahmun, learned in the shastras. The public 
performance of this sacrifice has long since fallen into disuse; 
but a sect of the Kurrada Brahmuns arc accused of effecting, 
by the secret operations of poison, that object which they 
dare not avow. I know several Kurrada Brahmuns, in re 
spectable public- situations, intelligent, charitable, and humane, 
who would abhor the commission of this detestable crime, and 
who, though they admit the former existence, most strongly 
deny its present practice; but the power of prejudice is some 
times stronger than the most complete evidence of moral con- 
duel; and manv people, under the influence of this passion, 
would decline to eat food prepared by a Brahmun of this 
tribe, of which he himself should not at the same time 

* Annual Register, vol. x. I7<I7. Par. Papers on Hindoo Infanticide, 
June IH-JI, pp. /). } . r >H. 

t Par. Papers on Hindoo Infanticide, IS -M, p. .">;>. On this subject see 
an article in the Asiatic Journal, May IH-.>:1, p. >HO. 


The Preliminary Discourse of Sale s Koran (p. 174) affords 
information of the existence of Infanticide in Arabia. " The 
law of Mahomed put a stop to the inhuman custom, which 
had been long practised by Pagan Arabs, of burying their 
daughters alive, lest they should be reduced to poverty by 
providing for them, or to avoid the disgrace which would 
follow, if they should be made captives, or become scandalous 
by their behaviour. The manner of doing this is differently 
related ; some say that, when an Arab had a daughter born, 
if he intended to bring her up, he sent her, clothed in a gar 
ment of wool or hair, to keep camels or sheep in the desert ; 
but, if he designed to put her to death, he let her live till she 
became six years old, and then said to her mother, Perfume 
and adorn her, that I may carry her to her mothers / This 
being done, the father led her to a well, or a pit dug for the 
purpose, and, having bid her look down into it, pushed her in 
headlong, and then filled up the pit. This custom, though 
not observed by the Arabs in general, was very common 
among several of their tribes ; and particularly those of Koreith 
and Kendeh ; the former being accustomed to bury their 
daughters alive in Mount Abu Dalama, near Mecca. In the 
time of ignorance, while they used this method to get rid of 
their daughters, Sasaa, grandfather to the celebrated poet Al 
Farazdak, frequently redeemed female children from death, 
giving for every one two she-camels big with young, and a 
he-camel ; Al Farazdak alluded to this when, vaunting him 
self before one of the Califs of the family of Mcya, he said, 
/ am the son of the giver of life to the dead / For which 
expression, being censured, he excused himself by alleging 
the words of the Koran, He, who saved a soul alive, shall be 
as if he had saved the It res of all mankind. "* 

" The Missionaries in New Zealand had repeatedly heard 
that female Infanticide was practised among its inhabitants ; 
and, in 1824, the fact was confirmed by a chief, who a short 
time previously had saved his own child from this fate, out of 
the hands of its inhuman mother ! She had twice attempted 
to put it to death soon after it was born. The brethren en 
tered into a free conversation with the natives on the subject, 
and they spoke of it with pleasure rather than otherwise ; and 
referred them to several of the most respectable females, with 
whom they were acquainted, who had thus destroyed their 
children. The manner of putting them to death is, by what 
they call ro-mea, or squeezing the nose, as soon as they are 

* Par. Papers as above, pp. a, 5!). 


born ; then the hypocritical mother cuts herself with shells, 
and makes a great outcry about her dead child. The reasons 
which they assigned for this practice were two : the first, 
and perhaps the principal one, was that they were no good to 
them in war; for they would only shout and make a noise, 
but not fight. The other was, that where the offspring is nu 
merous, they make the mother too much work, &c., therefore 
she kills the girls, but saves the boys ! We endeavoured to 
show them the impolicy and wickedness of such proceedings, 
telling them that it was murder, in the sight of God ; but they 
said it was not, it was only ro-tneti, or squeezing the nose. 
Oh when will the bright rays of the Gospel chase away their 
gloom, and deliver them from their wickedness !"* 

" However extraordinary," says the philanthropic Colonel 
Walker, " the practice of female Infanticide, among the 
Jahreja Rajpoots (in India) may appear, it is not confined to 
them. The practice prevails with the Rajkoomars and other 
tribes in Bengal. The custom of putting their infant daugh 
ters to death has also been discovered to exist with the Rha- 
tore Rajpoots of Jeypore and Joudpore; but this fact, when 
reported in Europe, was doubted and denied to be possible. 
It is confirmed, however, by even intelligent native of that 
country ; nor doys there appear any ground for questioning its 
existence. The custom is traced to other tribes of Hindos- 
tan, and in particular to the Jauts and Mewats, which latter 
area sect of Mussulmans. It would be interesting to develope 
the laws and customs of the most distinguished people of 
antiquity which sanctioned Infanticide. If we except the fa 
bulous history of the Amazons, I am not aware that we have 
any account of a positive law or custom for the regular and 
invariable destruction of children of either sex.- Romulus is 
said to have laid the citizens under an obligation to educate 
all their male children, and the eldest of their daughters ! 
The requiring this obligation from the citizens must have 
been suggested, by the urceiusily for rt xlraiiiint/ the jtrnr- 
tic.e of Infanticide; and Romulus probably trusted in pro 
curing wives for his males from the other tribes in his neigh 
bourhood, with as little difficulty as theJahrejas do at present. 

" Montesquieu proves that the same motives prevailed with 
the Roman fathers for exposing their children as with the 
nations of India, who commit Infanticide. We find not any 
Roman law that permitted the exposing of children. This 
was, without doubt, an abuse introduced towards the decline 

Smith s History of Missions, vol. ii. p 


of the Republic, when luxury robbed them of their freedom ; 
when wealth divided was called poverty; when the father 
believed all was lost which he gave to his family, and when 
the family was distinct from his property. It appears that 
infants, newly born, were placed on the ground : those who 
were agreeable to the father he took up, or educated ; those 
who were displeasing to him he neglected and exposed. In 
Greece, Infanticide, or the exposure of children, appears to 
have formed a part of the policy of those states. Solon gave 
permission, by law, to parents 1o kill their children ! Aris 
totle appears an advocate for the exposing of children ; and 
conceives, where this is not the case, that the number of those 
brought forth ought to be limited. He proposes expedients 
for this purpose, more barbarous than any usage of the 
Jahrejas. The Greeks appear to have been led to expose 
their offspring from the sterility of their territory, and the ap 
prehension of want, excited by a redundant population. The 
same motive, arising from a i ear of famine, has induced the 
government of China, if not to permit, at least to tolerate, pa 
rents to sell and expose their children. 

" In Robertson s history of America we are informed that 
the difficulty of training up an infant to maturity, amidst the 
hardships of savage life, often stifles the voice of nature among 
the Americans, and suppresses the strong emotions of parental 
tenderness. Some of these women are stated, in particular, 
to destroy their female children in their infancy. At Otaheite, 
and other islands of the Pacific, a peculiar society exists who 
destroy their children ;* and other nations, in a rude state, 
have been found, who do not suffer those to live, who are bom 
with any natural defect. However disgusting it may be to 
human nature, we find that many nations have tolerated or 
permitted parents to destroy their own offspring ; but the cus 
tom of exclusively murdering females, (although the regula 
tions of Romulus evidently point to their destruction, in pre 
ference to that of the males), and a systematic Infanticide, 
seem to be confined to tlte Rajpoots of India. "f 

" We may assume it is an utKiueslionable fact, that the 
existence of female Infanticide prevails to a greater extent in 
India than has yet come under lite observation of the British 

* This has been happily abolished : sec Ellis s Tour in Hawaii, pp. 303 
305. The Rev. Mr. Knott, a Missionary in the South Sea Islands, stated 
that a female presented to him a child, and said that it was indebted to him 
for its life: she had had five children and murdered them all! 
fPar. Papers, vol. i. pp. 14, 15. 


Cot ITU men t. The knowledge of this fact would, until lately 
have been productive of little more than gratifying a melan 
choly and speculative curiosity. The case is now very much 
altered ; and the inquiry at this moment might be attended, 
not merely with the discover} of the fact, but enable us, by 
the means u c possess fit present, to suppress this revolting 
crime within the reyion of Hindostan. Many of the Dis 
tricts, in which the practice is supposed to prevail, have either 
fallen under the influence or the actual Government of Great 
Britain. Many of those people are become our subjects, and 
ire are bound in duty, as trell as honour, to reclaim thetn 
from the reproach of killiny their own children / I am cer 
tain that the Company s Government requires no other excite 
ment nor encouragement for undertaking this humane work, 
than that which would result from the probability of their 

Who does not blush for the degradation and depravity of 
human nature ? In Christian countries these well authenticated 
statements appear almost beyond credibility : but the ancient 
prevalence of human sacrifices may dispose the reader to re 
ceive, with painful credence, the affecting accounts of the pre 
sent state of Infanticide in British India. 

CHAP. ii. 

Infanticide in India. Oriyin nature crime e.rtent 
present state demoralizing influence. 

Infanticide appears principally to exist, at the present period, 
in India and China. Of its prevalence in China a Missionary 

writes : " A man came to me for medicine, with whom I con 
versed privately. I asked him how long he had left China, 
and whether he ever thought upon his family there ? He 
said he frequently thought on them, and intended next year 
to visit them, for he had three sons, and one daughter who 
was married. I had another daughter, he added, * hut I did 
not bring her up. 1 * Not bring her up ! said I, what then did 

* Par. Papers, 1824, pp. It>7, 1 2H. For further information upon this 
Mlbject, see Grotiut 1 <lr Sat txfi Chritti, r. .r. Dr. J. Oirrn, ilr Nat. \ <-nr 
Theol. {. . viii. pp. 33 11. Mayers Work on Atonement ami .S rtrn/itr, 
Di*. v. Arr<ncsmit}C* Mfdico-leyal f ssay on Infanticide, 1H2H. 


you do with her ? 1 smothered her, said lie. This year, 
also, 1 heard by letter, that another daughter was born : 1 
sent word to have that smothered also, but the mother has 
preserved her. I was shocked at this speech ; and still more 
at the indifference with which he uttered it. What ! said I, 
4 murder your own children ! Do you not shudder at such an 
act ? Oh no, said he, it is a very common thing in China; 
we put the female children out of the way to save the trouble 
of bringing them up : some people have smothered five or six 
daughters ! My horror was increased by his continued in 
difference, and the thought that such crimes are perpetrated 
in China with impunity. What an awful view does this pre 
sent of the Celestial Empire, loaded with crime, deluged 
with blood, and ripe for destruction !" 

Of the internal state of China, little is known in Europe, 
but the paramount influence of Great Britain in Ilindostan, 
renders the subject of Hindoo Infanticide peculiarly interest 
ing in this country. 

" The people in some parts of India," says the late Rev. 
W. Ward, " particularly the inhabitants of Orissa, and of the 
eastern parts of Bengal, frequently offer their children to the 
goddess Gunga. The following reason is assigned for this 
practice : When a woman has been long married, and has 
no children, it is common for the man, or his wife, or both of 
them, to make a vow to the goddess Gunga, that, if she will 
bestow the blessing of children upon them, they will devote 
the first-born to her. If, after this vow, they have children, 
the eldest is nourished till a proper age, which may be three, 
four, or more years, according to circumstances ; and, on a 
particular day appointed for bathing, in any holy part of the 
river, they take the child with them, and oiler it to this god 
dess ; the child is encouraged to go into the water, till it is 
carried away by the stream, or is pushed off by its inhuman 
parents. Sometimes a stranger seizes the child, and brings 
it up ; but it is abandoned by its parents, from the moment it 
floats in the water, and, if no one be found more humane than 
they, it infallibly perishes ! The principal places in Bengal 
where this species of murder is practised are, Gunga Saugur, 
where the river Hooghly disembogues itself into the sea ; 
Voidyuvatce, a town about fourteen miles to the north of 
Calcutta; Trivinee, Nudeeya, Chakduh, and Pray ay, or 

* See the proceedings of the British Government with regard to Infanti 
cide at these places, in the latter part of this hook. 


"The following custom appears to prevail, principally in 
the northern Districts of Bengal. If an infant refuse the mo 
ther s breast, and decline in health, it is said to be under the 
influence of some malignant spirit. Such a child is sometimes 
put into a basket, and hung up in a tree where the evil spirit 
is supposed to reside. It is generally destroyed by ants, or 
birds of prey ; but sometimes perishes by neglect, though fed 
and clothed daily. If it should not be dead at the expiration 
of three days, the mother receives and nurses it again ; but 
this seldom happens. The late Mr. Thomas, a Missionary, 
once saved and restored to its mother an infant which had 
fallen out of a basket at Bholahat, near Malda, at the moment 
a jackal was running away with it. As this gentleman and 
Mr. Carey were afterwards passing under the same tree, they 
found a basket hanging in the branches, containing the 
skeleton of another infant, which had been devoured by ants. 

* A friend at Ludiana, in a letter written in 1812, says, 
The custom of murdering female infants is very common 
among the Rajpoots. One of these fellows had been induced, 
by the tears of his wife, to spare the life of a daughter born to 
him. The girl grew up, and had arrived at the age of 
thirteen ; but, unfortunately for her, had not been demanded in 
marriage; by any one. The Rajpoot began to apprehend the 
danger of her bringing a disgrace upon the family, and resolved 
to prevent it by putting the girl to death. Shortly after 
forming this design, he overheard, or pretended to have over 
heard, some of his neighbours speak of his daughter in a wav 
that tended to increase his fears, when he rushed upon the 
poor girl and cut ofl her head ! The native magistrate con 
fined him for a year, and sci/cd all his property. But this 
was because the girl was marriageable ; infants are murdered 
with impunity. 

The Jatus, a people who ab.mnd in these parts," savs a 
friend, in a letter from Agra, in 1815, "destroy their female 
children as soon as born ; but, being now afraid of the English, 
they remove their pregnant women before the time of delivery 
into the district of the Rajah of Burtpore, that thev may com 
mit these horrid murders with impunity. The dark places of 
the earth are full of the habitations of cruelty !"* 

Tin 1 ortf/iit of Infanticide tippi tirs rcnj obscure. The fol 
lowing extracts from the Par. Papers on the subject, printed 
June 1R2-1, cast considerable light upon the subject. J. Dun 
can, Ks(j., Resident at Benares, iirst directed the attention of 

Ward s View of the Hindo 


the Bengal Government to the existence of Infanticide among 
their subjects, in Oct. 1789. " It is no unfrequent practice," 
says this gentleman, " among the Rajkooinars to put their 
daughters to death. This horrid custom is said to exist also 
among other tribes, more especially in the Vizier s dominions. 
It is thought to be founded in the Rajkoomar tribe, on the 
inherent extravagant desire of independence entertained by 
this race of men, joined, perhaps, to the necessity of procuring 
a suitable settlement in marriage for these devoted females 
were they allowed to grow up ; and the disgrace wit ich would 
ensue from any omission in that respect. 1 * 

" In the north-western parts of Hindostan," says the late 
Rev. W. Ward, " the horrid practice of sacrificing female 
children, as soon as born, has been known from time imme 
morial. The Hindoos ascribe this custom to a prophecy, de 
livered by a Brahmun, to Dweep-sing, a Rajpoot king, thai 
his race would lose the sovereignty through one of his female 
posterity. Another opinion is, that this practice has arisen 
out of the law of marriage, which obliges the bride s father to 
pay almost divine honours to the bridegroom :f hence persons 
of high cast, unwilling thus to humble themselves for the 
sake of a daughter, destroy the infant. In the Punjab, and 
neighbouring Districts, to a great extent, a cast of Seiks, and 
the Rajpoots, as well as many of the Brahmuns and other 
casts, murder their female children as soon as born. A gen 
tleman, whose information on Indian customs is very correct, 
states that this practice was, if it is not at present, universal 
among all the Rajpoots. "J 

A native of Mandavee, in the country of Cutch, thus 
describes the origin of the practice : " It is notoriously known 
to be the established practice among those of the Jahreja tribe 
in the country of Cutch, and the adjoining district of Cattywar 
(in the peninsula of Guzerat), not to bring up their daughters, 
but to put them to death at their birth. The legend that I 
have heard, accounting for this strange practice, is as follows : 
In former times one of the head men of those Jahrejas had 
several female children ; and as, among the Hindoos, it is in 
cumbent to provide husbands for their daughters whilst they 
are in their nonage, the Jahreja chief tain applied to his family 
Brahmun, to pursue the necessary measures for getting the 

* Par. Papers, 1824, p. (5. 

f At the time of marriage the girl s father, taking hold of the knee of the 
boy, worships him, by presenting offerings of rice, flowers, paint, Vc., and 
promises to give him his daughter. Vol. ii. pp. 12*2 125. 
{ Ward s View, vol. ii. p. 121. 


children contracted in marriage with the sons of his equals in 
the tribe, and of like valour and power. The Brahmun, after 
making everv inquiry, returned without effecting his object ; 
reporting that, although he had exerted all his endeavours to find 
proper alliances lor his female children, he had not traced any 
one who was of competent qualifications to be his son-in-law : 
wherefore (said the Brahmun), since to retain these, your 
female offspring, in the family house, after their arriving at 
the age of womanhood, is contrary to the rules of religion, 1 
will take them with me, and will burn them in the fire, on 
condition that it be stipulated on your part, to destroy, at 
their birth, all issue of the same sex that shall be born in your 
family. I now lay my solemn malediction on you and yours, 
if you fail to perform the same; in such manner, that, if you 
shall preserve any of your future daughters, they shall pass 
their lives in want ; nor shall good attend the father or mother 
of such children. It is further reported that the Brahmun 
took away those innocent girls, and consumed them in the 
flames ; and that, in conformity to the stipulation and 
denunciation aforesaid, the people of the Jahreja tribes, 
dwelling in the country of Cutch, and in the Pergumiahs of 
Hallar, and other places within the Peninsula of Guzerat, 
have, to the present day, continued to adhere to the practice 
in question." 

" Being interrogated respecting Adeeba, the daughter of 
Ralakjee, former Rajah of Cutch, who was married to one of 
the Guicowar Rajahs, he replied, * It is true Adeeba is still 
surviving at Booj, the capital of Cutch, yet there are but few 
exceptions to the general rule, because, from the effect of the 
malediction pronounced, no good ensues from their preserva 
tion ; insomuch that if any daughters of this tribe are married 
into other houses, the grain in such houses becomes less 
plentiful ; nor do such women produce sous, but are the 
occasion of feuds arising in the families into which they were 
thus transplanted ! Throughout the country of Cutch there 
may b six or eight houses wherein the Jahreja masters of 
families bring up their daughters ; otherwise, the practice is 
general; and, besides what happens within the limits of that 
country, the .Jahreja chieftains of Moorvee, Goondul, and 
Jamuagur, in the Peninsula of Gu/.erat, also kill their female 
infants. Those who occasionally preserve their daughters, 
are induced by the consideration of acquiring the merit of 
having sons born to them. As when a man h;is a succession 
of female children in his family, he will, at the .suggestion of 
any one, bt_- induced to believe thai, by bringing them up, 


sons will also be bom to him ; whence chiefly Jahreja 
daughters are sometimes met with, of whom there is, within 
my recollection, another instance, in the case of the Roe 
chieftain of Cutch, by name Vijrajee, who has married a 
daughter of his to the son of Attabye, the Rajah of Bhow r na- 
guth ; that lady may now be about twenty or twenty-two years 
of age, but I have not heard that she has had any male issue, 
but that, on the contrary, her husband and she do not agree."* 

Colonel Walker endeavours to account for the rise of this 
singular practice as follows: "The Jahrejas relate that a 
powerful Rajah of their cast, who had a daughter of singular 
beauty and accomplishments, desired his rajgor, or family 
Brahmun, to affiance her to a prince of desert and rank equal 
to her own. The rajgor travelled over many countries without 
discovering a chief who possessed the requisite qualities; for, 
where wealth and power were combined, personal accom 
plishments and virtue were defective ; in like manner, where 
the advantages of the mind and the body were united, those 
of fortune and rank were wanting. The rajgor returned and 
reported to the prince that his mission had not proved 
successful. This intelligence gave the Rajah much concern; 
he, however, strongly reprobated every match for his daughter 
which he conceived inferior to her high rank and perfection. 
In this dilemma the Rajah consulted his rajgor, and he advised 
him, to avoid the disgrace which would attend the princess s 
remaining unmarried, by having recourse to the desperate 
expedient of putting his daughter to death. The Rajah was 
long averse to this expedient, and remonstrated against the 
murder of a woman, which, enormous as it is represented in 
the shastras, would be aggravated when committed on his own 
offspring. The rajgor at length removed the Rajah s scruples, 
by consenting to load himself with the guilt, and to become, 
in his own person, responsible for all the consequences of the 
sin ! Accordingly the princess was put to death, and female 
Infanticide was, from that time, practised by the Jahrejas."f 

" I have met with an account of Infanticide," the Colonel 
further observes, " which ascribes its origin to a circumstance 
more probable, than the disappointment felt by the Rajah at 
not finding a suitable match for his daughter. It is said that 
one of the early Mussulman invaders of the Jahrejas country, 
who experienced the determination with which they defended 
their liberties, united policy to arms, and sought to consolidate 
their interests in the country, by demanding the daughters of 

Par. Papers, 1 82 4, p. 23. I pp. 31 , 32. 


the Hajahs in marriage. The high-spirited Jahrejas would 
not brook the disgrace, and pretended they did not preserve 
their daughters; but, fearful of the consequences, and that 
force would be resorted to in order to obtain what was refused 
to entreaty, they listened to the advice of their rajgors in this 
extremity, and, deluded by the fictitious responsibility which 
they accepted, the practice of Infanticide originated, and has 
since been confirmed. In consistency with this relation is an 
account which I have heard of one of the Rajahs of Noanuggur, 
whose daughter was demanded in marriage by the Emperor 
of Delhi, and which also throws some light upon the doubtful 
point, whether a grown-up daughter is ever put to death. Il 
appears, that although much discredit would attach to a 
Jahreja who killed his daughter, after having preserved her 
for any time, yet that such occurrences, however imfrcquent, 
are not without precedent. In some period of the history of 
the Jahrejas, it is said that one of the Jams was despoiled of 
his country by the king of Delhi, who promised to restore it, 
provided Jam gave him a daughter, whom he had preserved, 
in marriage. This must have been a legitimate daughter, as 
Jam disdainfully rejected the alliance. After some time was 
given to reflection, Jam was counselled by his friends 
apparently to comply, and to depart for Delhi, accompanied 
by his daughter; when he might evade the disgrace, save his 
honour, and recover his country, by putting his daughter to 
death, and give out that she died of sickness or fatigue during 
the journey. The plan was put into execution, and this 
conduct does not appear to have received the disapprobation 
of the cast ; probably it was applauded."* 

The nature of Infanticide, or the manner in which the 
practice t.s perpetrated, is involved in considerable obscurity. 
J. Duncan, Esq., Resident at Benares, in 1789, in his inquiries 
upon the subject, was informed that the Rajkoomors <k killed 
their infant daughters, or allowed them to die, by denying 
them all sustenance from their birth."f The same gentleman, 
when Governor of Bombay, in a conversation with Gajra Bye, 
daughter of one of the Guicowar Princes, of Gu/erat, in 1804, 
incidentally ascertained the existence of Infanticide in Cutcli. 
On inquiry from Captain Seton, stationed at Mandavee, it 
was stated, "The custom mentioned in Gajra Bye s relation 
is in force to this day. Every female infant born in the 
Rajah s family, if of a Ranne or lawful wife, is immediately 

* Par. Papers 1824, PP- 32, 53. On the Origin of Infanticide see an 
extract from Col. Tod, Asi. Jour.. Oct. 1*30. p. Htf. t p. 7. 

C *> 


dropped into a hole dug in the earth and filled with milk, 
where it is drowned."* 

" Curiosity, "says Colonel Walker, " will naturally be excited 
to learn the methods observed in committing these Infanticides ; 
and whether they are attended by any compunction and 
ceremony. The common expressions for Infanticide are 
4 Deekree Jiarnc nc dial] or the custom of killing daugh 
ters ; and Narcc Deekree Manic nc ChalJ or the custom 
of killing young daughters. In conversation, and in 
discussing the subject with the .Tahrejas, the term used was 
* Deekree BabntJ or the article of girls. 1 Although the 
.Tahrejas spoke freely of the custom of putting their daughters 
to death, without delicacy, and without pain, they were more 
reserved on the mode of its execution, and appeared at 
first unwilling to be questioned on the subject. They usually 
replied, lhal it wr/.s an affair of the women ; it belonged to 
ihe nursery, and mad? no part of the business of the men. 
They at last threw off this reserve. 

"The following is the translation of a memorandum from 
Wassonjec F.swarjee, a Nagur Brahmun, who attended the 
camp, in the quality of Vakeel, from the Gondul Chief. When 
the wives of the Jahreja Rajpoots arc delivered of daughters, 
the women, who may be with the mother, repair to the oldest 
man in the house ; this person desires them to go to him who 
is the father of the infant, and do as he directs. On this the 
women go to the lather, who desires them to do (IK /.v cus 
tomary, and so to inform the mother. The women then 
repair to the mother, and tell her to act in conformity to 
their usages. The mother next puts opium on the nipple of 
her breast, which the child inhaling with its milk, dies ! The 
above is one custom, and the following is another ; when the 
child is bom, they place the navel-string on its mouth, and it 
expires. If a father wishes to preserve a daughter, he previ 
ously apprizes his wife and familv, and his commands are 
obeyed. If a mother entertains a wish of preserving a 
daughter, and her hnsband is averse to it, the infant must be 
put to death ! There are, however, instances where the 
influence of th" mother has succeeded in saving the infant, 
by obtaining tin- revocation of the decree for its destruction; 
but these instances of maternal solicitude are either unfrequent 
or but seldom successful. The father sometimes expressly 
orders the infant to be put to death, probably when he sus 
pects some intmi.ion of the mother to preserve i ; bill, in 

* Par. Papers, p. 20. 


general, this sanguinary intimation is unnecessary ; a total 
silence on the part of the husband, is considered to imply his 
unalterable resolution, that the child, if a female, should 
perish ! 

"To render this deed, if possible, more horrible, tlte mother 
is commonly the executioner of her oirn offspring ! Women 
of rank may have their slaves and attendants, who perform 
this office; but the far greater number execute it with their own 
hands. This compliance of the women must appear the 
more extraordinary, as they belong to easts who rear their 
females, and are brought up in families, where their own 
existence is evidence against the unnatural practice : but as 
they arc betrothed at an early age, they imbibe the supersti 
tions <>( their husbands, and some of them appear even as 
advoeat s for this custom. They appear to have several 
methods for destroying the infant, but two are prevalent. 
Immediately after the birth of a female, they put into its 
mouth some opinm* or drair the umbilical cord over its face, 
which prercnts respiration.* But the destruction of so young 
and tender a subject is not difficult, and it is probably effected 
without a struggle. The natural weakness of the infant, 
when neglected and left uncleaned some time, causes its death, 
without the necessity of actual violence ; and sometimes it is 
laid on the ground, or on a plank, and left to expire! The 
infant, after it is destroyed, is placed in a small basket, 
entirelv naked, and in this state earned out and interred. In 
Catty war, any of the female attendants of the family perform 
this office; but in Cutch it is done by the domestic rajgor. 
The rajgors, who bury the infants that perish, receive a fee 
of one koree, whieh is a coin equivalent in value to one-third 
of a rupee (about ten-pence sterling), and a meal. In Cutch 
the female rajgors are the executioners of the infant instead 
of the mother, and this seems to approach nearer to the origin 
of the custom. 

"The birth of a daughter is considered by the Hindoos, of 
every description, as an inferior event, and they rarely make 
it a subject of congratulation. Should anv inquisitive person 
ask a Jahreja the result of the pregnancy of his wife, if it were 
a female, he would answer nothing ? and this expression, in 

* Sir .loin Maleolm says, that "Suntook Rain, minister (if Amjerah, told 
him he \sas sitting \sith Puddim Sin^li. UK- present Tliakorc, \\htn he heard 
the birth of a female infant whispered in his ear, and saw him preparing tk<- 
fatal pill f ,f ojiiuni (the usual signal); he implored that the child might 
live; ins rc<|iiest \\ris granted; and thi* little j, r irl, added Suntook Ham, is 
al \\a\s ealled mv diiu^ iiicr." Kri. of Cent, lirli.i, A-i. Jour.. Jan. IX-vj. 


thr idiom of the country, is sufficiently significant. The 
infant is invariably put to death immediately on its birth, 
and it would be considered a barbarous action, to deprive it 
of life after it had been allowed to live a day or tico ! 
Although instances of this deliberate murder may be very 
rare, yet, from the examination of a Jahreja, who was reported 
to me as having been guilty of this deed, I have reason to 
believe they sometimes occur. The death of a daughter is 
generally viewed by a Jahreja, as an infallible consequence 
after its birth ; and it is considered to be an event of such 
insignificance, that he is seldom apprized of it ! It is 
attended by no ceremony, and publicity is avoided. Jussajee, 
of Jallia, has had three daughters ; they were all put to death 
at the time of their birth. Jussajee attended the camp ; he is 
a man of intelligence, and served the detachment as a guide. 
His character and disposition, lor humanity and propriety, 
are favourable ; but he has not the least compunction for the 
murder of these children, and considers the deed to be, in 
every respect, justifiable."* 

The following is the statement of Jahreja Dadajee, chief of 
Kajcote : " Many of the Jahrejas of ditch preserve their 
daughters, and, previously to the birth of a child, the father, 
if he wishes to preserve the child, signifies such a wish, and 
his will is invariably obeyed;. if the mother wishes, and the 
lather is averse to preserve his daughter, it is killed ! 
Exceptions to this take place now and then, when the mother 
has great influence over the father. When the daughters are 
killed, they are almost invariably put to death, immediately 
after their birth. On the birth of a daughter, the mother 
very seldom apprizes the father, but puts it to death at once. 
Daughters, when put to death, are always buried in the state 
in which they were born, without any purification, or being 
wrapped in any clothes. Dadajee has a daughter alive. He 
states that he expressed a wish to preserve it previously to its 
birth. Some Jahrejas preserve their daughters that may be 
bom within the space of six months after the death of a chief: 
though this is little observed, it is still reckoned proper ; but 
he says that avarice, or other passions of the parent, make 
them disregard this practice. He says there is no uniform 
mode of killing infants. Sometimes they terminate their life 
by opium, sometimes by placing the navel-string on their 
mouth and suffocating them. Dadajce, on being interrogated 
as to any other mode, said, What difficulty is there in 

Par. Papers, 1821, pp. Mo ,\~. 


blastiny a Jiower V Sometimes the mothers, if there are no 
female attendants, kill their infants themselves ; but, in 
general, women of station never perform this unnatural office. 
In allusion to this subject, as descriptive of the motives for 
Infanticide, he states, that in Catty war and Hallaur tin- 
rubbaries, or goatherds, allow their male kids to die when 
there are many of them brought forth ; and the eharons follow 
the same practice with their male buffaloes, both being 
reckoned unproductive, in a country where little ilesh is 
consumed, and the only profit which arises from the animals 
is their milk !"* 

In Zillah Furruckabad, Bareilly Division, in Sep. 180G, a 
man was tried for the murder of his child. The atrocious act 
is thus described by the murderer : u About twenty days ago 
a daughter was born in my house, a little before sun-set. On 
the same evening, I, the deponent, on account of the ancient 
customs of my tribe, of not contracting our daughters in mar 
riage with any one, as well as from ignorance of the regula 
tions of justice, and the contents of the proclamation made 
with respect to refraining from murdering daughters, and 
likewise from mv dwelling in the jageer, depending upon the 
Nawab of Khurudmund Khan ; on tliis account I took out of 
my house some of the juice of the Ag tree, (a deadly poison,) 
and caused my new-born child to drink it. About ten o clock 
at night mv daughter expired. I was not acquainted with 
the Company s regulations, if I had, 1 should never have 
committed this crime : now, that I am acquainted with them, 
I will never again commit the same crime." lie was 
ultimately pardoned on the ground of his ignorance. f 

The crime of female murder in very yreat, according to 
the Hindoo shaxtras. "The doctrines of the Hindoo religion 
have been singularly careful to protect the female sex and 
infants from violence ; and it is unlawful to put a woman to 
death for any offence whatever. In support of this opinion 
they quote the following sloke or verse : 

Shut ao wuclhe vcpra 
Shut vcpra wudhe istreea 
Shut istreea wudhe bala 
Shut bala wudhe muresha. 

* To kill one brahraun is equal to one hundred cos: 

To kill one woman is equal to one hundred Brahmuus: 

To kill one child is equal to one hundred women : 

To kill one hundred ehildren is an offence too heinous for comparison. 

VM, p. ,w. f l ar . PajM ix ,m Infan. ISvJS, pp. MM, Ml. 


The crime therefore of killing a woman is considered as great 
a sin as killing a hundred Bralnmms ; and tin* sin of killing a 
young child, of either sex, is equal to killing a hundred 

J. Duncan, Ksq., while Resident at Benares, procured a 
translation of an extract from a Hindoo shastra, in which the 
same sentiments are expressed. " Let all the four casts of 
Brahmun, Khetry, Bys, and Soodra, know that killing a 
woman is tlte greatest of crimes. The person guilty of such an 
act, having gone into the nerk or hill, called Kal Sooter, shall 
remain there without nourishment, and be gnawed by worms, 
for as many years as there are hairs on the woman s body, 
and shall remain there always in pain and misery ; and after- 
~, ard v , being born again in the lesser casts, shall become a 
leper for the same number of years ; and thereafter, becoming 
of the cast of Soodra, shall bo afflicted with the zukhma, or 
vomiting of blood. Being again born of that cast, he becomes 
the servant or valet of a Brahmun, by which lie is exonerated. 
In the same Pooran it is written, that causing abortion is 
equal to killing a Brahman. It is distinguished by the name 
of broon Jietled"-^ 

The e.vtent and present stale of this cruel custom appear 
by the following extracts from the Par. Papers 011 Infanticide, 
of 18-24 and 1828. The Papers of 1828 contain the most 
recent account of the state of Infanticide in ditch and 
Cattywar, in Benares, and other parts of the Bengal Presi 
dency, and also of the Presidency of Fort St. George. The 
Papers of 1824, which contain the most information, are 
divided into four parts. 

Part the first contains " Papers relating to Infanticide, 
practise ! hi/ Hie Rajkootnars^ Rajevanses, ($c., in Benares 
and other parts of tlie territories -tinder the Bengal Presi 
dency, and in the state of Oude : 1789 to 1820." pp. 516. 

Sir John Shore (now Lord Teignmouth), in a Paper on the 
Customs and Practices of the Hindoos, has the following 
observations on the subject of Infanticide : " That this 
practice should ever be so general as to become a custom, 
with any sect or race of people, requires the most unexcep 
tionable evidence to gain belief; and I am sorry to say, that 
the general practice, as far as regards female infants, is fully 
substantiated with respect to a particular tribe on the frontiers 
of Juanpore, a district of the province of Benares, adjoining 
to the country of Oude. A race of Hindoos, called Kajkoo- 

Tar. P.ipers 1821, p. -12. t pp. 7, 8. 


niar>, reside here; and it was discovered, in 17H}) only, that 
tlu: custom of putting to death the female offspring, by causing 
th" mothers to starve them, had long subsisted, and did 
actually, very generally, prevail among them. Hie Re 
sident at Benares, in a circuit \vhieli he made through the 
country where the Rajkoomars dwell, had an opportunity of 
authenticating the existence of the custom from their own 
confessions. He conversed with several; all unequivocally 
admith-d it, hut all did not fully acknowledge its atrocitv ; 
and the only reason assigned for the inhuman practice was, 
the great expense of procuring suitable matches for their 
daughters, if they allowed them to grow up ! It is some satis 
faction to add, that the custom, though general, was not 
universal, as natural affection, or some other motive, had 
induced the lathers of some Rajkooniar families to bring up 
one or more of their female issue; but the instances, where 
more than one daughter had been spared were very rare . 
One village only furnished a complete exception to the 
general custom ; and the Rajkooniar informant, who noticed 
it. supposed that the inhabitants had sworn, or solemnly 
pledged themselves to each other, to bring up their females; 
in proof of his assertion, in favour of the village in question, 
he added, that several old maids of the Rajkooniar tribe then 
actually existed there, and that their celibacy proceeded from 
the difficulty of procuring husbands for them, inconsequence 
of the great expenses attending the marriages of this class of 

,J. Shakspeare, Ksq., Acting Superintendent of Police in 
the Western Provinces, thus speaks of the state of Infanticide 
in !*!(> : " Section XI. Regulation III., 1*04, contains 
provisions for the prevention and punishment of the inhuman 
practice prevalent among the tribe of Rajkoomars, of causing 
their female infants to be strangled to death. There is reason 
to believe, that tliix practice still obtain* amain/ the Rajkoo- 
Hun fi, to nearly tlie same extent as formerly ; though a great 
degree of caution is observed to prevent detection. In tin- 
records of this office, 1 find a few reports from Darogahs, in 
former \ ears, of the murder of female children, bv mixing 
their food with the milky juice of the plant axelepias giaantica, 
known in Bengal by the name of akond, and by that of ack 
in Ilindostan. This mode of destroying their offspring, is 
said to be v//// commonly practised. Some few instances 
have been reported, during the last year, of persons destroying 

* Asi. 


their children with the intention of revenging themselves for 
actual or supposed injuries, under the impression that the sin 
of murder would be visited on the persons by whom they 
were aggrieved."* 

The Magistrate of Juanpore, W. Cracroft, Esq., in 1819, 
shows the existence of the practice at that period : " Eight 
Rajkoomars, married men, whom I called before me, had, 
among them, seventeen sons and only ONE daughter ! 
Another mentioned that he had a wife whom her father had 
reared, but that her dowry had ruined the family. Surubdo- 
ween Singh, who is a Rajkoornar, of the Nawab s country, 
has a sister twelve years old, whose wedding has been settled 
in Bauswarrah ; he has also a daughter three months old, 
whom he has promised to rear. Taleui Singh, his grand 
father, also brought up a daughter, who is a widow, and lives 
in Busera. Soogreem Singh, his son, has also reared a 
daughter, who is eight years old, but her marriage has not, 
been determined. There are some families among them who 
would willingly rear their daughters, but those are very few ; 
and, if by any misfortune their circumstances should become 
reduced, they would not hesitate to have recourse to the 
practice of the cast."f 

The Par. Papers respecting the Burning of Hindoo Widows 
(vol. i. 1821.) contain the following confirmation of this 
lamentable state of society. The Magistrate of Agra, in the 
Suttee Report of 1816, remarks, "The practice of burning 
women on the funeral piles of their husbands docs not exist 
in this district, in the same degree as in others ; the reason of 
this may be ascribed, to the prevalence of female child 
murder. It is well known that no Rajpoot allows a daughter 
to live : their wives are of other casts, and consequently nol 
obliged to sacrifice themselves."! "The practice of the 
Rajkoomars (says W. Ewer, Esq., Act. Sup. of Police, Lower 
Provinces) is, I have reason to think, but little checked by 
the enactment."^ Nov. 1818.|| 

* Par. Papers, pp. 13, 14. f Par. Papers, p. 1(5. 

The Court of Ni/amut Adawlut declare child murder to be contrary to 
the existing law of 1804, and wish to know how this can have been evaded. 

Par. Papers relative to Suttees, vol. i. p. 104. 

|| "The Rajkoomar," says Col. Tod, "is one of the Cliocan sac/uc, chief 
of the Aguiculas, and, in proportion to its high and well-deserved pretensions 
on the score of honour, it has more Infanticide than any other of the thirty- 
six royal races. Amongst those of this race, out of the pale of feudalism, 
and subjected to powers not Rajpoot, the practice is four-fold greater, from 
the increasing pressure of the cause which gave it birth, and the difficulty 
of establishing their daughters in wedlock." Asi. Jour. Oct. 1830. p. 1(>7. 

INTANTlflDi:. -J7 

Part the second of the Par. Papers of 1824, relates to 
" Infanticide practised by the Rajpoots in the District of 
Cutch and Cattyirar, a District of Guzerat, within the 
Dominions f the Guicotcar: 1800 to 1808." pp. 17 70. 

The subject is first noticed in a report from Kerpa Rama, 
minister of the Nawaub of Surat, received by J. Duncan, 
Esq., Governor of Bombay in 1800 : u I have heard people 
say," said the Minister, " that among the tribe of Rajpoots, 
and especially among the Rajahs of that class, the birth of a 
daughter in their houses was considered as disgraceful ; on 
which account their women refuse to let their newly-born 
daughters have access to their milk, and put them in any way 
to death ; but this practice is not general through all the 
subdivisions of their tribe, though, in several places, they do 
thus stony-heartedly kill them."* The same gentleman 
received from Gajra Bye, a daughter of a Guieowar prince of 
Guzerat, the following intelligence, in Feb. 1804 : u Damaji 
Guicowar carried his anns as far as to Cutch, with the Rajah 
of which a reconciliation took place, on condition that one of 
the princesses, his daughters, being given in marriage to 
Damaji ; which lady, named Dankur Bye, lived among the 
Guicowars till after Damaji s death ; when, at her own request, 
the Rajah Fatteh Sing permitted her to return to her own 
family in Cutch. "f "This incidental narrative," says the 
Minute to Government, "from Gajra Bye, leading to the 
question, Whether Dankur Bye had, of this marriage, any 
children? it was answered negatively; and Gajra Bye imme 
diately followed up his answer by explaining, that among 
that ladtfs cast in ( utch, the danyJitcrs are not brought np, 
but drowned immediately at their birth in a rcssel of milk"% 

The Honourable the Governor of Bombay delivered the 
following memorandum on this subject, Dec. 1800: "A 
person desired to speak to me, saying he was come from the 
country of Cutch Boojh, and had something of a secret nature 
to impart from Roy Dhun, the Rajah of that territory. On 
this person being admitted, he said his name was Sheojee 
Goorjee, that he is the confidential servant of Roy Dhun, the 
Rajah of Cutch, that he is sent by him to solicit our aid for 
his release from the restraint under which that chieftain 
labours, by being placed in a state of confinement by Futteh 
Mahomed, whom lie states to have subjected the whole 
country to his will, not, however, from the dread of his power 
and influence. He admits that his master has no sons ; but 

I ur. Caper- on Iiil;m. p. l!>. f jv l!. 1 p. l!. SIT pp. JO, Jl . 


there is a male child of Prcthy Rowjeu, his late brother, seven 
years old, who is called Luckput. He confesses they never 
rear daughters in his master s family ; and, being asked the 
reason, he answers, i Where have they an equal to whom to 
be bestowed in marriaye ? "* 

Colonel Walker in his interesting document on the subject, 
dated Baroda, March 1808, gives a full account of the extent 
of this custom among the Jahrejas. " The practice of Infan 
ticide appears to have been discontinued by the descendants 
of the Jahrejas who inhabit Scind, and who have become 
converts to the Mahomedan religion. I was told, however, 
of an exception, and that one of these converted tribes, or 
families, still follows the custom of their ancestors. A fe\v of 
the Jahreja tribes of Cutch have also discontinued Infanticide, 
or practice it but occasionally. The following Jahreja families 
in that country were mentioned as systematically refraining 
from Infanticide, and their names deserve to be recorded. 
The families of Bulach, Boltan, Sar dibber, Kotee, Ubra, 
Jarria, Guff un, Murasee, Mokarra, Kuya, llelreea, Mor, Row, 
Jessa, Dessa, Danrar, Detteea,Joreea,Adreea,Verac, Kunorde, 
and Veeur, are enumerated as rearing their daughters. Some 
of these families are of respectability in Cutch ; but the 
far greater part of the inhabitants follow the practice without 
the least remorse. Tlie origin of Infanticide among the 
Jahrejas Is not siqiposed to be more remote than 500 years. 
As no disgrace or stigma is attached to the omission of this 
act, we might expect that natural affection would prevail over 
a barbarous custom ; but this is overpowered by the influence 
of habits and prejudices, strengthened by little selfish views of 
economy and of domestic ease. I endeavoured to ascertain the 
motives of the Jahrejas who preserved their daughters ; and, 
by their own confession, this act of humanity did not proceed 
from parental feelings. It appeared to be inspired, not by 
motives of affection for the object, so much as by personal 
considerations, arising from the ideas of Metempsychosis, 
which are so universally and rigidly observed by the Shavuch 
Banians, the followers of Jena. These people consider it a 
sin to deprive any creature, however mean or noxious, of life ; 
and their doctrines are said to have an impression on a few of 
the Jahrejas. 

" It would be an interesting inquiry, to ascertain the number 
of females who perish annually from Ihe practice of Infan 
ticide. This could only be effected by a careful research 

* Pur. Papers, ]>. /. 


among the Jahreja families, which might determine their 
number, and obtain a tolerably correct estimate of the 
casualties. The result of my information was too vague to 
afford any data of an accurate calculation ; but it may be 
useful to state this information, as, although defective, it may 
convey some determinate notion of the extent of this offence 
against the first laws of human nature. I shall begin by 
stating an account which has the appearance of exaggeration. 
According to a loose computation, the number of Jahreja 
families inhabiting Cutch and Cattywar is estimated at 
125,000, and the number of female infants yearlv destroyed to 
amount to 20,000. Being desirous of reducing this inquiry 
to a state of greater certainty, I endeavoured to procure a 
particular list of the Jahrejas inhabiting these countries. I 
found it impracticable to obtain this information respecting 
Cutch ; but the following is an account of the Jahreja families 
inhabiting Ilallaur and Muchoo Khaunta, furnished by an in 
telligent native, well acquainted with this extraordinary race. 

A list <>f Mir families of tJie different tribes of Jahrejas in 
Hallaur and MucJioo Khaunta. 

Jam /a lHi, the descenda!! is Pi iaraner - 100 

of the Jam^ 
Ilunl.-ls - 
Stv S-.n^eca 
Hewancc - 
\V (-chance - 
Ktmkerya - 


Bhananee - 




- .000 


nil - 




- 10:) 



- 100 



- 100 



- 200 


Rao - 

- -100 





And other casts - 

. .000 

* // /.<? supposed thnt the abuttal number of Infanticides 
in tjic Peninsula of Guzetat ninountx to /3000. The number 
of Jahrejas in Cutch, on the authority of the natives, is ten 
limes as many as Ilaliaur and Muchoo Khaunta, and this 
would give us a population of 150,000 men ; for all these 
calculations are exclusive of women and children, who must, 
from the nature of the case, either be wives or boys. As a 
number of Jahrejas in that country have disused Infanticide, 
without any formal renunciation of the practice, the number 
of deaths may be estimated at 80,000. I shall, lastly, statu 
the lowest estimate that 1 receive 1 of these- mnnl Ts ; and, 


although its moderation may appear in favour of its truth, I 
am disposed to think this account, as short of the number 
destroyed, as the preceding is probably an exaggeration, 
These accounts, it is to be observed, do not pretend to rest on 
calculation, but convey the opinions of persons well-informed 
respecting the state of the country. According to this 
authority, the number of Infanticides annually in Hallaur 
and Muchoo Khaunta, are between 1000 and 1,100 ; and in 
Cutch about 2000 ! 

"Whenever aJahreja saveshisdaughter,he invariably exerts 
every means, sometimes to the impoverishment of his family, 
to obtain a respectable settlement for her in life. It is, 
perhaps, this strong desire that prevents the lower orders 
saving their daughters. 

"Even the poorest Jahreja feels the utmost solicitude not 
to taint his blood by an improper alliance. It does not appear 
that the number of their wives is limited by any rule. The 
practice of concubinage is common among the Jahrcjas, and 
in forming these connexions they are under little or no restraint 
with respect to cast. It will be observed that the settlement 
of their daughters born of rackelees, or mistresses, is attended 
with little expense or publicity ; and the motives, which lead 
the Jahrejas to destroy their legitimate daughters, do not in 
the former case exist with equal force. 

" The influence of example and communication is capable 
of procuring converts to the most flagitious courses. The 
Jaitwa Rajpoots, who rule over the division of Burrudda, have 
been accused of adopting the barbarous practice of the Jah 
rejas in destroying their daughters. The Jaitwas may have 
thought it no disgrace to follow a custom cherished by their 
conquerors ; and, having lost a greater part of their possessions, 
they may have been desirous, like the Jahrejas, of relieving 
themselves from the burden of portioning their daughters. 
They observe a silence on the subject, and the deed is per 
formed in secrecy ; but the singular fact, that the Ranas of 
Poorbundcr have had no grown-up daughters for more than 
a hundred years, would be sufficient evidence against them."* 

The third part of the Par. Papers relates to "Infanticide 
practised by the Rajpoots in the Districts of Cutch and Cat- 
tywar, within the Dominions of the Guicoirar ; 1808 to 1820." 
pp. 71128. 

Colonel Walker, referring to the success of his endeavours 
to abolish Infanticide among the Jahrejas in Catty war in 

* Par. Papers, 1821, pp. 37- 42. 


, remarks :" I was willing to think that tin* example 
might produce a favourable effect on the Jahrejas of Ciitch, 
and in this expectation I addressed myself again to Futteh 
Mahomed. The Jemadar s answer contained a second defence 
of Infanticide, but in more moderate terms. It appears that 
the Jahreja Byaud of Cutch could easily overturn the usurped 
authority of Futteh Mahomed; and that they only sanction or 
submit to it, because they have thereby acquired an extension 
of their own authority, and many illegal possessions. Under 
these circumstances we cannot probably indulge any strong 
hope that the suppression of Infanticide will soon be attained 
in Cutch ; and, in the actual state of affairs in that country, 
they may, perhaps, afford some apology for Futteh Mahomed s 
appearing as a constrained advocate for the unnatural crime 
of Infanticide."* 

J. R. Carnack, Esq., Resident at Baruda, thus addressed 
the Chief Secretary of the Bombay Government, in 1816: 
" I have the honour to report, in pursuance of the orders of 
the Right Honourable the Governor in Council, that the 
abolition of this inhuman practice in Cutch lias not been 
accomplished. The urgent representations to that Govern 
ment during the life of Futteh Mahomed, and our subsequent 
intercourse with his Highness Raidhum and his ministers, 
were attended with no effect ; in the first case, from a decla 
ration, that an interference with the religious prejudices of the 
country was incompatible with the situation of Futteh 
Mahomed; and latterly the impaired power of the Rao, and 
the internal revolutions of Cutch, have been made a pretext 
for paying no attention to the execution of our wishes. Cir 
cumstances have not enabled us therefore to carry our views, 
for the abolition of female Infanticide in Cutch, beyond the 
measure of representation ; and, considering that the prejudice 
which tolerates this atrocious practice is interwoven with the 
conceived notions of honour of families of Jahreja origin, it 
could not be expected, until our influence was established, 
that female Infanticide could be suppressed. It may require 
also considerable exertions and discretion, now that we have 
obtained a political establishment in Cutch, before any progress 
is made in the success of our object. I should have been 
happy to announce that female Infanticide was entirely 
eradicated from the Peninsula of Cattywar. Although there 
has lately been no evidence afforded to me, either by my 
assistant, or the Guicowar local authority, of any Jahreja 

* Par. Tapers, p. 50. 

having destroyed his offspring since the accession to the 
engagements by means of Colonel Walker ; I have been dis 
appointed in the result of the statement of those children who 
have been reported as preserved. The letter from Captain 
Ballanliue seems to vouch for only fifteen, the disparity of 
which number is very great according to the ordinary progress 
of population."* 

The Governor in Council writes to the following effect to 
the Court of Directors, in 1817 : : < To the last Report from 
the Assistant to the Resident at Baroda, on this subject, AVC 
particularly wish to draw your attention ; as submitting a 
register of the Talookas in Cattywar, where the Jahrejas 
reside, and showing how many female children have been 
saved since the introduction of Colonel Walker s arrangements, 
accompanied by his observations on the register, and in regard 
to the adoption of measures which might be calculated to root 
out the evil. The report of Captain Ballantine, while it affords 
satisfactory proof that SIXTY-THREE female children had 
been preserved by our interposition, exhibits a melancholy 
picture of the almost universal continuance of the horrid 
practice, and that to an extent beyond what we had antici 
pated. It is observable that the preservation of no more than 
the above small number of children can be established 
throughout the Talookas specified by Captain Ballantine, 
where it is concluded the number of Jahrejas must be very 
considerable ; since Draff a alone contains 400 families ; nor 
can it escape your attention that the Jahrejas, enumerated as 
having preserved their female children, have saved only ONE 
of the number, that must hare been born according to the 
ordinary course of nature ."-\- 

Colonel Walker having returned from India, but still deeply 
interested in his philanthropic design of abolishing Infanticide, 
addressed the following letter to the Secretary of the Court of 
Directors, in 181!): 

"In acknowledging your letter, and the documents to vOiich it gave 
cover, I beg to enclose, lor the Honourable the Court of Directors, a memo 
randum on the subject of female Infanticide. I have found it impossible, 
at present, to give that important subject all the consideration which is due 
to it, and I shall probably avail myself of a future opportunity of transmit 
ting, for the notice of the Honourable Court, some additional reflections 
which may occur to me. 

" Although there can be no difference of opinion regarding the enormity 
of the crime of Infanticide, yet it is not to be considered as peculiar to the 
natives of India. In other parts of the earth the same practice has prevailed. 

Par. Papers p. 07. See p. KKi. t pp. 10(5, JOT. 


In China it is not uncommon at (his day; where it is permitced by the 
legislature, and reckoned no disgrace to the individual. Even humane 
person, however, must agree that such a practice should be stopped by all 
the means which a wise Government can command ; that we have the 
means in our power there cannot be a doubt; and I must beg leave to say 
that my own success is a proof of this. The means are, persuasion and 
reason. If these be wisely applied, by the agents of Government, they will 
be found quite sufficient without any inquisitorial institution ; without any 
odious system of espionage, which no remote advantage can make necessary. 
The foundation of reform was laid. It was proved to the natives that this 
practice was against their sacred institutions, and it was revolting to the best 
feelings of the human heart. They agreed to it, and probably did sincerely 
mean to do so. The Government, however, and the local authorities, became 
remiss, and the people returned, bi/ degrees, to habits ton long established. I 
am convinced that it is necessary, by undeviating attention to the subject, 
to satisfy them that ice are really sincere in our irish to abolish the crime. 
All depends on attention to the subject for a sufficient length of time, till 
the influence of custom is forgotten, and the natural affections ha\e sprung 
up again in the hearts of parents. They are not wholly lost, although some 
unhappy circumstances have been able to cover them for the present. In 
attaining this object there cannot be a doubt of our success, for nature is 
working in our favour. All that is required is attention to the subject, and 
that for a sufficient length of time. Natnram repellas fnrca, tamcn tissue 

Part the fourth, of the Par. Papers of 1824, contains 
" Ptiprrs rclatirc to Infanticide, by drowning^ practised by 
thf 1 Hindoos (it Saiiyur <uid ot1n>r places: 1791 to 1820." 
pp. 1-29244. 

A case of Infanticide, and the punishment adjudged is 
descriptive of the moral state of the Hindoos.f " Mussumaut 
Jarlee, and Cuinlee, are charged with murder, but under 
such circumstances as urge humanity to soften the rigour of 
the law. Jarlee s daughter was labouring under a loathsome 
disease, incurable in its nature, and which, by prejudices it 
were vain to oppose (but by erecting native hospital* for the 
reception of sucli objects), exposed the unhappy mother to 
the desertion and contempt of kindred and friends; who art 
fully exhorted her to shorten a life which this growing malady 
was slowly extinguishing, and thus relieve a suffering child, 
whose desperate situation admitted no remedy, and secure to 
herself, oppressed by poverty, and shunned as one visited by 
divine vengeance, an exemption from misery. Mercy pleads 
in behalf of a crime committed under the prevalence of long- 
established prejudices, and by one, too, hopeless and deserted; 
and whom, if it be difficult, perhaps exceptionable, to defend, 
it is impossible not to commiserate. Little can be weighed in 
excuse for Cumlee s conduct in accompanying the unfortunate 

* Par. Papers, pp. 118, 119. f pp. 131 13 J 



mother: such a deed of horror scorns unnatural ; and yet to 
dissuade her from the commitment of it was more than could 
be expected from ignorance and superstition."* Jarlce was 
confined for one year and then dismissed ! 

The Bombay Judicial Consultation, Jan. 1824, speak of the 
trial of Bheeme Mussalin by the magistrate of Poona, for the 
wilful murder of her female child, for which she was to be 
" imprisoned for, and during the term of, her natural life." 
The Monthly Return of Criminal Cases, decided by the Judge, 
north of the Mahee, Nov. 18*26, speaks of a woman, "after 
having given birth to a child, exposing it on a dunghill, where 
it was destroyed by hogs. Sentence, siv months imprison 
ment, with such labour as befits her sex /" " If this heinous 
offence (says Mr. Goodwin) be not provided for by our code, 
I deem it a fit subject for legislation. In Bengal, such 
atrocities arc, I fancy, punished capitally. The Honourable 
Governor of Bombay adds, the new regulation seems to pro 
vide for this offence." f 

The first account of Infanticide at Saugur is introduced 
by a letter of the Calcutta magistrates to the Honourable 
G. H. Barlow, Vice-President of Council, Feb. 18024 

The nature of these barbarities appears from the deposition 
of Charles Starling, a mate in the Pilot service, taken upon 
oath, before Charles Martyn, Esq., one of His Majesty s 
Justices of the peace for the town of Calcutta., in Dec. 1801. 
He stated, 

"That on the day of the full moon, in November last, the deponent, and 
Edmund Bartlett, branch pilot, went from the Philip Dundas schooner on 
shore to the Pagoda Creek on Saugur Island, where the people go annually 
to worship ; that, after the deponent and the said Edmund Bartlett got on 
shore, they walked up to the huts of the native?, and being on shore for an 
hour they saw the entrails, as they supposed, of a human body floating on 
the water. At the same time they also saw about three thousand natives on 
the beach. The deponent further saith, that a fakeer was standing close to 
him and the said Edmund Bartlett; the deponent asked him the reason 
why a number of the natives were ordered to be put into the water; he 
answered that the head fakeer had ordered them to go to the water to be 
devoured by the sharks, for the prosperity of their respective families. The 
fakeer also informed the deponent, that if a woman had four children, she 
ought to put one of them into the water to be devoured by the sharks, with 
the hope that the other three children should live. The deponent further 
saith, that while he was on the beach, and during the time he was in the 
boat going to the shore, he saw altogether eleven men, women, and lads, 
destroyed by the sharks ! The deponent further saith, that, while they were 
in the boat, they heard that a boy was to be put into the water to be destroyed 

* Par. Papers, p. 131 . f Par. Papers on Infan., 1828, pp. 31, . W. 

\ See Par. Papers, pp. 134, 133. 


by the sharks; they waited there with an intention to save the boy ; but he 
\vas not put into the water while the boat was there. And the deponent is 
informed, and believes, that as soon as they returned to the schooner the boy 
was put into the water, and was devoured by the sharks."* 

" The crime of destroying illegitimate children in the womb 
is prevalent to a shocking degree in Bengal. In the family 
of a single Koleen Brahmun, whose daughters never live with 
their husbands, it is common for each daughter to destroy a 
child in the womb annually ; this crime is very prevalent 
among widows, so numerous in this country. The pundit 
who gave this information supposes 10,000 children are thus 
murdered in the Province of Bengal every month ! ! (qu. every 
year?) Expressing my doubts of this extraordinary and 
shocking circumstance, he appealed to the fact of many females 
being tried for these offences in the courts of justice in every 
Zillah in Bengal. He said that the fact was so notorious that 
every child in the country knew of it; it had acquired an 
appropriate name, petti phela ; and pet phclanec is a term of 
abuse which one woman often gives to another. Many women 
die after taking the drug intended to kill the unborn child. "f 

Die following extract of a letter, on the neglect of female 
children in India, from the Rev. A. Sutton of Balasore in 
Orissa, in Aug. 1H-2S, shows that modern heathens, like those 
of old, are " without natural affection." 

The rains have commenced, and many deaths have occurred in conse 
quence; several have died on and close to our premises. One case of 
peculiar distress came before me yesterday, which it may be interesting to 
record. As I was going in the evening to a neighbouring village to preach, 
I saw a Ifindostanee woman with a child at the foot of a tree; on coming; 
up to her I found her much exhausted with the cholera, and nearly insensi 
ble. I of course pave her medicines, and begged, long in vain, of the hard 
hearted villagers for a little milk to give the child. To-day I visited her 
twice, and she seems somewhat better, but there is little probability of her 
recovery; for, though she has money, vet no one will supply her with 
necessaries, and she cannot help herself; perhaps indeed the circumstances 
of her having a little money will induce them to behave worse to her. I 
got a little milk to-day and fed the poor child, but it is painful work ; any 
heart but that of a Hindoo must have been moved to witness the eagerness 
with which the half- famished infant devoured it; and, when she had drank 
it, the imploring look of the little creature made me think of Moses and 
Pharaoh s daughter. I tried every argument I could command to induce 
the villagers to take care of the child, and promised to pay any expense; but 
no, it was a female child and nobody cared for it . I tried what I could do 
with a fat wealthy Hrahmun, and observed that the woman would die, and 
then what would become of the child ? but his gentle reply was, Sahr 
murrebo aou kee? Ft must die, what else" The poor woman and several 

I ar. Papers, p. 13<i | Ward s View, vol. iii. p. Ml. See also 

Asi. Jour. lu;h. 1H:>7, p. 2. Eclec Rev. \H 2H. 


others have been carried oft during the day : we hare taken the half-famished 
child under our protection. It is rather a pretty liltlc girl, about ten months 
old: the poor little thing seems determined to live; for she readily eats and 
drinks any thing we give her. Our present views are, if she should live for 
two or three years, to place her in an Asylum for orphan children of native 
converts. It is more than probable, that many children are left as this little 
[lirl was, and of course perish in the most miserable manner imaginable" 

Colonel Walker, in his letter to the Secretary of the Court 
of Directors, in 1819, expresses his deep regret, relative to 
the present state of Infanticide. 

" It would be a very painful task for me to enter into a minute and critical 
examination of those proceedings which have been held respecting Infanti 
cide since I left India; some remarks are unavoidably necessary on a subject 
which cannot be viewed without emotion, and which, to a considerable 
degree, must involve the character of our country. The policy and humanity 
of our Government are irrecoverably blended with the success of the measures 
for abolishing this revolting crime. After a careful perusal of the documents 
with which I have been favoured, I have found it impossible to suppress the 
conclusion, that the subject has either been forgotten for years together, or 
that some uncontrollable circumstances had rendered our interference utterly 
impracticable. From whatever cause this has arisen, itisdeeply to be lamented, 
and the consequences are far more formidable than even the immediate 
elfccts. The immediate effects are the loss of so many thousand lives ; but 
the consequences are still more serious, as the enforcement of the engage 
ment must now be infinitely more difficult by the long neglect and disuse 
of its provisions. 

"At the time I left India the subject was familiar to the Jahrejas; there 
was an impression of interest upon their minds; a return had appeared of 
parental affection, and, above all, there was the necessity of obeying a legal 
enactment possessing their own solemn sanction, and for the enforcement of 
which the British and Guicowar Governments were pledged. Instead of 
this picture, the Jahrejas have no\v found that the engagement, which was 
at first so reluctantly yielded, and strenuously urged, means almost nothing. 
If they had imagined* that there would be so little danger in its violation as 
they evidently, at present, believe to be the case, I should have found much 
less difficulty in obtaining their consent to discontinue the custom of destroy 
ing their daughters. The consequence at this moment operating in Catty- 
war is the impression of weakness and vacillancy on the part of the British 
Government, or that they are incapable of giving effect to their own 
measures. I am aware that the truth cannot be stated in all its broadness 
and honesty to the Company s Government in India, as it might irritate 
instead of conciliate ; yet it should be stated, though with as much delicacy 
as the nature of such truth will admit."* 

The demoralizing influence of tliis inhuman custom ?> 
self-evident. J. Duncan, Esq., in his communication to 
Government, Oct. 1789, speaking of the Rajkoomars and 
other disorderly tribes on the Juanpore frontiers, says, " Zalim 
Sing and Goordut, two of the principal of them, have lately 
levied their forces with a design to right each other on our 
borders. I have been obliged to warn the commanding 

* Par. Papers, pp. 11>1, 13. 

INFAVTiriDK. 37 

officer at Jaunpore to be on his guard against their possible 
inroads ; and, although the appearance of peaee between 
these men has since increased, yet we must not relax in our 
caution what may happen, for I cannot rely on their modera 
tion ; and what can be expected of men inured as they are 
by birth and education to the most atrocious deeds ?"* To the 
same effect is the following extract from the Judge of the 
Benares Court of Circuit to the Magistrate of the Zillah of 
Juanpore, Feb., 1H16. "The extreme prevalence of affrays, 
so much beyond the other Zillahs that I have passed through, 
seems to have existed for a long time ; and although the ag 
gregate annual number may be at present somewhat diminished, 
yet neither the propensities of the people, nor the facilities of 
prevention, seem to be essentially meliorated. The savage 
and quarrelsome spirit of the people in the Pergunnah of 
l T nglee appears to originate a large and constant proportion 
of your business, as well as that of this Court. The jealous 
and hasty pride, which induces them to become the murderer * 
of their own female offspring, has probably a considerable 
effect in blunting their feelings against a sympathetic sense of 
the pains they inflict upon one another on the smallest pretence 
of right or offence, and to render the dread of public justice of 
light or no collective influence."f 

A more recent communication from W. Cracroft, Ksq., 
Magistrate of Juanpore, May, 1819, expresses the same sen 
timents, equally applicable to every tribe or cast that practises 
Infanticide or any other sanguinary custom : u It may perhaps 
not be advancing too much to say, that, the practice of 
Infanticide is indirectly a very considerable cause of the in 
subordinate character and violent disposition of the Rajkoo- 
mars. It teaches them early to steel their hearts against the 
natural affections, and renders them familiar with inhumanity ; 
the mere want of female companions and playmates, during 
the earlier part of adolescence, must have a material effect in 
preventing their manners and sentiments from being softened 
or civilized. Female Infanticide must also be a great check to 
population in a country which is far from having arrived at its 
greatest extent of cultivation. Indeed, a considerable number 
(I imagine as many as one-third) of the Rajkoomars are never 
married. Considering the question either in a moral, poli 
tical, or religious point of view, it demands the most serious 
attention of Government "\ 

* Par Papers, 18 >1, p. fi. | p. l.T * p. l- r >. 


Success of efforts, ancient and madam, for the suppression 
of Human Sacrifices and Infanticide Difficulties of the 
entire abolition of Infanticide in India. 

THE practice of human sacrifices, though so prevalent in 
different countries and distant ages, is opposed to the dictates 
of nature ; and hence its partial abolition, by civilized states, 
long before the Christian era. Probably the earliest account 
of Infanticide is the destruction of the children of the Israelites 
in the Nile, by Pharaoh, king of Egypt. The first efforts to 
abolish it upon record, originated in the divine command 
given by Moses to the Israelites, concerning the abominations 
of the Canaanites (B.C. 1490 years). " Thou shalt say to the 
children of Israel, Whosoever he be of the children of Israel, 
or of the strangers that sojourn in Israel, that giveth any of 
his seed unto Molech, he shall surely be put to death ; the 
people of the land shall stone him with stones. And I will 
set my face against that man, and will cut him off from among 
his people ; because he hath given of his seed unto Molech, 
to defde my sanctuary, and to profane my holy name. And if 
the people of the land do any ways hide their eyes from the 
man, when he giveth of his seed unto Molech, and kill him 
not ; then will I set my face against that man, and against his 
family, and will cut him off, and all that go a whoring after 
him, to commit whoredom with Molech, from among their 
people." Lev. xx. 2 5. 

" The Carthaginians (says Rollin) retained the barbarous 
custom of offering human sacrifices to their gods, till the ruin 
of their city. An action which ought to be called, sacrilegium 
reriufi quam sacrum. It was suspended for some years, from 
the fear of drawing upon themselves the indignation and arms 
of Darius I., king of Persia, who forbade them offering human 
sacrifices, and eatiny the Jlexh of doys. But this horrid 
practice was soon resumed ; since, in the reign of Xerxes, 
successor of Darius (B.C. 484 years), Gelon, the tyrant of 
Syracuse, having gained a considerable victory over the Car 
thaginians in Sicily, made the following conditions, among 
other articles of peace granted them, that no more human 
sacrifices sJionld he offered to Saturn. During the engage 
ment, which lasted from morning till night, Ilamilcar, their 
general, was perpetually offering to the gods sacrifices of living 


men, who were thrown on a flaming pik* ; l>ut, seeing liis 
troops routed, he himself rushed into the pile, that he might 
not survive his disgrace ; and, says Ambrose, to extinguish, 
with his own blood, this sacrilegious fire, when he found it 
had not proved of service to him."* 

The Romans exerted themselves with success in this work 
of justice and mercy. "It is a very remarkable fact, that the 
Romans (though heathens themselves) abolished human 
sacrifices in this country, at least a century and <i half before 
the introduction of Christianity awony v/.v. The Romans 
conceived such an aversion to the Druids, the high-priests of 
these abominations, whose inhumanities are minutely described 
by J)iodorttft Sicultts, (Lib. 5.) that, contrary to the ordinary- 
policy of that people, in their conquests, of invariably tolerat 
ing the religion of the country, they resolved upon an utter 
extirpation of these priests and their cruelties. It appears 
from Pliny (L. 30, c. 1.) that human sacrifices were first for 
bidden at Home, by a decree of the Senate, A. U. C. C57, but 
that, some persons still continuing them privately, the 
Emperor Augustus renewed the prohibition with effect. The 
Emperor Tiberius then suppressed them in Gaul, and Clau 
dius, as appears from Suetonius, (In Claud, c. 2f>.) extirpated 
the Druids, as well as their sanguinary worship in that 
country. These sacrifices existed in our own country, (as 
appears from Pomponius Mela dc situ orbis L. *, c. "2.) until 
about the sixtieth year of the Christian era, when the Roman 
general Paulinus Suetonius, having reduced the Island of 
Anglesea, overthrew the Druids and their inhuman rites so 
completely, that they never afterwards revived ; but all this 
was considerably anterior to the introduction of Christianity 
itself. And will it be endured that even our own heathen 
conquerors shall have actually done more for us, than we 
are willing to do for our Indian subjects ? Shall the mere 
natural principle, " Homo .s-i/w, kutnani nihil a tnc alicnnm 
puto" have exercised an influence on idolatrous and pagan 
Rome? And shall Britain, acting under far higher sanctions, 
and obliged by a more powerful responsibility, refuse to 
acknowledge the force of the same argument ?"f 

Christianity, as a system of Religion, and by the principles 
it has infused into the government of every people, among 
whom it has been established, has accomplished the annihi- 

* Ancient History, Vol. i. p. 100. Vol. iv. p. 75. 
t Poyndcr s Speech on Human Sacrifices in Iinlin (Hatchard). p. 2 J<>. 


laiion of every species of human sacrifice.* Read the article 
of the learned Bryant, like the roll of the prophet, " written 
within and without with mourning, and lamentation, and woe," 
and, taking the circuit of the western world, ask, Where are 
these horrid rites ? They are all, with almost every relic of 
the idolatry connected with them, 

" Bury d midst the wreck of things that were." 

In various pails of India, by the progress of Christianity, 
and the domination of the Mahomedans, the practice of human 
sacrifices has become almost extinct. " Like the other temples 
in the Deccan (says Dr. Buchanan), the revenues of the temple 
of Ramiseram are wasting away. I saw no human bone in 
the island. Christianity, in its worst shape, has civilized the 

"The law of Mahomed put a stop to the inhuman custom 
which had long been practised by Pagan Arabs, of burying 
their daughters alive. This wicked practice is condemned by 
the Koran in several passages, one of which, as some com 
mentators judge, may also condemn another custom of the 
Arabians, altogether as wicked, and as common among other 
nations of old, viz., the sacrificing of their children to their 
idols ; as was frequently done, in particular, in satisfaction of 
a vow they used to make, that, if they had a certain number 
of sons born, they would offer one of them in sacrifice."^ 

Colonel Walker adverts to the efforts of the Mahomedans 
for the suppression of Infanticide in India, and shows the 
facility with which the British power may prevent this unna 
tural custom. "The subject was not overlooked by the 
former Government of India, to which the Company may now 
be considered as having succeeded. The author of the 
Ac-ball Nameh relates that, in the route of the royal army from 
Cashmere to Lahore, they came to a village, the inhabitants 
of which had formerly been Hindoo, where numbers of the 
poor people upon having daughters born to them, that instant 
secretly put an end to their existence. This fact corning to 
the knowledge of the Emperor Jehanguire, he ordered, that 
this barbarous practice should be discontinued ; and enacted 

* " Bcmal Di:i/, one of the companions of Hernan Cortez in his conquest 
of Mexico, says, that even before they could consider themselves masters of 
the country, they opposed themselves to the sanyninan/ abominations of their 
reliyion, and speedily overthrew them." Ori. Quar. Rev., Jan. 1830. 

f Life of Buchanan, Vol. ii. p. 49. 

t Par. Papers, pp. 58, 51). Sales Koran, Prelim. Dis. 


that whoever should commit it in future, should be put to the 
torture! From this it would appear that Infanticide 
engaged the attention of the Mogul Government, and that it 
made an attempt to suppress the practice. It would be 
curious, as well as useful, to ascertain what has been the fate 
of the measures which were adopted for this purpose two 
hundred years ago. Have they been successful, or have they 
failed ? The moral negligence which succeeded the decline 
of the Mogul Empire, and the impracticability, in the disordered 
state of the country, of enforcing a severe law, would be suffi 
cient to discourage our expectations that the termination has 
been prosperous. Still it would be desirable to know the actual 
result, to discover the extent of the impression, and whether 
the attempt was only the effect of the feeling at the moment, 
or pursued as a system. The extensive power and dominion 
which -we now possess in India, may be made subservient to 
this inquiry^ and be directed to ascertain how far the prac 
tice of Infanticide prevails, in any of the countries under the 
in// ttence or control of the British Government"* 

Modern efforts for the abolition of this inhuman custom 
have been carious, and attended with some degree of success. 
J. Duncan, Ksq., in a letter to the Governor General in 
Council, in 178J), states, "I have been lately through that 
part of the country where the Rajkoomar tribe reside. I have 
conversed with several of them, and have found, from their 
own confessions, that the custom of female child-murder has 
long been and still continues very prevalent among them. 1 
have prevailed on those situated within our frontier to agree 
to renounce in future this horrid practice, to which effect they 
have entered into the engagement which will be found in the 
accompanying extract of my proceedings ; and, as there 
remain a few names to be yet affixed to this covenant, it is 
still circulating among the parties, and I shall hereafter men 
tion the number of the names of the subscribers ; to increase 
which, and further to promote the salutary object in view, 1 
have written concerning it to Lucknow. As this baneful 
habit is not confined to the Rajkoomars alone, but extends to 
the tribe called Raghevansa, who reside in our Pergunnah of 
Mongra, and Talooka of Chandwack, and in other parts, f 
have taken measures for their signing a separate simil;n 
engagement, from which I have very sanguine hopes that this 
system of Infanticide will be put a stop to, or at least greatly 

*Par. Papers, 1824, p. 12*. 


"The Rajkoomar renunciation of letting their daughters 
perish has been received, and is subscribed by all those of 
that tribe in this part of the country, including Zalem Sing, 
and Goordut Sing, the latter of whom, is the only one of the 
subscribers who disallows, by the words of his signature, of 
having been guilty of this crime. I have sent a copy of 
the original engagement to the Amil of Juanpore, with direc 
tions to him to see it enforced, and to apprehend, and send 
into Benares, to take his trial, any Rajkoomar who shall be 
guilty thereof hereafter; of all which I have apprized that 
body of men. I have circulated a similar subscription in this 
Pergunnah of Gurwarrah, on finding that its inhabitants, who 
are all Doorgavansas, or descendants of one common ancestor, 
called Doorg, are addicted more or less to the same practice 
of destroying their female infants."* The following is 

Tlieform of agreement entered into by the Rajkoomars: 

" Whereas it hath become known to the Government of the Honourable 
English East India Company, that we of the tribe of the Rajkoomars do 
not suffer our female children to live : and whereas this is a great crime, as 
mentioned in the Bretim Bywunt Pooran, where it is said, that killing even 
a foetus is as criminal as killing a Brahmun ; and that for killing a female 
or woman, the punishment is to suffer in the nerk, or hill, called Kal Sooter, 
for as many years as there are hairs on that female s body ; and that, after 
wards, that person shall be born again, and successively become a leper, 
and be afflicted with the zukhma: and whereas the British Government 
in India, whose subjects we are, have an utter detestation of such murderous 
practices, and we do ourselves acknowledge that, although customary among 
us, it is highly sinful, we do therefore hereby agree not to commit any 
longer such detestable acts ; and any among us, who (which God forbid) 
shall be hereafter guilty thereof, or shall not bring up and get our daughters 
married, to the best of our abilities, among those of our caste, shall be 
expelled from our tribe, and we shall neither eat nor keep society with such 
person or persons, besides suffering hereafter the punishments denounced in 
the above pooran and shaster. We have therefore entered into this agree 
ment; dated 17th of December, 1789."| 

Colonel Walker, in communication to the Governor of 
Bombay, in Dec. 1809, specifies the Jalirejas of Cattywar 
who had preserved their female children to the amount of 
thirty-two, and suggested a distribution of 14,000 mpees in 
presents, which was adopted. He observes, " During the 
recent exhibition in Cattywar, I was not unmindful of 
inquiring into the success of the humane arrangements intro- 

* Par. Papers, 1 824, pp. ti, 7. 

t Par. Papers, 1821, p. 8. For the prevalence of just sentiments in the 
British Courts of Justice, sec the Regulat. of 179,5 and 17})!). Par. Papers, 
1824, pp. 911. 


tluced under the influence of the lion. Company s Govern 
ment, for the abolishment of female Infanticide among the 
Jahreja Rajpoots ; and 1 am happy to report that this reform 
has completely taken root. I have the honour to enclose a 
list of those Jahrejas who have preserved their female chil 
dren, which fell under my own direct observance. On mv 
halt at Dherole, I had all those in the immediate neighbour 
hood, who were capable of attending, brought to my tent, and 
many were too young to be brought from any distance. It 
was extremely (/ratifying on this occasion to observe the 
triumjth of nature, and parental affection, orer prejudice and 
a horrid superstition ; and that those who, but a short period 
before, would, as many of them had done, have doomed their 
infants to destruction without compunction, should now glory 
in their preservation, and doat on them with fondness /"* 

From the Register of the Jahrejas in Catty war, June 1817, 
it appears that the degree of success attending the efforts 
to abolish Infanticide has been much less than might have 
been anticipated. Captain Ballantinc, in his laudable efforts 
to abolish this inhuman custom, proposed some very effectual 
plans, and presented to the Government a list of the families 
of the Jahrejas with the number of infants saved from 1807 to 
1817. He observes, " In conformity with the commands of 
the Honourable Court, and those of the Governments in India, 
communicated in your several despatches, my attention has 
since been directed to attain the best possible data to be pro 
cured on the humane and interesting subject of the Infanticide 
engagements contracted with the Jahrejas of the Peninsula, 
by Colonel Walker, in his first circuit in Cattywar. In pre 
senting the accompanying complete Register of all the Jah- known in Cattywar. I have the satisfaction to think it will 
be acceptable, as I believe it is the first paper of the kind that 
has yet been obtained ; and the more especially as it will form 
the best data on which to watch, with better effect, the progress 
of an Institution which appears to have excited uncommon 
interest wherever its extraordinary history has reached. Il 
must be received as an indubitable testimony that sivty -three 
female offsprings saved, bear no proportion to the probable 
population of the Jahrejas in the Peninsula, during the long 
period of ten years. 1 much fear the object of our interference 
for the suppression of this singular custom has too generally 
failed, to select anv individual party for the just vengeance of 
Government and offended nature."f 

4 Pur. Paper*, up. 78, 71). f Par. Pain-rs, IH2-I, p. 10R. 



A Register of the Talookas, &c., of all the Jahrejas at the 
present day in Catty war ; together \vith the Age and 
Number of their female Offspring saved, or now living, 
since the introduction of the Infanticide arrangement by 
Colonel Walker in 1807 and 1808. 







In Moorbee . . . 


7 years. : 

Kheyuryoo . . . 


3 months. 

Ditto .... 


4 do. 


Villages belonging to 


the Moorbee. 

Gundol .... 

5 years. 

Madepoov of do. 

Bhyaud .... 

5 do. 

Surned of do. 

Loon e wow . . . 

2 do. 


Ditto .... 

6 do. 


Looneywow . . . 



Hunmunteyalloo . 

5 do. 

Bhella Mota. 



Dhorajee .... 



Ditto .... 


Raj cote .... 


4 do. 

Ditto .... 


do 6do. 

Villages belonging to 


the Raj cote. . . 


3 do. 


Raj cote of do. . . 


1 do. 

Surodhur, of do . . 

2 years. 

Kotarie belonging to 

Bhungore, of do 

5 do. 

the Raj cote . . 


1 do. 

Momanoo, of do . . 

5 do. 

Gurridur, of do. . . 


4 months. 

Guvana, of do. 

Ladhekoo, of Raj cote 

Khurba, of do . . 

6 do. 


Mokhanoo, of do 

11 do. 




Khurida a ... 

6 do. 


Ditto .... 

7 do. 


Khumbooroo . . . 

5 do. 

Purgunnah Mingvey 

Difto .... 

4 do. 

Thora belonging to do 

Ditto .... 

6 do. 

Endoo do 

Malta Moda . . . 

2 do. 

Ambano do 

;Matta Moda . . . 

3 do. 

Purgunnah of Raj poo 


4 months 


2 do. 



2 do. 


Bhad\va, of do 

Vunthulley . . . 


5 do. 

Kotedoo, of do 

Khelsoo . . . . 


7 do. 

Veerwal, of do 

| Choor 


3 do. 

Punch Tullovv, of do 

Megpoorf . . . 


20 do. 

Purg\innah Veerpoo 


2 do. 

Chomdralloo . . . 


7 do. 

* "The Talook of Draffa, where, out of a reputed number of 400 
families, there is not a single female child. This Talook, as if visited by 
the just vengeance of Heaven, is at the last stage of poverty and distress." 
Par. Papers, p. 108. 

t In the Bhull Pergunnah, and her husband is unable to feed her, 
therefore she returned to her father s house. Such a case of poverty is truly 
affecting, arid will no doubt claim public attention. There are other in 
stances where the parties in distress appealed for support, and said ther 
would lay their daughters at the Sirkar s door for the purpose !! 



No. AGE. 

TALOOKAS. N,, \(,l 


Vaurey 1 1 

6 years. 

Vessainnoo . . . 

1 4 years. 



Kurle Dhrole . . I 

2 do. 

Munuect .... 

1 2 do. 

Vunpurey . . . . j 

2 vs. fimo. 


Ditto . . . . 

3 years. 

4! on u 

1 1 do. 

Sunuseei a . . . 1 

10 do. 

Ditto .... 

8 do. 

Leyalloa .... 

14 do. 

Ditto .... 

<> months. 


1 }) do. 


2 years. 

Kheejeryoo ... I 

3 do. 

Satoodur .... 

i 1 do. 

Megpoor .... i 1 

3 do. 

Ditto .... 

1 y.timo. 

Sooltanpoor . . . j 1 

2ys. 6mo. 

Rajpoora .... 

1 year. 


Vaurey .... 

t> do. 


Ditto .... 

1 do. 


Ditto .... 

10 do. 

Ditto .... 

4 months. 

Total . . | 63 Females* 

Ditto .... 

2 years. 

- ! saved. 

Soosang .... 

, 1 do. 

X. B. This list is inclusive of all the 

Ditto .... 

1 ! (5 do. 

Jhamfa cast in the 


Ditto .... 

1 2 do. 

Bullumha, June 20, 1817. 

The Par. Papers on Infanticide, July, 1828, contain tables 
of infants preserved and stated to be alive belonging to the 
tribe of Jahrejas, in Cutch and Wagnr in 1823, to the number 
of ninety-one. In 1H24 was presented to Government, "A 
Statement showing the number of Jahreja females born and 
preserved in the Western Peninsula of Gu/erat. The total 
number shown consists of 26 6 females : sixty-three appear 
to have been in existence June 1817 ; the remaining 203 have 
been born and preserved since ; forty-seven of the whole 
number have died since their birth, twenty-five are married, 
and 194 are unmarried." II. Pottinger, Esq., Resident in 
Cutch, forwarded to Government a list of the female Jahrejas 
living in Cutch, Jan. 1, 1826, amounting to 143.f These im 
portant data, while they show the measure of success attending 
the efforts to abolish Infanticide, demonstrate the continuance 
of the practice?, and the necessity of more efficient means for 
its entire abolition. 

The following extract of a treaty of alliance between the 
Hon. East India Company and his Highness Maha Raja 
Mirza Rao Shri Desserljee, Chief of Cutch, dated Oct. 1811), 
is very interesting; "The Hon. Company engages to exercise 
no authority over the domestic concerns of the Rao, or of those 
of any of the Jahreja chieftains of the country. That the Rao, 
his heirs and successors, shall be absolute masters of their 

* Par. Papers, p. 110, 111. 
t Par. Paper-, 1H2H, pp. 7, H, 1 1 14,232. ). 


territory, and that the civil and criminal jurisdiction of the 
British Government shall not be introduced therein. 

"His Highness the Rao, his heirs and successors, at the 
particular instance of the Honourable Company, engage to 
abolish in their own family tlie practice of Infanticide ; 
they also engage to join heartily with the Honourable Com 
pany, in abolishing the custom generally throughout the 
Bhyaud of Cutch. 

" Previously to the execution of the deed of guarantee in 
favour of the \Tahrej a Bhyaud, according to the tenour of the 
sixteenth article, a written engagement shall be entered into 
by them to abstain from the practice of Infanticide ; and 
specifying that, in case any of them do practise it, the guilty 
person shall submit to a punishment of any kind that may be 
determined by the Honourable Company s Government and 
the Cutch Durbar."* 

In the abolition of Infanticide at Gunga Saugur humanity 
and religion have obtained a noble triumph. The deposition, 
p. 34, shows the nature and extent of the evil ; after due in 
vestigation of the subject, a proclamation was issued by the 
British Government, A. D. 1802, abolishing the practice.f 
In Dec. 1821, the Secretary to the Committee of Management 
of the Saugur Island Society reported to the Government, 
that " the practice of immolating children had entirely 
ceased" The following account of a visit to this place by a 
friend of the author s confirms the statement: 

" In the beginning of January, 1825, Mr. Williamson, with three of the 
natives, Gorachuncl, Rotun, and Tanin, went to Gunga Saugur to be pre 
sent at the great annual assembly. It is well known that the character of 
this assembly is greatly changed since the merciful and Christian measures 
of the Marquis of Wellesley have been in force. But still it presents a 
scene of the grossest superstition, and affords a favourable opportunity to 
missionaries of sending far and wide the news of salvation. While walking 
along the beach, they met a man with two little boys, and asked what he 
meant to do with them at Saugur, whether he intended giving them to 
Gunga? He replied, No, no, but he had made a vow before thei/ were bom, 
that if Gunga would (jive him children, he would give their juta, (that is, 
their matted hair,) to her us soon as they were able to accompany him ! When 
it was told him that all this was useless, he said it was agreeable to the 
shastras and the advice he had received from the Brahmuns." 

The following account of the abolition of Infanticide in the 
north of India, is highly interesting. It is contained in an 

* Par. Papers, p. 115. For an agreement to abolish Infanticide entered 
into by the Jahrejas of Santulpore, in March, 1827, and by the Jahrejas of 
Charcut, June, 1827, see Par. Papers, 1828, pp. 29, 30. 

f See this interesting document Par. Paper?, 182-1, p. l-">7, 138. "In 
fanticide in India," by the Author, p. 64. 


extract of a letter from Capt. II. Hall, Superintendent of 
Mhainvarra, to Sir C. Metcalfe, Baronet, Resident at Delhi, 
in 1827: 

** It is most satisfactory to be able to report the complete and voluntary 
abolition of the two revoking customs, female Infanticide and the sale of the 
\comen. Both crimes were closely connected, having had their origin in the 
heavy expense attending marriage contracts. The sums were payable by 
the male side, ever unalterable, equal to the rich and the poor. What first 
established the payment is unknown, but it was so sacred, inviolable, and 
even a partial deviation so disgraceful, that the most necessitous of the tribe 
would not incur the imputation. Hence arose as decided a right over the 
persons of women, as over cattle or other property. They were inherited 
and disposed of accordingly, to the extent of even sons selling their oum 
mothers! Hence also arose Infanticide. The sums payable were beyond 
the means of so many, that daughters necessarily remained on hand after 
maturity, entailed disgrace, and thus imposed a necessity on all female 
progeny of becoming victims to their family honour. 

"On the establishment of British rule, both evils gradually diminished! 
Females were not allowed to be transferred, except for conjugal purposes ; 
their consent was to be obtained, and their choice consulted; humane 
treatment was enforced, and the whole system of considering them as mere 
cattle was discouraged, female Infanticide iras at once prohibited. Though 
many, no doubt, still fell secret sacrifices from the great facility of undetected 
destruction, yet the danger, aided by improved feeling, increased the sur 
vivors so considerably as to force upon the Mhairs a due sense of the root of 
the evil, and a general wish for its removal, by a reduction of the regulated 
sum of contract; but they were averse, indeed declared their inability to 
alter their long-established custom themselves, and earnestly entreated it 
mitjht be effected by an order of authority, binding all to obedience by heavy 
penalties. After the lapse of a few months, allowed for consideration, the 
whole was settled in public punchy te, and its resolutions were confirmed 
without the slightest alteration, so that the proceeding originated with, and ha-. 
been carried through by, the inhabitants themselves; nor has there been a 
single petition against it. They have lowered the sum payable on marriage 
contracts, abolished all right of subsequent sale, and fixed a year s imprison 
ment, or 200 rupees fine, with exclusion from cast, as the punishment for 
deviation. The arrangement is calculated to give entire satisfaction, leaving 
nothing to be wished ; and a more happy proof of gen end improvement 
could scarcely be adduced, embracing, as it does, in its very extensive bear 
ings, the suppression of so much crime, immorality, and misery."* 

The late Bishop Heber, speaking of the Ramaynna festival 
at Allahabad, mentions the following important fact : "There 
was a hideous and accursed practice in the good old times 
before the British police \vas established, at least if all which 
the Mussulmans and Knglish say is to be believed, which 
shows the Hindoo superstition in all its horrors. The poor 
children, who represented Ram, his brother, and Seeta, who 
had been feasted, honoured, and made to contribute to the 
pupular amusement, were, it is said, always poisoned in the 

* Par. Papers. 1*2*, p. 37, 3*. 


sweetmeats given them the last day of the show, that it might 
be said their spirits were absorbed into the deities whom they 
had represented ! Nothing of the sort can now be done. The 
children, instead of being bought for the purpose, from a dis 
tance, by the priests, are the children of neighbours, whose 
prior and subsequent history is known ; and Ram and Seeta 
now grow old like other boys and girls."* 

In Ceylon, Infanticide has been abolished by the following 
Proclamation of the British Government : " In the name of 
his Majesty George the Fourth, of the United Kingdom of 
Great Britain and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith, We, 
the Honourable Major- General Sir Edward Barnes, Knight, 
Commander of the Most Honourable Military Order of the 
Bath, Lieutenant-Governor and Commander-in-chief in and 
over the British settlements and territories in the Island of 
Ceylon, with the dependencies thereof, do hereby proclaim, 
in order that no one may pretend ignorance of the law That 
any person, whether being the parent or any other, who shall 
kill any child of whatever age, within the Karidyan Provinces, 
shall and will be equally punished with death as for the mur 
der of a grown-up person ; and no plea will be admitted in 
any extenuation of any barbarous usage or custom of this 
description having prevailed, the same being wholly contrary 
to the ancient laws of the kingdom of Kandy. Given at 
Columbo, in the said Island of Ceylon, the twenty-fifth day 
of September, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight 
hundred and twenty-onc."t 

In the Island of Owhyhee, or Hawaii, the recent triumph 
of Christianity in the abolition of Infanticide and other in 
human customs presents a subject of the most grateful nature 
for the contemplation of the friends of humanity and religion 4 

The difficulties attending the entire abolition of Infanticide 
in India are considerable. We have seen the efforts of the 
Persians and Syracusans to destroy this cruel custom among 
the Carthaginians, yet Rollin observes " It appears from 
Tertullian s Apology that this barbarous custom prevailed in 
Africa, long after the ruin of Carthage. Infantes penes 
Africam Saturno immolabantur palam usque ad proconsulatum 
Tiberii, qui eosdem sacerdotes in eisdem arboribus templi sui 
obumbraticibus scelenim votivis crucibus exposuit, teste militia 
patriac nostrac, quse id ipsuin munus illi proconsuli functa est; 

* Journal, vol. i. p. 338. f Asiatic Jouru. Sep. 1822. 

\ Ellis s Tour through Hawaii, pp. 2S7 30/>. See also his Polynesian 

1.NKANTH1DK. 49 

children were publicly sacrificed to Saturn, down to the 
proconsulship of Tiberius, who hatujcd the sacrificing 
priests f he/use I rex on tin frees irhic/t stunted their (eittjj/es, 
as on so many crosses raised to expiate their crimes, of which 
the militia of our country arc witnesses, who were the actors 
of this execution at the command of the Proconsul."* 

The propensity of the Israelites to adopt the sanguinary 
customs of the original inhabitants of Canaan is frequently 
noticed in the sacred Scriptures. Enflaming yourselves with 
idols under every green tree; slaying the children in the 
valleys under the clifts of the rocks. 1 Isa. Ivii. 5. In thy 
skirts is found the blood of the poor innocents ; 1 have not 
found it by secret search, but upon all these." Jer. ii. ;M. 
"They have forsaken me and have estranged this place, and 
have burned incense in it unto other gods, whom neither they 
nor their fathers have known, nor the kings of Judah, and 
have filled this place with the blood of innocents ; they have 
built also the high places of Baal, to burn their sons with fire 
for burnt-offerings unto Baal, which I commanded not, nor 
spake, neither came it into niv mind." Jer. xix. 4, o. So also 
the prophet K/ekiel : "Thou hast taken thy sons and thy 
daughters whom thou hast borne unto me, and these hast 
thou sacrificed unto them to be devoured. Is this of thy 
whoredoms a small matter, that thou hast slain my children, 
and delivered them to cause them to pass through the fire for 
them?" Ezek. xvi. 20, 21. This custom was found among 
the people who were transplanted to the cities of Samaria by 
the king of Assyria, and they continued the practice though 
in a strange land : -" Every nation made gods of their own, 
and put them in the houses of the high places which the 
Samaritans had made, every nation in their cities wherein 
thev dwelt. And the men of Babylon made Succoth-benoth, 
and the men of Cuth made Nergal, and the men of Ilamath 
made Ashima, and the Avites made Nibba/ and Tartak, and 
the Sepharvitcs burnt their children in lire to Adrammeleeh and 
Anainmelech the gods o! Sepharvaim." 2 Kings xvii. 2J) -il. 

The Par. Papers on Infanticide show that considerable 
difficulties have been experienced in prosecuting the attempts 
for the abolition of this custom in llindostan ; and it is 
proper that these difficulties should be known, to chasten our 
sanguine expectation of success and to arm to fortitude and 
perseverance. Lord Teigniuouth, in a paper on the Customs 
and Practices of the Hindoos, justly observes: 

IVrtul. Apol. c. <J, Uullin s Anc. Hist. !.. i. p. 10!>. 


" A prohibition, enforced by the denunciation of the severest 
temporal penalties, would have little efficacy in abolishing a 
custom which existed in opposition to the feelings of humanity 
and natural affection ; and the sanction of that religion which 
the Rajkoomars professed was appealed to in aid of the 
ordinances of civil authority. Upon this principle, an en 
gagement, binding themselves to desist in future from the bar 
barous practice of causing the death of their female children, 
was prepared, and circulated among the Rajkoomars for their 
signature. As it was also discovered that the same custom 
prevailed, though in a less degree, among a smaller tribe of 
people, also within the province of Benares, called Rajebunses, 
measures were adopted at the same time to make them sensi 
ble of its iniquity, and to procure from them a subscription 
similar to that exacted from the Rajkoomars."* 

" The practice," say s W. Cracroft, Esq., Magistrate of Juan- 
pore, in 1819, "arises from the difficulty the Rajkoomars 
experience in procuring husbands for their daughters. The 
only tribes who will receive Rajkoomar females as wives are 
the Bisen, and Soreej Buns, of Goruckpore, and the Gtirwars 
of Mirzapore, and the Boghel of Rewah ; and these tribes, 
from an idea of their superiority, will not admit a Rajkoomar 
female, without receiving a very large dowry with her. They 
intermarry among each other, and feel no want of the Rajkoo 
mar females to keep up their race. Until this obstacle can 
be removed, or some other means devised for providing 
husbands for the females of the Rajkoomar tribe, all efforts 
must, in my opinion, fail of checking the practice. No doubt 
can exist as to the propriety, indeed the necessity, of attempting 
to restrain it in some manner; but it appears doubtful whether 
severe punishment would have that effect. Hitherto no 
magistrate has ever apprehended or committed any individual 
on a charge of this kind ; and 1 do not doubt that this has 
been avoided by design ; for the instances are too frequent to 
admit the possibility of their evading proof, had a strict search 
been often made for that purpose."t 

" I entered on this undertaking," says Colonel Walker, * with 
sanguine expectations of success, but which were for a long 
time disappointed. I must own that the natives had formed 
more just opinions on the subject, when they foretold the 
difficulties that would attend the attempt; which few of them 
thought could be overcome but by the Company making a 

* Par. Papers 1824, p. ? . Asiatic Researches vol. iv. p. 5. 
I Par. Papers PP- l- r >. 16. 


conquest of the country. I conceived that reason and feeling 
would effect the relinquishraent of a barbarous custom, uncon 
nected with the- principles of society ; and which all the 
passions of the human mind, and all the forms and maxims 
of religion, were combined to destroy. As it was evident 
also, that the most disinterested humanity had led the lion. 
Company to interfere for the abolition of female Infanticide, 
I conceived that this reflection, and the respect due to their 
mediation, would have disposed the Jahrejas to comply with 
a request, which it was scarcely to be supposed could be at 
variance with their own sentiments. Hut sentiments of na 
ture and humanity /tare no influence icitlt the Jahrejas ; and 
I was soon, however reluctantly, obliged to relinquish the 
favourable expectations I had formed of success. The diffi 
culties were many and formidable."* 

The Governor of Bombay, in 1821, the Hon. M. Elphinstone, 
expresses himself in the language of despondency, and unbe 
coming the very high ground obtained by engagements and 
treaty with the abettors of this inhuman custom. "There is 
one point of great importance, in which we are ahead}/ entitled 
to exercise the riyht of yeneral superintendence. This is in 
checking the crime of female Infanticide, and in imposing the 
fines authorized by Colonel Walker s agreements on those 
who mav be guiltv of it. It is greatlv to be regretted, that 
the difficulty of detection should secure the perpetrators of 
this crime so effectually from punishment, as to render the 
article ayainst it a dead letter There has been no instance 
of punishment for Infanticide since the agreements were con 
cluded; and this is so far from being owing to the diminution 
of the crime, that, from the best information Major Ballantine 
could obtain, it would appear, that not more than \QQfemalex 
born since the agreement are noir in existence ; and it is not 
easy to say, how many of these might have been spared, if 
the engagement had never been entered into. No effectual 
check can be imposed on this atrocious practice so long as it 
is so completely congenial to the general feeling of the peo 
ple ; unless, by employing hired agents, as proposed by 
Major Ballantine, whose duty it should be to detect offenders 
of this description ; and such a measure would lead to so 
much intrusion into the most private and domestic proceedings 
of the superior casts (among whom alone Infanticide prevails), 
and would be open to so many abuses on the part of the in 
formers, that I do riot think the chance of success would 

* Par. Papers, p. 4fi. Se j> W7 

t: 2 


compensate for the disaffection which it would create. ft 
may also be doubted, how far \ve have a right to interfere to 
sucli an extraordinary pitch with the private life of a people, 
with whose civil government and internal police we do not 
pretend to have any concern. We must therefore be content 
to follow the footsteps of our predecessors (without attempting 
to go beyond them) in their most meritorious endeavours to 
discountenance this enormity ; and we may safely flatter our 
selves, that, as the manners of the people become softened by 
a continuance of tranquillity and good order, they will gradu 
ally discontinue a practice, which is not more inconsistent 
with reason than repugnant to natural instinct."* 

"The principal obstacles to be overcome," says the Political 
Agent in Cattywar, in July, 182J, "in rendering the engage 
ments effectual, is the difficulty of detecting those concerned 
in the perpetration of the crime ; so long as the feelings and 
interests of the people render them disinclined to afford aid 
in discovering it, few are prompted to make it known by a 
sense of humanity, or even of interest. Though all classes 
are ready to admit the barbarity of the practice, still they 
view it with so passive a spirit, that they feel indisposed to 
encounter the odium or animosity that the consequences of a 
disclosure might occasion. A constant intercourse with the 
Jahrejas, during my annual circuit, has given me opportunities 
of imp?"essing upon their minds the interest taken by the 
British Government in the suppression of this unnatural 
practice, and the guilt attached to the commission of it by 
the dictates of their own religion. I received continued as 
surances that they will discountenance it ; but, from the dis 
proportionate number of few ales still existing, it is evident 
that, although thin horrible practice may be somewhat sub- 
dned, it is still far from being relinquished. 

" The minds and opinions of the tribe do not appear to 
have undergone that change on the subject that will alone 
overcome the existence of a custom so unnatural. The effects 
of the penalties enjoined by the engagements entered into by 
the Jahrejas would operate in deterring from the commission 
of the crime, if the means of detection existed, or its discovery 
was not opposed by difficulties that defeat the utmost vigilance. 
Proving it is almost impracticable, unless some part of the 
domestic establishment of a .Jahreja betray him, a circum 
stance that can seldom be expected, as the domestic servants 
are generally tin old adherents and dependants of his family ."f 

* Par Papers, p. 11(5. | Par. Papers, IWH, p. 10. 


These various statements will prepare the reader to peruse 
n ith interest tlie concluding chapter of this hook. The ancient. 
Law of God to the sons of Noah was, "At the hand of every 
man s brother will I require the life of man." If Infanticide, 
be not punished in this manner, is it lobe doubted whether 
or not, Britain should "make inquisition for blood ?" Flow 
long is this feeble, temporizing system to continue ? Are we 
* entitled to exercise the right of general superintendence, 1 
and shall we shrink from it, and thus be "partakers of other 
men s sins?" Let our motto be, * Be just and fear not. 


The necessity and propriety of adopting measures for the 
entire and immediate abolition of Infanticide decisive 
steps rt f/uisilc objections answered facilities enjoi/cd for 
//\ abolition concluding remarks. 

1 T is grateful to the friends of humanity, and confers a lustre 
on the British character, that effectual steps have been taken 
to abolish some of the cruel customs of India. It is, however, 
to be regretted, that what has commenced so well, has not 
been carried forward, to the complete annihilation of e\erv 
practice opposed to the natural dictatesof humanity. " Usages, 1 
observes Lord Teignmouth, "originating in Hindoo super 
stition, and customs of immemorial prescription have been 
discountenanced bv the British Administration in Bengal ; 
while the laws of the Mahomedans, which derive their au 
thority from the Koran, have been modified, or, in effect, 
altered, in various instances. The financial svsteni, which 
prevailed in Bengal when the Kast India Company undertook 
the exercise of the Dewanny functions, was a system of unde 
fined exactions and arbitrary oppression, supported by the 
most rigorous rules of practice; and the British are entitled 
to the merit of having annihilated it. The corah or whip, 
under the Mahomedan Government, was considered a neces 
sary appendage in the country courts, where the collections 
were made; and the application of it was incessant and 
severe. A practice adopted on the authority of these ancient 
rules would be severely punished bv the Administration, which 
has wisely and humanely abolished them. Thus the former 


customs (particularly in the collection of the laud revenue) 
have undergone a total alteration, to the great benefit of the 
community. Let it, however, be observed, that the Regula 
tions, which, by deviating from ancient rides, have contributed 
so much to the happiness of the people, were in many in 
stances, at the time of their establishment, considered as 
hazardous innovations, repugnant to the feelings and pre 
judices of tit e natives of the Itiyhest class"* 

Colonel Walker thus describes the steps so successfully 
taken by him, for the abolition of Infanticide in Catty war, in 

" I had been for several years in habits of friendly correspondence with 
Jehajee, the chief of Moorbce, and he had continually expressed a strong 
desire to cultivate the favour of the English Government. The artifices of 
this chief and his vakeel, who resided in camp, amused me for some time 
with promises \\hich proved fallacious. I availed myself of the agency and 
influence of Soonderjee Se\\jee, after his arrival in camp, but \\itli no better 
success. At last Jehajee transmitted a paper, in which he offered to accede 
to ray wishes by preserving his daughters, provided I would reduce Mallia, 
and restore the village of Kuralla, of which he had been deprived by the 
Guicowar Government! The possession of this paper I conceived of im 
portance, as it discovered the selfish and mercenary motives that attached the 
Jahrejas to Infanticide. I preserved it as a testimony, which reflected on 
their pretences of the inviolability of the practice as a custom of the cast, 
and destroyed every argument which they had attempted to found on 
principle. When Jehajee perceived the disadvantage which attended the 
possession of this paper, he made several applications to induce me to restore 
it, with which I did not comply. It was also evident that it would be very 
diflicult to awaken their natural feelings ; and that, the same motives of 
interest would have more influence in inducing them to relinquish the prac 
tice, than any arguments derived from humanity, morality, or religion. It 
appeared likewise, from the communications of Jehajee and others, that the 
reproach of being the flrst to renounce an ancient practice operated as a 
considerable motive. The authority of this example could not be complete 
unless it were set by a chief of acknowledged rank and superiority. 

" The Rao of Cutch seemed to possess these qualifications from his family, 
and extent of territory. I was induced, therefore, to select this chieftain ; 
but addressed myself principally to Futteh Mahomed, whose authority is 
paramount in that country, and from whom, as a zealous Mahomedan, I 
was led to expect the exertion of his influence for suppressing a crime 
against nature and religion. The answer, however, of Fntteh Mahomed 
destroyed every hope of success from that quarter. This Jemader, who 
rose from the humble station of a goatherd, and is extremely illiterate, 
had the sentiments of his letter probably dictated to him, and by the hand 
of his writer transmitted, in an inflated and ostentatious style, an elaborate 
defence of the practice of Infanticide, such as could be exp ected to proceed 
only from a bigoted Jahrcja. In the meanwhile, every effort was continued 
to prevail on the Moorbee chief to abandon Infanticide, which the long de- 

Considerations on communicating to the Natives of India the blessings 
of Christianity. Hatchard, 1808, pp. 2338. 


tention of the detachment in the vicinity of that tity afforded. It icas the 
daily subject of letters, messages, and conferences. 

" The humanity and tenderness congenial to the sex induced me to expect 
the assistance of the women of Jrhajee s family. The preservation of their 
offspring 1 appeared peculiarly their business. I conceived that my appeal 
to \\ives and mothers, and to women who came from trihes who rejected 
Infanticide, would be attended with every advantage. I was further led to 
entertain great hopes of this plan, on account of ihe high character of the 
mother ol the chief of Moorbee for prudence, propriety of conduct, and a 
benevolent disposition. As this lady possessed considerable influence over 
her son, I expected that she would exert it in favour of a measure agreeable 
to her own feelings. The embarrassed state of Jehajee s affairs, and thu 
countenance he stood in need of from me, for retrieving them, were circum 
stances which I conceived would occur to the discretion of his mother, and 
urge her to obtain from her son a concession which might give the family a 
claim to my support. My overtures to this lady, were, at first, received 
with the feelings natural to her sex; and she seemed disposed, with the 
rest of the women, who held several consultations together on the subject, 
to unite their influence for the abolition of Infanticide. But these ebulli 
tions were of short duration; the Jahrejas were alarmed, and the women 
contended for the ancient privilege of the east: they were led away from 
the path of nature by the influence of their husbands. The mother of the 
chief of Moorbee requested that she might be excused soliciting her son on 
this head, and referred me for further information to Jehajec. 

"At this period my prospect of success was very obscure and distant. 
Although these efforts, however, had failed of their e fleet, they woe useful, 
and paved the way for success, by turning the attention of the country to a 
subject which had never before appeared to engage notice. I nj discussing 
the subject frequently in the public Cutcherry, and exposing the enormity nf 
the practice, as con t ran/ to the precepts of relit/ion and the dictates of nature, 
every cast came to express an abhorrence of Infanticide, and thi- inveterate 
prejudices of the Jahreja. i beifan to be shaken. 

" 13ut, whatever influence these circumstances might produce, as Jchajee 
was the first chief whom I had addressed on the subject, it was of tin- 
utmost importance to make some impression on him. I bent every exertion, 
therefore, and tried various expedients, to reclaim this chief (who had already 
destroyed two of his daughters,) from the practice of Infanticide. At lusi 
I obtained from Jehajee a conditional writing to the following effect:- 
From motives of friendship, the Honourable Company have urged me ( 
preserve my daughters: to this I consent, if the chief of Nowanugger and 
Gondul agree. This was the first considerable step towards the attainment 
of this great object, and the writing appeared to reduce the question to a 
kind of point of honour, or respect for antiquity, in setting the example of 
sanctioning an innovation on a general habit. From the diameter and 
behaviour of Jam I could have no hones that he would set this example ; 
hut, as the family of Dewajee of Gondul had already preserved several of 
their daughters, I was led to entertain the most favourable expectations 
from the general disposition of this chief, and his reputation for humanity. 
It may be proper to mention that Jehajec first proposed to insert the names 
of the Rao of Cutch, and Jam of NowanuirgcT in his writing; but I posi 
tively refused to take the paper unless it comprised Dewajee of Gondul. 
The compliance of Jehajee with thi* request, it may be but fair to consider 
as a favourable indication of his sentiments; and that he was secretly, 
though not extremely, inclined to agree to tin- abolishing of Infanticide. It 
may be presumed that he \\as acquainted with the disposition of Pewnjcc. 


and of the general opinion that this chief, when pressed, would renounce the 
practice of killing his daughters. From Dessajee of Mallia, I obtained a 
similar writing to that received from the chief of Moorbee. I had conceived 
great expectations from Dessajee, who had preserved a daughter, and had 
by his vakeel afforded repeated assurance that he was ready to renounce In 
fanticide; but it is remarkable, that this chief used every evasion and delay 
to avoid executing a formal deed in renunciation of the practice. 

" The narrative must now accompany the operations of the detachment 
which traversed the country of Jam, and arrived at Kundorera. I employed 
this (ime, as often as opportunity permitted, in favour of the design for 
abolishing Infanticide. Wassonjee Eswurjee, the vakeel of the Gondul 
chief, residing in camp, was easily prevailed on to unite his influence with 
mine, in order to prevail on his master to enter into a formal obligation for 
abolishing Infanticide. During these events he had occasion to proceed to 
Gondul on some revenue affairs, and before his departure he privately gave 
me such assurance as I conceived might be confided in, that he would ob 
tain from Dewajee, authority, on his return, to enter into any engagements 
which might be required for preserving the daughters of the Jahrejas 
residing in that part of the country. The mission of Wassonjee Eswnrjee 
was entirely successful ; and on his return to camp, after expressing the 
reluctance of his master to set an example which might bring on him the 
reproach of his cast, a deed of the most solemn, effectual, and binding nature 
was executed, renouncing for ever the practice of Infanticide. 

" The following is a translation of this instrument. 

" Whereas the Honourable English Company, and A mind Row 
Guicowar, Sena Khaskel Shamsher Bahadur, having set forth to ns the 
dictates of the shastras, and the true faith of the Hindoos, as well as that the 
Brimhaway Wurtueh Pooran declares the killing of children to be a heinous 
sin, it being written, that it is as great an offence to kill an embryo as a 
Bralnnun, that to kill one woman is as great a sin as killing 100 Brahrnuns; 
that to put one child to death is as great a transgression against the divine 
laws as to kill 100 women; and that the perpetrators of this sin shall be 
damned to the hell Kule Sootheeta, where he shall be infested with as many 
maggots as he may have hairs on his body; be born again a ieper, and de 
bilitated in all his members; We, Jahreja Dewajee, and Coer Nuthoo, 
Zemindars of Gondul (the custom of female Infanticide having long pie- 
vailed in our cast), do hereby agree for ourselves and our offspring, as also 
we bind ourselves in behalf of our relations and their offspring for ever, for 
the sake of our own prosperity, and for the credit of the Hindoo faith, that 
we shall from this day renounce ihis practice, and, in doubt of this, that we 
acknowledge ourselves offenders against the Sircars. Moreover, should any 
one in future commit this offence we shall expel him from our cast, and 
he shall be punished according to the pleasure of the two Governments, and 
the rule of the shastras." 

" The above writing is duly executed. With the exception of Jam, even/ 
Jahreja chief readily, and without ojf eriny a simjle objection, subscribed to a 
counterpart of this instrument"* 

In the Bengal Presidency, the proceedings of Government 
were considered sufficiently decisive to suppress this unnatural 
custom. The Sup. of Police addresses the Chief Secretary of 
Government, in 1S18, "Sec. 11, Keg. III. 1804, already 

Par. Papers, 1824, pp. 4(> 49. 


provides for the punishment of Infanticide, and it is clearly 
inexpedient that the Legislature should interfere in any other 
manner; the practice lieiny declared a crime, it is the duty 
of the May ist rate to do his utmost to convict those irho still 
persist in //."* The prevalence of this custom in the Bengal 
Presidency, under such circumstances, is a source of deep re 
gret, and demonstrates the necessity of very efficient measures 
for its suppression; while it shews the defective moral influ 
ence of heathenism, in restraining from the perpetration of 
the most unnatural crimes. 

]\Iore efficient plan* tlian tliose in operation, hare been 
proposed for the abolition of Infanticide in India. "His 
Lordship in council regrets to observe, (says the Secretary to 
the Bengal Government, in 1816,) from the remarks contained 
in your Report, which are, in fact, confirmed by information 
received from your official sources, that the measures adopted 
bv Mr. Duncan, when President at Benares, and the 
provisions of Reg. XXI. 1795, and Sec. 11, Reg. III. 1804, 
have /ailed to prevent the inhuman practice ichich exists 
(tmony the Rajkoomars^ and some other tribes of Rajpoot*, 
of destroying their female infants; and that, although a 
greater degree of precaution is now observed to prevent 
detection, there is too much reason to fear, that the crime itself 
lias not in any degree diminished! The attention of the 
Nizamut Adawlut will be directed to the subject of the 
paragraph above specified, and they will be desired, after 
obtaining what further information the local authorities may 
be able to furnish, to offer such suggestions, as may appear 
to them calculated, for the more effectual prevention of this 
dreadful crime, and for the detection and punishment of those 
who may be guilty of it."f 

"The increasing interest (says Captain Ballantine, in July 
1HK),) with which the entire abolition [of Infanticide] is viewed 
by the British Government, and the community in general, 
suggests to me the propriety of offering for vour consideration, 
and the sanction of the Right Honourable the Governor in 
Council, more efficient means of prosecuting^ under onr otnt 
immediate supervision, erery possible cJmnnel by u liich t<> 
detect any deflation from these solemn enyayements. \ have 
not relaxed on any occasion, to impress on the minds of the 
Guicowar officers, the common interest with which the entire 
abolition of the practice is considered. / have therefore /<> 
solicit permission, to entertain such an establishment as may 

> I m. Piiju-rs |H-2l, ji. !<;. | ;.p. I I. 70. 


be considered equal to the full accomplishment of this inter 
esting and humane object. It is known to you, that in the 
detection of any case of delinquency, as in those enumerated 
by Colonel Walker, a fine proportioned to the case, and the 
ability of the parties, is imposed ; nor may it seem, 1 would 
respectfully observe, objectionable that the public expense on 
this account should be reimbursed from the same source. 
The means for detection must of course be, by clandestine 
intercourse with the parties and surrounding inhabitants, and 
to which end persons so deputed must remain for some time 
on the spot. Guzurattee mehtas, or writers, are the proper 
persons to be employed on this duty ; they were employed 
by the native Government in these duties, and the present 
number to be selected for this important duty should not be 
less than five at fifty rupees per mensem."* 

The Resident at Baroda, in 1816, J. R. Carnac, Esq., 
approved of the propriety of these suggestions : " The Jah- 
rejas, though proud, are, like the other natives of India, very 
avaricious. The object which could not be gained by speaking 
to their feelings, might be effected by working on their dis 
position. The reward of a hundred rupees, to him ivho 
could satisfactorily establish in another the perpetration of 
Infanticide, might bring to light numerous circumstances of 
which we now remain in ignorance. Nor would the expense 
of such remunerations fall on either the Native or British 
Governments. By the bond to which the Jahrejashave sub 
scribed they have rendered themselves liable to punishment 
at the will of the Sircar ; and it could riot be considered a 
severe punishment, to insist on the payment of a fine which 
would more than defray the charges attendant on receiving 
the information of their guilt. It may not be deemed irrele 
vant to furnish Government with what I conceive an adequate 
scale of rewards . and punishments ; an informer against the 
Jam should receive 1000 rupees ; against the inferior Rajahs 
500 ; against their near relations 250 ; and against a poor 
Jahreja 100. The Jam, if proved guilty, should be fined 
30.000 rupees; an inferior Rajah 10,000; their near relations 
2500, and a poor Jahreja as much as he could pay without 
ruin. The difficulty, of inducing any one to come forward 
against so powerful a man as the Jam, renders it necessary 
that his reward should be liberal ; and, for the sake of example, 
it is desirable that a person in his high station should be de 
tected and severely punished. We can never expect the 

* Par. Papers, p. OS. 


practice of Infanticide to be fairly laid aside, till the. principal 
Jahrejas (ire either induced or forced to set the e.ftn/iple^"* 

The measure* here proposed are desirable and necessary. 
The Hon. Court of Directors observe in a letter to the 
Governor of Bombay, March, 1816 , referring to an inquiry of 
the Resident at Baroda, to ascertain and report whether the 
practice had been discontinued wholly or in part in Cutch, 
and whether it had entirely ceased within the province of 
Catty war : " Most sincerely do we wish that that report may 
prove satisfactory ; and we must again enjoin you, in the 
most serious and earnest manner, to be unremitting in your 
endeavours to accomplish tit is humane object in the countries 
where the Itritish influence can be felt or exerted.""^ 

Colonel Walker, on returning from India, still deeply 
interested in the success of his humane efforts to abolish In 
fanticide, addressed the Hon. Court of Directors, in 1819, 
to the following effect : 

" In offering my opinion upon the means of suppressing female Infanticide 
in the West of India, I must first observe, that this object should be accom 
plished \\ithout violating the feelings of the natives, and without having 
recourse to actual coercion. I must also beg to refer to my own proceedings, 
which succeeded in obtaining the consent of the people to relinquish this 
barbarous practice. It was accomplished with great difficulty, but it was 
so far a spontaneous act that it was solely effected by persuasion. It is 
under this influence alone that the measure can ultimately be expected to 
prove successful; but, from the peculiar habits of the people of this part of 
India, the practice of destroying the children cannot be overcome by the 
mere dictates of natural affection. When this tie was once abandoned, it 
would be long before it could be again recovered ; and it would be necessary 
that tlicv should lie continually watched, and urged to the performance of 
a duty, which is seldom neglected even by the brutes! It was foreseen that 
the mere engagement which these people had contracted for discontinuing 
Infanticide, however solemn, would not be sufficient, unless they were 
looked after with vigilance, and frequently encouraged; and unless those 
instances, in which they infringed their own voluntary engagement, were 
detected and punished. This mode of punishment wa.s provided by their 

" It was under the influence of a similar train of reflection, that I sug 
gested to the Government, when I quitted India, to exact an annual report 
of the progress of Infanticide ^ and that it should be the object of continual 
care and solicitude. Before I retired from the service, I had the satisfaction 
to see that the principles for its abolition had made no slight impression on 
the minds of the people, and in a short period they saved a considerable 
number of infants. Hut, from the report which has now been received from 
India, it would appear that the ii-hole nitmher, saved in the course of TKN 
years, is little mon than SIXTY! and perhaps not a third more than were 
presented by their parents to me in Catty war, with feelings of affection and 

* Par. Papers, p. 103. See p. 114, and Par. Papers, IH 28, p. I/.. 
t Par. Papers pp. 9-1. JMI. 


"The first circumstance which requires attention is, to see the people often, 
and, by frequent intercourse, to inspire them with sentiments favourable tu 
humanity. It is scarcely to be expected, that the Jahrejas \\ill seek our 
society with greater encouragement than it is the habit of our countrymen, 
generally speaking, to afford to the natives of India ; and we must therefore 
visit them in their villages. They must be sought out in their recesses, 
invited to attend the public Cutcherries, and the subject brought as often 
as possible under public discussion. Jn these situations opportunities would 
frequently arise of enforcing the heinous nature of the offence, of calmly 
discussing its tendency, of exposing its crime, and of contrasting the 
abominable practice with the contrary usage of the rest of mankind. In 
every attempt to arrest this crime, the Brahmuns, and the precepts of the 
Hindoo religion, would be a powerful aid. That religion is directly opposed 
to the practice, and I always found the Brahmuns most willing coadjutors in 
this cause of humanity. 

" The people \vould not withstand any systematic exertion which might be 
directed to its overthrow. Did it not yield to an attempt which was made 
in a doubtful situation, amidst a multitude of other occupations, and which 
was not pursued for a long time ? The same facilities, and greater, now 
exist to ensure success. The Guicowar authority may be disposed more 
readily to co-operate with us, our own is better established, and we possess 
an actual share in the government of the country. The Collector of the 
newly-acquired revenue in Cattywar would be an essential agent in this 
humane work. By means of the police, which is under his control, and by 
the frequent intercourse which his office obliges him to hold with the natives, 
he would have opportunities of communication, superior, perhaps, to any 
other person. Let the collector, the agent in Cattywar, the agent in Cutch, 
and the Guicowar authorities, heartily, and in concert, exert themselves, and 
tJiey would be irresistible. But I would not rest the success of this inter 
esting measure on vigilance alone, and the active use of even all the agents 
in our power. I would employ other stimuli, and not neglect those that 
may be calculated to produce an effect on the grosser passions of those who 
persevere in the practice of Infanticide. I would not encourage the idea of 
an expensive agency, nor the direct and professed employment of spies, 
which are more likely to defeat than to promote the object; but there are, 
surely, means of ascertaining the result of a birth in a family without either 
offending its delicacy, or requiring much expense. The fact of a pregnancy 
is always public, and the report of the neighbours would often be sufficient evi 
dence. A fen- detections would arrest the practice. If the intercourse were as 
frequent as I have recommended, many things would be casually learnt, and 
little indeed could be concealed. In the course of this intercourse many acts 
of friendship, of courtesy and attention, could be conferred on the Jahrejas, 
which would be attended \\ith little expense, but which they would highly 
value ; they are both greedy and necessitous. The present of an inferior 
turban, of a dcputta, of a snuff-box, of a pair of spectacles, or any other 
trilling article, would be prized by them as a mark of honour, and as a 
great acquisition. These little favours would be the means of bringing them 
together, of inducing them to come into our society, and finally of reconciling 
them to our views. It is by association and constant attention that they arc 
to be reclaimed. The character and government of our country must suffer 
materially, should those people be allowed to resume a practice, which they 
had abandoned with all the formality of a regular and solemn compact. 
May it not be said, that we are more indifferent to the cause of humanity, 
than in exacting a rigid compliance with the terms of a tread/ irhich involved 
a paltry revenue, or some insi</nificnnt district We may by kindness and 


patience bring them back to the path of their duty. The voice of nature, 
and the influence of the \\omen, will unite in assisting us; and in this struggle 
against a deplorable practice, we shall finally prevail, while our motives 
must be applauded, and cannot be mistaken. Were the power of Govern 
ment never applied, but in cases so obviously beneficial and disinterested, 
the rudest minds would bless them; and the feelings of men, as well as 
their reason, would render them both agreeable and irresistible."* 

To the adoption of the plans proposed to suppress Infanti 
cide, several objections have been made ; these relate to 
expense marrying the females saved employing officers for 
detection and the plans heiiu/ opposed to tlie tcishes of the 
people. "The Governor in Council," it is said, " does not 
approve of Captain Carnae s entertaining an establishment 
lor the purpose of suppressing female Infanticide, which, even 
admitting its formation to be essential to effecting that desirable 
object, we are not at libertv to sanction without the authority 
of the Honourable Court; nor does it appear advisable to 
adopt the other proposition, of defraying the expense of the 
marriage of the children of a Jahreja."t 

To marrying those mrt d, the Governor in Council objects 
by saying, Captain Carnac must be informed, that if the 
Honourable Court should undertake to defray the expense of 
the nuptials of the female children of one of the Jahrejas, the 
rest of the fralcrnitv wotdd expect the same consideration, to 
which they would IK- equally entitled with the Rajah of 
Moorbee: the introduction of such a practice, independently 
of the great expense attending it, would also be liable to be 
abused. The Governor in Council is desirous, however, to 
be informed what would be the probable amount of the ex 
pense attending the marriage of a female of this class, in 
case the Honourable Court should view the subject in a 
different light, and should authorize incurring it on the 
present, or on any future occasion. ! 

Respecting the officers for detection, the Resident at 
Baroda, Sep. 1S1(>, states: "In 181:2, during my employ 
ment iu the negotiations at Nowanugger, Witul Rao, Dewanjee, 
in the hopes of satisfying my inquiries, established several 
mehtas in the principal Jahreja towns, with instructions to 
communicate the birth, preservation, or murder of female 
children, as soon as they received information of such 
occurrences; but the jealousy with which these men were 
regarded rendered their exertions almost abortive; and, while 
no Jahrcja would himself communicate the condition of his 
wife, they found it in vain to ask for information from his 

* Par. Paper?, pp. Ill)-- }*]. I j p. !is, M>7. * pp. ! !>, !<)>. 


neighbours. The duties of these inehtas were of that un 
questionable nature that gives general dislike, and were likely 
to produce a feeling of opposition that would defeat all their 
inquiries. It was to the establishment of these men that 
Captain Ball an tine alluded. They were withdrawn when the 
Paishwa resumed his rights in Guzerat, for the reasons stated 
in Captain Ballantine s letter. That gentleman probably 
supposes that, though such officers could gain little infor 
mation, their presence operated as a check, and made the fear 
of discovery tend to the abolition of female Infanticide ; and 
it seems reasonable to think that it should have this effect. 
No better plan having yet been devised, Captain Ballantine 
has done his duty, in recommending to the adoption of 
Government, that which seemed to him the best fitted for the 
object in view."* 

Objections to this judicious method of detecting the crime 
of Infanticide are urged by the Governor of Bombay, as late 
as Oct. 1827. "From Lieutenant-Colonel Miles s despatch, 
and Hie renewed agreements concluded with the several 
Jahreja Chiefs, subject to the British government, your Hon. 
Court will learn with satisfaction, that although this barbarous 
practice has not, it is to be feared, altogether ceased, yet its 
frequency has greatly diminished. Lieutenant- Colonel Miles s 
exertions are very praiseworthy, and we have expressed our 
entire satisfaction with his humane intentions in checking 
Infanticide ; at the same time we have apprized that officer, 
that the measure he purposes adopting, of keeping carcoons 
to watch over births, was thought objectionable in Catty war, 
as leading to an intrusion into domestic privacy very foreign 
to Indian notions. The chiefs of Chorin, with whom agree 
ments have been concluded, are differently situated, and the 
measure may be less obnoxious among them ; in which case, 
it would be a desirable experiment ; but we have recom 
mended, that the greatest caution should be observed in its 
adoption, and to ascertain its probable effects by previous 
inquiry. "f 

As it respects the adoption of these plans being opposed to 
the wishes of the people, it is remarked by the Governor in 
Council, in 1817, "Your Hon. Court will perceive, that 
since we had the honour of addressing you on the subject of 
female Infanticide, in our letter of Aug. 1816, we have been 
unable to adopt any effectual means of extinguishing that 
inhuman practice; and we are obliged to add, that the pro- 

* Par. Papers, pp. 10-2, 10U. \ Par. Papers, 1H2S, pp. />, . 


positions submitted to us for our consideration, with a view 
of discovering how far the Jahreja chieftains adhered to their 
engagements, have been abandoned, under the persuasion that 
they u onld prove extremely offensive to their feelings"* 

The necessity and utility of these plans are ably advocated 
from the exceptions made ayainst them. The very alarm 
(says the Resident at Baroda, Sep. 1816 ,) which the promul 
gation of the plan of rewarding informers would excite, might 
greatly tend to occasion the preservation of many female 
infants. Aware that no feelings of kindness, religion, or 
general interest for the cast, could induce the poor Jahreju 
to resist tin- temptation of a reward, every man would be 
afraid of his neighbour and his domestic ; while there must 
be man\ r , not of the Jahreja tribe, who are informed of the 
state of their families, and who can therefore gratify their 
avarice with less dread of censure. The advantages of this 
plan, however, are opposed by disadvantages ; and these 
would grow into an evil of some magnitude to the whole 
body of the Jahrejas, unless provided against at Hie ///*/ 
outset. The hopes of reward might induce many to bring 
forward false accusations, and nlso such as might have an 
appearance* of validity, without being grounded on fact. The 
informer should therefore be bound to give proof for the 
specific information which he brings, under pain of being 
severely punished, if his information should prove false. The 
only accounts which it seems probable an informer could 
bring, appear to be that he knew of the pregnancy of a 
certain Rajpootanee, and that the event teas nercr published 
to the community. Should the issue have been a female 
child, and it had died, it would require some discrimination 
on the part of the person investigating, to determine whether 
the child might not have been still-born, or died shortly after 
its birth. In either of the last mentioned cases the informer 
should receive no more than a third of the reward. But if it 
should so appear that the Jahreja 1 * wife, against whom the 
accusation was preferred, had not been pregnant or had 
suffered an early abortion of her offspring, the accuser should 
be punished rigorously, or otherwise, according to the circum 
stances of the case. The evils of goindas in respect to the 
Jahrejas cannot, I presume, be felt in any degree to the same 
extent as they are in Bengal. The information which they 
are required to yield admits of circumstantial proof, and is 
not like that concerning robberies and murders, frequently 

* Par. Papers, p. 106. 


dependent on presumptive proof, tind it is consequently not 
likely to be given but where there exists, or have existed, 
some undeniable, and in some measure, public grounds for 
its being true. 

"I propose this plan with much deference to the wisdom 
of the Right lion, the Governor in Council, sensible that it 
may appear better in theory than it may prove to be good in 
practice ; but, / am (it the same time hopeful that it may be 
better than no plan at all, in rendering the exertions of my 
predecessor a permanent benefit 1o the country. But Govern 
ment must be aware, that my success is entirely dependent 
on subordinate ayents, nearly as far removed from me, as I 
myself am from the seat of Government;* and that, whatever 
interest I may take in the subject, my individual exertions 
can be of no further use than in stimulating them to a zealous 
attention. I have every reason to believe, that neither Cap 
tain Ballantine nor the Dewanjee has been less active than 
the most humane man could wish, but the means in their 
power were not Jitted to enable them, to command success ! 

"The expense of marrying the daughters of the chiefs of 
Catty war would probably be as follows ; the marriage of the 
Jam would amount to 30 or 35,000 rupees ; that of the 
daughter of a minor Rajah, such as the Rajah of Moorbee, 
Goondul, and Raj cote, to 15 or 16,000 ; the daughter of one 
of the near relations of the Rajah would require from 5 to 
7,000 rupees, and that of a poor Jahreja s daughter from 
1,000 to 1,500 rupees. It would evidently be enormously 
expensive for any Government to defray the charges of marry 
ing even only one daughter in each family, and it might be 
impolitic to marry that of one person, and not of another. 
The Moorbee Rajah, however, might be made an exception, 
since it was he, who first saved his dauahter ; and it was 
by Jtis ineaifs, thai Colonel M alker laid the foundation 
of the superstructure he afterwards raised. I conceive the 
Guicowar Government would willingly share with the British 
Government, the expense and the honour of presenting a 
dowry, to the first female child saved from the barbarity of an 
unfeeling parent." t 

*" Subsequently to Col. Walker s departure, the public service rendered 
it expedient that the Resident at Baroda should remain at his station ; 
which was 200 miles from the province where the practice of Infanticide 
prevailed." Debate on Suttees, in a rreneral Court of Proprietors, March, 
lH-27. Asi. Jour., May, 18-27. Auth. 

f Par. Papers, pp. 103, 104. "Many urtuous and humane princes," 
says Colonel Todd, "lnoe endeavoured to check or mitigate an evil, in the 


Captain Uallantinc observes upon the same subject, u 1 
venture to repeat, the means 1 recommended were desirable 
and eligible in many points of view; and, in my humble ap 
prehension, calculated toobtain us actual instances of individual 
criminality, and no doubt to have followed up with greater 
effect the prohibitory nature of the solemn compacts the 
Jahrcjas entered into with us, to discontinue the systematic 
murder of their female offsprings. In regretting the cause of 
the apprehension submitted in the preceding paragraph, it is 
onlv necessary to recal to the recollection of Government, 
that we have hitherto, and have still, to depend on the native 
governments and authorities for the only information to be 
obtained, or essential attention to the enforcement of the 
stipulations of our engagements. 

" From the voluminous papers before me, the British 
Government seems to desire the abolition of this singular 
custom with equal interest and solicitude; and that probably, 
through its wisdom and recommendation, Ilic Honourable 
Court trill eventually sanction the adopt ion of measures better 
calculated to root out tlic cril. For might not the expense 
and responsibility, and our active supervision, with deference 
I submit, be with strict policv and justice made chargeable 
to the Government, who alone derive any pecuniary or real ad 
vantage from the country, and, who of course should be equally 
interested in the first dictates of humanity, and in the anni 
hilation of customs offensive to all religions, and degrading to 
human nature in general?" 

" I beg respectfully to remark," savs .). 11. Carnac, Ksq., 
Resident at Baroda, in 1817, to the chief Secretary of the 
Bombay government, " that in no suggestions for the main 
tenance of an establishment for tin* discovery of those ,lah- 
rejas who have immolated their female offspring, am 1 sensible 

eradication of which every parental feeling would co-operate Sumptuary 
edicts can alone control it. The plan proposed, and, in some degree, 
followed, by the great Jey Sing, of Amber, might, with caution, be pursued, 
and with great probability of success. lie submitted to the prince of every 
Rajpoot state, a decree, which regulated the ducjnr, or doer, and other 
marriage expenditure, with reference to the property of the vassal, limiting 
it to one //<<// .v income of his estate. This plan was, however, frustrated by 
the vanity of Chondawut, of Saloombra, who expended, on the marriage <>! 
his daughter, a sum even greater than his sovereign could have afforded. 
Were bonds taken from all the feudal chiefs, and a penal clause inserted, 
of forfeiture of their fief, by all who exceed a fixed impartial expenditure, - 
the ax<- would be laid to the root ; the evil would be cheeked, and the heart 
of many a mother (and we may add, father) be gladdened by prescmnir ;lt 
once tin- point of honour and their child." A si. .lour.. <>.-f. I* ! *, p. l >7. 
* Par. Papers, pp IOM. ln<) 


of having recommended additional emoluments to my assistant, 
or in the most distant shape to combine the important objects 
of humanity with any personal advantages. My desire has 
always been the adoption of some effectual plan, hitherto 
entirely unheeded, to give effect to the humane exertions of 
mv predecessor, in the conviction, of the utter impossibility of 
preventing female Infanticide, where the means are confined 
to the personal influence merely of my assistant in Catty-war. 

" The. disappointment which Jias been experienced can be 
traced exclusirely to THE WANT OF A SYSTEM, by which 
the detection of lite guilty could be ensured, and not. to any 
indifference on the part of the local officers to the enforce 
ment of the engagements contracted by the Jahrejas. 1 have 
had the honour on several occasions of bringing the subject in 
the most urgent manner to the attention of Government, and 
in submitting recommendations on the means for an effectual 
abolition of Infanticide, have implored Government to devise 
any plan which in its wisdom might be efficacious. While 
my suggestions have been deemed objectionable, no other 
plan has been prescribed, and doubtless, the want of it is 
frequently affording the most melancholy evidence^ of an 
crasion of the excellent engagements contracted by ihe in 
fluence of JAcntenant Colonel Walker"* 

The Governor of Bombay addressed the Honourable Court 
of Directors, in 1827, in the following manner, which indi 
cates a pleasing attention to the subject of Infanticide : "The 
Chief of Rajcote applied to us for our guarantee to a mortgage 
of four villages, to enable him to raise a sum of money to 
defray the expenses of his marriage. The late Chief of Raj- 
cote was one of the first who attended to Lieutenant Colonel 
Walker, in his settlement of Catty war, and acceded to the 
wishes of that officer, in his humane endeavour to abolish 
Infanticide, and the marriage of his daughter (himself a Jah- 
reja) had involved the family, which had led to the mortgage 
of the farm of his talooka. It appeared to us, however, that 
instead of sanctioning this mortgage, (which we were never 
theless disposed to do,) under the peculiar circumstances of 
this chieftain s case, it would be more expedient to mark the 
high sense which we entertained of the conduct of this family 
in renouncing Infanticide, to make the Takorc a donation 
from the fund established for this purpose. A donation of the 
sum of rupees, 12,000, was accordingly made to him, to 
enable him to bear the expense of the marriage."f The 

* Par Papers, pp. 112, 11:3. -|- Par. Papers, 1828, p. (>. 


beneficial effects of such measures are self-evident, and yrl 
aloue they appear inadequate to the suppression of this un 
natural crime. 

The facilities which Britain possesses for abolishing this 
rite fire very considerable. The whole civilized world naturally 
looks to her to do her duty in India, and suppress every sangui 
nary practice subversive of the principles of natural and 
revealed Religion. 

"The influence," says the Hon. Governor of Bombay, in 
1*17, "which the cession of the Paishwa s tribute from Cat 
ty war will afford to the British Government over that part of 
Gu/erat, will, we trust, enable us to secure a more rigid 
adherence to the engagements of the Jahrejas ; and the 
Resident at Baroda has been directed to depute Captain 
Ballantine to inform them, of our determination to enforce the 
penalties, whenever a breach of their engagements can be es 
tablished ; and to withhold our countenance from those who 
shall continue to follow this inhuman custom."* Tn a letter 
to the Court of Directors, in 1820, it is said, "Your Hon 
ourable Court will learn with satisfaction, that, by the 17th 
Article of the treaty with Cutch, the /mtctice of female 
infanticide has been formally renounced in thnt Prorince. n -\ 

The Guicowar Government, in 1S-25, expressed its full 
approbation of Colonel Walker s suggestion, that, "The sums 
levied and lines from disturbers of the peace and other 
offenders should, through the clemency of Government, be 
distributed in such sums as were suitable to the station in life 
of the parties concerned ; to defray the marriage expenses of 
females who should be preserved." To which it was replied 
by the Cutch Government, "The case under consideration is 
one of charity and will procure the blessings of Heaven on 
both Governments; therefore, whatever sums have been 
realized as lines on offenders since Captain Barnewell was 
placed in charge of the Districts, or any extra revenue beyond 
the tribute, as fixed for perpetuity by Colonel Walker, maybe 
appropriated as above specified: the disposal being year by 
year duly communicated to us, and the arrangement is highly 
satisfactory to this Government." In Jan. 1H-2(J the Resident 
in Cutch reported 1-13 female children being alive, and 
observes, " I have made an arrangement, in concert with the 
other members of the regency, for the birth of erery child 
(male or female) thnt occurs in n Jahrcja family being reported 
to the Durbar ; and as all deaths are to be notified at the 

Par. IViprrs p. 107. f p. Ill 


time, and in the same manner, I hope these precautions will 
effectually put a stop to any instances of Infanticide that may 
still be occasionally practised." The adoption of a similar 
check in Catty war, if practicable, was considered by the 
Governor extremely desirable.* 

The measures, which should be adopted, for the speedy and 
entire abolition of Infanticide, are ably stated by the philan 
thropic Colonel Walker in a letter to the lion. Court of 
Directors, in 1819. The following extracts appear very 
interesting : 

" I shall turn with pleasure to the circumstances \vhich are favourable to 
this cause of humanity, and which may encourage* us to expect that this 
revolting 1 practice will be overcome. The Court of Directors, the Govern 
ment and its Assistants in India, appear at present to take great interest in 
the success of the measure. The prejudices of the Jahrejas with which I 
had to grapple,if not entirely done aw ay, are at least suppressed and disavowed. 
They appear so far to move within the range in which nature acts, that 
they express no pride in the destruction of their offspring, and feel no shame 
in rearing them. It is evident that a very favourable change has taken 
place, since all the infants they have saved have been the consequence of 
their own choice; and, as some of their daughters have been reared within 
very recent dates, the principle of natural affection is even at this moment 
producing its effect. 

" One of the principal objections to the remedial measures proposed to 
and rejected by the Bombay Government, without the substitution of others, 
is, that they uniformly consist of small details. They suggest to me the idea 
of a conqueror proposing to lay a vast region at his feet by merely disarming 
or taking captive a few of the videttes or outposts. It appears to me that 
there arc two great principles, of which all the minor details must be merely 
ramifications. The first principle is, the maintenance of the authority of 
Government in connection with the solemn fnyaf/emcnts of the Jahrejas ; and 
the second is, the adoption of that conduct towards the natives which I have 
endeavoured to illustrate. 

The authority of Government must be maintained, and the ent/ayement, 
which has been mutually contracted, exactly fulfilled. We must show that 
we are serious, and that v\e arc determined to be obeyed. This will be 
more diilicult than in 1808, but still it must be done. I would begin by 
sending to every Jahreja chief an authenticated copy of his engagement, 
and apprize him in the most solemn and precise terms, the determination 
of the Company and theGuicowar to exact the performance of an obligation 
which has prescribed to all parties sacred and imperative duties. These 
separate addresses to the chiefs would soothe their pride, and prevent them 
from taking offence ; but, that none may be able to plead ignorance of the 
intentions of Government, I would follow up the measure by a public 
proclamation, and give it as wide a circulation as possible. This should be 
addressed to the bosom of every Jahreja. It should declare the intention of 
Government upon the subject. It should strongly mark the abhorrence of 
the crime, and explain the nature of his own obligations in consequence of 
his engagement to renounce I nfanticide. That where themonstrous inhumanity 
of Infanticide exists, it is impossible that any (jood can exist : that it involves 

* Par. Papers, 1828, pp. 23 2.3. 


a \ iol.ition of good faith, as well as the recognised principles of Religion, 
ami that no trust can he reposed in the perpetrators of this horrid crime : 
that, therefore Government are resolved to punish such outcasts of human 
nature hv withholding from them every mark of confidence and regard, as 
well as by inflicting pains and penalties according to the nature of the case. 
That on the other hand those who give evidence of a sincere return to 
nature and the principles of Religion, shall be regarded with affection, and 
enjoy every mark of esteem, honour, and emolument, of which circumstances 
will admit. 

" The servants of Government, Native or British, should have instructions 
to watch over the operation of (fit- em/a</einen(s in their several districts, and 
to report upon every occurrence of a birth annmt/ the Jahrejas, or even the 
surmises of its consequences. As they are not very rigid in the seclusion of 
their women, and as all those who are in the lower stations of life, who form 
the great majority in every society, must necessarily be employed in occu 
pations which expose them to public view, a case 01 pregnancy can scarcely 
ever lie concealed. There is no attempt made indeed to prevent its being 
known, and surelv it would not require much discrimination of judgment, 
nor the exercise of a very officious impertinent curiosity, to ascertain a cir 
cumstance which is so notorious. Hut there are other circumstances of less 
direct evidence, from which very correct inferences mat/ be drawn, "/ / 
which we may avail ourselves, in cases where stronger testimony may fail. It 
is well known, that among Hindoos of all descriptions, the birth of a son is 
an object of congratulation and rejoicing. Whenever a birth in a .lahreja 
family was unattended by these happy symptoms; where it was passed over 
in silence, we might, with very considerable certainty, conclude that the 
birth was a female ! ! Cases of a suspicious nature must occasionally occur, 
and come under our observation; 1ml the miserable children of poverty 
must not become the victims of vengeance, while the more aggravated guilt 
of those who range in the higher ranks of life are passed over with impunity. 
" Every servant of Government should have injunctions to ascertain /// 
consequence of a birth !>>/ alt the means (hat may be in his power. Nothing 
should be too trifling for his notice which may Dear on the point; he should 
collect even the rumours of the country upon the subject, and report to his 
superior; he again to another, if such there happen to be, and so on till each 
case reach the assistant of the Resident, and then the Resident himself 
should report to the Government at Bombay. I would beg to recommend, 
that the report of the Resident should be made at least every three months 
for the first year or two ; or till it appear that the measure is proceeding so 
securely that an annual report, (which must never be dispensed with,) shall 
be deemed sufficient Quarterly Reports for a time, indeed, would be 
highly beneficial, and, if they were mere blanks, still I think they should 
be punctually made. I would even suggest, if it could be attained, to 
enoaije the chiefs themselves to make returns of births, and not only of females 
but of males, which would be a check upon the evidence in regard to the 
former. This would be gaining a step of decisive importance, not only to 
the cause, but might increase the small number of useful facts which we 
possess on the state of population in India. 

" It is evidently necessary that the irhole system should be supported hi/ 
rcirards ami jmnishments. A considerable diversity of opinion may pre 
vail as to their nature. The crime may be rendered more frequent by the 
severity of the laws which are enacted V) prevent it; while there may be as 
much danger of encouraging it by too great tenderness in punishing. The 
offence is of such an odious description that it cannot be considered as a lit 
object for the exercise of clemency. At the same time it has been so long 


legali/ed by custom, and so common in its practice, that it may not be 
proper to inflict the last severity of the law on the first transgressors. 
Afterwards, however, and when the ordinance has been for some time 
generally observed, the criminal may be prosecuted as a common murderer. 
Cases of delinquency should, in every event, be punished by line, and 
branded with infamy. The chiefs should be particularly held to their 
engagement, and punished with a pecuniary penalty to the extent of their 
means, and the degree of their offence. The poverty of many Jahrejas, 
however, must render the mode of amercement with respect to them 
impracticable; and the punishment of those who violate the engagement 
under such circumstances must be limited to disgrace, or ejection from 

" To this may be superadded, the displeasure of Government and the 
reproach and correction of society. I have said that I would not have 
recourse to coercive means, and, if possible, I would still adhere to this 
rule ; but the authority of Government must at all events be maintained, 
and this gross departure from duty punished. If all other means therefore 
should fail, I would not hesitate to apply those of coercion; taking care to 
show that it is a matter of necessity, and not choice. Rewards and 
punishments always suppose something done to merit the one or incur the 
other: but it is generally a less difficult task to repay a good deed, than to 
discover the best means of punishing a crime so as to prevent its repetition. 
Various marks of regard mlyht be shown, at little expense, to the observers of 
the enyayement. They should have less the appearance of bribes than marks 
of honour; but at the same time, instances may occur in which it may be 
necessary to display the generosity and liberality of Government. This 
must be particularly necessary in cases of extreme poverty, and inability to 
rear the offspring which has been saved. Such cases of extreme poverty 
and distress have actually occurred. I would suggest the adoption of a 
Regulation, which, while it might serve as some check on the perpetrators 
of Infanticide, would be an encouragement to those who follow a different 
conduct. The latter should receive as much praise and publicity as possible. 
In this point of view, it might be found useful to publish in the Cutcherries 
and places of public resort, after a report has been transmitted to Government, 
the names of those who have been faithful to their enyayement, and of those 
who hare been proved to violate it. Might it not be a beneficial excitement, 
to confer an honorary medal on the Jahrejas who save their daughters? 
The silver of a few rupees might answer the purpose ; the medals would 
contain a suitable inscription, and the persons receiving them should be 
invested with them by the highest local authority of the District, and in as 
public a manner as possible. 

" From the increased share and influence which we now possess in the 
revenue and Government of Catty war, we have proportionally increased 
means of binding the principles and directing the sentiments of the natives. 
Among the circumstances of which we have the command, is the power of 
employing in the transaction of public business only meritorious natives, 
and of S( leeting, especially for places of honour and trust, those Jahrejas 
who may have saved their children. The Company, in a great measure, 
possess all those means of preferment and profitable appointment which 
formerly belonged solely to the native Rulers. The fines recovered from 
delinquents should constitute a fund, sacred to the benefit of those who have 
saved their daughters, which should be distributed by (lie Resident according 
to the merits and wants of particular cases. The management of the fund 
in this manner would be one means of satisfying the country that the 
humanity of the Company s Government was quite disinterested. The 


accomplishment of tbifl desirable object, ought to be considered a MI prudent 
and legitimate measure for the consolidation and stability of our Government 
or influence in that quarter of India."* 

From an attentive review of the various facts and observations 
contained in the two volumes of Parliamentary documents on 
Infanticide, it is evident, Unit the unnatural custom of Infan 
ticide still prevails to a lamentable degree in India. In the 
iirst of these volumes the detail of its revival, after the efforts 
of Colonel Walker to suppress it, is peculiarly painful to every 
humane mind. The other volume presents a more pleasing 
scene, but shows that there is yet much to be done, before 
this custom can be annihilated : a few extracts will demon 
strate this. The Governor in Council of Bombay writes to 
the Hon. Court of Directors, in 18:25 : "Mr. Gardiner, late 
Resident in Cutch, annexes to his report a list of ninety-one 
female infants belonging to the Jahreja tribe, now living in 
Cutch and W augur. He appears to have satisfied himself of 
their existence, and in any case, when it was practicable, had 
the infants brought to him. None of them appear to have 
exceeded the age of seven years, which marks the time when 
the abolition of this horrid practice first had operation under 
our influence. He had his belief that among the chiefs the 
feeling is pretty general, that it has become their duty, as 
well as their interest, to preserve their female children ; for, 
the penalty being undefined, any infringement of the agree 
ment might be visited in the severest manner by a pecuniary 
mulct. On the other hand, the inferior byaud, having nothing 
to lose, are not under the same apprehension, and no donbl 
Uie practice is still continued to a lamentable extent amony 
t/tem."-\- "A constant intercourse with the Jahrejas," savs 
U. Barncwell, Esq., Political Agent in Catty war, in 182J, 
"during my annual circuit, has given me opportunities of 
impressing on their minds, the interest taken by the British 
Government in the suppression of the barbarous and unnatural 
practice, and the guilt attached to the commission of it bv the 
dictates of their own religion. I receive continued assurances 
that they will discountenance it; \mt, /row the disproportionate 
number of / on ales still existing^ it is erident that, aUlnnnjh- 
t/tis horrible practice may be somew/iat subdued^ it is still 
far front behuj relinquished.""^ 

" I was much surprised, (says the late Bishop Heber, 
speaking of Banswarra, in Gu/erat,) to find, in such a situation, 

* Par. Papers, pp. 123127. 
I Par. Papers, 1H2H, p. 3. { j. In. 


so large and handsome a place, of which I knew nothing 
before, except as one of those States, which have been noticed 
in India for the wildness and poverty of their inhabitants ; 
and for their abominable custom of murdering the greater part 
of their female infants. This cruel and most unnatural 
sacrifice, it has long been the endeavour of the British Govern 
ment to induce its vassals and allies to abandon. Major 
Walker, when Resident at Baroda, thought he had succeeded 
with the greater part of them ; but it is believed by most 
officers on this side of the country, that the number saved 
was very small in proportion to that of the victims. Unhap 
pily, pride, poverty, and avarice, are in league with superstition 
to perpetuate these horrors. It is a disgrace for a noble 
family to have a daughter unmarried, and still more to many 
her to a person, of inferior birth ; while they have neither the 
means nor the inclination, to pay such portions as a person 
of their own rank would expect to receive with them. On 
the other hand, the sacrifice of a child is believed, surely with 
truth, to be acceptable to the evil powers ; and the fact is 
certain that, though the high-born Rajpoots have many sons, 
very few daughters are ever found in their palaces ; though 
it is not easy to prove any particular instance of murder, or 
to know the way in which the victims are disposed of. The 
common story of the country, and probably the true one, (for 
it is a point on which, except with the English, no mystery 
is likely to be observed,) is, that a large vessel of milk is set 
in the chamber of the lying-in woman, and the infant, if a 
girl, is immediately plunged into it. Sir John Malcolm (who 
supposes the practice to be on the decline) was told that a 
pill of opium was usually given. Through the influence of 
Major Walker, it is certain that many children were spared ; 
but, since that time, things have gone on very much in the 
old train, and the answers made by the chiefs to any remon 
strances of the British officers is, Pay our daughters mar 
riage money and Ihei/ alt all lire ! Yet these very men, rather 
than strike a cow, would submit to the most cruel martyrdom. 
Never may my dear wife and daughters forget, how much 
their sex is indebted to Christianity !"* 

The prevalence of Infanticide in certain parts of the Bengal 
Presidency has been stated bv the Functionaries of Government. 
The Magistrate of Ktawah, says, " Murders have occurred 
respecting the division of land ; we have no instance of real 
and deliberate homicide; but 1 fear that there is much reason 

* Uebcr s Jour. vol. ii. p. 88. 


in believe, that child murder is frequently perpetrated."* 
"There ore (says Bishop lieber) among the Hindoos frequent 
instances of murder, but of a most cowardly and premeditated 
kind. They are chiefly cases of women murdered from 
jealousv, and children for the sake of (he silver ornaments 
idth ic/iich their parents are fond of decorating them. Out 
of thirty-six cases of murder, reported in the Province of 
Bengal, during the short space of, I believe, three months, 
seventeen were of children under these circumstances." " The 
number of children who are decoyed aside and murdered for 
the sake of their ornaments, Lord Amherst assures me, is 
dreadful. "f 

" The horrible practice of female Infanticide still prevails 
in some Districts in the Island of Ceylon. In the last general 
census, taken in 1821, the number of males exceeded that of 
females by 20,000 ! ! In one District there were, to every 
hundred men, but fifty-five women, and in those parts where 
the numbers are equal, the population was almost exclusively 
Mussulman. The strange custom of one woman having two, 
or even more, husbands ; and the consequent difficulty of 
marrying their daughters, in a country in which, to live single, 
is disgraceful, seem to be the causes of this unnatural custom. 
An astrologer is consulted on the birth of a female child, and, 
if he pronounce her to have been born under evil auspices, 
she is exposed alive in the woods, to be destroyed by beasts 
of prey or by ants; generally, 1 was happy to hear, without 
the consent of the mother."]: 

The adoption of a general laic for India appears necessary. 

.1. Poynder, Ksq., in his speech at a General Court of India 
Proprietors, March, 1*27, in which a resolution was carried, 
that " In the case of all rites involving the destruction of life, 
it is I lie dnli/ of a pater mil Government to inter fere for their 
prevention" very forcibly observed; " It was on record, that, 
notwithstanding all that had been done bv Col. Walker s 
meritorious exertions, the practice of Infanticide had again 
revived, in consequence of the apathy and indifference of that 
gentleman s successors. He might be told, that practices of 
this description must of necessity go on. This however he 
must strenuously deny : it positive laws were enacted and jnit 
in force nn this, as they had been on other subjects of less 
moral importance, such practice* might and would be pre 
vented. Let nnt Gentlemen content themselves with tin 

l .r. I .IHTS on i nlaii. IM-JS, j>. :}(>. | Ili-lioi s Jour. u>l. 
J.VJ. Sec Ham. Hind, vol ii. >. 


exertions of individuals : it was not by the efforts of such 
excellent men as Col. Walker, succeeded as they might be, by 
individuals who would not perform their duty, that the 
destruction of such practices could be accomplished. // was 
only by a general law for India tltal a general reform could 
be expected. Let them not lay the flattering unction to 
their souls that partial efforts could remove the evil. Such 

" Will but skin and film the ulcerous pai t, 
While rank corruption, mining all within, 
Infects unseen."* 

The conduct of the natives of the Society and Sandwich 
Islands is worthy of particular notice. " In order to mark 
their sense of the enormity of Infanticide, says Mr. Ellis, 
" the very first article in the code of Laws proposed by the 
chiefs, and adopted by the people in most of the Society 
Islands, shortly after their reception of Christianity, is a pro 
hibition of Infanticide, annexing the punishment of death to 
its perpetration under any circumstances whatever. In the 
Sandwich Islands, although not abolished, we have reason to 
believe it prevails less extensively than it did four or five 
years ago. The king, and some of the chiefs, since they have 
attended to the precepts of Christianity, have readily expressed 
in public their convictions of its criminality, and that com 
mitting it is in fact pejtehi kanaka (to kill man) under 
circumstances which aggravate its guilt. Kairamokee, Regent 
of the Islands, has more than once forbidden any parents to 
destroy their children, and has threatened to punish with 
banishment, if not with death, any who shall be found guilty 

The objections urged to the appointment of informers 
appear to arise from a false delicacy, and a destitution of that 
abhorrence of murder, which in Britain \ve are taught to 
consider natural. Is blood to be secreted because intrusion 
into the haunts of murderers is unwelcome ? R. Barnewell, 
Esq., in Cattywar, urging the Bombay Government to adopt 
more effectual means for the abolition of this practice, very 
justly observes : "The only means to ensure further success 
is to persevere in discountenancing, as much as possible, this 
atrocity ; but, so long as the force of pride and interest has a 
dominion sufficiently powerful to subdue in the .Tahreja every 
principle of humanity and religion, this unnatural practice 
will be but slowly abolished. 

* Asiatic Journal, May, 127, p. GD9. f Ellis s Tour, p. 303. 


"The effect of rewards for convicting the offender, and 
establishing the guilt of the parties, might be attended with 
some benelit ; they might be offered to stimulate the activity 
of informers ; to enforce the penalties prescribed by the engage 
ment, and remove obstacles which now interfere to prevent 
the crimes being discovered. The fines levied for the com 
mission of the offence might be expended, partly or wholly 
in rewards to those actively engaged in enabling the British 
Government to give greater effect to the suppression of the 
crime ; this appears the only temptation likely to induce an 
informer to come forward, that it would be politic or desirable 
to authorize, or that seems calculated to afford any increased 
facility in establishing the guilt of those perpetrating it."* "1 
should beg," says Lieut. Col. Miles, Political Agent Pahhinpore, 
k * to recommend that the cakoons (writers) in the Jabreja 
Talooks be instructed to keep a register of the births of female 
children, and use all vigilance in detecting any future violation 
of those solemn engagements. "f The propriety of encouraging 
the detection of the crime of Infanticide appears evident. 

// I M tjie duty of tlic Hon. East India Company s Gwcrn- 
nient, ami, on their ncylect of it, that of tlte British Xation, 
to promote t/ie speedy and entire abolition of this, and every 
i nit tuna n custom in India. The Government in India has 
been more attentive to the abolition of Infanticide than for 
merly. Some few fines have been levied, and donations given 
to defray the expense of the marriage of Jahreja females. 
I ntil Infanticide be punished severely, it may be feared that 
it will not be annihilated. Why is not "inquisition made for 
blood?" Political expediency cannot justify palliation of 
crime and murder. No such expediency really exists. Let 
the inhabitants of the United Kingdom " relieve the oppressed, 
judge the fatherless, plead for the widow." Let petitions from 
every part of tin; land demonstrate the deep interest felt in 
the abolition of Infanticide, and every murderous practice in 
British India. 

Societies and Corresponding Committees should be formed 
for the abolition of human sacrifices in India. They would 
diffuse information on the nature and extent of these sacrifices, 
and the propriety and facility of their abolition originate 
Petitions and press the subject constantly upon the attention 
of the British Government in this country and in India. Such 
a Society exists in the City of Coventry. How long shall the 
exclamation of the Poet continue to be so just 

* Par. Papers, iN JH, j.. 10. | p. 2!>. 


Hear it not ye stars, 

And thou pale moon, turn paler at the sound ! 

Man is to man the sorest, surest ill. 

Heaven s sovereign saves all beings but himself!" 

Why do not the British, the modern Romans, in arts and 
anus, enterprise and extent of colonization, imitate the ancient 
Romans, who, says Montesquieu, " deserved well of human 
nature, for making it an article in their treaty with the Car 
thaginians, that they should abstain from sacrificing their 
children to their gods ?" Is Britain, once characterized 
" Uritannoti hospitibus feros" by the benign power of Chris 
tianity recognised as the liberator of the slave the patron of 
civil and religious liberty the friend of the human race 
Heaven s messenger of Gospel mercies to millions over whom 
she rules ? Let the best influence of the British character be 
manifest wherever it is known, and the sentiment of the Poet 
constantly regarded : 

prcad it then ; 

And let it circulate through every vein 

Of all your Empire ; that, whew Jjritain s power 

Is felt, mankind mat/ feel her mercy too . " 






Orifi m, nature, proceeds, and appropriation of ///< 7 Pilgrim 
Ta.v. Trace* of British connection icitli Idolatry and 
Mahotnedanism in various parts of India. 

Tin: connection of Britain with Idolatry in India, consists 
in the establishment of the Pilgrim Tax at the Temple of 
Juggernaut in Orissa, Gva, and Allah ahad ; in the reception, 
from various temples, of the gains of Idolatry, and in making 
annual grants of money for the support of this obscene and 
cruel system. The nature, extent, and injurious tendency of 
this system are developed in this book; and the misery of the 
deluded pilgrims, allured to the shrines of superstition, 
(rendered more celebrated by Government regulations and 
emoluments,) cry loudly to Britain, relative to the support of 
heathen temples, u Let tJteui alone" 

The origin of the. Pilgrim Tax at the Tonple Juggernaut, 
is thus stated in an interesting " Account of Orissa," by the 
late A. Stirling, Ksq. : "The Moguls (who gained possession 
of Orissa about the elose of the sixteenth century) seemed to 
have been actuated by peculiar rancour towards Juggernaut, 
and lost no opportunity in disturbing the Hindoos in the 
performance of their devotion at his temple. During these 
contests, in and about Pooree, the image s,* so much venerated 
by one party and abhorred by the other, were twice or thrice 
carried away across the Chilka Lake, and concealed among 
the hills, until the times appeared favourable for again setting 

* Juggernaut, Hulhudr.i, and Sulnidr.-t, his brother :iml sister. 


them on their thrones in the temple. This religious warfare 
was at last set at rest, by the institution of the tax on pilgrims ; 
which, if we may credit the author of the work translated by 
Gladwin, under the title of l History of Bengal, yielded the 
Mogul Government a revenue of 900,000 rupees. Under 
such circumstances religious antipathies, however strong 
on the part of the ruling powers, yielded gradually to the 
consideration of self-interest."* The Mahrattas, who succeeded 
the Mahomedans in the Government of Orissa, levied the tax, 
and the British have followed the example of their predecessors. 

" Before this place (Juggernaut) fell into the hands of the 
English, the King, a Mahratta Chief, exacted tolls from the 
pilgrims passing through his territories to Juggernaut. At 
one place the toll was not less than l. 9s. for each foot 
passenger, if he had so much property with him. When a 
Bengalee Rajah used to go, he was accompanied by one or 
two thousand people, for every one of whom he was obliged 
to pay toll. The Hon. Company s Government levies a tax 
of from one to six rupees on each passenger."f Whether the 
origin of the Pilgrim Tax at Gya and Allahabad was the same 
as at Juggernaut is not certain ; but it is probable, that the 
rapacious followers of the prophet of Mecca, established it in 
various parts of India. 

TJtc nature of the system will appear from the Government 
Regulations relative to the Pilgrim Tax, extracted from 
" II arington s Analysis of the Laws and Regulations of the 
Bengal Presidency," vol. iii. and vi. ; and the Parliamentary 
P.ipers relative to Juggernaut, printed May 1813. Flic 
following compendious view of the system appeal s deserving 
of attention. 


"This is a celebrated place of Hindoo worship on the sea 
coast of Orissa, district of Cuttack, Lat. 19. 49. N. and Lon. 
85. 54., 300 miles from Calcutta. The population is estimated 
at 30,000. Possession was taken of the town and temple by 
the British, Sep. 18, 1803 ; the sacred will of the idol having 
been Jirst ascertained through the medium of the officiating 
priest ! At Juggernaut there are thirteen annual festivals : 
Chan dan (sweet-scented power), Snan (bathing festival), Ruth 

* See Asi. Researches, vol. xv. 182f>, pp. 1( :J3S. 
| Ward s View of the His. Lit. and Myth, of the Hindoos, vol. ii. p. 134. 
Sec also Saturday s Mag., July 7, 21, and Aug. 11, 1H. V2. 


(car ditto), Bahura (returning ditto), Shayan (lying down ditto), 
Janina (birth ditto), Kojugara (waking ditto), Rasa festival, 
Lrana (warni clothing ditto), Abhishaca (anointing ditto), 
Macura (sign of the zodiac ditto), Dole (swinging ditto), Rani 
Nararai (Ram s birth-day ditto). Much the greater number 
of pilgrims are present at the Swinging and Car Festivals. 
The concourse of pilgrims to this temple is so immense, that 
at fifty miles distance, its approach may be known by the 
quantity of human bones which are strewed by the way."* 

Juggernaut is one of the most celebrated places in India. 
All the land within twenty miles is considered holy ; but the 
most sacred spot is enclosed within a stone wall, twenty-one 
feet high, and forms nearly a square : two sides measuring 
each ().j(> feet, and the other two (> 2(> feet in length. Within 
this area are about Jifly temples, dedicated to various idols; 
but the most conspicuous buildings consists of one lofty stone 
tower, 1S4 feet high, and twenty-eight feet eight inches square 
inside, and is called the Bur Dewal, and two adjoining stone 
buildings with pyramidical roofs. The idol Juggernaut, his 
brother Bulbudra, and his sister Subudra, occupy the toner. 
The first pyramidical building, which is forty feet square 
inside, is connected with the tower, and is the place where 
the idol is worshipped during the bathing Festival. Adjoining 
this temple is alow building on pillars (with a fabulous animal 
in the centre), which is intended as an awning to shelter the 
entrance from the rays of the sun ; and after this is a second 
building, with apvramidical stone roof, where the food prepared 
for the pilgrims, or others, is daily brought, previous to 
distribution. This latter building is said to have been removed 
from Kanaruck, or the black Pagoda, and is called the Beg 
Mundeep. The temple of Juggernaut was erected by Rajah 
Anung Bhccm Deo, and completed in A. D. ll!)K. The roofs 
are ornamented in a singular style, with representations of 
monsters, which can only be understood by a drawing; but 
the walls of the temples, which are not visible beyond the 
enclosure, are covered with statues of stone. Several represent 
a famous Hindoo god, Mahadeo, with his wife Parbuttee, in 
attitudes so grossly indecent, that it seems surprising, how 
any superstition could debase its votaries to such a degree, as 
to make them introduce into their most sacred places such 
obscene representations ! Kach side of the boundary wall has 
a large gateway in the centre ; but the grand entrance is in the 
eastern face. 

* Hamilton s Description of Himlostnn. Vol. ii. pp. . >) - . r >:{. 


"The idol Juggernaut is probably the coarsest image in the 
country. The figure does not extend below the loins, and it 
has no hands, but two stumps in lieu of arms, on which the 
priests occasionally fasten hands of gold. A Christian is 
almost led to think, that it was an attempt to see how low- 
idolatry could debase the human mind. The priests endeavour 
to account for the deformity by a very strange legendary tale. 
Some thousands of years ago, in the Sutya Yogu, Maharajah 
Indradyumna, of Oojein, in Malwa, applied to the celebrated 
manufactucr of gods, to make a new idol. This request was 
granted, on condition that the Maharajah should not interrupt 
the work, as it could never be completed, if any attempt were 
made to see the process. This caution was not duly attended 
to. The prince endeavoured to see what progress had been 
made, and it became necessary that he should be satisfied 
with the imperfect image. When two new moons occur in 
Assaur, (part of June and July,) which is said to happen about 
once in seventeen years, a new idol is always made. A ncem 
tree (malia azadaracliia ) is sought for in the forests, on which 
no crow or carrion bird was ever perched : it is known to the 
initiated by certain signs ! This is prepared into a proper 
form by common carpenters, and is then intrusted to certain 
priests, who are protected from all intrusion : the process is a 
great mystery. One man is selected to take out of the old 
idol a small box, containing the spirit, which is conveyed 
inside the new : tlie man, who does this, /v always removed 
from this world before the end of Hie year T* 

The first Regulations relative to Juggernaut s temple were 
adopted by the British Government, Jan. 1806 ; these were 
afterwards rescinded, and others framed in 1809 and 1810. 
The following is A summary of lite Regulations: 

The superintendence of the temple, and its interior economy, are vested 
in the Rajah of Khoorda. The Governor-General in Council possesses the 
power of removing the Rajah or any of his successors from the superintendence, 
on proof of misconduct. The superintendent of the temple is authorized to 
punish instances of neglect or misconduct, by imposing small lines, or by 
removing the offender (if not one of the three head Purchas) from his ollice; 
the amount of fines is to be carried to the account of Government. The three 
de\vul Purchas are to he appointed by the Collector of C attack, subject to 
the confirmation of Government. In the event of orders being issued by 
the Rajah contrary to the recorded rules and institutions of the temple, a 
representation is to be made to the Collector of the tax, for the orders of the 
Governor-General in Council, if it appear necessary. The third dcwul 

* Col. Phi pps Account of Juggernaut. Asi. Jour., March 1X-2-1. The 
father of the Grand Lmiia suffers in the same manner. Ham. Mind. vol. ii. 
p. -,71. 


Purcha sl>all give account to the Collector of the tax of all offerings and 
presents made to the idol. The collection of the tax is intrusted to an oflicer, 
with the official designation of " The Collector of the Tax on Pilgrims," 
subject to the authority of the Collector at Cuttack ; the general superin 
tendence of the collections, and the control of the officers employed in the 
performance of that duty, are vested in the Board of Revenue at Fort William. 
The avenues for the admission of pilgrims shall be confined to t\vo Ghauts, 
Attara Nullah on the North, and Ghaut Lokenauth on the south-west of 
the town of Juggernaut Pooree. The pilgrims liable to the tax shall lie 
divided into four classes laid jattrccs, nim latds, bhurrunys, and punj 
lirthees, including the following persons of low cast who are not permitted 
to enter the temple.* The rate of tax payable by the different classes is as 
follows: Pilgrims of the first class from the north, passing the Attaruh 
Nullah, pay a tax of ten rupees ; from the south, passing Lokenaut, six 
rupees. Pilgrims of the second class from the north, pay five rupees ; from 
the south three rupees. Pilgrims of the third class, from either the north or 
south, pay two rupees. Pilgrims of the fourth class, passing either Ghauts, 
pay ticv rupees. A pilgrim of the first class is allowed free access to the 
temple for thirty days, constantly attended by a punda. He may he 
exempted from the attendance of these officers, by a further payment of ten 
rupees to the Collector; and, by surrendering his pass, shall be allowed to 
remain in the town as long as he pleases. Pilgrims of the second class, at 
the Car Festival, are allowed access to the temple ten days ; at other festivals 
seven days only. Pilgrims of the third class, at the Car Festival are allowed 
five days; at other times hut four; and must be attended by a punda. 
Pilgrims of the fourth class are allowed to worihip outside the temple sixteen 
days. Pilgrims may enrol themselves in either of the first three classes on 
paying the prescribed tax. Printed certificates shall be procurable on the 
payment of the fixed tax, at the office of the Secretary to the Hoard of 
Revenue, the Collector of Cuttack and Ganjam, and at the two Ghauts. 
Form as follows : 

" A. B., inhabitant of in the district of , having this day 

paid into this office the sum of sicca rupees , is entitled to pass throui/h 

the Ghaut irilhout further interruption, as a laid jattree to the. 

cutcherry of the Collector of the tax at Juggernaut. On producing this 
certificate to the said Collector^ he is further entitled to receiiv a pass, and to 
have access to the temple thirty days." 

I\,i,,,,. * <!,<i,iiniti<>n | Amount of tar paid I criod for which to | 

of attendants. resj)cctively. visit the temple. 

Forms No. 2, 3, and 4, differ only in the names of the class of pilgrims, the 
rate of tax, and the period of attendance at the temple. A pilgrim of the 
first class, desirous of visiting the temple with his family and attendants, not 

* Kusbee (prostitutes), cullal (liquor sellers), machoowa (fishermen), 
numosooder (boatmen), ghooskce (private bad women), ga/.ur (labourers who 
carry burdens on their heads), baugdee (fishers, labourers), joogee (weavers), 
kahar bawry (bearers), raujbunsee (different cast of boatmen), chamar 
(shoe-makers), dhomee (washermen), paun (basket-makers), teor (another 
cast of l>oatmen), hhoinmalee (makers of garlands, Sec., for marriages), hiiddcc 
(maters). These sixteen casts are not suffered to enter the temple to worship 


exceeding twenty persons, these must first pay the tux of the second or third 
class, and then they may stop as long 1 as their master. The certificates shall 
La dated and attested by the official seal, the blank places filled up, $re. A 
pilgrim presenting the printed certificate is to be allowed to pass without 
interruption. The molestation of such an individual, by the daroga at the 
Ghaut, shall be punished by a line, not exceeding his salary for three 
months and dismissal from office. The duty of the Collector of Jugger 
naut is to superintend the conduct of the darogas. Pilgrims of the first, 
second, and third classes, having passed the Ghauts at Juggernaut, are to 
apply to the Collector for a licence of access to the Temple in the following 
form : 

" A. B., inhabitant of , in the district of , is entitled to 

perform the customary ceremonies, under charge of during 

days, that is to say, from the dai/ of the month of until the 

day of the month of ; and for that period you will afford to 

the holders hereof free access to the Temple of Juggernaut. At the expira 
tion of the period (/ranted, you will return the licence into the office of the 
Collector of tax." 

The fourth class, who are not allowed to enter the temple, receive a form 
a little differing from the above. In case of sickness the Collector is allowed 
to extend the period of a pilgrim s continuance in the town, but is to observe 
due caution in the exercise of this authority. Pilgrims are not to be delayed 
obtaining licence to visit the temple, and therefore a sufficient number of 
blank licences are to be prepared. The Collector of the tax shall keep a 
register of licences granted, and every punda or purharee who neglects to 
return them shall be fined, in no case exceeding the amount of the tax paid 
by the first class of pilgrims. The attendants of the fourth class are to 
return their licence or be fined, in no case exceeding one month s salary. 
Pilyrims stopping in the toiim beyond the time prescribed, are to be expelled 
by the police daroga. The follow ing descriptions of persons are exempt from 
paying the tax: Byragecs, sunyasees, dundies, brumacharics, mohunts, 
gosains, khomartees, and nagas, persons employed in carrying the water of 
the Ganges to Juggernaut and pouring it over the idol at Lokenaut, 
and persons resorting to Juggernaut Pooree for trade, (excepting for 
twelve days from the beginning of the Car Festival,) or any other 
purpose except on pilgrimage. Persons professing to be carriers of the 
water of the Ganges are to be placed under the conduct of a punda; and 
on refusing to do it are to be expelled the town, or to pay the tax. Persons 
intending to live in the town the remainder of life are exempted from the 
tax, if they are not able to pay it. All native military officers and sepoys on 
duty at Juggernaut are exempted from the tax; but, to obtain admittance 
into the Temple, a pass must be received from the commanding officer at the 
station to the Collector of Tax, who shall then admit them free. Servants of 
Europeans may enter the town without paying the tax. The exemption 
from tax of persons born within the Byturnee river and Ganjam, having 
been found detrimental to the public revenue, and as under the Mahratta 
Government such persons were made to pay the tax, the following rules 
respecting the exemption of .such persons are enacted : During the Ruth 
and Dole Festivals, the exemption in favour of these people is restricted to 
the residents within Pipley, to the north, and Manickpatam, to the south ; at 
all other times of the year they pass free. At the above festivals they have 
to pay a tax as follows : Lauls, one rupee ; Nim Lauls, eight annas ; *Bhur- 
rungs, four annas. They arc to receive the same attention as other pilgrims. 
Kungals or pilgrims in actual state of poverty, on declaring it, under certain 


prttcribed ceremonies, are admitted free.* The Collector of the tax is re 
quired to give every attention to the religious opinions of the Hindoos, aud 
the particular institutions of the teinple.f 

Thc Collector of the Pilgrim Tax at Juggernaut, in March 
1806, proposed to the Government in Calcutta, the adoption 
of a premium for the pundas wlio collect the pilgrims. He 
stated, ; As the pilgrims will never be well treated by their 
conductors, unless they receive a present from their own hands, 
I beg leave to propose that the fees of the pundas, c., be 
publicly fixed, and collected by the pundas themselves, 
separate from the tax, as was formerly done under the 
Mahratta Government." To this it was replied : " The 
Governor General in Council approves of your proposition for 
permitting the pundas to collect a fee from the pilgrims, 
exclusive of the tax payable to Government ; you will 
accordingly, Jlx the rates at which such fee should be levied, 
and publish the rates for general information at tltc temple, 
and in its vicinity. March 20, 1806."J 

Colonel Phipps, of the Bengal Native Infantry, stationed 
at Juggernaut in 1822, in an interesting article respecting the 
temple and worship of Juggernaut, gives the following 
information relative to the collectors of pilgrims, and the 
premium they receive : " It having been decided that a tax 
should be levied, every precaution was taken to make it yield 
as much as possible. Alterations were made in the Regulations 
from time to time. One of the principal was in the mode of 
rewarding the purharees and pundas. The purharees are a 
body of people who reside at Pooree, governed by four surdars , 
one of whom is their gomasta, or chief manager, who attends 
at the Attara Nulla, where the main gate is placed. They 
have a great number of subordinate agents, who travel about 
in search of pilgrims, and bring them in companies In 
Juggernaut. The pundas are the servants of the idol, and 
do the same duties as the purharees at the gate. The 
Government, at first, authorized these people to collect at the 
barriers a fee from the pilgrims, for their own benefit ; but, 
this privilege having been abused, it was resolved that the 
British Collector should levy, beside the tax for the State, an 

* Numbers have perished through neglect, and disease, before they were 
admitted into the town. A correspondent in June, 1H27, states that sheds 
for accommodating three or four thousand pilgrims, have been erected under 
the superintendence and at the expense of the British Government. 

t Harington s Analysis, vol. iii. pp. 209 2*20. Par. Papers, relative to 
Juggernaut, May, 1H13, No. 11)4, art. 7, pp. 81 H<>. 
\ Par Papers, May, 1813, p. 35. 
(j 2 


additional one, the amount of which he subsequently paid 
orer to the purharces and punt/as, in such proportions an 
they were entitled to, from the number of pilgrims which 
each had succeeded in enticing to undertake the Pilgrimage. 
The pilgrims who attend the festival of the Chundun Jattra, 
and wish to remain in order to see the Ruth Jattra, are termed 
Lai Jattrees. They pay ten rupees to Government, and three 
rupees to the priests who have brought them, if they come 
from the northward ; and, if from the southward, six rupees 
to Government, and three rupees for the priest. A great 
many pilgrims attend the Chaund or Snan Jattra; and those 
who wish to remain a fortnight, and see the Ruth Jattra, 
are termed Nim Lauls. If they eome from the northward, 
they pay to Government five rupees, and a rupee and a 
half to the person who brings them ; if from the southward, 
three rupees to Government, and half that sum to the punda 
who brings them. Two rupees six annas is the tax for five 

" Some persons, on leaving this place, deposit, with the 
Brahmuns of the temple, one or two hundred rupees, with the 
interest of which they are to purchase rice, and present it 
daily to Juggernaut, and afterwards to dundces or brahmuns. 
Deeds of gift are also made to Juggernaut all over Hindostan,f 
which are received by agents in every large town, and paid 
to the mutdharees at Juggernaut Pooree, who by this means 
(though professing themselves mendicants) have become some 
of the richest merchants in India. The temple has been 
endowed by several rich Hindoos, Rajah Ram Krishna Dav, 
gave two villages, the rents of which amount to about 4,000 
rupees annually; Ximoo-mullik, of Calcutta, gave daily one 
rupee, and his children continue the donation. It is supposed, 
that not less than 100,000 rupees per annum are drawn from 
the Hindoos by the brahmuns of this temple."^ 

Among the documents published by order of Parliament in 
1813 there is no official estimate of the number of pilgrims 

* Mis. Register, Dec. 1824, pp. .375580. See Friend of India, Oct. 
1 S25, p. 270. 

f "The same places of popular esteem or religious resort are equally 
respected in Tibet and Henyul. Allahabad, Benares, Durjodun, Gya, 
Saugor island, and Juggernaut, being objects of devout pilgrimages, but 
the two last are esteemed of pre-eminent sanctity ; while Gya, the birth 
place of their great legislator (Bhood), is only of secondary rank. Those 
who are unable to perform the pilgrimages in person, acquire a considerable 
degree of merit by having it effected by proxy." Ham. Hind., vol. ii. 
p. 579. 

| Ward s View of the Hindoos, vol. ii. p;\ 9. 135. 


resorting annually to this temple. " The following is a state 
ment of pilgrims of all classes who attended for five years at 
the three great fexticals, procured from the most authentic 
sources : 





1S17 18 




















At the great Car Festival in July 1825, it was stated that 
the number of pilgrims was 225,000. A late resident in 
Orissa, in a note to the Author, in 1823, says, "On referring 
to some accounts, I can say, that all classes of pilgrims resorting 
to Juggernaut annually, amount to from about 50,000 to 
300,000. I have observed the latter number in two or three 
instances when any holydays of consequence took place. 1 
resided at Juggernaut about tivclrc years, and did dutv 
immediately under the Collector of Tax on Pilgrims." 


Gya is the modern capital of Behar, lat. 24. 49. N M long. 
K5. K. Distance from Calcutta 322 miles. Population 
about 30,000. To procure the salvation of deceased relations, 
crowds of Hindoos here perform the shradda, or funeral cere 
monies for deceased relatives. u Respecting this celebrated 
place of worship, there are many Brahminical legends, of 
which the following has the merit of being the shortest. Gya 
an Ausoor giant and infidel, by severe penances obtained 
divine favour, and subjugated the three worlds, heaven, earth, 
and hell. The demigods bereft of their dignity, implored the 
assistance of Vishnu, who entered into a long contest with 
the Ausoor, but could not overcome him. The monster how 
ever was so well pleased with Vishnu s prowess, that he 
promised to give him whatever blessing he should ask, and 
the latter, in consequence, requested him to descend into the 
infernal regions. The giant consented, but begged he might 
be pressed down by the foot of Vishnu, which was accord 
ingly done ; and the scene of action has ever since been 
reckoned sacred for the space of several square miles. The 

* .Stirling s Account of Orissa. A 

., t>1. x\. p. 


Buddhists ascribe the sanctity of Gya, to its having been 
either the birth place or residence of their great prophet and 

The nature of idolatry at this place is thus described: 
" At Gya there is a particular stone on which Vishnoo set 
his foot, and a person by putting on this stone, in the form 
prescribed, a certain paste prepared there, and by repeating 
at the same time the name of a deceased friend, can transfer 
that friend from hell itself to supreme felicity : and this benefit 
he may extend, not to one friend only, but, by repeated 
applications of paste, to as many as he can recollect, even of 
his distant ancestors ! ! "t 

" No printed regulations have been enacted relative to the tax levied at 
Gya, the duty of the Collector, and a European Superintendent, being 
simply to receive a iixed rate of tax, upon licences granted to the pilgrims for 
visiting the different places of worship and pilgrimage in the vicinity of the 
town. In a statement from the Collector at Gya in July 1790, the rates of 
duty paid by pilgrims for permission to perform their religious ceremonies 
chiefly in honour of deceased ancestors, at the river Phulgo, or adjacent 
places, were stated to vary from six annas, to twelve rupees, eleven annas, 
three pie. This duty of Government is independent of donations to the 
yyawals, or priests. Ever since the city of Gya became famous for its sanc 
tity, it has been the custom of its Brahmuns, to travel through all countries 
where the Hindoo religion prevails in search of pilgrims, whose donations are 
considered the property of the gyawal, through whose means they are brought. 
These contributions have ever been a source of considerable wealth, and are 
the property of those, icho, but for them, would probably never have visited 
Gya. When a pilgrim arrives, his gyawal, or religious father, conducts him 
to the daroga, or superintending officer of the saver collections, and explains 
to him the ceremonies which the pilgrim is desirous of performing ; after 
which an order, specifying the names of the pilgrim and gyawal, as also the 
ceremonies, is made on I, under the official seal and signature of the Collector, 
authorizing the performance of the ceremonies. At the time of delivering 
this order, the duty [to Government] is paid, which varies according to the 
number and nature of the rites performed^ 

" The British Government," says Hamilton, " has an agent at Gya, who 
levies a tax on pilgrims, according to the magnitude of the ceremonies he 
means to perform. One class visiting only one place, pay two %th rupees ; 
another visiting two places, three ^th rupees; a third visiting thirty-eight 
-places, pay four 5-l(>/A rupees, and the fourth class, visiting forty-fire places, 
pay fourteen ^th rupees ! The duty to Government, however, is but a small 
part of the pilgrim s expense ; for he is fleeced by the priests, not only of all 
the money he brings with him, but of promissory notes for future pai/mcnts, 
which are scut to him when he returns home ; the priests of Gya maintaining 
emissaries for this purpose in the remotest parts of India, which they also 
occasionally visit on speculation. The most numerous votaries are Bengalees 

* Hamil. Hind., vol. i. p. 2<>5. For a recent account of Gva, sec Mis. 
Reg. Nov. 1827, p. 584 ; and Dec. 1820. 

t Grant s Observ. &c., Par. Papers, June, 1813, p. 01 
\ Waring ton s Analysis, vol. Hi. p, 207. 


nn<l Mahrattas; and some of the great chiefs of the latter hau- been known 
to expend 50,000 rupees.* 


u Allahabad is the capital of a province of the same name, 
situated at the confluence of the Ganges and Jumna. Lat. 
25. 27. N., Long. 81. 50. K. Distance from Calcutta 550 
miles, and from Benares 53 miles. Population in 180:}, 
without the garrison, 20,000. By the Brahmuns Allahabad 
is called Bhat Prayag ; or, by way of distinction, as it is the 
largest and most holy, is simply designated Prayag. The 
other four Pravagas (or sacred confluences of rivers) are 
situated in the province of Serinagur, at the junction of the 
Alacananda with other streams, and are named Devaprayaga, 
Rudraprayaga, Carnaprayaga, and Nandaprayaga. This 
Prayaga owes its celebrity to the junction at this spot of the 
Ganges, Jumna, and Sereswate. There is no such river a v 
the last now visible in the neighbourhood, but the Hindoos 
assert that it joins the other two under ground, and that by 
bathing here, the same religious merit is acquired, as if the 
penitent had bathed in the three separately. Many persons 
renounce life at this confluence, by going in a boat, after the 
performance of certain solemnities, to the exact spot where 
the three rivers unite, where the devotee plunges into the 
stream, with three pots of water tied to his body.f When a 
pilgrim arrives, he sits down on tlie bank of the rirer, a/id 
lias hi* /iend and body shaved, -vo that eacli It air may fall 
into the water, the sacred writings promising hhn one inilliojt 
years residence in heaven for every hair tluis deposited 
After shaving, lie bathes; and the same day, or the next, 
performs the obsequies of his deceased ancestors."! 

The following Rules are enacted by Regulation xviii. 1810, 
for the collection of duties on pilgrims at Allahabad, and for 
the prevention of abuses in such collections : 

" On every pilgrim on foot, one rupee. 

"On every pilgrim with a horse, or palanquin, or carriage of any descrip 
tion, tu n rupees. 

"On every pilgrim \\itli a camel, tltrce rupees. 

"On every pilgrim with an elephant, firmly rupees. 

"All other duties or fees at the Ghaut, within the fort, or at any other 
olace, are prohibited. Kvery pilgrim, on application to the Collector of the 
I .ami Revenue at Allahabad, snail he furnished \\ith a licence to perform //</ 
usual ceremonies; and no person shall be admitted to perform such ccrcmo- 

* Hamilton s Hindoslan, vol. i. p. 2(>">. 

1 This is said to have been recently abolished by the British magistrate. 
Asi. Jiwrn. August, IH-.27, p. 241. | Flam. Mind., \ol. i. p. :MM. 


nies without a licence. The inhabitants of the town and suburbs of Alla 
habad, and the Hindoos in the Honourable Company s Army, are exempt 
from duty ; but every such person must be furnished with a licence of 
exemption from the Collector , before he can be entitled to perform the religious 
ceremonies. No tax of any kind shall be imposed upon the shaving barbers 
attending at the conflux of the rivers; but they shall be required to register 
their names at the Collector s office, and execute an obligation to the 
Collector, under a penalty of fifty rupees in every instance of contravention, 
not to perform that part of the ceremony, resting with them, to any one 
without a licence. Access to the place of ablution shall be restricted to a 
certain number of gates and avenues, fixed by a barrier annually established, 
on the subsiding of the rivers, from the palisades of the fort to the bant of 
the river: and no person shall be admitted through such barrier without the 
prescribed licence. Such numbers and descriptions of native officers, as may 
be approved by the Board of Commissioners, shall be stationed by the Col 
lector at the barrier, to prevent any person performing the ceremonies without 
a licence. A sufficient military force shall, on application of the Collector, be 
posted at the barrier during the mela or principal concourse of pilgrims in 
January and February, who shall prevent the people breaking through the 
barrier or othertcise forcing admission. The licences and exemptions, after 
being shown at the place of admission, shall be delivered up to the officers, 
to be returned to the Collector in order to their being cancelled. Persons, 
with a view to avoid the payment of the duty, attempting to cross over in 
boats from the opposite side of the river to the place of ablution, shall be 
liable to a fine of three times the prescribed duty : and, if any barber shall 
assist any such person in performing the ceremonies, he shall be liable to 
the penalty stipulated in his engagements. No barber, except such as shall 
have entered into the prescribed obligation, shall officiate in the ceremonies ; 
and any barber contravening this prohibition shall be liable to the penalty 
of fifty rupees for every pilgrim shaved ; and, if not able to pay, he shall 
be committed to jail for three months."* 

Messrs. Tyerman and Beimel, the deputation of the London 
Missionary Society, speak of the existence of this system on 
their visit to Allahabad in 1826. "Some idea of the prodigious 
multitude of pilgrims, that annually visit this holy city, may 
be formed from the circumstance, that there are four hundred 
barbers in it, who are supported principally, by shaving the 
heads of the bathers in the sacred waters of the Jumna and 
the Ganges ; such purification being indispensable before 
venturing upon an ablution, which is supposed to reach the 
very soul, and cleanse it from all defilement. A small Tax is 
levied by the British Government on each of these strangers ; 
and at festival times, the office where it is received, and 
licences to bathe arc issued, is thronged with eager applicants, 
who grudge no labour, suffering, or expense, that they may 
obtain heaven by such means as are here required for the 
purchase of it ! ! "f 

* Harington s Analysis, vol. iii. p. 2*22. 
1 Jour, of Voy. and Travels, Src., vol. ii. p. 32S. 


The proceeds of this system, and the appropriation of them, 
appear from the notes appended to this section of the 
* Analysis." 



Gross collection of Pilgrim Tax for 1815 10 (including 72) 53703 

rupees miscellaneous receipts) y 

Assessment of endowed lands 2(>,818 

Sale of holy food* 5,484 


Deduct charges for establishment and contingencies .... 17,143 

Expenses of Juggernaut s Temple 56,372 

English cloth for the three can l,3G5 


Net collection 8)11,147 


Dr. Buchanan, in his " Christian Researches," states, from 
official accounts, the annual expenses of the Idol Juggernaut, 
presented to the English Government, as follows: 

Rupees. . 

Expense of the table of the Idol 36,1 15 or 4,514 

Ditto of his dress or wearing apparel 2,712 - 335) 

Ditto of the wages of his servants 10,057 1,251) 

Ditto of contingent expenses at the different seasons) .,_ 

of pilgrimage J 1 > 1 * 7 

Ditto of his elephants and horses . 3,030 - 378 

Ditto of his ruth, or annual state carriage 0,713 - 835) 

Rupees <>{),(> Iti X 8,702 

"In item * wages of servants are included the wages of 
the courtesans, who are kept for the service of the temple.f 

* What is called in the official account the state carriage, 
is the same as the car or tower. Mr. Hunter (the Collector 
of the Pilgrim Tax) informed me that three state carnages 

* "With the consent of the Purchas, I deputed an Aumeen to orcrsev 
and state the produce from the xalc of holy food, the quantity and value ol 
cloth presented for the purpose of being displayed on the wheel at the top 
of the temple, on which Government receives, from the person presenting, 
its full value as a fee, under the head of Dujja, exclusive of which he has 
also to pay the fee of the Purchas and others, for their ministry during the 
ceremony."" 0. Webb, Collector of Tax, Dec. 1M)7. Par. Paper*, 1813, 
p. H5. Auth. 

I I- oi the character of these persons, see HcbcrVt Juurn., vol. ii. p. 283. 


were decorated this year (June 1806) with upwards of 200 
sterling worth of English broad cloth and baize" 

What a trifling sum is 11, 147 rupees, about 1,3 90 sterling, 
as the clear gain of supporting idolatry at Juggernaut ; a gain, 
doubtless, accompanied by the death of hundreds of unhappy 
pilgrims ! The variation in the annual number of pilgrims is 
considerable ; the principal cause is the early or late com 
mencement of the principal festivals. The mortality in the 
rainy season is great, and intimidates even the superstitious 
Hindoos from undertaking the pilgrimage. Mr. Harington 
states "the net receipts for 1814 15 at 135,667 rupees, and 
the number of taxed pilgrims, who were assembled from 
different parts of India at the Snail and Rut Jattra in May 
and June, to have been 77,323, inclusive of those exempted 
from the payment of duties. The attendance of pilgrims in 
June and July, 1815, who paid the established duty, was 
5,444. The difference is partly to be ascribed to the lateness 
of the season of the principal festival, and the difficulty of 
travelling by land in Cuttack and the adjacent districts." 


The amount of Pilgrim Tax at Gya is more considerable 
than at Juggernaut ; and is, with a small deduction, thrown 
into the Public Treasury. 

"Gross collections from May, 1815, to April, 1810, . . . 229,805 

Deduct charges of collections and 1 percent, to English ) 7091 

Superintendent . . $ 

Charitable allowances to several individuals 2,530 

Donation to Native Hospital in Calcutta 11,300 

Native Rajah, 10 per cent, on net collections 26,078 



Leaving the net receipts . . . 22,859" 


The receipts and disbursements of the tax on pilgrims for 
1815-16 were as follow : 

" Gross collections, including 695 rupees levied from pilgrims ) 

without licences, who attempted to evade the tax . . . j> 


Charges and commission of 5 per cent, to the English (, ollector. . f >,7 2t> 

Net receipts to Government . . 9,131 "* 


" This is the most celebrated Hindoo temple south of the 
Krishna river, lat. 13. 46. N., long. 79. 24. E., 80 miles N. 
W. from Madras. The temple is placed in an elevated hollow 
or basin, enclosed by a circular crest of hills, the precincts of 
which have never been profaned by Christian or Mahomedan 
feet, nor has even the exterior of it been seen but by a genuine 
Hindoo. The reciprocal interests of the Brahmuns, and of 
the different rulers under whose sway it fell, compromised this 
forbearance by the payment of large sums to Government, 
which, in 1758, amounted to 30,000 sterling. The incarnation 
of Vishnu, worshipped here, has a variety of names, as Ven- 
cata Ram, and Tripati ; but, by the Mahrattas, he is named 
Ballajee, and his functions are considered to have particular 
reference to commerce. Crowds of pilgrims resort to it from 
all parts of India, who pour into it offerings of goods, grain, 
gold, silver, jewels, precious stuff s, horses, cows, and other 
articles, the aggregate of which, when converted into money, 
not only yield* a surplus rerenue to Government, but serves 
to maintain several thousand persons performing the offices 
of (in idolatrous worship, which is here conducted with 
extraordinary potnp.^ The traders of the Banyan and Bat- 
tia tribes of Guzerat are accustomed to present a per centage 
of their profits to the temple annually. The amount realized 
to the British Government at this temple was, in 1809, 
60,791 star pagodas; 1810, 50,722 ; 1811,50,722; or about 
\ 9,000 sterling."^ 

The following account, of British connection with idolatry 
at this temple, is from the pen of a Functionary of the British 
Government, in the district of Tripetty: 

" Tripetty is in a valley, about the centre of a long range of hills, running 
almost north and south. No Christian eye has ever seen the pagoda, nor 
even has a Mussulman ever attempted to put his foot on the hills, the mere 
sight of which, so gratifies the Hindoos, that leagues on", upon first catching 
sight of the rocks, they fall prostrate calling on the name of the god. 

* Hamilton s Hind., vol. i. pp. J<><> 301. 

| For the character of this worship, sec an extract from Dubois, Ani. 
Jour. Oct., 1830, p. 102; and I oyndrrN Speech on the 1 il. Tax, p. 3:13(5. 
| Hamilton s Hind., \.l. ii. p. -131, -I. W. 


The idol is worshipped, by votaries, who pour in from all parts of India, 
under a thousand names. The idol in the temple is an erect stone figure, 
about seven feet in height, and personifies Vishnoo. The temple is dis 
tinguished by the oblations which are offered to its god, by Vishnoo s 
votaries from all parts of the Indian world. The cause of these offerings is 
as follows; the idol smitten with love for Sudmarultee, daughter of Akasha, 
Rajah of Narrainevunnun, determined to espouse her, but wanting coin for 
the matrimonial expenses, he raised the wind by the aid of C-uvera, the 
Indian Plutus. This god, however, directed that the money thus lent, 
should be repaid annually, to the sovereign of the countries lying between 
the Palaur, and Soonoomookee rivers. 

" The Brahmuns maintain that the Hindoo princes allowed the revenues 
from this source, to be entirely employed on the spot, in religious ceremonies, 
and that the Mussulman first appropriated on the score of the above claim 
the produce of these oblations. During the early wars we had with the French 
in this part of the world, this source of revenue was one of the first fruits 
of our conquests; though certainly its legitimacy is much to be doubted! 
These offerings are made generally from interested motives, and are of 
every diversity of articles conceivable, viz., gold and silver lumps ; coins of 
all sorts ; bags of rupees ; copper money ; spices ; assafoctida ; the hair cut 
off the head, frequently saved from infancy. A man who is lame presents 
a silver leg; if blind, a silver or gold eye, &c. The birth of a son ; recon 
ciliation with enemies ; success against the foe ; safe termination of a 
journey; the marriage of a son or daughter; prosperity in trade, &c., are 
among the reasons which lead together, in the direction of Tripetty, the 
wise as well as ignorant heathen. 

" The offerings are not always presented by the interested party, they 
may be sent by relations, friends, or vakeels, but they are frequently 
forwarded by Gosyncs, who are servants of the temple, and of which there 
are a considerable number. Before the Brumhutsoween (or nine day 
celebration of the nuptials), they set out in different directions, and reaching 
the country in which they intend to commence operations, they unfurl the 
sacred flag of the </od, with which each is intrusted- Round this idolatrous 
banner the Hindoos gather, and either trust their offerings to its bearer, or 
carry them to the foot of the idol. A suflicient mass being congregated, 
the blind leader of the blind, strikes the standard, and returns in time for 
the nuptial anniversary. They are seldom detected in stealing the offerings, 
but they no doubt derive some emolument from the pilgrims, as their 
presence secures them from trouble, taxation, and other annoyance. As 
they journey, they chant every five or six minutes, the name and attributes 
of the god ; Gov, Gov, Govinda, Rauz, Rauzoo ! the whole party, men, 
women, and children, successively take up the word, as rapidly as possible, 
and then simultaneously utter it. 

" The offerings are of various extent ; they seldom exceed 1000 rupees. 
The god compliments the worshippers at his altar, with presents, proportioned 
to the liberality of their oblations ; if the devotee gives 100 rupees he receives 
a turband; from 100 to 500 a flowered silk vestment; from this to 1,000, 
a shawl, (Sec. A second source of revenue is called wurtena, or presents for 
the idol s own use; whether jewels, horse cloths, &c., the donor is made to 
pay the estimated value of the offering to Government, before he is allowed to 
make the idol its present ; the article is then retained for the use of the temple . 
A third source of revenue is called arjeetum, or receipts, and is of three 
classes, abbccshcykoom , purifications; naivaidoom, offerings, and wahanwn, 


" 1. Abbeesheykoom. Kvery Friday the idol is anointed with civet, musk, 
camphire, \c., and washed clean again with milk. I he devotee, desirous 
of seeing the operation, pays what he chooses; but in the Brumhauttoween 
he pays fifty rupees. Porlunyee Seeva, is enrobing the god in a flower 
garment, which ceremony takes place every Thursday. During the festival 
sixtv rupees are paid for seeing the business. Soomanlah Seeva. All who 
delight to sec the idol decorated with a necklace of flowers, pay twelve 
rupees, and this pleasure may, for this daily payment, be enjoyed the whole 
year! Xahasranamtuchana signifies the diurnal worship of the god under 
his thousand names; five rupees is the price of this devotion. Munsoon 
Seeva is an imposing ceremony, and the spectator yields twelve rupees for 
seeing the object of his worship rocked to sleep! ! 

"2. A tmvH/oow, or offerings. Purmanum, is an offering of milk, sugar, 
and rice. Pooleevagarrun ; tamarinds, sweet oil, and rice. Moodgarrun ; 
dall, ghee, and rice; and Duddee davrum, butter, milk, and rice. They 
may be prepared by the offerer on paying six rupees; but if the circar (or 
Government) provides, sixteen rupees! Bugchanaraidoom, is an offering 
of sweetmeats ; the devotee has the offering prepared by the circar, and 
from twenty to twenty-eight rupees are paid for the honour of presenting it. 
Afalanavaidoom, is a large offering of from 1000 to 2000 seers of rice, 
provided by the circar, but to be paid for 100 or 200 pagodas. Amuntra 
narroocharriiin, are united offerings of all, daily offered, price is sixty-live 
rupees. Ookaipud-chadee meersa, a presentation of the plant ookai, said to 
be peculiar to the Tripetty hill ; four rupees. 

" 3. Wahanum, or processions of the idol ; they are twelve in number, and 
each has a reference to different parts of the Hindoo Mythology, as connected 
with the worship of Vishnoo." After enumerating several, the writer adds, 
For all the above, the votary, who gives the idol the trouble of coming 
out, is forty rupees less rich than before !" 


BY THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT. A regular establishment is entertained, 
paid by salaries ; and a horde of brahmuns are maintained by lands, 
appropriated fur that purpose, over the surrounding country, subject only to 
a slight tax. The temple is kept up in all its dignity; and the avrraye 
receipts, on the account of Government^ for the last ten years, trill show irhat 
a (jood tkiny ire make of it . ! The head general ollicer is called the tahsildar, 
whose business is the general superintendence over the others; to see the 
pilgrims are well treated and lodged ; supplies kept in the ba/ars ; 
ceremonies dull/ performed as paid for, and that no bribery or oppression 
takes place. He reports to the Collector, or his assistants, according to 
orders, on all cases of doubt or importance. Common servants are allowed 
for taking care of the records, lighting and sweeping the cutcherry, <Scc. ; 
twenty peons attend the tahsilder s office, and are paid a pagoda (eight 
shillings) a month, with two head peons of larger salary. During the 
Bnmkautsoween an additional sibbumly is allowed ; twenty-five peons, 
twenty pullers, and two hurcarrahs, or scouts; ire also assist the tahsildar 
with forty or fifty peons, a party of whom are constantly on the hills, looking 
out for the thieves, who congregate where the prey may be found. A 
company of seapoys (soldiers), under a native officer, are stationed us the 
tahsildar may choose, as permanent guards. In passing through the silver 
porch, the pilgrims are admitted into a rather confined court, and are 
introduced to the god; in front of whom are two vessels, and into these the 
votaries drop their respective offerings, and, making their obeisance, pass 


out through another door. At the close of the day the guards are searched ; 
without examination, the offerings are thrown into bags, and are sealed with 
the seal of the pagoda, then by the tahsildar and jeengar; after which, the 
bag is sent down to the cutcherry below the hill. At the end of the month 
these bags are transmitted to our cutcherry ; they are opened, sorted, valued, 
and finally sold at auction. The annual net proceeds is about 87,000 rupees. 
In 1820, the collections were 102,000 rupees; in 1822, the collections were 
142,000 rupees; but this is exclusive of expenses, for which 20,000 may be 
deducted. The resources of the pagoda were legitimately enjoyed by the 
Mussulman Government ; for services earned with blood and treasure, and 
at the risk of losing our trade on the Coromandel coast, one of the h rst 
rewards, or rather poor payment, was this revenue, and it has been paid 
unremittingly ever since. It was a strange, but a determined policy, when, 
through the country, the pagoda lands were resumed by the Company, and 
tusdeck allowance granted in their place. The revenues of Tripetty are on 
a gradual decline, and will die, in the lapse of years, a natural death."* 

" It appears," says the late J. Harington, Esq., " from the 
public accounts of 1815-16, that a small collection of tax is 
made from thepilgrimsof Sevtla. DabceaiKasheepoor,SHrkHr<i 9 
and Sunibul, in the district of Moradabad ; and from the 
pilgrims of Soru in Itaica.^ The amount received in the 
former district was 2,592 rupees, and in the latter 3,091 
rupees, in the year referred to. But I have not been able to 
obtain any further information relative to these collections."^ 

The following official documents show 1he gain of this 
unnatural association with Idolatry, the baneful influence of 
which, in regulating and aggrandizing it, is very considerable. 
" I apprehend," says J. Poyndcr, Esq., " that it is impossible 
to take credit for much less than a million of money, as the 
ascertained net profit for the period referred to (seventeen 
years) ; and that when the additional receipts, from the places 
mentioned by Mr. Harington, arc adverted to, for a similar 
period, that amount must be greatly exceeded. This still 
leaves various places to be accounted for, from which a revenue 
is derived, and which are not yet in any shape before the 
public, viz., Diraraca, ftomnauth, &c." 

* See Asi. Jour., July 1831, pp. 193198. See also E. I. Mag., April 
1832, p. 352. 

f " It will be found that the Pilgrim Tax is collected not only at the 
great temples at Juggernaut and Trippetty, but nimanyofthesmaller pagodas 
of celebrity ; and a part of these collections may be classed in the Govern 
ment accounts, under the general head of Farms and Licences? This 
system appears of indefinite extent. The chief of the revenue department, in 
Feb. 1832, acknowledged f have never seen a clear statement of the lands 
assigned to temples, the collections from such lands have apparently been 
merged in the land revenue. " E. India Mag., April JH32, p. 3;>2. 

| Har. Analysis, vol. iii. p. 20*. Asi. Jour. Oct. 1830, pp. 103, 104. 



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ANNUAL AMOUNT of the TAX ON PILGRIMS attending the 
TEMPLE OF TRIPETTY, with an Account of the Annual 
Expenses from 1812-13 to 1821-29. 


Amount of Tax 

Collector and 

Net Receipts. 

. s. d. 

. s. d. 

, s. d. 


19,922 17 6 

4,990 2 6 

14,932 15 


22,982 15 

5,263 10 

18,969 2 6 


iH c 

5,407 10 


4,951 12 6 


i*ii 1 

4,248 2 6 


^ 2l< 

5,444 12 6 


|35B j 

4,779 2 6 



3,788 17 6 


A \ 

H ^ 

3,933 10 


14,145 17 6 

4,251 15 

9,894 2 6 



4,587 5 

14,045 15 


12,556 12 6 

5,278 5 

7,278 7 6 


18,028 12 6 


12,698 10 


11,585 17 6 

4,446 7 6 

7,139 10 



3,140 12 6 

13,433 7 6 


16,701 7 6 

4,231 5 

12,470 2 6 

1 828-29 

14,101 17 6 

4,022 7 5 

10,079 10 


TRIPETTY 10 Years Net Receipts 120,941 

The Amounts collected for an interval of 7 Years 
more cannot be precisely ascertained ; but the 
united Expenses of the Collection and Estab 
lishment for those 7 Years (which are known) J* 84,658 15 6 
appear to bear so close a relation to those of the 
remaining 1 Years, that the average Receipts 
may be safely stated at 

Making a Total, for 17 Years, of 205,599 18 

To prove the correctness of this estimate, the 7 Years Collection 
and Establishment are 1827/. 17s. Gd. higher than the next 7 Years 
Collection and Establishment. Total Net Receipts from Juggernaut, 
Gya, Allahabad, and Tripetty, in seventeen years, 912,662 ! !* 

See Poynder s Speech on the Pil.Tax, Sep. 1 &30 (Hatchard), pp. 159103. 


/ traces of Kritish connection with Idolatry 
ind Mahomedanism, in various parts of India, are chiefly 
extracted from Hamilton s Description ofHindostan, two vols., 
quarto, dedicated to the late Right Honourable G. Canning 
President of the Board of Control, <$cc., &c. 

"Dacca is situated about 100 miles above the mouth of the 
Ganges, and ISO by land from Calcutta. The Nabob of 
Dacca has long been celebrated for the suavity of his manners, 
and his steady attachment to the British Government. In 
1807 an allowance of 3000 rupees was panted to him for the 
repair of a building devoted to religious purposes, not only on 
account of the uniform propriety of his conduct, and the 
respectability of his character, but also as a public indication 
of the disposition of the British Government to support the 
freedom of religious worship among all classes of their 

" Hate Isle. An island situated at the westeni extremity 
of the Gu/erat peninsula. Shunkowar is its proper name, and 
is derived from that of a Hindoo demon, so named from his 
dwelling in a large shunk or conch shell, wherein he concealed 
the sacred Vedas, which he had stolen from Brahma. An 
incarnation of Vishnu, under the name of Shunk Narayan, 
cut open the shells and restored the Vedas to their lawful 
owner. The demon pleaded, as his excuse, that he hoped to 
have been put to death by Vishnu for the theft, which would 
have insured him future happiness. In consequence of this 
exploit, Shunk Narayan, or the destroyer of the shell demon, 
established his own worship on the island, where it continued 
paramount until the flight of another Hindoo deity, named 
Runch or, from Dwaraca, to escape the fury of a Maliomedan 
army ; since which time Runchor has been supreme on Bate. 
In 1 iG 2 this place was taken by Sultan Mahmood Begra of 
Ahmcdabad and Gu/erat, who demolished the temples, broke 
the images, and gave up the country to indiscriminate plunder. 
In 1H1( Colonel Kast advanced with a detachment towards 
the Isle of Bate, which quietly surrendered, on the promise of 
a suitable provision and complete security for their private 
property and religious establishments. An agreement was 
executed, by the conditions of which they engaged not to 
permit, instigate, or connive at any act of piracy, committed 
by any person under their authority, and also to abstain from 
plundering vessels in distress. A free or open commerce to 
be permitted to all British vessels paying the regulated 

Hamilton s Hind., vol. i. ls-jo. p 
II 2 


duties. The tiritish, />// this treaty, undertook to afford the 
Temple at Hate, suitable protection and encouragement"* 

" Dwaraca. A town and celebrated temple (named also 
Juggeth,) situated at the western end of tlie Gu/erat Peninsula. 
It is the most sacred spot in this part of India. About 600 
years ago the valued image of their god, Runchor (an incar 
nation of Krishna), by a manoeuvre of the Brahmuns was 
conveyed to Daccoor, in Guzerat, where it still remains. 
After much trouble the Brahmuns at Dwaraca substituted 
another in its stead ; which unfortunately also took flight 
across a narrow arm of the sea, to the island of Bate, about 
135 years ago, on which event another new one was placed in 
the temple ! Dwaraca is designated by the name of the island ; 
and, having long been the residence of Krishna, it is a cele 
brated place of pilgrimage for the sectaries of that religion. 
At Muddee, near Dwaraca, the land thieves of Oka arc named 
Kafjd, a Sanscrit word which signifies a seeker or searcher, 
on account of the severe scrutiny all pilgrims and unprotected 
travellers undergo. The rags of the Byragee are carefully 
examined, and the ball of ashes, with which he besmears his 
body, is broken by these robbers, in hopes of finding some 
small coin concealed in it ! The pirates in this part placed 
great reliance on the power of their deity at Dwaraca, his 
priests and attendants being the strongest instigators to 
depredation. In return they (the priests, &c.) received a 
certain portion of all plundered property, as a recompense for 
the protection received from the Idol Runchor. Before 
embarking, it was a common practice for the pirates to promise 
a larger share than the god could claim by right, if he would 
ensure success to their trip. Many vessels were fitted out in 
the name of Runchor, as sole owner, and actually belonged 
to the temple, which received the plunder they brought back ! 

" On the arrival of a pilgrim at Dwaraca, he bathes in a 
sacred stream, for which he pays the Dwaraca chief 4^ rupees : 
brahnmns only pay 3|. A visit is then made to the temple, 
where offerings are presented, and a certain number of 
brahnmns are fed. The pilgrim next proceeds to Aramra, 
where he receives the stamp which is made with an iron 
instrument, on which are engraved the shell, the ring, and the 
lotus flower, the insignia of the gods. The instrument is 
made hot, and impressed on any part of the body, but generally 
on the arms, and frequently leaves an impression. It is often 
impressed on young infants : and a pilgrim may receive not 

* Vol. i. pp. 001, 002. 


onlv his own stamp, but also stamps on his body for the- benefit 
of an absent friend. The stamp costs \\ rupee. 

"The average number of pilgrims resorting annually to 
Jhvaraca has been estimated to exceed 15,000, and the revenue 
derived to the temples about a lack of rupees (,12,500). It 
has been decreasing, as well as the number of pilgrims. 
In 1807 the chief of Dwaraca promised not to permit or in 
stigate any act of piracy, and the British Government 
engaged to afford t/ic ti inple ecerif suitable protection <ui<l 
encouragement: a free and open commerce; was permitted to 
vessels paying the regulated duties. The depredations b\ 
sea renewed on British property, and the predatory system into 
the adjacent countries commenced by land, made the conquest 
of Okamundel the only effectual remedy for evils of such in 
veteracy and duration. Dhengee was captured by Colonel 
East in 1816, with inconsiderable loss; and, notwithstanding 
the treachery meditated by the, Dwaraca chief, in consideration 
of the sanctity of the place,* he determined to attempt a 
negotiation which was finally successful. In lH[7 Okamun 
del, with its holy places of Bate and Dwaraca, was finally 
transferred to the Baroda Government^ 

" ViiUan Sot/inauth is a town near the southern extremity 
of the Gu/erat Peninsula. Somnauth is one of the twelve 
images of Seeb, which are said to have descended from 
heaven to earth ; and the great lame of its temple attracted 
the cupidity, while it stimulated the bigotry, of Sultan 
Mahinood, of Ghi/.ni. According to Mahomedan authors, 
the image was destroyed, but the Hindoos assert, that the 
god retired into the ocean ! The symbol placed in the temple 
is deemed peculiarly propitious to those who desire offspring. 
It is visited by pilgrims from every quarter, who pay a trifling 
duty to the Nabob, for permission to perform their devotions at 
this favourite shrine. In 1S1(>, through the interposition of 
the Bombay Presidency with the Junaghar State, arrangements 
were effected, tending to secure greater freedom <>/ fnlijrun- 
tuje to Somnfiuth.% 

" I*OOH<IJ the modem capital of the Mahratta empire, is 
situated 100 miles from Bombay. The view from Parvate hill 
commands the to\\n with all its gardens and plantations, the 
cantonments, and the British residency at Sungum. At the 
bottom of the hill is a large square field enclosed with high 

* Why such respect for this idolatrous place a dm "I thieve^ aixl 
unites? | Vol. j. pp. >o7 (J6- <. 


1 V.-l. i. p. r,7l. See A-i. Jour. I el- IH27, j 


brick walls, where the Paishwa used to assemble the Brahmuns, 
to whom he gave alms at the great feast, when the rainy 
season terminates ; who, on these occasions, begged their way 
from all parts of Hindostan. When all were assembled they 
were shut in and marked ; and as they came out, one at a time, 
the gratuity was given to them. Something of the same kind 
is still continued by the British Government. On the conquest 
of Poona, to conciliate the religious classes, an explicit 
assurance was given, that all existing establishments should 
be maintained, and all endowments held inviolate."* 

" Serin gapatam is the modern capital of Mysore. Ilyder s 
palace occupies the cast end of the island, and although built 
of mud displays considerable elegance, and is a very handsome 
native structure. Adjoining is the mausoleum of Hyder, 
where rests all that was royal of this Mahomedan dynasty, 
consisting of Hyder himself, his wife, and Tippoo, who lie 
under tombs covered with rich cloths, at the expense of the 
British Government ; and the establishment of priests to offer 
up prayers, and of musicians to perform the Nobut (an 
instrument of music beaten five times a day), is retained as 
formerly. Ilyder s palace is now the residence of a surgeon ; 
his seraglio, a European Hospital. Tippoo s seraglio is a 
barrack for artillery ; his private apartments are occupied by 
the Resident, ancl his public by European troops. How 
greatly degraded from their ancient dignity ! "f Is not this 
establishment of priests supported by a Christian Government ? 

" Colar is the capital of a district of the same name, 40 
miles from Bangalore. It was the birth-place of Hyder. His 
son, Tippoo, erected a handsome monument for him ; and 
near it a mosque and college of Moullahs, or Mahomedan 
priests (with a proper establishment of musicians), were 
endowed 1o pray for his soul : the whole of which is still 
continued at the expense of the British Government. % 

Of the District of Tanjore, it is remarked; "The 
Mahomedans never having actually occupied this territory, or 
effected any permanent establishment in it, the Hindoo 
religion has been preserved in considerable splendour, and 
their ancient places of worship, w T ith their vast endowments, 
remain untouched. In almost every village there is a temple, 
with a lofty gateway of massive but not inelegant architecture, 
where a great many Brahmuns are maintained, either by the 
revenues formerly attached to them, or by an allowance from 
Government. The Brahmuns are here the chief holders of 

* Ham. Hind., vol. ii. p. 195, 196. | P- 362. { p. 374. 


land, and perform almost every office of husbandry, except 
holding the plough. They are all extremely loyal, on account 
of the protection they receive, and also for an allowance 
granted by the ttrilish Government of 45,000 pagoda* (about 
1 8,000 sterling) annually, which is distributed for the 
support of the poorer temples"* I low much good would 
this sum do in India, if expended in supporting Christian 
schools, and the circulation of the Bible! 

The temple of Serinyham is situated in the district of 
Trichinopolv, under the Madras Presidency. "The Pagoda 
is situated about a mile from the western extremity of the 
Island of Serinyham. It is composed of seven square 
enclosures, the walls of which are 25 feet high, and 1 feet 
thick. These enclosures are 350 feet distant from each other, 
and each has four large gates with a high tower, which are 
placed in the middle of each side of the enclosure, and 
opposite to the four cardinal points. The outward wall is 
nearly four mile* in circumference, and its gateway to the 
south is ornamented with pillars, several of which are single 
stones, 33 feet long, and nearly 5 feet in diameter. Those 
which form the roof are still larger. In the innermost 
enclosures are the chapels. Pilgrims resort to it from all parts 
of Hindostan for absolution, and none come without an 
offering of value. Here, as in all great Pagodas, the Brahmuns 
Hie in a subordination that knows no resistance, and slumber 
in voluptuousness that feels no want. At present the allow 
ance made btf lite British Cloverninent for the support of the 
temple, and its establishment^ amounts to 15,(>00 pagodas per 
annum (about , (>, 240 sterliny.)"-^ It is to be lamented that 
voluptuous Brahmuns should be supported by a Christian 
Government, when Christianity would prove so great a bless 
ing to the people of India. 

" Condatchy is a bay in the island of Ceylon, and the most 
central rendezvous of the boats employed in the pearl lisherv. 
The superstition of the. dicers renders it necessary for the 
Government to employ two enchanters to charm the sharks, 
in which they appear to be very successful, as, although they 
are seen, from the boats, and while the diver is at the bottom, 
accidents rarely occur! These necromancers arc all of one 
family, and possess the entire confidence of the natives. Two 
divers are attached to one stone, and go down alternately ; 
and when 300 boats are anchored on the banks, 1,500 divers 
maybe supposed to go down every minute ; and, probably, 

H.Mn. Hind , ^<-l. ii. p. 4/i3. \ 1 1 <;; 


by their noise and numbers, assist the incantations of thf 
shark charmers ! These impostors receive ten oysters from 
every diver s share, and the same number are allotted for the 
pagodas at Ramisseram and Nagore ; besides other privileges 
and emoluments of very ancient date, which have been con 
tinued by the T5ritish Government."* 

"Two of the villages in Kardeh Doon, named Tokah and 
Casipore, (in the country between the Sntuleje and Jumna 
rivers,) were granted by the first Rajahs of Sir more, to the 
Mahunt or high priest of the temple of Kalian, together with 
various other appropriations of land and money for religious 
purposes ; indeed, there was scarcely a part of the Sirmore 
territory that had not been rendered more or less tributary to 
that sacred edifice. These had been sequestered during the 
war, but were restored in 1816 to the Mahunt, which gave 
great satisfaction to his Hock, and to the public in general."f 

" Serinagur is the capital of the province Gurwal, 38 miles 
irom Hurdwar. On the opposite side of the river, at the 
village of Ranihut, is a temple sacredtoRajalshwara; which 
is principally inhabited by dancing women. The initiation 
into this society is performed by anointing the head with oil 
taken Irom the lamp placed before the altar ; by which act 
they make a formal abjuration of their parents and kindred, 
devoting their future lives to prostitution / J Among the items 
of eleemosynary donations distributed to Bralimuns and 
others by the old Governments, and continued by the British, 
Hi e principal in amonnt is 512 rupees, which is gicen to 
carious tribes of religious mendicants, who frequent a mela 
or fair, held annually near Serinagur" Ought Britain 

* Ham. Hind., vol. ii. p. 518. f p. 620. 

| The worship of Brahma is constitutionally impure. There are temples 
of consecration for a life of impurity, these exist at Cambaya, Tivikarey, 
and other places of Hindostan. Tavernier mentions the existence of this 
system. " From Cambaya you go to a little village, distant three coss, 
where there is a pagoda, to which all the Indian courtesans come to make 
their offerings. This pagoda is full of a great number of naked images. 
Among the rest there is a large figure of one that seems to resemble Apollo, 
all uncovered. Girls of eleven and twelve years old, uho have been 
brought and educated for the purpose, are sent by their mistresses to this 
pagoda " to offer and to surrender themselves up to this idol." (Tavernier s 
Travels in India, p. 37, 107s). See the Apocraphy, Baruch, eh. vi. ver. 
43, and "2 Kings, eh. xvii. vcr. 30, respecting Succoth benoth ; Dubois 
Manners and institutions of Hindoos, vol. ii. p. 370; Hamilton s Account 
of Kanoje, vol. i. 37.0; and Mill s British India, vol. i. p. 279410. edition. 
Is it possible that any man, whose mind has been cultivated under the 
influence of Christian principles, can wish such a system to be perpetuated ? 

Ham. Hind., vol. ii. pp. 610. 6-17. 


thus i<> sanction and encourage obscenity ? Would it be done 
were these things lull v known ? Happy day when British 
ronnection with idolatry in India is dissolved; of whose 
temples,* as well as those of ancient Home, it may be said 
" Nam <iu<> non prostat fa-mina templo? Jui: 

" Illmdriuath is a town and temple, about eighty miles 
from Almora, in Kumaon. The structure of the edifice does 
not correspond with the reputed sanctity of the place, for the 
support of which large sums are annually received, independent 
of the land rerenue, appropriated for it* maintenance. It 
is built in the form of a cone, with a small cupola, surmounted 
by a square shelving roof of copper, over which is a gilded 
ball and spire; the height of the building is forty or fifty feet. 
The number of pilgrims who visit Bhadrinath, annually, is 
estimated at 50,000. The principal idol, Bhadrinath, is 
about three feet high, cut in black stone, or marble, dressed 
in a suit of gold and silver brocade, the head and hands only 
being uncovered. His temple has more beneficed lands 
attached to it, than any sacred Hindoo establishment in this 
part of India. In 180H it was said to possess 700 villages, 
which arc under the jurisdiction of the high priest, who holds 
a paramount authority, nominally independent of the ruling 
power. It was determined, that the revenues of the purgunas 
appropriated to temples, and other religious buildings, should 
be continued, provided that the Commissioner was satisfied, 
that thev would not be diverted from their original purpose, 
and (as too frequently happens) converted to a source of 
individual emolument. The repair of the road from Serin agur 
to Bhadrinath, also appeared an object of some importance, 
as encouraging Hie resort of a areater number of pili/rints* 
and thereby promoting the intercourse and traffic between 
the plains and the immense hills, whence springs the source 
of the Ganges/f 

Of tlic District of Kuinaon, near the Hymalaya mountains. 
it is remarked, "Jaghires and rent free lands, especially for 
religious purposes, were found to be extremely numerous ; 
two entire purgiumahs being so appropriated. Kuttolce for 
the temple of Bhadrinath, and Mi/sow for Kedarnath ; the 
first yielding 106 1, and the latter KiOO Gorka rupees. Besides 
these there were periodical distributions of money, for pious 
and charitable purposes, which could not be discontinued 
\\ithtiut exciting a feeling prejudicial to ihe reputation 

f Mi Kfjr. Per ls:u,]>. ; ,il,.V|-j. ! Ham. llnul., \\. ij. p. IK 


enjoyed by the British Government, of strictly respecting the 
rights, privileges, and religious institutions of every class of 
their native subjects. Most of the above appropriations were, 
in consequence, confirmed, no claims being rejected, excepting 
such as rested on grounds of very questionable validity. It 
was however thought most eligible, to endeavour to commute 
the grants of land for regular payments in money, an 
arrangement equally advantageous to the grantees, and 
convenient to the Government."* 

" In the south Mahratta country a variety of penances are 
undertaken by pilgrims, at the shrine of the goddess Yelhera, 
which cannot be performed in the presence of the idol without 
a large pecuniary sacrifice. For the enviable felicity of 
swinging aloft in the air, by means of an iron hook fixed in 
the fleshy part of the loins, at the end of a beam revolving 
horizontally on a point, a fee of no less than ten rupees is 
exacted ; and the smaller fee of two rupees for the no less 
honourable display of swinging on a smaller beam, with the 
head downwards, and the hook attached to the foot. The 
distinction of sticking a fork through the hand, is attainable 
at a cheap rate, and the honour of treading upon burning 
charcoal, may be purchased for an inconsiderable amount. 
From those who come attended by a band of music, two 
rupees are levied. All persons bringing offerings of clarified 
butter, oil, sheep, and gold or silver ornaments, are subjected 
to a toll ; the proportion of these oblations are respectively 
allotted to the officiating priest, and the renter being exactly 
defined ; and no shops, booths, or stalls, can be erected during 
these carnivals without payment of a fee for the licence."f 
C. Chaplain, Esq., Feb. 1832. 

" In all the capital cities, principal towns, and districts, 
Mahomcdan officers, known in this country by the title of 
Cadis, are stationed for the purpose of performing the religious 
duties and ceremonies prescribed by the Mahomedan law, 
and various other functions, at the public expense ; and their 
appointments are so far independent, that they are only 
moveable for misconduct."^ 

" I cannot see," says C. Buller, Esq., M.P., in his letter to 
the lion. Court of Directors, relative to Juggernaut, May 
1813, " what possible objection there is to the continuance of 
an established tax, particularly when it is taken into 

* Ham. Hind, vol. ii. p. <>5 1. f East India Map., Ajt. 1832, p. 3f>1 . 
| Teignmouth Cons, on Coin, to the Natives of India the knowledge of 
Christianity, p. 62. 


consideration, what hirye pensions, in land and itwnei/, art 
allou-ed by our Government, in all parts of the country, for 
keepiny up the religious institutions both of the Hindoos and 
the Mussulmans?* 

" 77/6 Temple of Deo Ghur is situated on a rising ground, 
in tlic midst of a thick forest, and is attached to the Beerbhoom 
district. Thirty-two villages are allotted for the maintenance 
of the chief pundit or high priest of the temple at Deo Glmr, 
granted bv Government at the settlement of the Jungleterry 
district. They are in a very flourishing state of cultivation. "f 
"The temple here," says Hamilton, "is famous for a lingam 
it contains, respecting which a strange story is told in the 
Purana. Pilgrims resorting to this place, usually bring with 
them water from the other sacred fanes they have already 
visited, and pour it over the lingam, round which they walk a 
certain number of times, while others lie down and continue 
fasting until they have a favourable dream ! Prayers of 
various sorts are addressed to the deity of the place. Some 
pray to be kings in the next transmigration, or for such worldly 
enjoyments as they prefer; others pray for happiness in the 
heaven of the deity they address ; while some, tired and 
harassed by the misery of successive births, pray to be 
released from existence altogether."! 

The conduct of individuals in India, especially when in 
authority, has frequently tended to perpetuate Idolatry. 
Lieut. Col. Francklin thus describes his interview with the 
chief priest of the Temple of Deo Ghur ; 

" Aminda Oja paid us a visit; he is a man of very expressive countenance 
and firm gait, though upwards of eighty years of ape. His manner of 
bestowing his benediction on M.V, whilst he threw the tnalaa, or yarlands of 
JlinrcTs over our shoulders, had something nohle in it, and made a strong 
impression on our minds!! He presented Mrs. ! . and myself, with miklas, 
or coverings, one of red silk, the other of silver and gold brocade, which he 
threw round our shoulders: they were stated to possess a hoi,/ quality^ 
having heen blessed by himself! wishing us, at the same time, every 
happiness in life. I returned the visit of the high priest, who received me 
in an open area adjoining the temple, within the enclosure of a small temple 
dedicated to A ani/a. The usual ceremony of presenting mala (chaplet of 
flowers) was performed, and again he gave his benediction; shortly after 
which i took leave of this venerable and amiable character, impressed with 
sentiments of esteem, to see him perform the high functions of his ollice 
with so much meekness and humility, though with so noble and dignified 
an aspect." A visit to the .shrine of the impure idol $eeb,is thus described, 

"The temple was illuminated by an immense circular lamp of tutenague, 

* Buchanan s Apology for Christianity in India, p. 1 < _. 
t I ntnrklin s Inquiry for the sile of the ancient I aliholhra, part i p. *s 
\ Hamilton s Hind , \ol. i. p Hit 1 . 


bla/ing like gold, four feet in height, by two in breadth, supplied by ghee, 
and burned with innumerable wicks. The spiral and never-ceasing Ha me, 
continually ascending to the summit in devotion to the Supreme Creator of 
the universe; the altar strewed with flowers, sandal-wood, and precious 
gums; the surrounding priests, and the various ornaments of the temple, 
altogether formed a picture difficult to describe, but impressively felt by the 
spectators: and, to use the words of the energetic Maurice, whilst describing 
the Mitkratic rites, The radiated orb of gold ; the bright spiral Hame, 
ascending from the ever-glowing altar, impressed the inmost souls of the 
aspirants \vithanawful sense of the present deity! Imagination cannot 
avoid kindling at a scene like this, and it is dillicult to avoid rushing into 
enthusiasm, whilst viewing the splendour of this ancient species of devotion. 
The high priest having blessed a garland of flowers, and some sweetmeats 
for each of us, sent them by his second son ; the high priest also gave us 
his blessing; after which he scattered, over the Linyam, some Ganges water, 
and shortly after inquired if we were pleased with what we had seen. We 
expressed our satisfaction, and then, making our obeisance, we returned 
from the temple."* Ought a Christian to feel satisfaction with, or to 
countenance the impure system of Idolatry ? 

The following extracts from the late Bishop Ileber s 
Journal appear very exceptionable. " During my progress 
through the holy places (at Benares), I had received garlands 
of flowers in considerable numbers, which I was told 
it was uncivil to throw away, particularly those which 
were hung round my neck. / uou , in consequence^ looked 
more like a sacrifice titan a priest ! and on getting again into 
the gig was glad to rid myself of my ornaments." " This 
being the great day of Hoolee, all my Hindoo servants 
came to pay their compliments, and bring presents of red 
powdrr and sugar plums. The event was rather costly to me, 
as I was obliged to make presents in return. But it is tlie 
dustoorj and who in India can transaress that unwritten 
and counnoH law of tlic land ?" " The Raja oilered to return 
my visit next day ; but knowing that Tuesday is, in the 
estimation of all Hindoos, unlucky , I named Wednesday in 
preference, telling him my reason. He answered, very politely, 
he should account every day lucky in which he had opportunity 
of cultivating my acquaintance ; but was evidently well 

" In 1811, the Madras Revenue Board, requested the 
.sanction of Government, to the disbursement of 150 star 
pagodas, by the Collector of Cuddapa, on account of Hindoo 
ceremonies to procure rain, to be performed at Uie different 

* See Inquiry for the site of the ancient Palibothra, pp. Hf) 94. 
| Heber s Jour. vol. i. p. J7!> ; vol.ii. pp. H4, l. Jl. "The Hindoos name 
a European, who went straight to heaven from Benares, but it appeared 
he had left money for the construction of a temple aj lcr his death!" Ham. 
Hind., vol. i. p. :>07. 


Ptiywhis in that district The object, in sanctioning the 
performance of these ceremonies, was to inspire the people 
with confidence, and to encourage them to increased exertions 
in the process of agriculture."* 

" That the interference of the public authorities promotes the 
popularity of individual temples, there can be no doubt. 
During the invasion of Fort St. George (Madras) by Hvder 
Ally, it appears that the garrison was in the greatest distress 
for want of water. It was seriously contemplated to 
capitulate on the following day, if relief did not arrive. 
Whilst things were in this desperate state, the chief officer in 
the garrison saw, in a vision, a female, who directed him to 
the \Vullajah gate, with the promise that the trench water 
there would be found fit for use ! I need not add, that the 
dreamer found it so, and thus saved the garrison. The Pagans 
very gravely assert, that their guardian deity, Ayaatha, effected 
the deliverance of the armv ; whilst the Roman Catholics, 
with equal gravity, contend, that their Virgin Mary was the 
saviour. It is a fact, that Ayaatha receives <t yearly present 
from the (. oinpany, trit/t the pririleytt of entering the 
Fort (is far (is the first yate ! The notice taken of the idol 
by Government, and the prevailing traditions of its interpo 
sition, occasions the annual receipt of presents, and renders its 
festival uncommonly notorious. Here we see men, women, 
and children, in solid masses, parading the streets, and 
swelling the train of its followers, singing the most obscene 
songs, and using language, which, the most profligate in 
Christendom, would be ashamed to utter in the presence of 
his most dissolute. coinpanions."t 

"The Grand Lama is an hereditary living deity, before 
whom millions prostrate themselves. When Captain Turner 
was on his embassy to this deity, to y ratify his rolaries, he 
made (in of/cntt</,]ie, says, tit lite deceased Teslioo l,ama. In 
addressing the same deity, who had entered tin; body of an 
infant eiyhteen months old, he said to the child : The 
Governor General, on receiving the news of your decease in 
China, was overwhelmed with grief and sorrow, and continued 
to lament your absence from the world, until the cloud that 
had overcast the happiness of this nation was dispelled bv 
your appearance. " Does such language comport with the 
dignity of the British, and the integrity of the Christian 

Hamilton s Hind., vol. ii. p. 3-12. f K. I. Mujr., March 1832, p. -J 
\ Ward s View of the Hindoos, vol. ii. |>. 3<>H. 


Saugur Island, situated at the mouth of the Hooghly river, 
about 100 miles from Calcutta, is a well known place of 
pilgrimage. Infanticide was abolished at this place in 1802, 
during the administration of the Marquis Wellesley. The 
Madras Government Gazette, Jan. 13, 1827, contains an 
account of this pilgrimage ; and observes, " According to the 
pundit, an impost is levied by the officers of Government 
stationed here, of four annas per oar, besides a fee of one anna 
to the establishment : but the charge, if we are not misinformed, 
is nnsanctioned, except as made by Byragees and Sunyasees, 
who assumed the right of levying four annas per oar, and 
eight annas to one or two rupees for each shop. This claim 
has been so far authorized, that the right to levy any charge 
was withdrawn from the Saugur Society upon the petition of 
the religious mendicants. The temple of Kapila Muni, on 
the southern coast of Gunga Saugur, is under the alternate 
charge of a Byragce and Sunyasee. The latter presides at 
the Mela, in the month of Kartik (Nov.), the former in Magh 
(Jan.) They levy a tax of four annas on each person who 
visits the temple, the amount of which is divided among five 
different establishments of Ramanandi Byragees, in the vicinity 
of Calcutta."* 

It is hoped inquiry will be instituted into the conduct of 
these officers of Government ; and that the various facts here 
stated, showing the nature and extent of British connection 
with Idolatry in various parts of India, will excite that 
attention which their importance demands. 


The idolatrous Establishments chiejly supported by the 
Pilgrim Tax system at Juggernaut, Gya, Allahabad, $c. 

u It may be easily supposed," observes Colonel Phipps, 
" that a very large establishment of priests and others, is 
attached to such a temple as Juggernaut. One of the head 
men stated the number to consist of 3,000 families, including 
400 families of cooks to prepare holy food. The provisions 
furnished daily for the idol and his attendants, consist of 

Asi. Jour., August 18*27. 


220 pounds of rice, ninety-seven pounds of kullye (a pulse), 
twenty-four pounds of Moong (a small grain), 188 pounds of 
clarihed buffaloe s butter, eighty pounds of molasses, thirty- 
two pounds of vegetables, ten pounds of sour milk, two and 
a half pounds of spices, two pounds of sandal- wood, some 
camphor, twenty pounds of salt, four rupees worth of fire 
wood ; also twenty-two pounds of lamp oil for lights at night. 
Tliis holy food z .v presented to the idol three times a day 
the gates arc shut, and no one but a few personal servants 
are allowed to be present. This meal lasts about an hour, 
during which period, the dancing girls attached to the temple, 
dance in the room with many pillars. On the ringing of a 
bell the doors are thrown open, and the provision is removed. 
The food prepared for sale, or bespoken by the inhabitants, 
is not brought into the large tower, but collected in the Beg 
Mundeep, where it can be seen and sanctified by the idol 
from his distant throne ! 

" In addition to this food, a very considerable extra quantity 
is allowed for the great festivals : and, in order to make this 
superstition as profitable as possible, the priests have 
decided that nothing can pollute the food prepared in the 
temple it maybe conveyed to anyplace it maybe touched 
by a Mussulman, or a Christian, without becoming unfit for 
a Hindoo. Nothing can be more convenient than such a 
be-lief, as Hindoos in general must eat their food where it is 
cooked, and a thousand tilings may pollute it. The consequence 
is, that the cooks are employed to prepare food for most of 
the pilgrims, at a price which varies according to the demand, 
and is always highest during the festivals. It is said, that a 
few days before the festival of the Ruth Jattra, food is cooked 
within the court of the temple for at least 100,000 pilgrims ; 
and it will easily be credited that, on these occasions, the 400 
families of cooks have full employment. The potters make 
earthen pots of three sizes ; the food is carried away in them, 
and they form a kind of standard measure : and as none but 
new pots can be used, the consumption is very considerable, 
arid supports a great many families. The only interruption 
to this cooking, is during the time the idol is travelling in his 
car to the place where he was formed, and returning to the 
temple : nine days in all."* 

The number of pilgrim hunters must be considerable ; the 
same Gentleman stating, " One of the principal natives 

* Col. Pnipp Account of Juggernaut, pp. <J, 7. Missionary Intelligence, 
March 1*23. (Published in Calcutta.) 


related that a Purharce, in 1821, despatched 100 agents to 
entice pilgrims ; and the ensuing year received the premium 
lor 4,000 pilgrims ! He was at that time busily employed, in 
instructing 100 additional agents in all the mysteries of this 
singular trade, with the intention of sending them into the 
Upper Provinces of India."* This fact, Colonel P. related to 
the Author at Cuttack in 1822, and declared, he would state 
it to the Marquis of Hastings on his arrival in Calcutta. A 
Missionary in Orissa, visiting Kontiloo (or Cooloo), about 90 
miles from Cuttack, referring to the pundas, or pilgrim hunters, 
states " T am informed there are forty of these missionaries 
of idolatry in Kontiloo. Nov. 1826." Another colleague in 
Orissa writes under date "Ganjam, Aug. 1826, I inquired how 
the pundas knew what to expect [of the pilgrims] ; and he 
said, that some of them would come and stay two or three 
months in such a place as Ganjam, by which means they 
became acquainted with different people s circumstances. 
They subsist by bringing maha presaud (holy food), which 
they give to different persons, and get what they can in return. 
Some one says, * What a curse to Christendom are the priests 
of Christendom : surely one may say, What a curse to Orissa, 
and to a much greater extent of country, are the pundas and 
the priests of Juggcrnaut."t It is scarcely necessary to state, 
that the figure on the opposite page represents the Idol 
Juggernaut, whom millions in British India adore. 

* In the Parliamentary Papers relative to Juggernaut, May 1813, p. 80, 
an account is given of the establishment for collecting the Pilgrim Tax. 
" S udder Cuteheny, 19 officers and servants, monthly salary 260 rupees; 
Ghaut Athara Nulla, Officers, <Scc., 26, salary 165 rupees; Ghaut Lokenaut, 
Officers, &c., 17, salary 11 1 rupees; at the Temple 15, salary 89 rupees. 
Total 77 Officers and servants, at 625 rupees per mensem. European 
Collector s salary 500 rupees per month, and 1| per cent commission on the 
amount of the tax collected." The allowance to the Officers was fixed at 
300 rupees per month and 2 per cent o;i the net collections. Aug. ] 809. 

f " The pundas had a good lime of it this cold season. Many rich 
pilgrims have been continually coming from the Punjab and other parts of 
Hindostan. If it were not for the pilyrim hunters, I apprehend the number 
of pilgrims would be very few. It is no small proof of the lucrative nature 
of this pilgrim hunting business, that the holy Brahmuns of Pooree, instruct 
and dress up numbers of the Bowra cast, (a very low class of Hindoos,) 
\\hich they send out to fetch pilgrims. If the respectable casts of Hindoos 
knew who they were, they would kick them out of their houses, instead of 
I litcrtaimng them \\ith reverence." (Pooree, May 1831.) 




The following stiitciiicnt of the establishment of Juggernaut 
was extracted from llennell s MS. Account of Orissa.* 

1. " ^^<l/l(l Rajah Ram Chnndcr Dcv, honorary servant to the idol, to 
make vltkee clwwr, sweep the ruts,f and strew flowers on the idols. His son 
now officiates. 

2. " Mood Roth, alias Plenipotentiary^ in the absence of the Maha Rajah 
performs the above duties. 

3. " \aik Chances Neejoy, tlie head officer of thirty-six different orders 
of minstrel and other officers, who adorn the idol, and does all other personal 
services for it ; and has full authority to superintend the attendance and 
performance of the duties of all the otlier oflicers. 

4. " Pundah performs the ceremonies of the bhoge (offerings). 
b. " I liiisnpaiuk adorns the idol. 

(5. " Tutt-him, in the absence of the Purchas, accompanies the idol to the 
tank, and acts for them in the temple also. 

* See Friend of India, April, 1H2 J. Asi. Jour. March, 1823. 
t It may be worthy of remark, as indicative of the coincidence between 
ancient and modem idolatry, that the whole city of Ephesus was, called 
\rohoroi (Acts xix. 35.) ; " a person dedicated to the service of some (jod or 
goddess, and whose peculiar business it was to sweep the temple and 
keep it clean." Otlier cities assumed the same appellation. Auth 


7. " Bhethurschoo adorns the idol, and keeps \\atch in the time of the 
bhoge, in order to prohibit any superfluous quantity of offerings being 
taken in. 

8. " Mafia Soar, head cooks. Brahmuns \vho in the first instance take in 
the bhoge. 

9. " Soar, cooks and scullions. Brahmuns \vho take in bhoge after the 
Malta Soar. 

10. " Guarra Borro, persons who give water to the Poojah Pundas at the 
time of their performing the ceremonies of bhoge. 

11. " Punthree Dorro cleans the brass vessels, and takes flour, chundun, 
<S:c., in them to the Poojah Pundah. 

12. " Pnnthee Borro are Brahmuns who put the kitchree in silver and 
golden dishes, and set them before the idol. This is Sirkarcc 13hoye,orthe 
allowance ?/ Government ! ! Alas ! 

13. " Soar Borro is the office of distributing proper quantities of bhoge to 
such other temples and officers as may be directed by the rulers of the 

14. " Khoontlah warns the Idol and the Rajah of the time of festivals. 

15. "Mecaup, masters of the wardrobe of two different descriptions; 
Mecaup keeps the jewels, and Changrah Mecaup the wearing apparel in 
one department. 

16. " Dytah removes the idols from the throne and puts them on the ruts, 
and replaces them again. 

17. " Puttee are Brahmuns. After the Snan Jattra, the idols are taken 
into a room allotted for the purpose of taking off the old clothes, and 
swaddling them with new ones, which takes fifteen days, during which 
time, the offerings in the room are made by these people. 

18. " Mahajona. This description of officers convey the smaller idols to 
tanks and other places, and then put them in the proper room. 

19. " Hurrup Naik. After the bhoge is removed, these officers bring 
paun or beetle, and hot spices, and set the same before the idol, \\hich 
(says the writer) Juggernaut munches at his ease ! ! 

20. " Auhund Mecaup. Lamp-lighter. 

21. " Khaut Saje Mecaup. Bed-maker. 

22. " Poohoree. Watchmen at the time of bhoge. 

23. " Poo ran Pundah reads the Pooran at certain times near the idol. 

24. " Mookpokhal. A person who attends with a dantoon (used fora 
tooth brush) and water, to wash the idol s face in the morning ! 

25. " Austaun warns the idols of the time of ceremonies. 

26. " Fanruk, watchmen of the wardrobe. 

27. " Chathour, a person who carries a chatta or umbrella. 

28. " Tauraseean, a person who carries the tras, an ensign in the form of 
a half moon. 

29. " Deorccan, a torch bearer. 

30. " Dondchuttur, a person who stands by the throne with an umbrella, 
at the Ekadussee and other particular festival days. 

31. " Kahalcah, a trumpeter. 

32. " Ghuntoah, a person who sounds the ghunt or brass bason. 

33. " Ghutu-aree, a person who rubs sandal wood. 

34. " Lrnka, Peons (soldiers). 

35. " Perdhanee, persons who give the golden rods to the purchas. 

36. " Dooarees, door keepers. 

37. "Sumtmintah grind kullaee and other kinds of grain. 

38. " Deb Dauser, dancing girls with a I/and of musicians." 


A more particular account of this Kstablishment was 
procured for the Author, written on the leaf of a tree, by a 
native of Juggernaut : the following is a free translation of it.* 

1. "The Jfooderrut, as the Rnjah of Koonhi s Representative with 
Juggernaut, at all the festivals moves about the light, performs the daily 
service before him, and makes the offering 1 of food. 

2. " There are three head Pundtis, who having poured clarified butter on 
the sacred fire, and worshipped the sun and the divine regents of the gates, 
present the sacrificial articles from the kitchen, to the three gods,f at three 
of the daily ofh ces, until the period of Juggernaut s retiring to rest 

. ). "There arc three Puskoo-palas, \\\\o perform worship between the 
periods of the regular service; and, ascending the throne of Juggernaut, 
clothe him in the three different dresses appropriated to the three services. 

4. "The Hhcct-baboo guards the sacrificial food before it has been offered, 
prevents the crowd pressing on it, and should the smallest blemish be found 
in it (such as a hair or an ant), he seizes and punishes the Pundas. 

5. "The Tulubu Puncchas guard Juggernaut when he retires to rest 
In their absence the Pushoo-palas act in their stead. 

(. " The Potet-muhapatra, at the twelve periodical festivals, make the 
proper offerings, and move about the image of Sooda-budcn ; and at the 
great bathing festival, when Juggernaut moves out to the Neeladree beej, 
worship him during his progress, and during the fifteen succeeding days, 
when he it supposed to be ill, not having recovered from the effects of his bath 

7. "The Patree-buroo arranges the sacrificial articles, and calls the 
Pundas to worship. 

M. "The (lora-buroo, at the time of worship, places the water-pot, and 
presents the water to the officiating priest. 

9. "The Khootii/a calls the Phashoo-paluks who are appointed tn u-ake 
Juflt/ernaut, and bring forward the vestments and necklaces \\ith which he 
is to be invested. 

10. "The Paneei/a-mekab presents the ornaments of Juggernaut to the 
Pushoo-paluk, and counts them as they come from Juggernaut s body ; and 
likewise counts out to the Purcechas any new ornaments offered by pilgrims. 

11. "The Chani/ro-mckab carries the vestments of Juggernaut, and counts 
them out; and, when new vestments are offered by the pilgrims, he counts 
them and puts them away. 

12. "The lihandar-iurkab counts the ornaments when taken off from 
Juggernaut by the Paneeya-mekab. The vestments presented by pilgrims, 
pass into their custody after they have been worn. 

13. "The Sutear-mtroo sweeps the place, and places the sacrificial dishes 
before Juggernaut, presents odours to those who wake him, and distributes 
the sacrificial flowers among the servants and worshipper*. 

14. "The Purcchsha-burof) holds up a looking glass to Juggernaut during 

15. "The ( khundu-mekab, or lamp-lighter, places lights and removes the 

16. "The Pureeyarees watch at the gates and doors. 

17. "The Dab-hhat brings out Juggernaut s bed! 

18. "The Pureeyarec of the southern gate cries out, the sacrificial 
food is coming. 

* See Friend of India, Oct. 1H25. 

I Juggernaut, and his brother and sister. 

I 2 


U). " Fureeyurees of the gate watch the food; and, \\lien Juggernaut 
moves out, carry with him the sweet smelling wood. 

20. " The Juya and Vijuya-purceyarees (porters) allow no one to enter 
while Juggernaut is at his meals; and there are two watchmen at the door 
of t!ie inner room, where Juggernaut partakes of his food ! 

21. " The Khurgu-nayuk, at the close of the daily offices, presents the 
paun to the officiating priests to be given to Juggernaut; and, on the 
occasion of the last daily office, offers it himself. 

22. " The Khatsuya mckab carries Juggernaut s bed to him at night, for 
him to sleep on; and carries it back to its place in the morning ! 

2.3. " The Mook-pakhul purccyarce presents the water and the tooth-pick 
to Juggernaut, and inspects every thing respecting the temple. 

24. "The Suwar-Kota prepares the cakes, and delivers them to the 

2; ). " The maha-Suwar brings the first service of cakes. 

2f>. "The Gopal-bullubha distributes it. 

27. " The Jihatee-bttroo places food of a particular description before the 

28. "The Rosh-payecd lights the lamp in the kitchen, and expels the 
Snwars when they become unclean ; he accompanies the royal offering of 
food as far as the Juya and Vijuya gate. 

29. " The IJeerec-bu/M-smvar takes the articles of paun from the Sumurthas 
and delivers them to the Suwars. 

30. " The Dhoa-pdkhaliya Brahmun washes and cleanses the kitchen. 

31 . " The Unya-buha Brahmuu removes the ashes from the cook-room, 
and throws them away. 

32. " The Dita-mwarce carries the image of Juggernaut when necessary, 
and prepares the image. 

33. "The Datya paints the image, and fastens the flag on his carriage. 

34. "The Dwar-naynli is employed in opening and shutting the door. 

35. " The Mahajhun carries the images of Juya and Vijuya, the two 
heavenly porters. 

3(5. " The Beeman-buroo carries the image of Juggernaut and fixes it in 
its place. 

37. " The Moodolee bhandur guards the door, puts the chamura into the 
lianas of distinguished pilgrims who desire to fan Juggernaut; and locking, 
guards the door of Jin/a and Vijiu/a. 

3<S. " The Chootar holds the umbrella over the great god when he proceeds 
on a journey. 

39. " The Turasee holds before him the turas (a large fan) when on a 

40. " The Mey-dumboora proceeds with the Meg-dumboora when he goes 
on a journey. 

41." The 3r<>odra holds the lamp when an offering of flowers is made to 

42. " The Paneeya-put delivers the water-pots to the Burao, and washes 

43. "The Keehuleca, at all stated festivals, during the service and the 
offering of flowers, performs worship, and plays the Kahulee. 

44. "The Ghuntooa rings the bell during Juggernaut s meals, and when 
he goes on journeys! 

45. "The Chumputee-tumukreeya, at the time of pusoowa and during 
journeys, plays the tumuk. 

4e>. "The head Punda calls all the servitors to their dutv, and gives the 


golden sceptre to the Pureecha, and gives food to the Brahrauns of the 

17. "The Gnutuwartf prepares the sandal-wood and gives it to the 
mekajis ; and, at one of the festivals, goes before the image with the incense. 

1H. "The liuree Deega supplies the water for cooking ; and removes the 
remains of food. 

49. "The Suinundhn pounds peas of one kind, and grinds peas of anotlier. 

50. "The (iruhu-meka/i cleans the dishes after the principal meal. 
. r )l. "The Yoi/ukitma brings forward the articles of the principal meal. 

52. "The Tomabutee accompanies the principal evening meal with a 
lamp, and brings the pots and cooking utensils. 

53. " The (. /taulbacha cleanses the rice and the peas. 

54. " The Elch carries the chukru or discus of Vishnoo before the idol 
when he moves out, and is a general superintendent. 

55. "The Patrok, having dismissed the attendants, cleans up tlie temple, 
and there retires to rest. 

5<>. "The Chomiara serves the image of Guroora (the bird god), has 
charge of the great standard of the temple, and lilts the great lamp. 

57. "The Klmrga dhoaneeya cleanses the space between the western 
part of the temple, and the place called Jugunmohun. 

58. "The Nagadhya washes Juggernaut s linen, and hangs it t//> to dry 

59. " Daree-i/anee sings the songs which precede the anointing .I 
Juggernaut with sandal wood. 

60. "The Ponran-punda reads the Poorauas in the gate of Juggernaut. 
01. "The licenkar plays the becna, a musical instrument. 

i\ 2. "The Tunubobuk dances in the spot called Jugunmohun. 

63. "The Sunkhnna sounds the shell during the oflices of worship. 

(>1. "The Madolcc plays on the madol, a musical instrument, during 

>. >. " The Tooree-nayuk plays on the toorec or trumpet. 

<><>. "The Mnhfisetec washes the linen of Juggernaut. 

(!7. " The Paneepaee inahar removes all lilth from within the enclosure. 

(>s. "The Haheemeeihristar-buru-pureecha is the great judge of all 
questions; he holds the golden cane." 

Of the nature and regulations of the establishment ut (jya 
no coiTect inlbnnation appears to be extant ; but the 
establishment ap]>eavs to be considerable, as Mr. Haringtoii 
observes, "The Gyawalas (pilgi im hunters of Ciya) (rare/ 
through (ill countries ir/icrc tin Hindoo religion prevail-Sj i 
search of pilgrims, u ho t but for them, would probably m-rcr 
have risilcd d yfr." "The number of pilgrims, r.nd their 
attendants, in ordinary years, is not fewer than 100,000; 1ml, 
in time of peace, when visited by the great Mahratta chieftains, 
the number exceeds 200,000, with main horses; nor \\ill 
twenty lacks (two millions) of rupees defray their expenses, 
where many of them reside for three months."* 

Of the establishment at the temple of Tripetty, near Madras, 
it has been remarked, "crowds of pilgrims resort to it from 
all parts of India, who pour into it offerings of goods, grain, 
gold, silver, jewels, &c., the aggregate of which, when 

* Ham. Hind., \<>1. i. pp. W<t>. 277. 


converted into money, not only yields a surplus revenue to 
Government, but serves to maintain several thousand persons 
performing the offices of an idolatrous worship, which is here 
conducted with extraordinary pomp"* 

At Allahabad the number of priests and licensed barbers 
supported by the pilgrims must be considerable. Much 
hostility was manifested in 1815 to the introduction of an 
efficient police. " The class denominated Praffwals, who 
perform the religious ceremonies at the junction of the great 
rivers, to the number of 4 or 5000, showed a determination to 
resist, threatened to cease to officiate, and withdraw altogether, 
which would have caused a loss to Government of tlie pilyrim 
revenue. Many other conspiracies to arrest the progress of 
the arrangements took place ; but, by patience and firmness, 
they were ultimately dissipated and suppresscd.f The number 
of pilgrims in 1812 and 1813 was greater than had occurred 
for 28 years, being 218,792. The tax accruing to Govern 
ment is three rupees! for each person, but a much greater 
expense is incurred in charity, and gifts to the Brahmuns." 

The author of an interesting volume, entitled u Sketches of 
India" speaking of Allahabad, makes the following reference 
to the Pilgrim Tax system : " On the small point of land at 
which the rivers, the Ganges and Jumna join their waters, sit 
numbers of Brahmuns, known by their distinguished flags, 

* Ham. Hind., vol. ii. p. 432. 

f Similar conduct was pursued at Bindrabund,& noted place of pilgrimage. 
"In 181 2, at the recommendation of the magistrate, and for the promotion 
of an improved system of police, gates were erected at the different entrances, 
and at the heads of the streets and alleys. The most respectable inhabitants 
and landed proprietors, cheerfully acquiesced in the arrangements ; but 
considerable opposition tras experienced on the part of the Chobees and other 
sacred persons, who compose a large portion of the population." Ham. 
Hind., vol. i. p. 369. 

J This is a considerable sum to a person who has to labour a month to 
obtain it. Hamilton, speaking of Bengal, says, " Notwithstanding the low 
price of the necessaries of life, the common labourers find it extremely 
difiicult to subsist on their scanty earnings, which, in some places, are not 
more than from a penny to twopence a day." Vol. i. p. 100. This confirms 
the statement, that a rupee to a poor Hindoo is equal to a sovereign to a poor 
labourer in England. " It may show the poverty of the country," says 
Bishop Heber, " and the cheapness of the different articles, to observe, that 
having bought all the commodities which he wanted for a few pice, he was 
unable in the whole market to (/et change fora mpce." Jour., vol. i. p. 14. 
A missionary in Orissa, speaking of a country excursion, (April 1827,) 
observes, " Here at twenty or thirty miles from Juggernaut, there is little 
money circulating, and what there is, is almost all cowries, (shells,) of which 
sixty make a farthing. A little rice comes into the market, but bartering is 
so common, that an ofler of cowries is rejected." The Pilgrim Tax is 
doubtless frequently very oppressive. Ham. Hind., vol. i. pp. 295) 301. 

WITH 11)0 LATHY. 110 

who receive the sums each pilgrim must pay for performing 
his ablutions, seal them, sell amulets, certificates, and Ganges 
water, to be conveyed many miles distant. A Sepov sentinel, 
near the spot, boasted of the privilege he enjoyed, as being in 
the Honourable Company s service, he was exempted from 
the usual fine, paving i\ smaller sum JOT permission to dip hi$ 
body in the sanctifying stream (if this place!* To prop 
superstition, and countenance fraud, is surely a policy at 
once timid and impious: to benefit by the credulity of the 

!)oor Idolater is a financial arrangement verv little to our 
lonour: and, perhaps as little to our interest." The Consti 
tutional Guardian remarks, " This account, that of Juggernaut, 
and the conduct of General Brownrigg, when Budhu was 
re-established in Cevlon, are parallel eases, that call for 
inquiry at the India House; and we may be sure they will 
redress such anomalies when they have time to investigate 


The miseries resulting from this Hysttm, <m<l it* 
general character. 

Of the new road from Juggernaut to Calcutta, Hamilton 
remarks, " This road was begun in 1813, and is still going on ; 
but with respect to the pilgrims, ///<? merit of their peregrination 
bring in proportion to the hardships they sustain, aery 
arrangement tending to render ttte holy place more accessible, 
and their immediate sufferings A .v.v, /// the same proportion 
diminishes the merit* of the pilijritmHje, and nullifies tin 1 
contemplated expiation "\ 

% At the two annual fairs (held at Hurdwar, distant 1000 
miles from Calcutta, a place of great celebrity for its nu 
merous pilgrims), it is supposed, from 2 to 300,000 people 
are collected. Once in l"2 years, when particular religious 
ceremonies are observed, the number is computed to be almost 
a million ; and in April, ISO!), they were estimated at two 
millions. Owing to the precautions taken by the British 
Government, the fairs have lately ended at Hurdwar without 

1 A Hindoo said tn a Missionary at Allahabad, " I have paid tlio 
Company this morning a rnj>if for mi/ nalratiim ; and can (hero b<> it doulit 
f my safely ?"Aiilh. 1 Ham. Hind., \ol. ii. [. . >!. 


bloodshed ; to the astonishment of the vast multitude, who 
were before accustomed to associate the idea of bloodshed and 
murder with that of the fair. Those who come merely for bathing 
arrive in the morning, and, after performing their ablutions, 
depart in the evening, or on the following day. During the 
temporary Mahratta sway, a kind of poll tax and duties on 
cattle were levied ; but all is now free without Impost and 
molestation, which considerably detracts from the merit of 
the pilgrimage ."* 

It is evident that the Pilgrim Tax enhances the supposed 
value of pilgrimages, and hence the celebrity of those places 
of idolatrous resort, at which it is levied. 15 ut the poverty, 
sickness, mortality, and brutal treatment of the dead, consequent 
upon vast assemblies of pilgrims, demonstrate the pernicious 
tendency of a system which regulates, supports, and aggrandizes 
idolatry. The miseries of pilgrimage (particularly to Jugger 
naut s temple in Orissa), will be seen from the united testimony 
of various eyewitnesses. 

The late A. Stirling, Esq., Persian Secretary to the Bengal 
Government, in his " Account of Orissa," describes the great 
car festival of Juggernaut, and adverts to the miseries of the 
pilgrims : " On the appointed day, after various ceremonies 
are performed within the temple, the images are brought from 
their throne to the outside of the Lion-gate, not with reverence, 
seated on a litter or vehicle adapted to such an occasion ; but, 
a common cord being fastened round their necks, certain 
priests, to whom the duty appertains, drag them down the 
steps, and through the mud, while others keep their figures 
erect, and help their movements by shoving them Irom 
behind in the most unceremonious manner, as if they thought 
the ivholc business a (jood joke ! In this way the monstrous 
idols go rocking and pitching along through the crowd, until 
they reach the cars, which they are made to ascend, by a 
similar process, up an inclined platform. On the other hand, 
a powerful sentiment of religious enthusiasm pervades the 
admiring multitude of pilgrims assembled without, when the 
images first make their appearance through the gate. They 
welcome them with shouts and cries of Jye Juggernaut ! 
Victory to Juggernaut ! and when the monster Juggernaut, 
the most hideous of all the figures, is (bagged forth, the last 
in order, the air is rent with acclamations. The celebrated 
idols are nothing more than wooden busts, about .v/.r feet in 
hciyhl, fashioned into a rude resemblance of the human head, 
resting on a sort of pedestal. They are painted while, yellow, 

* Hani. Hind., vol. i. p. -l. r l. 


and black respectively, with frightfully grim and distorted 
countenances; and are decorated witli a head dress of 
different coloured cloths, shaped something like ;i helmet. 
The two brothers have arms projecting horizontally forward 
In nn the ears. The sister is entirely devoid of even that 
approximation to the human form. The ruths or cars* have 
an imposing air from their size and loftiness, but every part 
of the ornament is of the most paltry description ; save only, 
the covering of .striped and spam/led broad clotli, furnished 
from the Hvport Warehouse of t/te British (*overnment 9 the 
splendour of which compensates^ in a (/rent measure, foi 
of her dejicie/nces of decoration , f After the images have 
been lodged in their vehicles, a box is brought forth, containing 
the golden or gilded feet, hands, and ears of the great idol, 
which are fixed on the proper parts with due ceremony, and 
a scarlet scarf is carefully arranged round the lower part of 
the body, or pedestal. The joy and shouts of the crowd on 
the first movement of the cars, the creaking sound of the 
wheels as these ponderous machines roll along, the clatter of 
hundreds of harsh sounding instruments, and the general 
appearance of so immense a moving mass of human beings, 
produce, it must be acknowledged, an impressive, astounding, 
and somewhat picturesque effect, while the noveltv of the 
scene lasts; though the contemplation cannot fail of exciting 
the strongest sensations of pain and disgust in the mind of 
every Christian spectator. In an unfavourable season, or 
when the festival occurs late, the proportion of deaths 
occasioned by exposure is very melancholy."^ 

Dr. Buchanan s visit to Juggernaut s temple, in June, !*()(;, 
is well known ; a short extract or two from his " Christian 
Researches" mav suflice. " Numbers of pilgrims die on the 
road, and their bodies generally remain unburied. On a plain, 
by the river near the pilgrims caravansera, at this place. 

* "The car of Juggernaut measures 43 j feet high; it has sixteen wheels, 
of <U feet diameter, and ;i platform . M* feet square. The Itut of Bulbudra 
is about -11 feet high, and has 11 wheels, and that of Suhmlra his sister is 
40 feet high, and has II wheels." The wood is annually provided by 
the Duspulla llajah, hut in 180(5 he refused to scud it farther than Cuttack. 
Three new curs are made every year, which after the festival are dismantled, 
and the wood is sold. Par. Papers, IHIJI, pp. :{;>, <1. 

t "The other evening a eart load of gay coloured Knglish woollens paused 
me from the Company s Warehouse, to adorn the idol s cars. Alas! that 
the saiiie country should, in so shocking a sense, send out both blessing and 
cursing. June IS 27" (Kxt. Miss-. Jour.) The quantity is as follows, 
"Superfine scarlet cloth, 17 yards; line ditto, 200 yards; line green serge, 
so \.ird-; black ditto, HO yards; yellow ditto, IO7 yards; total 1HI yards." 

J AM. Researches, vol. xv. IKJ.>, pp. 3-21 .\ 2f>. 


Budruck (100 miles from Juggernaut), there are more than a 
hundred skulls ; the dogs, jackals, and vultures, seem to live 
here on human prey. Wherever I turn my eyes, I meet death 
in some shape or other. From the place where I now stand, 
I have a view of a host of people, like an army, encamped at 
the outer gate of the town of Juggernaut, where a guard of 
soldiers is posted, 1o prevent them entering the toicn until 
they hare paid the tax. A pilgrim announced that he was 
ready to offer himself to the idol. He then laid himself 
down in the road before the car, as it was moving along, on 
his face, with his arms stretched forward. The multitude 
passed round him, leaving the space clear, and he was crushed 
to death by the wheels. How much I wish that the 
Proprietors of India Stock could have attended the wheels 
of Juggernaut, and seen this peculiar source of their revenue ! 
I beheld a distressing scene this morning in the place of 
skulls ; a poor woman lying dead, or nearly so, and her two 
children by her, looking at the dogs and vultures which were 
near. The people passed by without noticing the children ! 
I asked them where was their home ? They said they had 
no home, but where their mother was. O then; is no pity at 
Juggernaut! Those who support his kingdom err. I trust, 
irom ignorance. They know not what they do." 

Colonel Phipps, who witnessed the great Festival in 1822, 
thus describes the miseries occasioned by it: "The loss of 
life by this deplorable superstition, probably exceeds that of 
any other. The aged, the weak, the sick, are persuaded to 
attempt this pilgrimage, as a remedy for all evils. The 
number of women and children, also, is very great. The 
pilgrims leave their families and occupations, to travel an 
immense distance, with the delusive hope of obtaining eternal 
bliss. Their means of subsistence on the road are scanty ; 
and their light clothing and little bodily strength are ill 
calculated to encounter the inclemency of the weather. 
When they reach the District of Cuttack, they cease to 
experience that hospitality shown elsewhere to pilgrims ; it 
is a burden which the inhabitants could not sustain : and they 
prefer, availing themselves of the increased demand of 
provisions, to augment the price ! This difficulty is more 
severely felt as they approach the temple ; till they find 
scarcely enough left to pay the tax to Government, and satisfy 
the rapacious Brahmuns. The pilgrim, on leaving Juggernaut 
has still a long journey before him ; and his means of support 
are often almost, if not quite exhausted. The work of death 
then becomes rapid ; and the route of the pilgrims may be 
traced, by the bones left by jackals and vultures. The 


country near the temple seems suddenly to have been visited 
hv pestilence and famine. Dead bodies are seen in every 
direetiou. Parriar dogs, jackals and vultures, are observed 
watching the last moments of the dying pilgrim, and not 
{infrequently hastening his fate."* 

Dr. Carey has very justly observed ; " Idolatry destroys 
more than the sword, yet in a way which is scarcely perceived. 
The number who die in their long pilgrimages, either through 
want or fatigue, or from dysenteries and fevers, caught by 
lying out, and \vant of accommodation, is incredible. "f 

The late Key. W. Ward has made a calculation of the 
number that are supposed to perish annually, the victims of 
superstition. He estimates that 4,000 pilgrims perish every 
year, on the roads to, and at holy places ; and a Gentleman, 
whose opinion is of great weight, says, " I believe this estimate 
is far below the truth." " By fevers, dysentery, and other 
diseases, arising from exposure to the night air, and the 
privations of a long journey, crowds are earned off in a few 
days. Sacred places, the resort of pilgrims, are spread all 
over Hindostan, and pilgrims travel to them from distances 
requiring journeys of three, four, and five months." An oflicer 
writing to his friends about the pilgrims at the gate of Pooree, 
detained for a time to make them pay the tax, says; " 1 let 
above lOOoutoflimbo at Juggernaut; there were 1000 dead and 
dying : all in limbo, starving, to extort money from them."|; 

The late Rev. W. Hampton, Missionary at Juggernaut, in 
an aceount of the Car Festival of 1H 23, writes; " In front of 
one of the cars lay the mangled body of a dead man, one arm 
and one leg were eaten, and two dogs were then eating him; 
many people were near, but they (lid not seem to take any 
notice of the circumstance ! I went to see the state of the 
pilgrims, who, either because they could not, or would not 
pay the tax, were kept without one of the gates. Five or six 
lay dead within a mile of the gate : and it is generally admitted 
that there is not a tenth, perhaps scarcely a twentieth, of the 
pilgrims this year who attend sometimes ; and, if there be 
the same proportion of sick and dead at all times, fifty or sixty 
dead might some years be seen, within a mile of this gate, 
and eighty or a hundred sick. A specimen of what is 
sometimes seen was given me by a military oflicer, who 
pointed out a piece of ground, perhaps scarcely an acre, on 
which he last year counted at one time twenty-five dead bodies." 

* Mis. Register, 1H24, p. . >7H. | Asi. .lour. March 1831. 

t Ward s View of the Hindoos, vol. ii. pp. 12, M1H. 


The Rev. C. Lacey, the author s colleague at Cultack, thus 
describes the ruth Jattra, in 18*25. "The mortality did not 
much appear before the 16th ; on the 19th it was exceedingly 
bad, for the day before the rain began to fall, and more came 
on the 19th and 20th ; and for the next three days it fell in 
torrents. At this time the scene had reached its height. In 
every street, corner, and open space, in fact wherever you 
turned your eyes, the dead and dying met your sight ! On 
the evening of the 19th, I counted upwards of sixty dead and 
dying, from the temple down to the bottom end of the hospital 
(about half a mile), leaving out the sick, that had not much 
life. At a comer opposite the hospital, on a spot of ground 
twelve feet square, I counted ten dead and five sick ! This 
was the case, while there were several sets of men in active 
employ burying the dead ! You will think, if the streets were 
thus crowded, what must be the various Golgothas ! I visited 
but one, and that was between the town and the principal 
entrance ; and I saw sights I shall never forget. The small 
river there was quite glutted with dead bodies. The wind 
had drifted them together, and they were a complete mass of 
putriiying flesh ! ! They also lay upon the ground in heaps, 
and the dogs and birds were able to do little towards devouring 
them." " Pages," says Mrs. L., " would not be sufficient to 
detail the miseries of the deluded worshippers of Juggernaut. 
The poor pilgrims were to be seen in every direction dead, 
and in the agonies of death ; lying by fives, tens, and twenties. 
Mr. L. counted upwards of ninety in one place, and in another 
Mr. Bampton counted 140. In the hospital, I believe I have 
seen tlnrty dead at once, and numbers in the agonies of death; 
and crcn the tiring using f/tc dead bodies for pillows !" 

The Author, then residing at Cuttack, addressed a letter to 
the late J. H. Harington, Esq., Calcutta, relative to the 
miseries of the pilgrims, and the dreadful effects of the 
Pilgrim Tax, in taking the money which would have procured 
them food, raiment, and medicine, and thus prevent premature 
death. Directions were immediately forwarded to Pooree, 
and some relief afforded to the pilgrims. About 400 rupees 
were sent to the Missionaries, and two of them (Messrs. 
Bampton and Lacey) undertook a journey from Pooree to 
Cuttack (a distance of fifty miles), to relieve the people. A 
few extracts from the journal of this work of mercy, are of a 
very affecting nature. 

"June 25, 1825. We left Pooree about five o clock in the 
morning, with a few cloths, and a good quantity of medicine 
and money. We had brandy to prevent the effects of the 


elllm ia from the dead bodies. For Jour HI ilex from the gate, 
tin- dead were very numerous. O what a waste of human 
life was here ! Some on the road among the mud, and some 
scarcely distinguishable from it : some under sheds into which 
they crept from the rain ; but mostly thrown into the narrow 
channel or grip on each side of the road. Here I saw them 
lie together by four, six, eight, or more ! 1 tried to keep 
account, but could not without detaining the palque bearers. 
Some of the bodies were earned beyond the grip into the 
fields, and there lav, watched by the dogs and vultures. A 
great majority of the sick whom 1 relieved, on our first stage, 
were females deserted by their friends, who had left them not 
a pice (a halfpenny), and almost destitute of clothing. * 

Of the number that perished it is impossible to form a 
correct idea. An eyewitness of the scene writes, " The money 
received at the gate this year, 18 25, far exceeded that of 
others, being -260,000 rupees (3-2,500). The number of 
pilgrims is estimated at *2*25,000. Captain F estimates 
those who died at Cuttack and Pooive, and between the two 
stations, at 5000; but Mr. L thinks this rather too high 
an estimate. 11 How many of these miserable people must 
have died before they could reach their homes! many of 

them coming 3, 6, or 900 miles. Mr. M -, the Kuropean 

Collector of the Tax at Pooree, estimated the mortality at 
20,000 ! ! 

As the Author resided at Cuttack for nearly three years and 
a half, and has been at the Temple of .Juggernaut, at the great 
festival in 18*2-1 and IN 25, he may be allowed to add his 
humble testimony, relative to the misery of pilgrimage. 1 
have seen three persons measuring their way to the trmph 
by constant prostration. At Cuttack and Juggernaut I ha\e 
seen numbers of the dying and dead pilgrims ; and one 
morning, near the temple, 1 counted between twentv and thirty 
skulls in one place. In the last stage to Juggernaut, in June 
18*25, I counted thirty-seven bodies or skeletons. A few 
hundred vards from mv residence at Cuttack (near the ford to 
Juggernaut), at the time of the great festival, the effluvia from 
the dead bodies had been very noisome ; nor is there any 
allowance from the magistrate to inter the dead. When 1 the 
suttee has slain its thousands, pilgrimage has slain its tens 
of thousands! The European, who has visited Juggernaut 
at the great festival, may be forcibly reminded of the appalling 
description : 

Srr Report of (lie General Baptist Missionary Society for 


" He saw the lean dogs 

Gorging and growling o er carcase and limb, 

They were too busy to bark at him. 

From a pilgrim s skull they had stript the flesh 

As ye peel the fig when the fruit is fresh ; 

And their white trunks crunsh d o er their whiter skull, 

As it slipt through their jaws when their edge grew dull ; 

As they lazily mumbled the bones of the dead, 

When they scarce could stir from the place where they fed ; 

So well had they broken a lingering fast 

With those who had fallen for that repast." 

Some of the pilgrims to Juggernaut bring the water of the 
Ganges, to pour over the idol Lokenaut; these arc exempt 
from tax. The author, while residing in Orissa, has frequently 
seen these devotees. To prove that the water was really 
brought from the Ganges, the bearers take the precaution to 
obtain a certificate to that effect, from the officer of the place, 
who seals the vessel into which it is put with his seal. It is 
probable that this is done in all cases where the water is taken 
for idolatrous purposes. The engraving represents the mode 
in which both men and women carry the water of the Ganges 
to a distance of several hundred miles. 



Of the ruth Jattra, at Juggernaut, in I82(>, the Rev. C. 
Lacey writes, "The festival took place late this year (July 
JHh), and was not numerously attended. A respectable man 
threw himself from the front of the car, as it was moving, 
and the enormous wheels passed over his loins, and nearly 
separated his upper from his lower parts ! His blood and 
bowels were scattered and drawn about by the wheels passing 
over him !* There was very little mortality among the pilgrims 
this year ; for, the numbers being small, they were able to 
obtain food and shelter." 

Similar sacrifices appear to be made at the Temple of 
Ramisseram near Ceylon, which is within the territories of 
the Hon. Company, and is nearly as famous in the south, as 
Juggernaut is in the north of India. Mr. Cordiner, in his 
History of Ceylon, says of the ruths in 1804 ; "The outside 
is covered with an extraordinary assemblage of obscene images, 
too scandalous in the eyes of a European to admit of 
description. Each carriage has four wheels of solid wood, 
and requires two hundred men to draw it. When they are 
dragged along the streets on occasion of great solemnity, 
women in the fren/y of false devotion, throw themselves down 
before the wheels, and are crushed to death by their tremendous 
weight. The same superstitious madness prevents the crowd 
from making any attempt to save them."f 

The Rev. A. Sutton, stationed at Juggernaut, in an account 
of the great festival in 1827, remarks upon tin; oppressive 
and impure character of this idolatrous exhibition. "The 
people at the outer gate of the town were admitted ; they had 
been collecting for a long time, and were not allowed to enter 
because they would not or could not pay the tax. It was 
grievous to see the poor people, (many of whom came* from 
distant parts of India,) with their little all tied up in a bundle, 
and suspended under their umbrellas, in some unguarded 
moment, rushed upon by the Pooree tigers, and their all taken 
from them. These villains of Juggernaut lie in wait, and 
when they see an old or disabled pilgrim, rush upon him, 
give him a blow upon the head with a large stick, and snatch 
the umbrella with the bundle out of his hand ! I saw, perhaps, 
Jifly wises of thin kind while I stood The idols have been 
replaced on the cars to return. I cannot refrain from noticing, 

"Twelve persons had hound themselves to die a sacrifice under the 
wheels of the cars, but the under magistrate hearing of the circumstanre 
placed them in confinement, and thus prevented the horrid deed. .lulv, 
t Vol. ii. p. 1ft. See Ham. Hind., vol. ii. pp. <17:>, 47<>. 


the obscene gestures and lascivious songs which were again 
employed to animate the draggers, and spread an infernal 
enthusiasm through the gazing assembly. I asked a person 
near, what kind of worship that was; he replied, Kuxbecka 
baf (the language of prostitutes) ; but added, / / <jare Jity- 
yernaut pleasure ! The following day a poor wretch threw 
himself under Juggernaut s car, and was crushed to death. 
Mr. 13 saw the horrid sight." The worship of Jugger 
naut is sill the same. C. Buller, Esq., M. P. in 1813, 
endeavoured to palliate the sanguinary and impure worship 
of this idol,* but in vain. " If you would know the character 
of the nation, look at the temple." When shall Britain cease 
to promote idolatry? When shall Christianity abolish the 
miseries of heathenism ? 

The late Rev. J. M. Cropper, Missionary in Orissa, writes 
in Feb. 1828; "While we continued here (Pertubpore, near 
Midnapore), a number of jattrces passed us. On inquiry w r e 
found they had come from Nepaul, in a body of 500. They 
calculated that 200 would die by the way : about forty had 
died already ! If this be the case in the cold season (the 
most healthy time in India), what havoc must death make 
among the pilgrims, on their return from the ruth Jattra in the 
commencement of the rains ? " 

Of the effects of pilgrimage, in another part of India, 
Hamilton gives the following statement: "The number of 
crimes that originate in the Behar District, of which Gya is 
the capital, may in a great measure be attributed to Ute vast 
crowds of pious and superstitious pilarims. The wealth 
these persons possess generally consists of money, jewels, and 
other articles, which excites tne cupidity of the unprincipled ; 
while, the defenceless condition of the greater part of these 
stragglers, exhibits it to them as a prey of easy acquisition. 
Numerous affrays and breaches of the peace may also be 
expected where such a number of strangers, from all pails of 
Hindostan, are promiscuously congregated; nor will these 
votaries of superstition gain any addition to their prior stock 
of morals, by their intercourse with their spiritual guides at 
the sanctuary, who are in general ignorant and dissolute, and 
do not affect even the appearance of any self denial or ascetism 
of conduct. "f 

The general character of the Pilgrim Tax System demands 
serious attention. The first evil arising from it is. / / increases 

* See Buchanan s Apolojjy for Christianity in India, pp. 27, 28, 333*. 
| Hamilton s Hindostan, vol. i. pp. 207 301. 


tin- celebrity of places of idolatrous resort. The tax on 
pilgrims at Juggernaut, while it encourages the emissaries of 
idolatry to wander to the distant parts of Hindustan, to 
collect its deluded votaries (a stipulated sum being received 
by them for each individual passed into the town), by its 
sanction of idolatry, not only adds to the celebrity of the 
pilgrimage, but confounds Christianity with Idolatry, in tin- 
sight of thi Hindoos. A native inquired of a Missionary in 
Orissa, " // Juyyerutntt be not/tiny, why does the Company 
take so much money from those ichoeome to see him ! " " This 
tax," says Mr. Harington, in his " Analysis," referring to the 
sentiments of the Honourable Court of Directors, "is not to 
be considered a source of public revenue, but to be appropriated 
to the repairs and other expenses connected irilh the place of 
pilgrimage J* and convenience of the pilgrims. 1 While the 
temples in general in India (as the Black Pagoda, Bobuneswer, 
Kanoge, Gorucknaut, Kalee Ghaut near Calcutta,f &c.,) bear 
marks of neglect and decay, the temple of Juggernaut has 
recently been repaired (it is said at the expense of a Ben 
galee) ; and its celebrity is very great. Of the numerous 
temples of Bobnneswer, about twenty miles from Cuttack, 
Mr. Stirling, in bis "Account of Orissa," remarks, " We have 
no particular account of the period and causes of the decline 
of the City of Bobnneswer and the worship of Maha Dab 
(Seeli). Nearly all but the yreat temple hare been completely 
deserted, and the establishment kept up there is on a rery 
small and inadequate scale, under the patronage of the 
Koordah Rajah, whose ancestors granted all the lands and 
endowments by which the Brahmuns now exist." 

Of the conduct of the pilgrim hunters in extolling Jugger 
naut and promoting his worship, "The Friend of India" very 
forcibly observes ; " We have a body of idol missionaries, 
far exceeding in number all tlie Christian Missionaries, 
thronyhont the world, going forth from year to year to 

* " The expense for the repair of tin- temple was formerly defrayed by 
an Abwaub. It appears not to be fixed in its amount, nor can I learn wliat 
the gross amount of the collection was; in future such repairs as an- 
nece$sari/ must be made at the expense <>f (r overnmfnt, the Abwaub ln.-ing 
consolidated as the land revenue." Dec. IK07. Par. Papers, respecting 
the Temple of Juggernaut, 1H13, p. (><>. 

t " Pilgrims resort to the vicinity of Ow/c, where the remains of the 
ancient city, the capital of the Great Ram, are still seen : but whatever may 
have been its former magnificence, it nou< exhibits nothing hut a shajM-less 
heap of ruin.-, The interior is a mass of rubbish and jungle, among which 
are the reputed site* of temples dedicated to Ram, Sceta, Lukthme, and 
J/anumuun." Ham. Hind., vol. i. p. :MO. 



propagate delusion, and proclaim for the sake of gain (what 
perhaps not one among them believes), the transcendent 
efficacy of beholding A LOG OF WOOD ; and these, through 
a perversion of British humanity, regularity, and good faith, 
paid from year to year by the officers of a Christian and a 
British Government ! But that which most fills the mind 
with distress, is the use which these ministers of deception 
make of the British name throughout the country. In 
proclaiming the greatness of Juggernaut, they of course affirm 
that he has now so fully convinced his conquerors of his 
divinity, that they have taken his temple under their own 
superintendence ; and that, to provide him with an attendance 
worthy of his dignity, they expend nearly 60,000 rupees from 
year to year; inspecting with care every department, and 
punishing any negligence in the service of the god. That, 
although the British so far surpass the Hindoos in knowledge, 
they arc so fully convinced of Juggernaut s deity, that they 
command a portion of food to be set before him ! That, they 
in reality worship him ; and although, from their being 
mleechas, (unclean,) the god cannot permit their approach 
within his temple, yet at his festivals they testily their 
veneration, by sending the finest English woollens from their 
own stores in Calcutta to adorn his car. That they appoint 
officers to see due order observed in his worship ; and some 
great man, the representative of the Governor General, 
frequently attends to grace the solemnity with his presence. 
That, as they need money, convinced of the transcendent 
benefits to be obtained from beholding him, they levy a small 
tax on those who behold Juggernaut ; which, on the richest, 
does not exceed ten rupees, while they permit the poorest to 
behold him gratis. That, they themselves arc paid and sent 
forth by them, to persuade all tvlio wish for the full remission 
of sins, to come and behold the god in all his majesty ! 

"Although the whole of this is a tissue of falsehood, 
yet \vhen these victims to delusion come to Juggernaut s 
temple, and see his car adorned with the finest English 
woollens, the officers of Government in attendance to keep 
order, and perhaps some English gentleman present, whom 
they in a moment transform into the Representative of the 
Governor General of India, they give credit to all the rest. 
Those who live to return home propagate this among their 
neighbours ; and thus, the tax on the idol adds strength to 
the delusion, and increases from year to year those scenes of 
death at which human- nature shudders. That the British 
should be represented, as in reality worshippers of this log, 


and employing their superior knowledge- in securing order in 
the service of its temple, and adding splendour to its public 
festivals, is sufficiently degrading : but that they should also 
l>e represented as employing a band of deceivers to beguile 
the unwary in so many instances to death ! and persuade 
them to undertake this pilgrimage, that they may in reality 
enrich themselves by the tax they levy, before they permit 
the Hindoo to behold his idol, is sinking the British name 
to the lowest pitch of degradation. 

" All this is proclaimed by the multitude of agents who go 
forth from year to year in search of pilgrims. It is their 
interest to omit nothing, whether true or false, which tends to 
exalt Juggernaut, and draw pilgrims to his temple. And even 
their being thus employed, with the express view of inviting 
all who are capable to undertake this pilgrimage, would serve 
as evidence in confirmation of all they advanced. Thus, a 
regularity, a splendour, an attraction, are given to the 
worship of this idol, and an impetus fo lite delusion if 
originates, which it never possessed under the former dynasty ; 
an impetus, too, which, fatal as it is in its consequences to so 
many of our Hindoo fellow-subjects, is increasing with the 
gain it produces, which knows no bounds but the number of 
persons they are able to deceive from year to year: and these 
have no bounds but the inhabitants of Hindostan itself. * f 

Another feature of this system is, it promotes the increase 
of pilgrims and pilgrim hunters. "This tax, if originating in 
motives of humanity, has completely defeated its end. While 
it has added that splendour and attraction to the worship of 
this idol, which it never possessed before, it has created the 
means of urging persons, in all parts of India, to undertake 
this journey of death, which never previously existed in such 
regularity and extent. If this premium existed under the 
Mussulman Government, its payment was subjected to all tin- 
evasions which are the natural offspring of idolatry. The 
British Government bring to all their proceedings with tin- 
natives, virtues the offspring of Christianity ; hence, on their 

* Friend of India, Oct. IS 2; ), pp. 274 2HO. 

t The author of a pamphlet published in Calcutta, on " The state of 
Protestant Missions in Bengal," speaking of Juggernaut and Hurdwar (at 
which latter plaee he supposes a tax is levied on the pilgrims), says, "The 
tax imposed by Government has been alleged to have the efl ect of leading 
the natives to suppose that the idolatrous festivals, held at these places, 
receive the jniblic sanction of the supreme authority. To the extent to which 
this and similar laws are enforced, it would seem (<> yi iv the weight and 
authority of a political e*t*blithmt*t to t/ir popular idolatry" 

K 2 


faithfulness in paying this sum, the idol pilgrim hunter relies 
as safely, as the peasant who brings any article of sale to their 
factories. If he can search out a thousand persons, and 
persuade them to undertake this journey, he is as certain of 
receiving 300 rupees, even if they be of the lowest class, 
1,500 rupees if they be nim lulls, and 3,000 rupees if he can 
persuade them to enter themselves as lalljatlrees, or pilgrims 
of the highest class, as though he delivered bales of cloth to 
that amount. This sum, paid with British fidelity to those 
who search out pilgrims, furnishes a fund so considerable, that 
it would be no wonder if a number of agents were thereby 
stirred up, sufficient to traverse the whole of India, alluring 
those to undertake this pilgrimage of death, who would 
otherwise never have undertaken it."* 

Of the increase of pilgrims at Gya, Mr. llarington candidly 
acknowledges the fact, and refers it to the regulations of the 
Pilgrim Tax. " He (Mr. Law) had the satisfaction of seeing 
that his efforts were not unsuccessful ; while great and 
progressive increase in the amount of the sayer collections, 
under the circumstance of diminished rates, evinces the sound, 
and (with regard to the pilgrims) the attractive policy of the 
measure he adopted." A clergyman at Gya writes, " I saw 
at Gya many poor creatures who had travelled 1 000 miles, and 
who, in their journey, endured great privations. The well-meant 
intentions of Government have totally failed ; for, instead of 
the tax having diminished the number of pilgrims, it has 
greatly increased the multitude, rendered (he Brahminical 
order respectable, and placed idolatry on a firmer basis than 
ever ! The annual amount of revenue collected at Gya is only 
250,000 rupees (.31,250 sterling) ; apparently a large sum, 
but nothing in comparison with what the Brahmuns receive 
from the pilgrims. As soon as Government know the inutility 
of their interference in these things, no doubt they will leave 
the system to stand or fall unsupported by authority. When 
that authority is withdrawn, we may venture to predict that 
in this place;, as well as in other parts of the globe, idolatry 
will fall, like Dagon before the ark of the Lord."f 

"The introduction of the British Police System so much 
confirmed the security of the pilgrims, that, the number of 
these wanderers have been gradually increasing, as will 
appear from the following statement of the number who 
received licences to worship at Gya in the successive years. 

Friend of India, No. xiii. pp. 271 27. i. 
I Mis. Keg., Nov. 1S-J7, pp. 5 IS, 5J5>. 






I l UJRl.Ms. 

1798 17,<>7<) 


22,3 is 

























From those remarks, and especially from these official 
documents, it appears evident, that the Pilgrim Tax gives 
popularity to places of idolatrous resort, and induces 
multitudes to wander over India to promote pilgrimages to 
them ; unconcerned what misery they entail upon their 

A third feature in this system is, it occasions the death of 
many pilgrims. That hundreds die of want and disease in 
pilgrimages is evident. The sum which a poor pilgrim pays 
for admission to perform the ceremonies appointed at a holy 
place, might be the means of saving his life on his journey 
home ; hut, as is frequently the case, having expended all, or 
ncarly all, when he sets his face homeward, lie soon finds the 
supply of the humane scanty ; want is followed by disease ; dis 
ease by the desertion of his companions; and death soon lavs him 
by the road side, unshrouded and uncoffined, the prey of birds 
and beasts. " Much reproach against the Knglish is expressed 
by the Hindoos on account of the oppressive nature of the 
tax. Mr. Lacey, one of the Missionaries who went to relieve 
the destitute on the road to Cuttack, relates the following 
incident : You would have felt your heart moved to hear 
the natives say, Your prcachiny is a lie ; for, if your Nariuur 
and your religion are thus merciful, icJn/ do you tJien lake 
airay the money of the poor, mid suffer f/tet/t to starcc ?" It 
is indeed no wonder that, when the natives see a poor creature 
dying for want, they should reflect, that the two rupees lie 
paid as a tax would have kept him alive; nor indeed is it a 
pleasing reflection to a European mind, that these tico rupees 
form precisely the difference between life and deaf h } to many 
who hare perished for tcant on their icay //0/;/r. v f 

From the whole, it appears that this System is /;//////// ///, 

* Hamilton s (lindoston, vol. i. |>. *J !<>. 
\ I rir.nd of India, u-> ulime, !>]. JN- J, -2*1 


impolitic, and unchristian. The inhumanity that characterizes 
these pilgrimages is evident. Is it not impolitic to promote 
them ? Do they not eternize the reign of poverty, super 
stition, and savage ignorance ? For Britain to legislate for 
idolatry, lest its institutions should grow into disuse to stoop 
to the drudgery of superintending the collection of money 
from pilgrims, * a painted, pagan, semi-barbarous race ; and, 
last, not least for the character of Britain to be associated 
with idolaters in their scenes of revelry, vice, and misery, is 
degrading to our national character,* and displeasing to Him 
who calls idolatry, "that abominable thing which I hate" 
The general features of this system are legislation for idolatry; 
paying monthly stipends to priests (from temple lands in the 
hands of Government) ; accumulating wealth (the Collector at 
Allahabad receiving 1 per cent, at Gya five per cent, and at 
Juggernaut, it is said, ten per cent, on the amount of 
collections) ; defiling the revenue of the country with the 
proceeds of a tax, in many cases " the price of blood;" and 
assimilating professed Christians with idolaters, till the 
Christian character is scarcely distinguishable, even in the 
broad feature of abhorring idols. The Hindoos in Orissa 

have asked the Author, " Is Sahab a Christian ? Does 

Sahab read the durma Poostiik, or Holy Book ? Do 
iwt the Sahabs yo to Pooree to worship Juggernaut ? Why 
should the Company destroy Juggernaut ? he is their chakar, 
or servant." If Christianity be a blessing to India, this 
system is evidently opposed to its progress, and every 
principle of humanity and of Christianity demands its speedy 

* The Collector of Tax at Juggernaut addresses the chief Secretary to 
Government, March, 1806 : " I have the honour to acquaint you that Ram 
Bukhsh and Ram Hutgur, pilgrims, presented a serviceable elephant to 
Juggernaut, and 200 rupees for its expenses, which will last about six 
months. The ;/od s establishment is six elephants. At or before the end of 
six months, it will be necessary for Government, either to order the elephant 
to be disposed of, or appoint some fund for its support, should it be deemed 
advisable to keep it for Juggernaut s use!" (Par. Papers, 1813, p. 3J).) Who 
does not blush for his country s shame? 



The facility and advantages of the repeal of the Pilgrim 
Tux confirmation of the statements. 

It is presumed that the abolition of the Pilgrim Tax System 
would be easy, being unconnected with cast or any ancient 
prejudices of the Hindoos.* It would be a very popular 
measure : and what humane, intelligent mind but must 
rejoice to see the evils of pilgrimage disappear from the plains 
of India? Britain now regulates, supports, and aggrandizes 
idolatry at some of the principal places of pilgrimage ; 
Christianity in tears approaches her and says, " Touch //<>/, 
taste /tot, handle HO?" O ye honoured men ! at whose feet 
lie tin 1 destinies of millions, remove your countenance from 
idolatry, encourage the diffusion of true religion in the Kast, 
and then, in these idolatrous establishments, will be verified 
the sentiment of the Latin poet: 

" Vis consilii cxpers mole ruit sun." Ifor. 

The most prominent advantage of the repeal of the Pilgrim 
Tax would be the decrease of idolatrous establishments. 
Col. Phipps states, on the authority of a respectable native, 
that 3000 families are connected with Juggernaut s temple. 
Mr. Harington estimates the annual expenditure of the 
temple at 74,880 rupees. " During the Chundun and Ruth 
Jattras in 182-2, embracing about two months, 40,000 rupees 
(X 0,000) were collected and paid over to the attendants of 
the temple, who had brought the pilgrims." Estimating the 
annual premium to the pilgrim hunters at 50,000 rupees, the 
sum requisite to support Juggernauts present establishment 

* The influence of British authority among the priests of Juggernaut 
aj>j)c:irs from a letter of Archdeacon Corrie, written at I ooree, in IN .}. }. 
"On the occasion of a partial insurrection, ahoiit two years since, the priests 
gave out that Juggernaut would no longer suffer the Knglish to remain in 
India, and would not return to his temple (on quitting it at the annual 
procession) till they were expelled ; and mentioned a certain day for their 
overthrow. This was justlv considered l>y the General commanding the 
District, as an attempt to aid the insurgents against the Government; and 
he sent a private order to the officer in charge, that, if the Idol were not 
carried hack a- usual on the stated day, he should replace it hy force, and 
take military possession of the temple." The natives ahout the General no 
douhl ga\e notice to the priest*, and Jmiijrrnuut returned before his time." 
Miss, llegister, 1H24, p. 58>>. 


would be 1-24,880 rupees; to meet whieh the endowed lands 
amount to 26,818 rupees, leaving a deficiency of 1)0,062 
rupees (l 1,257). This sum has to be collected under the 
direction of a Christian Government, and to be paid to the 
attendants of Juggernaut, who suffer their deluded votaries 
to die of want and neglect, in the very precincts of the temple 
and the town, and then throw them out upon the sands, for 
their bones and skulls to whiten its arid plains. 

The number of Brahmuns and inferior attendants at Gya, 
and Allahabad must be very considerable. Let Britain retire 
from these idolatrous and obscene establishments, and would 
their popularity continue ? For a short period the attendance 
might be considerable, but the novelty would gradually cease; 
and though (as in other places unnoticed by the Government,) 
pilgrimages might continue, the inseparable attendants, 
poverty, sickness, and death, would not be so great. The 
Author has been at Bobuneswer, Munchaswer, Puramunx, 
and Teenaturra, places of pilgrimage in Orissa ; but he does 
not recollect seeing a sick person among thousands of pilgrims, 
or a skeleton on the journey. Why such a contrast between 
these places and Juggernaut? The former are unnoticed by 
Government, and no tax is levied. The latter has a vast 
establishment, supported and enriched at the expense of the 
lives of thousands. 

" All my way from the Chilka Lake to Madras," says Dr. 
Buchanan, " I did not see one skull. Like the other temples 
hi Hie Deccan, the revenues of the temple of Ramisseram 
are wasting away. But Juggernaut will fall before Ramacoil 
or Ramisseram. I saw no human bone in the island. 
Christianity in its worst shape has civilized the Deccan. 
All descriptions of people are more humane and intelligent 
than the Hindoos of Bengal."* 

"The vast establishment of Juggernaut," says the Friend of 
India, " founded as it is on delusion and cruelty, would not long 
continue in its present splendour, when // ceased to be upheld 
by virtues of Christian growth. British regularity, activity, 
and faithfulness, are virtues which Juggernaut s worship 
is incapable of producing ; and without these, the larger 
the establishment and the sum annually received^ the sooner 
would the whole fall into ruin. Selfish and rapacious, none of 
the pundas in the temple would trust one another.f Whatever 

* Life of Buchanan, vol. ii. p. 11>. 

t The late Bishop Heber, speaking of a public meeting of natives in 
Calcutta, for the relief of the sufferers lv famine on the Coroniaiulcl coast, 


might ho the sum received one year, (part of which they would 
probably conceal from each other,) no panda would have the 
enterprise to expend sixty thousand rupees on the Idol s 
establishment, as a speculation for the next year s profits, 
<>f which, after all, others might deprive him. No one would 
have the activity to see that all the attendants did their dutv. 
One would neglect to prepare Juggernaut s food, and perhaps 
sell the articles ; others would neglect his wardrobe ; and 
others the temple itself, both within and without. As for the 
pandas being at the expense of adorning his car with the 
iinest English woollens from year to year, this would be out 
of the question. If they did it one year, they would neglect 
it the next ; and /////* the few/tie, witJi all //.v apptintlutt, would 
gradually sink into ney/ccf utid contempt"* 

Another advantage would be, a decrease of pilgrim hunters. 
These men would not travel to collect pilgrims in such naumbers 
as at present, were they uncertain what they should obtain 
for their labour. Now they know the price set upon each 
individual, British integrity ensuring its payment ; and hence 
the number of these people traversing the country with their 
miserable groups. Thousands of pilgrims execrate the 
oppressions practised upon them, and relate with horror the 
ravages of death ; but the fascinations of the travelling pundas 
prevail with the credulous and superstitious, and every year 

suites a fact illustrative of this assertion. One of the most liberal of the 
subscribers, Vomanundun Thakoor, said to him "Ramaswamee Pundit 
may he a very pood man, hut I took eare at the meeting, that all money 
subscribed should he lodged with the house of Palmer and Co., and be 
distributed at Madras by the English Committee. I d<> not luunr >/>< 
Madras Pundits, but 1 know that Europe (gentlemen hdve a character to 
lose. 11 Vol. i. p. 71. 

* I- riend of India, Oct. lua. 1 }, pp. 2H1, 2S2. " The woollen cloths \\eiv 
formerly supplied by the Soobans, and since hv the Commissioners and 
( ((Hectors, the officers of the temple declaring themteltet incapable of 
procuring them! ! The quantity required is l v -l u/. (yards), of which run; 
piece must be of superfine cloth. The colours are of no consequence, but 
there should he variety; they can he best supplied from the ( Vmi/m ;>// 
warehouse!, and therefore the charge is omitted! ! Ouiiifj to the want of an 
efficient control, I have every reason to believe, the internal affairt of the 
temple hare not been properly conducted of late. The Rajah attributes llie 
improprieties to the conduct of the head Purcha, who he says refuses to 
obey his orders; the head Purcha attributes them to the Rajah s orders, 
having been inconsistent with the recorded rules and customs. There are 
complaints made, that both parties have refused permission to opulent 
Hindoos to make valuable presents to the idol, unless a previous Nu/zu- 
r.mna were paid, in one instance to the Itajah, and in the otlur to the 
Purchas for permission." Feb. |M, C. Buller, Ksq. - Par. Paper*, IMM, 
pp. < ; . 7 I. Ai i ir. 


produces multitudes of votaries, of each sex, and of all ages, 
for this horrid pilgrimage. 

" It appears," says Colonel Phipps, " to have escaped 
observation, that, under the present arrangement, THE 
is the more extraordinary, as the President of the Board of 
Commissioners, in his correspondence with the Court of 
Directors, argues that the tax cannot be considered as intro 
ducing or tolerating the practice of idolatry. The arguments 
used on the spot are short and plain. The purharees and 
pundas will neither employ agents to entice pilgrims, nor will 
they treat them properly unless it is made their interest. 
Hindoos will seldom come, if left to themselves ; and, if the 
pilgrimage become unpopular, the tax will be so unproductive 
as not to be worth collecting It is the opinion of the best 
informed persons in the Province, that the dreadful scenes 
which occur annually, on all the roads leading to Juggernaut, 
would soon cease, if the temple iccre placed on the same 
footing, as numerous other places of idolatrous worship, 
which are left without any kind of interference on the part 
of Government"* 

A further advantage would be, the decrease of the popularity 
of places of pilgrimage, and consequently a diminution in the 
number and mortality of the pilgrims. A decrease in the 
resort of pilgrims to anyplace, naturally lessens its notoriety. 
Let the Pilgrim Tax be abolished and few will be induced to 
collect pilgrims. Free ingress and egress as it respects holy 
places, long restricted by penal enactments, might, for a short 
time, increase the number of pilgrims, but the novelty would 
soon wear away ; and, even while it continued, the pilgrims, 
having no tax to pay, could better support themselves than 
at present, consequently there would be less mortality. "Let 
the tax and the premium for bringing pilgrims be at once 
dropped; let all British interference with the idol audits 
temple be withdrawn; and it is certain their popularity 

Mis. Reg. 182-1, p. 580. 


cannot long stand. If it did, the reproach and the f/uilt <>f 
blood would be for wer rolled away from the British nation. 
It must in future stand through virtues of its o\vn growth, or 
sink to ruin. Even the disappearance of that regularity and 
splendour imparted to the worship of this idol, through 
British interference, could not be unnoticed by the natives ; 
and would weigh in a powerful manner. * Why have the 
British withdrawn themselves? What is there in die worship 
of Juggernaut which has made them choose to give up every 
idea of profit, rather than countenance it any longer ? This 
cannot arise from veneration. It must arise from the reverse. 
Thus would a shock be given to this superstition, which it 
has not received for ages. 

" Even the delusion attached to the spot, when it was no 
longer guarded by British power, would soon cease. At 
present, the whole weight of the British authority is employed 
to support the deception, that Pooree is a place peculiarly 
holy, by refusing admittance to any not authorized to enter 
by paying the tax, c., and, by compelling them to leave the 
town as soon as their permission expires ! As the pundas 
would not be vested with magisterial power, they would have 
no rnjht to support tit is delusion, hy t fie arm of civil authority. 
It must rest wholly on opinion ; and, in spite of all their 
endeavours, people would enter and prolong their stay 
contrary to their commands : thus, by deyrees, the place itself 
would become too common to yield its present revenue. When 
left to itself, this object of idolatry would naturally destroy 
itself. While its worship is delusion, the God of truth seems 
to have ordained that, in the very nature of things, idol 
worship should contain the seeds of its own decay; and to 
attempt to counteract this natural tendency, and to support 
idolatry bv virtues the growth of Christianity, seems an 
act which, if continued, would make us fear more for the 
British empire in India, than from the combination of all its 

Finally, the Jiritish character would appear in its inn 
liyltt , find the efforts of Christian benevolence for meliorating 
the state of India would be more successful than at present. 
Is it to the honour of Britain, to collect annually .t 50,000 
from the poor deluded followers of idolatry, while they arc- 
enriched, who travel through the country to inveigle them 
from their business and their families, frequently never, 
never to return ? Will not the heathen think Christianity 

* Friend of India, Oct. IH J. *, ]>j>. :so JH3. 


similar to Idolatry, which amasses wealth at " the price of 
blood ? " Will not the Hindoo think highly of his idolatrous 
rites, when he sees the solicitude of his Christian Rulers lest 
they should grow into disuse ? It must appear incongruous 
to the Hindoos, to see some Europeans endeavouring to turn 
them from idols, and others engaged in their festivals, as if 
they were concerned for the support of their establishments. 
The following anecdote shews the effect of European con 
nection with idolatry upon the native mind : 

The Author passing one evening the large temple of Seeta 
Ram at Cuttack (the endowed lands of which it is understood 
are in the hands of Government, and an annual allowance 
made to the priests), caught a sight of one of the idols, and 
he exclaimed, " pape / pape!" (sinful, sinful). The native 
who was with him asked, " Sir, is that sinful for which the 
Company give thousands ? " (meaning rupees). He felt 
confounded, but said, " Yes, it is sinful : but the Company 
are a long way off; they do not know every thing about this 
country, &c." " Some of the most common arguments 
employed in favour of idolatry," says a missionary in Orissa, 
in Oct. 1825, "are conveyed in the following questions: l If 
Juggernaut be, as you say, nothing, then why do so many 
people come so Jar to see him ? If Juggernaut he nothing, 
u hy do Ihe Company lake so much money of the pilgrims at 
the entrance of the town <" I asked Abraham (the Hindoo 
teacher), what he said when the people talked about the 
Company taking the people s money: he said, he replied to 
them; * So far from acknowledging Juggernaut, the English 
do it to punish the people ! It would be too much trouble 
to Jlo</ so ttHDiy people, therefore they set up a gate and fine 
them ! In the simplicity of his heart, the poor fellow seemed 
to think this was the case, and I did not undeceive him. As 
1 cannot honestly defend it, 1 always say it is a sinful practice. 
As there is a Providence, I certainly think, the British power 
has more to fear from its connection with idolatry in this 
country, than from any thing else. A man said to me a few 
days ago, If the Government does noi forsake Juggernaut, 
how can you expect that ice should T These arguments 
discompose me more than any others ; and they are urged 
every day, and, perhaps, some days, several times." A late 
missionary in Orissa writes, in April 1828, "This evening 1 
met with a troublesome man who asked me several questions. 
If Juggernaut he nothing, why do Hie Company take so 
many rupees T I answered, lhat was not my sin nor his. 
Tin-re are some of you (said the gooroo) who are n<l holy in 


all their conduct. If your religion irere trite, the (iorcrtnnent 
n onld support it : bid they do notS r 

( oiifirmation of lite aborc statements, shewing the pntprieh/ 
and utility of the repeal of the Pilgrim Tax, and the discon 
tinuance of HritisJi connection irit/t idolatry in India, 
appears important. It is presumed tlie ibllowing facts arc 
deserving of serious attention. 

"About tin; close of tlie year 1801, a Civil Servant of the 
Hon. Company, holding the station of Collector in one of tlie 
southern Provinces of the Madras Presidency, sent his peons 
to the great Pagoda of tlie Province, with orders to break the 
car of Juggernaut in pieces and sell the wood, as it had been 
the property of a rebel chief. The Brahmuns remonstrated, 
claiming the car as the property of the god, and repulsed the 
peons. The Collector, however, appri/ed them that lie should 
renew the attempt. On learning this, the Brahmuns sent him 
an intimidation, and caused it to be circulated throughout the 
Province, That if he offered such a profanation to the car of 
the god, holy Brahmuns would cast themselves headlong from 
the lofty tower of the Pagoda. The Collector sent a formal 
message, informing them lie had heard of their vow to kill 
themselves, and that he and his family would attend to witness 
the spectacle ! On the day appointed, a great multitude 
assembled. The Collector and his family, his peons and 
retinue, attended. The tower over the gateway of the pagoda 
was the place from which the Brahmuns threatened to pre 
cipitate themselves. Within full view of the tower, chairs 
were set for the Collector and his family. The decisive 
moment now arrived : the Brahmuns appeared on the top of 
the tower, and the Collector gave- the order for the demolition. 
The Brahmuns, witli loud imprecations, and menacing 
gesticulations, endeavoured to intimidate him. They rushed 
repeatedly to the verge of the tower, and as often retired. 
But the officer was firm to his purpose: the car was broken, 
and the wood ordered to be sold; upon which the Brahmuns 
silently withdrew, and the crowd quietly dispersed."* 

" A rare circumstance has occurred this year," says the 
Calcutta Missionary Herald, .July, 1H24, "in reference to the 
car of Juggernaut, kept at Chandcrnagore, which belongs to 
the French. This huge car, used to be dragged along the 
main road leading to Taldanga, where it stood for the space 
of a week, and was then brought back. This road has lately 
undergone a thorough repair ; and the French authorities sent 

* Miss Keg. 1*11, p. 5^. Sec Asi. Jour. Oct. 


word to the proprietors of the ruth that, as the wheels of the 
car would tear up the road, they could not suffer it to be 
dragged over it, unless they paid 500 rupees for its repair. 
The owners of it offered a sum considerably less than what 
was demanded, in consequence of which the ruth was not 
allowed to be drawn, in spite of the earnest entreaties of the 
Hindoos. Thus one of their most ancient customs has been 
laid aside, by the peremptory orders of the Rulers of Chander- 
nagore, without creating any spirit of rebellion among the 
Hindoos. A tax has been laid upon Juggernaut, and as he 
could not pay the mulct, and his votaries had not sufficient 
respect to pay it for him, he remains a monument of his 
impotency and subserviency to an earthly being."* 

" A few years since there were two cars of Juggernaut at 
Bydpoor, near Culna, in the Nuddea district. They were 
kept a short distance from the town, near an unfrequented 
road. From time to time several persons were missing, who 
were never heard of again. It was at length discovered that 
these cars were the nests of waylayers or footpads, whence 
they issued and knocked down solitary individuals for the 
purpose of robbing them : they almost invariably murdered 
them, and then took their bodies and concealed them among 
the wheels of the cars. The frequent occurrence of these 
murders occasioned great trouble to the villagers ; who were 
bound and examined by the police officers, and subject to 
great oppressions. Tt happily occurred to some Hindoos of 
the place, that as long as Juggernaut s cars remained, they 
should never escape the trouble brought upon them by these 
murders ; they therefore came to the determination of setting 
fire to them, and burnt them to the ground. The place of 
concealment being removed, the murders have ceased."f 

Great depredations are practised upon the pilgrims at Jug 
gernaut s temple in Orissa. As they enter the town, the men 
employed to drag the cars have been seen to come from their 
encampment and seize their chattas, clothes, &c. In the 
town, as they lie asleep, their money is frequently stolen from 
them. Within the temple what oppressions are committed 
must remain unknown to Europeans, as no one is allowed to 
enter it.J Hundreds, yea, thousands, die of want, exposure, 

* Asi. Jour. May, 1825. 

f Mis. Herald, Aug. 1825. Asi. Jour. May, 1826. 

J " Some captious persons became offended, and called out to the 

multitude, Worship Juggernaut, worship Juggernaut. Miss. Who is 

Juggernaut? He that sits on the blue mountains. Miss. If that image 

l>e Dunn B rumba, why does it decay ? for you know it is renewed every 


&c., occasioned by the cruelty practised at Pooree. O that 
sonic of the Hindoos were wise and firm enough to destroy 
these cars! When shall the dreadful celebrity of Juggernaut 
cease for ever ! 

The late A.Stirling, Esq., in his Account of Orissa," 
states what would IK: the result of leaving Juggernaut uncon 
nected with the Government. " Generally, from two to three 
days are consumed in reaching the Gondicha Nour temple, 
where the images are taken out. Before even this period is 
elapsed, the curiosity and enthusiasm of the pilgrims have 
nearly evaporated ; they steal off in numbers, and leave Shree 
Jco to get buck to tJie tempi (is lie may ! Without the aid of 
the villagers* and the population of Pooree, who hold their 
ground free of rent, on condition of performing this service 
fr (he deity, 1h c cars would now infallibly stick fit lite 
(londicha \ourf Even the god s own servants will not 
labour zealously and effectually without the interposition of 
authority ; and I imagine tJic ceremony (the. car festival) 
would soon cease to he conducted on its present scale, IF 


OF THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT." Hamilton in his Gazetteer 
speaking of the temple of Juggernaut, says; " the u hole 
ceremony would soon decline almost to nothing, if left to its 
own resources /"-j* 

The following statement, from a correspondent at Cut tack, 
appeared in the Calcutta John Bull, July, 1821 : "On account 
of the lateness of the Ruth Jattra this year, it was not ex 
pected that the assemblage of pilgrims would be great ; but 
nothing like the falling off that took place was anticipated. 
Monsieur Juggernaut, in fact, was almost deserted; and 
Messrs. Brahmun, Pundit, and Co., threatened to remove his 
worship to a more central situation in India (in the neighbour 
hood of Mooradabad). We congratulate our friends in those 
parts, on their good luck on the prospect of such a visit ! We 
are sorry to state that from the epidemic, want, and exposure, 

tweh c years. If he were Juyfiernaut (the Lord oftlie world) would he permit 
hit priests in hit presence to tear away the silrer anil yold car-rinifs and nose 
jewclt of the jut trees . You know you can Merer come away from I oorce with 
a rupee, or pice y or cloth, or lotd . could this, think you, be thccaxc tf Juggernaut 
were there. It is all a trick of the Bruhinuus to gel your money to feed 
themselves." Ex. Mis. Jour. 1827. 

" The inhabitants of the neighbouring pcr^unnali, Ilahenp, J-mnlmi, 
\-c., whose peculiar duty and privilege it is, conjointly with the inhabitants 
of Pooree, to dra^ the ruths." 
I Asi. Jour. Oct. 1830, p. 100. 


the mortality among the few deluded wretches (comparitively) 
that did come, was awful. We hope; from the signs of the 
times, that the reign of Juggernaut is drawing to a close, or is 
at least upon the decline. The pilgrims either could not or 
would not draw the ruth, and the priests, of this vile superstition, 
were obliged to call in other assistance. No devotee was found 
to pave the way with his blood for Moloch. The sight, at the 
opening of the gates for the admission of pilgrims, would have 
melted the heart of a savage ; numbers of expiring wretches 
were carried in, that they might die at the polluted shrine, 
instead of enjoying their domestic comforts in their native 
village. Who that witnesses or hears of such scenes, but 
must long for the time when these degrading rituals will pass 
away, and the pure and exalting religion of Jesus bless the 
benighted, plains of Hindustan ?*" 

The Par. Papers respecting Juggernaut, May, 1813, 
abundantly shew that the temple would gradually decrease in 
celebrity, but for the support of the British Government. 
References are made to the advance of money for the use of 
it. A petition from the chief Purcha, in May, 1807, states, 
" But, for the service of Shrec Jeo, it is necessary that some 
money should be given at present by Government on charge 
of the dewal Purchas ; and, if money is not given, there ivill 
be tlte utmost difficulty in currying on the affairs of the 
temple r p. 61. The board of Revenue in 1806, suggested 
that the temple should be supported from the proceeds of its 
own lands, with fees levied on its account, and voluntary 
contributions; to which the Collector of tax replied, "/ 
suspect the priesthood will not willingly agree to continue the 
ceremonies of Juggernaut, in the present style, with, the funds 
proposed to be assigned to them" pp. 50 53 ; see also pp. 
58, 59, 60 65. Should a Christian people thus uphold 
idolatry ? 

The following brief extracts from the Calcutta Papers, 
shew the nature of public opinion in India, concerning the 
propriety of abolishing the Pilgrim Tax: 

The India Gazette in Oct. 1825, contains an article relative to Juggernaut ; 
a brief extract is inserted. " In the Weekly Messenger of yesterday, there 
is a most harrowing account of the miseries suffered by the poor creatures 
who crowded to Juggernaut, to attend the Satanic festival of the Ruth 
Jattra. It is humiliating to read such things. They are degrading to us as 
men, and derogatory to our character as Christian masters of this country. 
And is it possible that yearly similar scenes occur ? But do not the Brahmuns 
fatten ? Do not the wily heartless priests, who squeeze the last rupee out 

* Asi. Jour. March, 1H22. 


of the hands of the poor victims, profit by tlie system ? Yes : and tliey will 
retort the charge, that, thei/ alone do not profit by it. The abstraction of such 
vast masses of people must be very injurious to the general prosperity of the 
tracts whence they issue ; unless India in general be considered too populous. 
When we remember the many parts that lie waste, where a teeming soil 
would reward the efforts of the industrious, we cannot help thinking the 
population could be distributed mere judiciously, than by a long pilgrimage 
to Juggernaut, were the journey merely dependent upon those convictions 
of necessity which lead to emigration, instead of the blind zeal of a flagitious 

" We hare perused with some attention," says the Editor of the Calcutta 
John /?///, Nov. 182/i, " an article in the last Friend of India, entitled 
Reflections on the incidents which occurred this year at the Ruth Jattra of 
Juggernaut in Orissa. The subject is unquestionably of the first moment, 
inasmuch as the alleviation of human misery, and the preservation of human 
life, must be objects of the highest importance to every Christian and 
humane Government. The writer in the Friend of India, adverting to the 
fact, that the tax humaneli, imposed by Government to discourage the practice 
has become the very means of perpetuating ? /, and been even converted, by 
those who have a selfish purpose to answer in keeping it up, into a proof 
that the Christian Government of India recognises the divinity of Juggernaut , 
and believes in the virtue of a pilgrimage to his shrine as e.rpiatiny sin : lie 
proposes (and we certainly concur with him), to abolish the tax, and leave 
the Hindoos free to go or not, as thev please, on this pilgrimage. Nothing, we 
are persuaded, would tend more effectually to lessen the resort of pilgrims, to 
this celebrated seat of superstition, than the total indifference of Government 
to the practice. The tax imposed upon pilgrims, when found, as we believe 
it is, ineffectual as a check upon the practice, ought without delay to be 
abrogated. It has been imposed in ignorance of the native character; hut 
now a better knowledge of this character is acquired, the natives themselves 
are undoubtedly beginning to be influenced in their notions as to the 
value of their ri-linious acts by their intercourse irith European* it is time to 
change the system, and, at least, to try the effects of one directly opposed to 
the present, so far as levying a tax is concerned. The good people at home 
do not do justice to the Government of this country in the object they hav<- 
in view by this tax. They maintain that it is a desire of revenue which has 
imposed it; and certainly, where the fact of its efficiency for that purpose is 
proved, this representation acquires strength by the continuance of the 

" We hesitate not," says the Editor of the Columbian Press Gazette, " to 
declare our concurrence in the sentiments expressed in the Bull, on the 
subject of the pilgrimage t<> Juggernaut. There can be no reason to doubt 
that the tax levied to promote the convenience of the pilgrimage, and to 
increase the revenue at the same time, is calculated to create an impression 
among the natives, that the /iritish (iowrnmcnt countenances and believes in 
the efficacy of such pilgrimage*. Thy best method of proving that we are 
not actuated bv a motive so unworthy is to repeal it at once. It certainly 
has not been effectual in diminishing die number of pilgrims; and, if we 
are rightly informed, it was never intended to produce such effects; being 
chiefly levied in the first instance to provide comforts for the pilgrims, nnd 
thereby (though humanely aimed at the diminution of human suffering), 
directly tending to encourage the xujjerstitious practices which caused it." 

* Asi. Jour., Feb. 1827, p. 270. 


The Hemjal Weekly .WesscHger about the same date, contains the following 

paragraph : " We believe now, though we hear it for the first time, that 
the English Government maintains, by rewarding, a set of men called 
pilgrim hunters, trained by the various functionaries of the temple, to traverse 
the whole country, for the purpose of inducing the wretched inhabitants to 
undertake the pilgrimage, for what is confessedly not intended to form an 
item of our revenue, and almost the \\hole of which is expended under 
British auspices, in adorning and maintaining the Idol and its numerous 
establishment; thereby preserving a last refuge for that religion, which, in 
all other parts of our Indian territory, we are encouraging every proper 
endeavour to eradicate ! We feel fully persuaded, that entire neglect of 
Juggernaut, on our part, would in a moderate time be followed hi/ equal 
indifference on the part of the icorshippers : on this principle, we conceive 
many places of ancient superstitious reputation have now fallen into decay, 
though once, perhaps, as great in sanctity as the Pagoda of Juggernaut. 
Let the tax then be abolished; desuetude will be the consequence at last, 
although the succeeding year or two may produce a greater concourse of 
people. Let us not assist to keep up the mystery and priestcraft of the 
worship ; let us not, by our authority, help to maintain the splendour of the 
fdol, nor his reputation of that abstergent holiness which is believed to wash 
away the sins of those who approach its residence, and the result will be 
found to answer the expectations which are so reasonably cherished." 

The following extract from the Calcutta Literary Gazette, in Aug. 1829, 
is interesting. " Were the Government to withhold its support and 
superintendence from the Idol s establishment, this would greatly tend to 
lessen the evil. Were these withheld the cars would no longer be decorated 
with English broad cloths; the pilgrim hunters would cease to be paid for 
enticing the people from their homes ; consequently few pilgrims would 
come ; the different servants and officers would manifest less regularity, 
while the food and general provision of the idols would be prepared with an 
economy that would contribute to the general decline in their interest : 
disorder and dishonesty would immediately succeed through every part of 
the system, which would soon work its own decline. A Panda said, that 
before the Company took the care of the Idol s establishment, he had not 
the glory I now saw , for that then the people said, There is no road ; no 
shelter; there were robbers abroad, and how could they go so far? and 
thus saying, they stayed at home. But that now the thieves were taken ; 
good roads made ; sheltering places built ; and Juggernaut otherwise 
supported; the people had no excuse, and no fear, and therefore they came. 
These are facts which cannot but be kno\\n to many, acquainted with the 
Pooree affairs, and will be readily acknowledged by every intelligent native." 

The late Rev. T. Thomason, of Calcutta, in a letter to the 
Author, in Aug. 1824, writes: "The sad subject of the tax 
on pilgrims lias been again and again brought forward. 
Ik fore Mr. Narington was out of Council the subject was 
fully discussed ; minutes were written, opinions collected, 
and the whole is gone for the decision of the Court of 
Directors. Doubtless this and other abominations will give 
way at length ; but politicians may protract their continuance 
for a season." Tn another letter, dated Calcutta, March 1825, 
he says, " Every thing has been done here in the matter of 
the JitgyerHfint dhow i nation, <nnt of the burning of Widows. 


Kor this also we must wait. Having done all, we can only 
look to Him who can give prosperity." 

K very man \vho can afford it," says the lute Dr. lluchanan, 
u is obliged to pay a tribute to the English Government, for 
leave to worship the Idol (Juggernaut). It will give me 
sincere pleasure if the further investigation of this subject shall 
tend, in anv degree, to soften the shameful impression which 
the above statement must make on the public mind. What 
can be compared to the disgrace of regulating, by Christian 
law, the bloody and obscene rites of J uggernaut ? The honour 
of our nation is certainly involved in this matter. But there 
is no room for the language of crimination or reproach ; it is 
the sin of ignorance. These facts are not generally known, 
because there, has been no official inquiry. In regard to the 
Idol 7)/.r, the principle of the enormity, it is said, has never 
been fully explained to the Government at home. The 
Honourable the Court of Directors will feel as indignant, on 
a full development of the fact, as any public body of the 
nation."* In a letter addressed to the lion. Court, respecting 
Juggernaut, May 1813, he declares, "A writer may be able, 
by the power of high embellishment, bv noticing indifferent 
circumstances, and entirely suppressing others, to represent 
the Idol Juggernaut as one of the gav and elegant deities of 
Greece and Rome; but the substance of the facts, as stated 
by others, will remain the same. It will still continue true, 
that Juggernaut is a fountain of vice and misery to millions 
of mankind; that the sanguinary and obscene character of 
the worship is in the highest degree revolting, and that It will 
be (i iit o.t/ Jiftj>j>!/ ere/it, when our Christian tuition s/ntll 
dissolve its connection u it/t that j>ollnled place"^ 

The Editor of the Missionary Register, Feb. 18i2S, referring 
to the permission of Suttees, and to the Pilgrim Tax, justly 
remarks, " There are two topics of a very distressing nature, 
because they are putting to hazard the fidelity of this country, 
in the discharge of that high trust which has been committed 
to it, in its delegated stewardship of India. The Pilgrim Tax, 
levied bv the Indian Government, on idolaters going on 
pilgrimage to supposed sacred places, whatever were its 
design, has had the acknowledged effect of sanctioning and 
legalizing this destructive and wicked superstition." Adverting 
to the Author s pamphlet on Pilgrim Tax in India, it is 

* The Eras of Light, IHJO, pp. 11 11. This expectation a* mil 
reali/ed on the full discussion of tin; subject in the fndiu House, in Sep 
1HMO. See A*5. Jour., Oct. 1*30. 

t Buchanan s Apol. for Christianity in India, p. 4*2. 

I/ -> 


observed "The author has collected abundant testimony to 
ihe duty, facilities, and advantages, of the entire and imme 
diate abandonment of this pernicious system." 

The foil owing remark son " Revenue from Hindoo Temples" 
by a public officer of high rank in India, appear very 
judicious : 

"As the greater proportion of the pilgrims, who present the offerings 
which constitute the revenue of Government, are the inhabitants of the 
Hon. Company s Territories, it becomes necessary to consider the effect of 
the payment of the tax. It will not, I conceive, require much argument 
to prove, that the amount of collections drawn from them is most injurious 
to the general resources of the Government, more particularly with regard 
to the gifts made by landholders, from the richest zemindar to the poorest 
ryot. The offerings at the Pagoda tend to diminish their power of paying 
their rents, and that even to a much greater extent than if they were to pay 
a similar sum by a tax in any other mode ; for the time and labour consumed 
in the journey, the extravagance and waste while the pilgrims remain, the 
actual detriment their cultivation and stock must suffer in consequence of 
their absence, are all to be considered; and this injury to their individual, 
and thus to the Government s interests, is entirely the effect of their being 
induced, by their prejudices, to proceed to so great a distance, to make an 
offering, that is, literally, to pat/ an additional tax to Government above their 
assessments ; whereas, if no facility for so senseless a proceeding were offered 
them, there is a reason to believe that they would, with the sum expended 
in offerings, be either discharging their rents with greater exactness, or 
adding to their capital. I would submit that, it icould appear clearly to be 
most consistent with the best interests of Government, to discourage the influx 
of their landholders as pilgrims to . 

"The remaining portion of the Company s subjects who visit the , 

and add to the revenues of Government by their contributions, are the 
merchants, manufacturers, and artificers, with probably a small number of 
the idle part of the population. It is a well-established fact that, in the 
years of plentiful crops, the Government dues are collected with the least 
facility, in consequence of the difficulty the ryots experience in disposing 
of their grain; it is plain they cannot sell to each other, as all have grain 
to dispose of it follows, the consumers and purchasers are the mercantile 
and manufacturing classes. As the quantity they can afford to buy, or the 
price they can afford to give, must of necessity depend on the earnings of 
their labour, should this class of persons be induced, by any facility not now 
possessed, to come in greater numbers to , the loss of the state 
must be very considerable; for they cannot follow their professions on their 
journey, but must be wasting their time and means: the value of the 
employment of their labour must be lost to themselves and to the Government. 
To put this in a clear light, suppose for a moment the circumstance of a 
whole manufacturing and mercantile population of the district of , 
leaving their employments and undertaking a pilgrimage to : we 
should at once see the had effects of such a measure; they would lose all 
tlieir time and labour, thus greatly decreasing individual wealth; and the 
ryots would be suffering severely, there being no market for their grain. 
I do not imagine any person would think of encouraging such a movement 
of the population, and yet exactly the same effects follow in proportion from 
the absence of one or ten inhabitants of that country, or of any other of the 
Hon. Company s Provinces on pilgrimage, as in the case of the absence of 


the whole body. It is just as much the best policy of Government to 
discourage the pilgrimage in one or ten, as it would be their best poliey on 
th> supposition of the movement of the whole mercantile aud manufacturing 

" It was not attempted to be denied," says J. Poynder, 
Esq., " that the British Government not merely tolerates so 
much idolatry and crime, but derives an immense revenue 
from this polluted source. The Gentleman who noticed 
external amendments (removing indecent emblems from the 
car, and the wall that surrounds the temple) lias thought 
proper to produce only as much of the appalling account given 
by Colonel Phipps, as was necessary to his own object; bul 
he has passed over everv thing in that relation which proves 
the idolatry of Juggernaut to be most destructive to the Indian 
population, in its consequences upon human life, and most 
disgraceful to the British Government, in its continuance as 
a source of revenue. The public statement, given by the 
Colonel,t affords abundant proof that Me continuance of ////.v 
national opprobrium is referrible to tin Hoard of Control 
for India, rather titan to tin Court of Directors of the East 
India Compa,ny"\ The author would particularly recom 
mend the Speech of this Gentleman, on the subject of British 
Connection with Idolatry in India, delivered at a Quarterly 
Court of Proprietors, Sep. 1830. (Hatchard). It is an able 

II. S. G. Tucker, Esq., in his "Review of the Financial 
Situation of the East India Company, in 1824," disapproves 
of the tax levied on the pilgrims resorting to Juggernaut and 
other holy places : " he thinks it docs not harmonize with a 
great and liberal Government. "\\ 

G. l T dny, Esq., Member of Council in Calcutta, in 180<>, 
entered a protest against some parts of the Pilgrim Tax 
System. He suggested, " If the revenue of the temple were 
insufficient for its support, a tax should be levied to meet the 
deficiency ; but that Government should have no direct con 
cern with what related to the maintenance of the temple, or 
the payment of the officers." The reason assigned was, 
"The making provision by law for such purpose, it appears 

* Asi. Jour., May ISvJ J, p. I. W. See some interesting remarks on this 
subject in the Ori. Her., vol. ii. p. 71. Also Asi. Jour., March 1K1I, 
pp. 201 21. . f Miss. Keg., Dec. 1824. 

} Speech on Human Sacrifices in India, March 1H27. (Hatchard.) 

I- or the just views of Mr. T rant, an Indian Proprietor, upon this subject, 
see Asi. Jour., Oct. IH. K), pp. Ill, 112. 

! Asi. .four., June IH2 >. 


to me, would operate to sanction, and tend lo perpetuate a 
system of gross idolatry, which Government is neither bound, 
nor does it seem becoming in it, to do."* How much better, 
that Britain should have no connection with the temples of 
India, cither in acquiring wealth from them, or in supporting 
or superintending their establishments ! 

"It is evidently indecorous, if not inconsistent says the 
late J. II. Harington, Esq., " I hat the Government of a nation 
professing Christianity should participate in the offerings of 
heathen superstition, and idolatry"-^ In correspondence with 
the writer, in 182-1, he stated the same opinion : " I think, my 
self, a Christian Government ought not to derive a revenue 
from the allowance of this sin." And in a letter from the same 
Gentleman in June, 1825, (which contained the substance of 
the communication to J. Blunt, Esq., Commissioner of Orissa, 
relative to the relief of the pilgrims at the Car Festival,) he 
observed, "The Court of Directors have recognised the Tax 
at Juggernaut, as a fund applicable to local purposes, not as 
a part of the general revenue of the State ; and that scarcely 
any purpose could be even worthy of Government, except that 
of mitigating the mischiefs which this miserable superstition 
occasions" Let the British withdraw from the temple of 
Juggernaut all possible connection, the eclat of the pilgrimage 
will gradually cease, and its miseries disappear. 

"We think," say the Board of Revenue in Calcutta, Sep. 
1800, " the interference of the public officers, in superintending 
the general concerns of a Hindoo temple, so far from being cal 
culated to promote economy in the expenses, to increase the re 
putation and prosperity of the temple, or to augment the public 
revenue, is likely to be attended with contrary effects. We 
would recommend the whole of the internal economy and ma 
nagement of the temple to be left entirely to the Hindoo priest 
hood; and that the interference of Government be confined 
to the levy of a duty from pilgrims, in like manner as is done 
at Gya and Allahabad. From the pilgrims resorting to Gya, 
Government derives an annual rerenne of about 150,000 
rupees ; no interference whatever is had by the officers of 
Government with the priests of the temple. With reference 
to the substantial benefits arising to Government from the 
tax upon pilgrims resorting to Gya, and, on the other hand, 
to the inconsiderable receipts by Government from the temple 
of Juggernaut since it has been under the British Government, 

* Par. Papers, May l,Si:5, p. 11. 
f Hamilton s Analysis, \ol. iii. p. J Jii. 


we consider ourselves fully justified, in recommending that the 
rules respecting the concerns of Juggernaut s temple, should be 
brought as near as possible to those at Gya."* 

In the correspondence of the Hon. Court of Directors with 
the Right Hon. the Board of Commissioners for the Affairs of 
India, in ISO!), sentiments are expressed opposed to a con 
siderable part of the present System at Juggernaut. "Accord 
ing to the Hindoo laws, it may have been allowable for a 
1 1 indoo Government to interfere in the appointment of ministers 
of that temple, and the management of its affairs; but for our 
Government to elect its jtricsts and officers, to assume a 
con trot over the official conduct of those persons, to take the 
direction of its funds and the charge of preparing its annual 
ear, was, in the opinion of the Court, to furnish to the ill- 
intentioned pretexts for alarming the scrupulosity and super 
stition of the Hindoos in respect to their religion. The Court 
thinking the interference of our Government in these in::lt -;. 
generally improper, on the principles of the Hindoos and on 
our ou-n, and especially improper at such a time; judged il 
right, for the prevention of such interference in future, to 
express their disapprobation of it. The acts of interference 
disapproved by the Court were specified to be, electing the 
priests of the temple, controlling its ministers and officers, 
taking the management of its funds, or any other proceeding 
which would not leave the Hindoos in perfect possession of 
their religious immunities. The Court beg leave respectfully 
to state, that they still deem it (heir dull/ to propose tlie pro 
hibition of these things; and if there be any points relating 
to the religious establishments of the Hindoos beyond the 
care of a police, the administration of justice, and the 
collection of a tax requisite for the attainment of these ends/ 
it would be proper to specify it to the Government, instead of 
leaving a universal interference in all matters without exception 
open to them, on the ground of securing the public tranquillity ; 
because it is to be presumed, there must be some point at 
which the interference of a Government not Hindoo, in the 
religious concerns of a people so remarkably separated and 
scrupulous in matters of that kind, must stop. The Courl 
intend to provide for the maintenance of the public tranquillity ; 
and humbly hope they have done so, by leaving to the 
magistrate the care of the police, and the administration of 
justice: and they beg leave to offer it as their opinion, that 

I ar P;i|>ns rclatiu- in .lu^rniaut, M.iy I -Si. !. Extract of a Letter t< 
Sir <J. II. Barlow, Hart. 


instead of interfering by a direct exercise of the authority of 
Government in such matters as the contests between different 
priests and different sects about the expenditure and pro 
vision of its funds, the possession and pre-eminence of 
particular images, with other questions of that nature which 
have already arisen, and are always likely to arise in the 
internal administration of the temple :* it will be better to 
refer all such questions to the judicial determination of our 
established Courts, which being done, the interference of the 
Government for the public peace can only be necessary should 
the parties proceed to acts of open hostility against each 

This chapter may be closed by quoting the sentiments of 
the Eight Hon. the Board of Commissioners in 1808, in the 
correspondence already adverted to : they appear in strict 
consonance with the object here advocated. " Tt is undoubtedly 
desirable to avoid as much as possible the exercise of any 
control over the management and concerns of the temple ; as 
our interference in such matters cannot but be, at all times, 
disagreeable to the feelings and prejudices of the Hindoos ; 
and may occasionally furnish ground of jealousy and mis 
representation, in regard to our intentions respecting their 
religion. The revenue which maybe raised, from any source 
of that nature, can never be an object compared with the high 
importance of consulting, on all occasions, the religious 
opinions and civil usages of the natives." 

* "In proof, that an undue interference with idolatry has thus been 
exercised, I observe (says Mr. Poynder), that from pages 44 to 50 of the 
Par. Papers of 1813, along correspondence occurs, in \\lrich the Indian 
Government is appealed to, ivhelher a certain Idol should have a throne 
allotted to him, or be worshipped in an outer court, which ends in a forma! 
decision of our Christian Government in favour of the external worship." 
Debate on Idolatry in India, Asi. Jour., Oct. 1830, p. 97. Par. Papers, 
1813, pp. 19,45, 56. 

f Par. Papers, May 1813. Extract of a Letter from W. Ramsay, Esq., 
Sec. to the lion. Court of Directors, to G. Hal ford, Esq., Sec. to the Right 
Hon. the Board of Commissioners for India, Feb. 1809. 



Objections to the repeal of the Pilyrim Tax System obviated 
concluding appeal. 

Tlie anomalous nature of the system under consideration 
has attracted the attention of many highly respectable Gentle 
men, both in England and India. It may be presumed, that 
various objections to its abolition must exist among those, 
who possess the power of performing this important service 
for the interests of humanity and religion in liindostan; the 
following are the principal : 

The Right Hon. the Board of Commissioners, in the 
paragraph last quoted, propose a common objection to the 
repeal of the Pilgrim Tax : " Both the taxes above mentioned 
(those levied at Juggernaut and Allahabad), having been es 
tablished during the Naicaub and Mahratta Governments, 
there does not appear to be any substantial objection to the 
continuance of those duties, under proper rules for their 
collection ." 

In obviating this objection, the Author is happy in being 
able to use the language of the lion. Court of Directors, to 
the Right Hon. the Board of Commissioners, in their corres 
pondence relative to British superintendence of the temple of 
Juggernaut. " It is not our opinion, whatever the example 
of preceding Governments may have been, that the British 
Government ought to tax the Hindoos purely on a religious 
account; for instance, to make them pay merely for access to 
any of their places of devotion. We approve of the suggestion 
of the Board of Revenue, in June IHOfi, to confine the inter 
ference of Government at Juggernaut, to the levy of a duty on 
pilgrims, in like manner as is done at Gya and Allahabad ; 
but the quantum of the tax ought to be fully sufficient to 
defray the expense incurred by Government for the establish 
ment which it shall maintain at Juggernaut. With regard to 
imposing a tax upon the Hindoos for admission to a religious 
privilege, when the hnposers believed, as the Hindoo Govern 
ment (lid, that the privilege was a real good, it was, on their 
principles, for them to put a price upon it ; but, n-here the 
Government knoic the supposed pririleye to be a delusion, 
the Court must question the propriety of its continuing the 
practice, thouyh it may be ancient ; that reason not having 
been deemed bv our Government, in other instances, sufficient 
to sanction customs repugnant to the principles of justice. 


And, with respect to disbursing out of the Public Treasury 
any thing towards the support of religious establishments, 
Hindoo or Mahomedan, beyond what their own endowments 
furnish, the Court cannot but deem the principle objection 
able, and the practice to be preferred, which has lately been 
adopted by the Madras Government, who have determined 
not to receive into their hands the funds belonging to such 
institutions, nor to be concerned in the expenditure of 
them."* This reasoning appears very conclusive ; and, when 
it is known that the Hindoos argue the dignity and even the 
divinity of Juggernaut, from the attention of the British 
Government to his establishment, does not the impropriety of 
a Christian Government collecting a tax on the worshippers 
of a block of wood, irresistibly strike every intelligent and in 
genuous mind r 

The following incident shews that some of the Hindoos 
consider the establishment of the Pilgrim Tax by the British, 
and its consequent support of Juggernaut, as a proof of the 
Idol s interposition. The author s pundit related to him, that 
" Juggernaut appeared in a dream to the General Sahab, as 
he lay upon his couch, and said to him, Why have you not 
given me my konor (food), as I used to have? If you do not 
give it, I will punish you. The General was afraid, and gave 
orders that Juggernaut should have food set before him as 

Another objection to the repeal of this system is, Us sup 
posed protection of the pilgrims from oppression. This was 
Mr. Udny s reason for adopting some kind of police establish" 
inent at Juggernaut s temple ; as this Gentleman expressed it, 
" to secure the pilgrims against every thing of a vexatious 
nature from the extortion and oppression of the officers of the 
temple." But is it possible to prevent the priests of idolatrous 
establishments making a gain of their office? The present 
premium to the pilgrim hunters, being secured by Government, 
is claimed to its full amount ; and, in addition to it, other 
demands are made upon the worshippers in the temple, and 
at various places in the town : " all the resources of super 
stition and priestcraft are brought into active operation ; and 
every offering, from a sweetmeat to alack of rupees, is grasped 
by the officiating Brahmuns with the most importunate 
rapacity.f" At Juggernaut, the last act of worship (without 
which the whole pilgrimage is void) is performed under a tree 

* Par. Ps.v-n-s, Msiy lX|:t,j. 17. 
| Sec Ham. Hind., vol. ii. ]>]>. . r ). , <>17. 


in tin cm-Insure of the temple ; and, before the pilgrims are 
allowed to do this, certain sums are exacted from them accord 
ing to the cupidity of the priests. Promissory notes are given 
at Gya, and pilgrims in general evidently lie at the inercv of 
their religious guides. 

An extract from a communication of a correspondent in 
Orissa, at Ganjain, in 1H*2G, shews that no system can be 
adopted to protect Hindoo pilgrims from oppression : "Talk 
ing about Juggernaut, a man from the country asked the 
question so common in another place: }\ Jty the Company 
had an if thing to do u itJi Juggernaut^ if his worship MY/-V 
wrong ? And I said, as I always do on such occasions, that 
the Company did wrong. One of them told me that he had 
been to Juggernaut a lew days ago ; that his personal expenses 
on the road were two rupees. The tax was two rupees, six 
annas ; two rupees went for food for the blocks (idols) ; three, 
rupees were taken by the pundas, besides two pice here and 
two pice there in different parts of the temple. A man in 
another place told me that he did not pay the tax [pretending 
to be very poor] ; and that his last journey cost him about 
live rupees : the expenses lie said differed according to people s 
circumstances ; for the same journey would cost some Jifty 
rupees. I inquired how the pundas knew what to expect, 
and he replied, some of them would come and stay tiro or 
Ihree )iionths in such a place as Ganjain, bv which means 
they become acquainted with their circumstances." 

The following facts may afford a specimen of the conduct 
of the immediate attendants of idols. " Krishna Vusoo gave 
to the temple of Juggernaut (near Serampore) an immense 
car, which could not cost less than 4 or 5000 rupees, lie 
also added an allowance of six rupees a day for the expenses 
of the worship of this idol. Gourn Mullick, a goldsmith of 
Calcutta (who gave the interest of his mother s weight in gold 
to different temples !) added six rupees more to the daily 
offerings of this temple. These two benefactors, perceiving 
that Hie Tlrahmuns of the temple, instead of expending these 
suws in the offering* to the yod and in alms to strangers, 
applied Uie greater part of it to their private use, reduced 
the si.r rupees, to one rupee four annas a day. To extort 
more money from the donors, the Brahmuns at two succeeding 
festivals prevented the car proceeding to an adjoining temple, 
in which the donors were interested, pretending that (lie god 
was angry with them for their parsimony and would not go."* 

Ward * YUAN of thr IIiiiloo>. \ >l. i. Intro. i. Id. 


The late Bishop Heber, visiting some temples of Seel), gave 
a rupee to two Brahmuris who had shown them to him, and 
observes ; " T thought one rupee was enough between them, 
and told the priests that they were to divide it. No sooner, 
however, had it touched the threshold, than the two old men 
began scrambling for it in a most indecorous manner; abusing 
each other, spitting, stamping, clapping their hands, and 
doing every thing but striking ; the one insisting that it 
belonged to him whose threshold it had touched ; the other 
urging the known intentions of the donor. I tried to pacify 
them, but found it of no use, and left them in the midst of the 

A Calcutta Paper, in Oct. 1822, contained the following 
relation : " Robbery at Juggernaut. Juggernaut has been 
in great commotion, and I suspect some of the followers of 
Juggernaut will be staggered in their faith. This morning, 
when the pundas went in to visit the idols, they found all the 
silver ornaments gone, to the amount of 5000 rupees. They 
say none of the doors had been forced. All the inside doors 
are locked, and the keys lodged with the head punda and 
several chokedars in the compound : the outside doors are 
also locked, and the keys lodged with the punda ; and a sepoy 
sentry at each outside, as they are not allowed to go in dressed 
in their uniforms, or have any charge of what is inside. The 
Rajah and Collector s officers have had a meeting, and con 
fined upwards of twenty attendants of the idol. On asking 
the sepoys what they thought of it, they laughing replied, 
Thakoor must have robbed himself (that is allowed some one), 
as he would have struck a person blind, who offered to take 
away his ornaments, or his sister s, or his brother s ! It is a 
most curious circumstance ; for no one goes in but accom 
panied by pundas, and all the sepoys seem to say some of 
them must be the rogues. The Jacks do not seem to have 
much veneration for Juggernaut, as they seem to joke at the 
idea of his being robbed."f 

A third objection to taking off the tax, and a vindication of 
its propriety, is (to use Mr. Harington s words in his 
"Analysis,") "The Court of Directors (in a letter dated Oct. 
1814) intimate that they do not consider the tax on pilgrims 
a source of revenue, but merely as a fund for keeping the 
temple in repair. The Vice President in Council, adverting 
to the probability of the net receipts exceeding the amount 

* Jour., vol. i. p. !M. f Asi. Jour.. July 1H23. The author 

has seen the thief in the jail at Cuttaek. 


required lor the repairs of the edifice, directed that the surplus 
should be applied, to the repairs of the temple and other 
local purposes ; the completion and repair of a public road 
from the ricinity of Calcutta to Juggernaut Pooree, com- 
menced on a donation for this purpose by the late Rajah 
Sookmoy R<>u ; and to any other purpose connected with the 
temple of Juggernaut" 

To this statement Colonel Phipps adverts in his account 
of Juggernaut. "In the year 1814, the Court of Directors 
declared, that they did not consider the tax on pilgrims as a 
source of revenue. There is, however, some inconsistency in 
this : for what purpose is this tax levied ?* Is it intended as 
a fund to encourage idolatry? The truth is, a small part, 
one fourth, or one third, is appropriated to purchase holy 
food, and to defray the other expenses of the temple, but the 
remainder goes into the treasury. It is sometimes said that 
the surplus is employed for making a new road in the District. 
But nothing can be more self-evident than the fact, that the 
Government must consider a good military road, connecting 
the Madras Provinces with those of Bengal, as a measure of 
primary importance, which could not fail to be attended to, if 
there had not been a temple at Juggernaut Pooree. In 1810 
Raja Sookmoy Hoy offered to contribute 150, 000 rupees 
towards making a good road to Juggernaut, to be designated 
by his name. This very liberal oiler was accepted, and the 
road is now constructing ; but this contribution would have 
been a sufficient inducement to undertake any public road, 
much more, one so much wanted, if the Pilgrim Tax had never 
been thought of." The proceeds of the tax at Ova- and Alla 
habad are, with some small deductions, put into the public 
treasury. The gross collections at Gya in 1815 16 were 
220,805 rupees, deductions, .K>,J)-29, net receipts 182,870 
rupees. At Allahabad, the same year, the gross collections 
were 79,771) rupees; deduct charges and commission, 0726 ; 
net receipts 7. 5,0.">:J rupees. It is hoped, that when the 

* The Par. Papers, respecting 1 Juggernaut, May 1813, shew that gain 
was a principal nbjt <-t f ettablishing the Pilgrim Tax. The regulations were 
altered occasionally for the purpose, (pp. 48, 51, ^c). Satisfaction is 
expressed at the increase of pilgrim*, and produce of tax levied. To make 
but one extract, "The Governor General in Council has observed with 
satisfaction the increase of revenue, stated to have been obtained at the 
present Jattra." Aug 180<). (See pages 66, 8, 74, Hi.) Strenuous efforts 
are made to prevent pilgrims avoiding the tax. An expenditure of 10,000 
rupees was authori/cd in 1812, fr the construction of a wall, " for the 
purpose of preventing the pilgiims from forcing their way to the temple." 
p. -JO. Sre also pp. 39, 53, 73. Aimi. 


injurious tendency of this system, in perpetuating superstition 
and misery is known, it will be promptly abolished. 

Another objection to the repeal of the Tax is, that the 
collection of it cannot be considered an encouragement of 
Idolatry, but must be calculated to decrease the number of 
Pilgrims. This objection is ably met by J. Poynder, Esq., 
in an excellent article on " Idolatry and Pilgrim Tax? in 
reply to Dr. Short s vindication of the system. " But Dr. 

S , it appears, has yet to learn, how taxation can be 

encouragement of the thing taxed. This is easily understood 
when it is considered, that the taxation imposed at the heathen 
temples is a species of privilege, which varies in its amount, 
not only according to the quality of the worshipper, but to 
the greater or less benefit supposed to be received by him. 
Thus for a shorter portion of time, passed at Allahabad, &c., 
where less advantage is supposed to accrue to the worshipper, 
less money is paid ; while for a larger number of ablutions, 
and for visits to stations of more eminent sanctity, or for 
attendance on particular ceremonies, higher fees are charged, 
as the price of the larger indulgence that is conceded. The 
effect of all this, on the mind of the ignorant devotee, is a 
conviction, that the spiritual advantage is secured in direct 
proportion to the amount of his money payment ; and that the 
higher the tax he can raise, the more must his soul be bene 
fited. The ascending scale of prices that is fixed by the 
Christian Collector s authority, sets an imaginary value on 
tlie article supplied by him, to the less guilty heathen, which, 
by exciting a more earnest competition for what can be had 
for money, increases, immensely, the number of idolatrous 
worshippers. Thus the Company is made to sanction the 
most dangerous delusion of heathenism, namely, that the 
divine favour may be purchased by money, and professing 
Christians become the direct encouragcrs of the grossest 
heathenism, with all its inseparable concomitants of vice and 
profligacy. And is this the way by which Dr. Short, from 
his long acquaintance with the natives, proposes to upset 
idolatry altogether ? "* This reasoning is confirmed by the 
facts of the case. 

The most common and plausible objection to the repeal of 
this system is, the supposed increase (tf pilgrims that would 
result from it. 

Dr. Buchanan, in his letter to the lion. Court respecting 
Juggernaut, 181 3, in reply to C. Buller, Esq., M.P., observes, 

* A si. Jour., April 1831, p. , * 

WITH 1 DO LATHY. 15!) 

Mr. Hullcr would maintain the proposition, that the imposi 
tion of the tax diminishes the number of pilgrims; but the 
events of the last year render this proposition very question 
able. Mr. 15. would place, the policy of the tax on a new 
yroif/id, namely, the diminution of the number of pilgrims, 
and the consequent prevention of famine and death. 
Unhappilv lor this argument, it is a well-known fact that, 
while tlie temple was under the native dominion, when the 
ttLv on fidintfi.ft oii. teas higher than it is HOW, and when a 
discipline was observed among the people, which we should 
not think right to exert, the concourse of pilgrims was yet 
immense ; in peaceable times incredibly great ; and the 
consequent evils were in the necessary proportions."* 

" It has been thought by some," says Colonel Phipps, 
" that the tax levied on pilgrims would deter many from 
undertaking such a perilous journey ; but it is perhaps inherent 
in any plan to obtain a revenue, from such a source, that 
steps will be gradually taken to render the tax more produc 
tive ; and, however it may be disguised, it is obvious that this 
can onlv be done by increasing the number of pilgrims, or, 
in other words, by encouraging the superstition so as to 
render it more popular." In 1*04 and 1805 the Knglish 
Government levied no tax, the priests made every exertion to 
profit by this unexpected state of affairs, and the attendance 
of pilgrims was very great; the loss of lives, it is said, was 
very considerable, and there can be little doubt that something 
like a famine must have prevailed. On these circumstances 
the Colonel justly remarks, "This amazing number of pilgrims 
evidently arose from circumstances not likely to occur again ; 
and it is probable that, if Government had persevered in 
avoiding all interference, the novelty <nid (jreat attraction 
would soon /tare worn off, especially if the pilgrims had been 
protected from the rapacity of the priests ; the trade of 
pilgrim hunters would have been unprofitable, and no man 
would have felt any inclination, to employ hundreds of agents 
to entice Hindoos to undertake such pilgrimages. "f 

A missionary in Orissa writes, in May, IH 27 : "The sound 
of the hammer and axe about the car wood excited mv indig 
nation, particularly as the workmen arc paid by our government, 
and professed Christians are their superintendents and exhort 
them to make haste (jiildee ktirroj. Called upon Mr. II ; 
he intended to exert himself to abolish the Tax, but the perusal 

* Buchanan s Apology fur Cliristiunilv in Indi;i, p. . V>. 
-. R("_;., IS 21, p. 678 5H1. Set- also I fain. Ilirnl., vol. i. p. 


of correspondence, c., of the Court of Directors, determined 
him otherwise ; and it seems we must still go on, providing 
foody clothes, cars, missionaries, servants and Christian 
superintendence, for the detestable idol I ! From some con 
versation with a long resident in Pooree, and a very creditable 
native, I ascertained that, within his knowledge, the population 
has increased more than two-fold ! I asked him the occasion 
of this increase ; he answered, under our administration 
Juggernaut had become popular, and so more people had 
taken up their residence there ! He moreover added, AS OUR 
SELF ! He concluded his speech by exhorting me to regard 
their books, and become one with them ! "* 

The decay of idolatry, consequent upon the progress of 
Christianity in the south of India, is very evident. A 
Missionary in that part of India writes, in July 1825, 
" There is now a great idolatrous feast at Tinnevelley. This 
day the car of the idol was to be drawn through several streets 
of the town. The Collector had refused to allow the Peons 
to force the people to come and draw the car as formerly. 
When they were sent into the villages to bring the people 
together, they used to take bribes from many who did not 
wish to draw the car - 9 this year, this source of income was 
cut off: and the people were far from coming voluntarily. 
Some rich natives, the principal patrons of these feasts, from 
whom they derive emoluments, induced those people who 
were dependent upon them to come ; but as they were not 
sufficient to move the car, two Modeliars and a principal 
Gooroo seized the rope with a loud hurrah, which induced 
many to imitate their example. The ceremony was not begun 
at daybreak as usual ; but soon after midnight ; and they drew 
the car so quickly, that, instead of spending in this toil, a day 
or a day and a half, as in former years, they finished it by 
sunrise ! It being known that the Collector had taken 
the above step, considerably fewer people came from the 

* A Bengalee Paper called Chundrika, in Nov. 1829, thus lauds the 
British Government. " The Government has removed all inconvenience 
from pilgrims visiting our holy places, and the temples of our gods; and 
has made great exertions to establish on an excellent si/stem the worship of 
the gods in those places. In constructing new streets ibr the beauty of this 
city, they have not destroyed the temples that stood in the way, or projected 
from the sides, but have rather given the road a crooked turn." A si. Jour., 
April 1830, p. 208. 


country to attend the feast than at any former period ; and 

the patrons of idolatry, instead of forcing the carpenters 
and others to do the work <jratis, were obliged to pay 
tliem this year, more than their usual day s hire. Some 
endeavoured to hide their disappointment, and to remove the 
dishonour thrown upon their god, by saying, the idol had 
shetrti its poti er by finishing its tour this year in a few hours, 
winch had formerly taken a day or more ! Many said, before 
the drawing of the car, if the god would not move it without 
human help, thc\ would not acknowledge him any more as a 
divinity."* " The lirahmuns (says Bishop Ileber), being 
limited to voluntary rottiries, have now rery hard work to 
speed the ponderous wheels of Balce and Sim through the 
deep lanes of this fertile country. This is, however, still 
the most favoured land of Brahmunism, and the temples are 
larger than any which 1 have seen in Northern India."f 

The probable increase of pilgrims, on the repeal of the 
present system, would be temporary. Let the premium for 
collecting them be discontinued, and their number would 
certainly decrease. This is Mr. Harington s opinion respect 
ing the travelling priests of Gya, of whom he says, speaking 
of the pilgrims, " \V1io but for them irould probably never 
hare risited Ciya. n This position the natural influence of 
certain or uncertain gain inducing thepundas to seek pilgrims 
or not, is so evident, that it is presumed, it must have been 
overlooked in the supposition, that the repeal of the Pilgrim 
Tax would increase the horrors of pilgrimage. The existence 
of the premium for collecting pilgrims appears to be but little 
known, and it is presumed that, as soon as its injurious ten 
dency is recognised, it will be discontinued. Supposing the 
number of pilgrims to be increased at Juggernaut, Gya, Alla 
habad, &c., on the British retiring from these idolatrous 
establishments, (a very improbable circumstance, when so 
much of their present eclat would vanish,) the poverty and 
misery of the people would not be so great; the tax tends to 
beggar them, and sickness and death follow hard upon the 
heels of poverty. It is easy to confer this boon relative to the 
temples in India " Let them alone ;" yet it is very important. 
Idolatry cannot stand opposed by the progress of science; and 
true religion, and shall Britain defile her hand by supporting 
its tottering ark ? " Will ye plead for Baal ? will yc save 
him ? If he be a god, let him plead for himself." Jud. vi. - 51 

* Miss. Reg. Nov. 1827, p. ;V><), see p. MA. See also Bap. Miscellany, 
Jan. I *_>!) | Trieliiuopoly. April 1M-J<;. Asi. Jour., April JH27, p. IHM. 



In this concluding appeal, the author feels tremulously 
alive to its issue. 80 deeply is he convinced, from ocular 
demonstration at the temple of Juggernaut, of the evils of the 
Pilgrim Tax System, that might he be the unknown, yet 
honoured means of its abolition, he should rejoice on that 
account alone, to the latest period of his life, that he had been 
to India. How shall this service for the interests of humanity 
and Christianity be accomplished? Could it be obtained 
prostrate at the feet of the executive body of the Hon. East 
India Company, it should soon be done. But as Zeno said 
to Crates, there is no retaining a philosopher but by his ears. 7 
Statesmen and Legislators must be convinced of the propriety 
of measures, strenuously urged for their adoption. This has 
been attempted in a temperate and respectful manner. Let 
the prominent features of the system under consideration be 
calmly considered, and the successful issue of this appeal 
appears certain. 

The miseries of superstition apparent in the pilgrimages of 
India are most appalling. Probably half a million of people 
annually visit Juggernaut, Gya, and Allahabad (and in some 
years a much greater number) ; but how many hundreds, not 
to say thousands, of these unhappy people never survive the 
horrors of pilgrimage ! The Author has seen the pilgrims of 
Juggernaut lie upon the sands of the river at Cuttack, a prey 
to dogs and birds. Like a pestilential stream the pilgrims 
carry disease, especially the cholera morbus, through the pro 
vince of Orissa ; and thus misery and death mark their course.* 
Can it be for the gain of this unhallowed system that it is con 
tinued ? " We are fully convinced," says the Editor of the 
" Friend of India," " when all the effects arising from the 
close contact with this abominable idolatry, into which a mis 
guided humanity has led the British nation, are thoroughly 
weighed ; no one who reflects, that the surplus of the tax 
from year to year applied to the completion of the great road 
in Orissa, (the only public object to which this surplus is ap 
propriated,) on the yearly average, can scarcely double in the 
number of rupees it contains, that of our Hindoo fellow-sub 
jects wlio perish annually in the course of the journey, can 

* "The population of Rainnad (about 120 miles from Cape Comorin) 
was, in 1812, 13,481, of which number 2307 died of a fever between Dec. 
1H12 and Feb. 1813. This great mortality was by some attributed to an 
infections fever introduced by thevilgrims of Ramissernm : by others to the 
remote and immediate effects of scarcity or rather famine." Hamilton s 
Hind., vol. ii. p. 475. Pilgrimages are a curse to a country. 


refrain Ironi wishing, thai Britain were completely disengaged 
from this scene of idolatry, deception, and death." 

lA t the character of this system be considered. Hamilton, 

in his account of Travancore, states, among the items of 

revenue, a tax on Christian festivals* How do Christians 

approve of a Hindoo Rajah taxing their "solemn assemblies ?" 

Can it be the love of wealth that perpetuates this system in 

India ? Hie Calcutta John Bull spurns such an idea: "We 

cannot for a moment imagine, as the India Gazette appears 

to do, that the practice is kept up at Juggernaut, merely be 

cause it is a source of revenue to Government It is much 

too scanty to be u-ortJi the establishment necessary for the 

collection of tax on pilgrims ; and, were it ever so prolific, 

we do not believe that, on this consideration alone, such an 

office as Collector of the Pilgrim Tax would be one month in 

the Catalogue of Civil appointments. On this point we think 

two opinions cannot be entertained ; for surely, in a Christian 

Government, having the means and satisfied of the policy, of 

drawing its revenue, from no source that would perpetuate 

the horrors and cruelties of superstition, the tax now collect 

ed at Juggernaut would not continue another day." (Oct. 

20th, 18*25). Why is this system continued ? At Juggernaut 

it is stated to be, to keep the temple in repair and make a 

good road to it. But this lies open to opprobrium. Why tax 

is levied at Gva and Allahabad is not stated in Mr. Haring- 

ton s "Analysis;" except it be that it was practised by the 

preceding Government But can Britain in this manner 

follow the steps of the Mahrattas and Mahomedans with con 

sistency ? The most common reason for the Pilgrim Tax is, 

its supposed discouragement of pilgrimages. But, "On the 

very face of the subject, it might have been seen that, unless 

such a tax by its weight amounted to an entire prohibition, 

it must operate, as all opposition to religious opinions has 

done, to bring its object into more extended notice. That 

this would be the case was the natural consequence. Among 

the Hindoos, the British nation necessarily sustains a far 

higher character for knowledge than the Mahomedan dynasty. 

Hence the moment they thought this imaginary benefit 

worth taxing, it acquired a value in the eves of the Hindo 

which it never possessed before."f 

The conduct of the liritish Corernnient in India 
Christianity lias been censurable. "Then; are now," says 

* Vol. ii. p. 310. t Friend of India, Oct. J8 2. i, ]>. J7*. 

M 2 



the late Bishop lleber, "in the south of India about 20U 
Protestant congregations, the numbers of which have been 
vaguely stated at 40,000. I doubt whether they reach 15,000, 
but even this, all things considered, is a great number. The 
Roman Catholics are considerably more numerous, but belong 
to a lower cast of Indians, and, in point of knowledge and 
morality, are said to be extremely inferior. This inferiority, 
as injuring the general character of the religion, isalleged to have 
occasioned the very unfavourable view, with which all Native 
Christians have been regarded in the Madras Government. If 
they have not actually been persecuted, they have been disquali 
fied, totidem verb-is, from holding any place or appointment, 
whether civil or military, under the Company s Government ; 
and that in districts where, while the Native Princes remain 
ed in power, Christians were employed without scruple. Nor 
is this the worst ; many peasants have been beaten by au 
thority of the English magistrate -for refusing, on a religious 
account, to assist in drawing the chariots of the idols on fes 
tival days ! ! It is only the present Collector of Tanjore, who 
has withheld the assistance of the secular arm from the Brah- 
muns on this occasion 1" In the last letter which the Bishop 
wrote to his wife, he says, " Will it be believed that, while 
the Rajah kept his dominions (Tanjore), Christians were 
eligible to all the different offices of state while now there 
is an order of Government against their being admitted to 
any employment !* Surely we are, in matters of religion, 
the most lukewarm and cowardly people on the face of the 
earth /f I mean to make this, and some other things which 
[ have seen, a matter of formal representation, to all the three 
Governments of India, and to the Board of Control. ^ This 
hostility to Christianity, and the countenance and direct 
support of idolatry, not to say amassing wealth from it, at 
Juggernaut, Gya, Allahabad, are very inconsistent in a Chris 
tian Government. The God of nations abhors idolatry, and 

* "The Zillah Judges shall recommend to the Provincial Courts the persons 
whom they may deem lit for the office of District Moonsif; but no person 
shall be authorized to officiate as District Moonsif, without the previous 
sanction of the Provincial Court, nor unless he be of the Hindoo or Ma- 
homoditn persuasion." Reg. of Madras Government. 

f The Author is happy to learn that measures are now in progress for 
abolishing this anomalous system in the Bengal Presidency, and he trusts 
that it will be speedily discontinued in every part of British India. For 
the late Sir T. Munro s opinion of its pernicious influence, see Asi. Jour., 
Feb. 1 830, p. 1 3 



He lias said " If ye walk con/ ran/ to me, / /</ // n-<tlk >-on- 
trary to you" 

British connection icith idolatrous establishments in India 
must tend to perpetuate them. Is it desirable; to sec- India, 
for generations to come, "bowing before her idols trem 
bling at the phantoms ofher o\vn imagination, and in the un 
disturbed possession of a religion of pollution and blood? "* 
But shall Britain be seen supporting the Hindoo temples; 
having presented Sirkaree liho</c, or Government offering, to 
Juggernaut; giving a premium to pilgrim hunters; selling 
licences to enter the temple of Juggernaut, and amassing 
wealth, cursed with the blood of the deluded pilgrims? For 
bid it Heaven! Yet at this day the sun in India beholds this 
incongruous, inhuman, and unchristian procedure. These 
things should be known and felt. And can they be known 
without being abolished? 

The impropriety of this aiffitetn lias of Idle, excited mtn h 
attention. The Marquis Wellesley, it is well known, would 
not consent to the taxation of Juggernaut s temple. In the 
succeeding administration, Mr. Udny, as has been seen, ob 
jected to perpetuating this system of gross idolatry by legisla 
tive enactments. Dr. Buchanan, who visited the temple 
of Juggernaut in 1HO(>, spoke in very strong terms of the anti- 
cliristian nature of this svstem. Before the author was 
compelled, b\ indisposition, to leave India in Nov. lfr 25, the 
subject had excited much attention : and in a letter received 
from the late Rev. T. Thomason, in 18:27, he says," Nothing 
was done in the matter of Juggernaut when I left Calcutta. 
Certain discussions took place in Council, which terminated 
in no particular result: nothing was published, and the written 
documents could only be seen, by calling at the India House 
and obtaining the perusal of them from the Secretary." This 
subject has been very ably discussed by J. Poynder, Esq., 
and some other Proprietors, at a Quar. Court, in Sep. 1830. 
The following was the resolution submitted: " That this Court 
taking into consideration the direct encouragement afforded 
to Idolatry, and also to the licentiousness and bloodshed con 
nected with idolatrous observances, by the collection of tribute 
from the worshippers, and pilgrims at the temples of Jugger 
naut, Gya, Allahabad, and elsewhere, both for the repair of 
those temples, and the maintenance of their priests and at 
tendants recommends to the Hon. Court of Directors, to 

* Grinubawe s Appeal on In-half <>f IIiml<M> \Vido\\s, p. 27 


lake such measures as may have the effect of immediately 
directing the attention of the India Government to this sub 
ject, and of eventually removing such a reproach from a 
Christian Empire."* It is with regret we add, this important 
motion was lost by a small majority. 

The measure here advocated is of a popular nature. " In 
wiping away for ever this foul reproach from the British 
name, there is every thing encouraging relative to the natives. 
Nothing could be more popular among them, than the removal 
of this unproductive tax on their sacred places. While they 
submit to it, they by no means approve of it. Let the tax be 
abolished and this scene of delusion left to its own authors 
for support ; and, while the British name in India is for ever 
freed from one of its deepest stains, this mass of idolatry and 
deceit icill in time sink with its oirn weight ! We are well 
aware, that nothing delays this step so much as the humane 
but groundless fear, that this would increase the evil by 
causing a greater influx of pilgrims. This fear is without 
foundation. The influx might be greater the first year or two, 
but, in the present state of increasing light, this influx could 
not long continue. There can be no doubt that the removal 
of this tax would raise the British name among the natives 
of India. And that a measure which will remove a load of 
reproach unmerited, only because it was unforeseen, and give 
such general satisfaction to our Hindoo fellow-subjects, will 
not ultimately be adopted, with regret that it was not done 
sooner, we cannot bring ourselves to believe. "t 

The following letter from a Hindoo to a missionary in Orissa 
appears replete with important sentiments and deserving 

A letter from Sundra das Bargee, to Christians in general. 

" ye favoured people, who are blessed with the Divine Spirit, ye have 
existed 1800 years, and what have ye done for this dark \\orld? I am a 
Hindoo Boisttib, poor and destitute, but ask of you neither land, nor ele 
phants, nor horses, nor money, nor palanqueens, nor doolies : but I ask, 
what can be done to learn the people to obey the laws of God ? O holy 
people, this I ask ! 

" Pooree is the heaven of the Hindoos ; yet there the practices of man 
kind are, adultery, theft, lies, murder of the innocent, whoremongery, 
eating fish with MAHA PRESAUD, disobedience and abuse of parents, deiiling 
of mothers, defiling of sisters, deiiling of daughters! Such is (he religion of 
Juggernaut ! For these crimes, the people are visited with rheumatisms, 

See Asi. Jour., Oct. 1830, pp. 871 18; and Bap. Magazine, Mar. 1832. 
t Friend of India, Oct. 182; ), pp. 278, 284. 


swelling of the legs, leprosy, scrofulas, grievous sores, anil acute pains, 
Mindness, lameness, and such like! Such are the servants of Juggernaut! 

" And now, holy people, hear the names of the gods of this people 
gods which the people, when they have eaten, rise and worship- these are 
gold, silver, brass, cedar, stone, wood, trees, lire, water, S:c.; these be the 
names of their gods, and these be their servants. To serve these gods, they 
burden themselves with expensive ceremonies and costly rites; they allliei 
their bodies and their souls with pilgrimages and many cruelties. The 
Brahrnuns no longer observe the Vadcs, nor the devotees keep mercy. () 
ye Christian Rulers, ye feed the rich, the proud, and the great; while the 
poor and destitute arc dying in want! O good fathers! good children! 
good people ! hear the cries of the poor, O good people ! 

"The thief is judged, the murderer is judged, the perjured is judged, 
and all the wieked are punished according to their crimes. A large anm 
is kept in obedience to your orders; but why (ire not the people made to obey 
the laws of God ? Ye are the seed of the good, ye keep God s word ; cause 
the subject to keep it. The Mahrattas were robbers, but they relieved the 
distressed. Europeans are faithful rulers, but in their Government false 
hood abounds. Children, Fathers! the fate of all in the four quarters is in 
your hands ! O good people ! the subject has become wicked, having fallen 
into error, and in consequence get not food nor raiment. 

" Rulers are the example of the people. O good people teach them 
God s commandments by your example. If ye will do this, then it will be 
well ; if ye will not, then ye are stones to them. What more s na!l 1 write? 
Do as ye will, still religion is true, religion is true, religion is true!" Cut- 
tack, AW. 18 27. 

The Author has conversed with many upon the subject of 
this book ; and the circumstance of liritain supporting the 
superstition of Juggernaut, paying a premium to the collectors 
of pilgrims, and amassing wealth from idolatry, to use the ex 
pressive language of Scripture, has made " the 1 ears of every 
one that heareth it to tingle."* What he has seen and heard, 
he feels it an imperious dutv to make 1 known. May the sub 
ject excite that attention which it so justly demands, among 

* The horrors of idolatry at the temple of Juggernaut are thus described 
by a friend of the Author." The shades of evening are now prevailing ; 
the sun is sinking in the western waters and leaving me in darkness. A 
feeling of deep horror, which I cannot suppress, steals across my mind, and 
irresistibly drives me away. The jackals are leaving their jungles and re 
pairing hither for their nightly repast I hear them cry at a distance. The 
eagles are flitting to the neighbouring tree for the night, filled with (In- 
flesh of man. The din of idol pooja assails my ears from every direction, 
and the work of blasphemy commences. Farewell, ye mangled corpses! 
ye silent monitors! ye have read me admonitions I shall not forget. Hut. 
ere I retire, I breathe a wish for my country under whose auspice* such 
system it tolerated and tupported. Jit/ i/our sad fate, mif felloii -creatuiex, 
inai/ she be warned, led to repentance, ami icash herself from i/our blood ; anil 
ina>/ her future conduct regarding idolatry here, prove h< > tincerity."- 
Lacey s Reflections at the temple of Juggernaut, in IX^ N p. *<> (Wigbtman, 


those who hold in their hands the destinies of the millions ol 
India ! Let Britain stand at a distance from idolatry ; let her 
u shake her hands from holding of bribes," the gains of idols ; 
let her facilitate the progress of Christianity in the East, 
till, " the Idols He shall utterly abolish," and " there shall be 
one Lord and his name one." "Thus India emancipated, 
through our instrumentality, from the yoke of a cruel super 
stition, and admitted to a fellowship in the peace and hopes 
of the Gospel, will recognise in Britain, no longer a conqueror, 
to whom she is bound by the terror of our arms, but a bene 
factor, indissolubly endeared by the triumphs of our mercy."* 

Grimshawe s Appeal on behalf of Hindoo Widows, 1825, p. 28, 




Origin nature atrocity and appalling scenes connected 
with the practice of exposing the sick on the banks of the 

Tin: exposure of the sick on the hanks of the Ganges lias 
heen called Ghaut Murders. The term (//nut/ signifies *a 
wharf, a landing-place, a ferry, a quay, a flight of steps to a 
river; and at these places the acts of cruelty to the sick, 
described in this book, are generally perpetrated.* The 
origin of this practice is probably to be traced to the absurd 
notion, that the river Ganges is a goddess, and that to die in 
sight of it is beneficial. A Correspondent, who has resided 
several years in India, writes upon this subject: "The origin 
of this practice is involved in great obscurity ; but one or all 
of the following reasons may be assigned for its continuance. 
The veneration paid to the rivers. The rivers of India, like tilt- 
Euphrates and the Nile, annually overflow their banks. The 
inundation continues for a considerable time, and covers the 
country; audits benefits are very numerous; the fields are 
covered with verdure, the soil is enriched, and vegetation 
proceeds with rapidity. Hence has arisen that idolatrous 
worship which has been paid to them ; indeed the most 
extravagant and puerile rites are performed in the sultry 
plains of India, in honour of rivers; and the advantages 
supposed to arise from them are equally absurd. He that 
bathes in the morning, in the months of Magha, Voishaklm, 
and Karteka, destroys the greatest sins. He who at the 

* See an interesting article, entitled, The Ghaut, in Ackerman 
racnol." IH3O, pp. 381 -3!>7. 

170 (ill ALT MLRDKUS. 

conjunctions of Naryunee bathes in silence, in the Koorootaya 
river, raises thirty millions of his ancestors to eternal bliss. 
The wish to get rid of a burden is another reason. There is 
no public provision made for the old or infirm. All who are 
past labour become dependent upon their relatives ; and the 
consideration of the expense may possibly make them wish to 
rid themselves of an encumbrance : especially when it can be 
done in a way, which, instead of appearing dishonourable or 
any proof of want of affection, is rather considered an act of 
kindness. It may also be encouraged by the doctrine of fate, 
which has generally prevailed in the heathen world. Their 
gods, the general dispensations of Providence, and their 
private affairs, are all considered under the control of the 
iron hand of necessity or gloomy fate ; which, while it showers 
down upon earth calamities in abundance, cuts off every hope 
and effort for the attainment of deliverance. Believing that 
every person s kopol (fate) is fixed by an unchangeable decree, 
they avoid using those means, which a Being of infinite 
goodness has put into our hands for the recovery of the 

The nature of this practice will appear in the descriptions 
given of it by different writers, and eyewitnesses. "The 
Bengalee Hindoos," says Hamilton, " have generally a great 
terror of the dead, and will seldom venture to inhabit a hut 
or a house where a person has died. This seems connected 
with their custom of exposing the sick to perish on the banks 
of rivers ; which tends to aggravate the last pangs of nature, 
and sometimes not only accelerates death, but exhausts that 
strength which might probably have enabled nature to 
overcome the disease. The practice also furnishes an 
opportunity of perpetrating other horrid crimes."* 

The late Rev. W. Ward, in his " View of the History, 
Literature, and Mythology of the Hindoos" observes, 
"Thousands, yea millions, of people, are annually drawn from 
their houses and peaceful labours, several times in the year, 
to visit different holy places, at great expense of time and 
money, spent in making offerings to the goddess (Gunga). 
Expensive journeys are undertaken by multitudes to obtain 
the water of this river, or to carry the sick, the dying, the 
dead, or the bones of the dead, to its banks.f What the 
sick and dying suffer, by being exposed to all kinds of 

* Description of Hindostan, vol. i. p. III. 

| And yet " the broad stream sweeps by them, guiltless of their impiety, 
and unconscious of their homage." (Heber s Journ., vol. ii. p. 2i>7.) AUTJI. 


weather, in the open air on the banks of the river, and in 
being choked by the sacred teat rs / // their last moments, 
is beyond expression."* "A few years since a Rajah, living 
about 100 miles from Calcutta, sent for an English physician 
from that citv. By the time lie arrived, his relations had 
brought the sick Rajah to the river-side, and in a short period 
would have killed him. The physician reproved them for 
their want of feeling, and ordered his patient to be carried 
home, where, in a few days, he recovered. Before the 
physician took his leave, he made the Rajah promise to give 
him the earliest information, if he should be sick again. Soon 
after, the disease having returned, he sent for his old friend ; 
but, before he could arrive, his relations had despatched him 
with the mud and water of the sacred stream ! The want 
of compassion among the Hindoos towards the poor, the sick, 
and the dying, is so notorious, that European travellers are 
frequently filled with horror at the proofs of their inhumanity, 
merely as they pass along the roads or navigate the rivers in 
this country. "t 

Dr. Johns, in his Pamphlet entitled, " Facts and Opinions 
relative to the Hurtling of Widows, and other destructive 
(Customs in liritish India, refers to the practice of "Exposing 
the Sick and Aged"% "The Hindoo character is, in many 
essential points, defective, and led by deep-rooted prejudices, 
and barbarous customs, to the commission of crimes, which 
on glit not to be sanctioned by any moral or religious code. 
I low often is the aged 1 1 indoo parent deemed an encumbrance 
by his family ; and, carried a living victim, devoted to die 
on the margin of the Ganges, or some of her Italy stream : his 
ou n children Jill his month and nostrils wifJi mud ; and 
cutting off erery prospect of recovery, leave the author of 
their being, to be carried away by the stream as food for alli 
gators and vultures ! Although sanctioned by tin; Brahmuns, 
and perhaps sometimes voluntary on the part of the aged 
victim, no religion should tolerate such a sacrifice. That it 
is not always voluntary we have many undeniable proofs. 
The fatal consequence of not submitting to this viaticum, or 
of eluding its effect, by returning to his family in case of a 
rescue or recovery, is so provided for, by the brahminical 
laws, that death is far more desirable than the continuance 
of life 011 such terms. Many instances might be produced to 
confirm this assertion : I shall recite what Captain Williamson, 
in his * Kaftt India I adc MccuntJ from more experience than 

277. | Vol. iii. ,,. 295. 

17 J (ill.Vl T AJl KDEllS. 

myself, lias recorded on this subject. Many Hindoos in 
their old age, or when seriously ill, are removed to the banks 
of the Ganges, whose waters are held sacred : and, when 
about to resign their breath, are taken to the edge of the river 
on their beds; where a Brahman attends to perform religious 
ceremonies. A T o doubt many, ivho miyht recover, are thus 
consigned to a premature death. The damp borders of the 
stream, with a burning sun, rarely fail, however favourable 
the season may be, to put a speedy termination to the sick 
person s sufferings ; but it has often happened, that the 
attendants become tired by the delay the poor wretch makes 
in shaking off his mortal coil, and, perhaps with the humane 
intention of finishing his pain, cither place the bed at low 
water mark, if the spot be within flow of the tide, or smear 
the dying man with the slime of the holy waters, and fill his 
mouth with the mud. When a person has been taken to the 
side of the Ganges, or other substituted waters, under the 
supposition that he is dying, he is, in the eye of the Hindoo 
laiv, dead-, his property passes to his heir, according to his 
bequest ; and, in the event of recovery, the poor fellow becomes 
an outcast. Even his own children will not eat with him, 
nor afford him the least accommodation ; if, by chance, they 
come in contact, ablution must follow. The wretched 
survivor from that time is held in abhorrence, and has no 
other resort, but to associate himself in a village inhabited by 
persons under similar circumstances. There are but few such 
receptacles ; the largest is on the banks of the Simla, which 
passes near Sooksaugur, about forty miles north of Calcutta. "* 
The late Rev. D. Brown, of Calcutta, speaking of sick 
persons w r ho are left on the banks of the Ganges, says, 
" They are swept away by the returning tide. Some, however, 
escape ; and, as they can never be received again by their 
families, they associate with those who, like them, have 
escaped the jaws of death. There are two villages not far 
up the river Hooghly inhabited solely by these wretched 
fugitives. A gentleman told me, as he passed a place called 
Culna, a little above Calcutta, that he saw some Brahmuns 
pushing a youth, of about eighteen years of age, into the 
water ; and, as they were performing their work of suffocation 
with mud, he called on them to desist. They answered 
calmly ; It is our custom. It is our custom. He cannot 
lire ; he cannot lire ; our fjod says he must <//< j . "f 

* Oriental Memoirs, vol. i. pp. 220, 221 
\ Miss. Map., vol. i. p. 117. 


The H \. II. Townley, in \x\&" Address to the Society of 
Friends on behalf of the Heathen rulers to this custom, and 
shews its unsatisfactory nature to support the mind of a 
Hindoo in the prospect of a future state. " T have conversed 
with a dying Hindoo on the banks of the Ganges, and the 
substance of his confession was I have no hope of heaven, 
from the circumstance of my dying near the sacred Ganges ; 
nor do I anticipate future happiness from the worship of the 
gods. I know of no mode whereby I can be saved ; and I 
believe, that after death, 1 shall be cast into hell, as the punish 
ment of my many sins ! " To the same effect is the following 
pathetic passage from the late Rev. W. Ward. " Look at 
the heathen by the side of the Ganges, calling upon their 
dying relations to repeat the names of Narayun, of Gunga, of 
Ram, and of a whole rabble of gods ; pouring the water of 
this river down the throat of the dying, exposing them, in the 
agonies of death, to the chilling damps by night, and to the 
scorching beams of the sun by day; and listen to the cries of 
the dying Tell me not of works of merit, I have been 
committing nothing but sin. And now, where am 1 going ? 
What is there beyond this wretched existence ? Am I 
going into some reptile or some animal body; or shall 1 at 
once plunge into some dreadful place of torment? I see the 
messengers of Yuma corning to sei/e me. Oh ! save me 
save me! O mother Gunga, give me a place near to thec ! 
O ! Ram ! () ! Narayun ! O my Gooroo (his spiritual guide), 
how dark and heavy the cloud which envelopes me is there 
no certainty, no ray of light from any of the shastras to guide 
and comfort me in my departure ? Must I take the irrecover 
able plunge to be seen no more ? And, when they have seen 
and heard all this, let them look at the death of Krishna, the 
Christian, consoled by the addresses of his Christian brethren, 
by the hymns which they sing, by the words of the everlasting 
Gospel which they repeat; let them listen to the pleasant 


words which proceed from his dving lips : Mv Saviour ha 
sent his messenger for me, and I wish to go to him : and 
then let them say, whether the Gospel be a boon worth giving 
to the heathen." 

The Rev. W. Yates, in his " Memoir of the late Her. ,/. 
Chamber la ill) Missionary in India" thus describes what he 
witnessed on the Ganges. "At the Ghaut, or landing-place, 
are great numbers of persons bathing and performing their 
morning ceremonies; and among them, a poor woman laid on 
a low bed, raised only a few inches above the ground, in 
dving circumstances, left exposed to the blazing sun, totally 


unheeded by all around her, with a young man, her son, sitting 
behind her waiting, to appearance destitute of all anxiety, to 
see her breathe her last." In the same Memoir an account 
is given of the death of a native Christian, and the conduct 
of his heathen friends. " We were informed that the relations 
of Seboo Hoy, had made a great shradda for him, and buried 
him in the Hindoo manner ; but I informed them he had 
believed in the Saviour, and that, when I last saw him, he 
said, They may persecute and reproach us, but we will 
rather lose our lives than forsake our Lord Jesus. In the 
evening, on our return to Cutwa, we were accompanied by 
four persons who attended upon the instructions of Seboo Roy, 
and who related to us the following particulars : Soon after 
his return from Cutwa, he was taken ill of a cold and retching, 
and died on the second or third day. He requested that they 
would take him to Cutwa, saying, If I do not c/o thither, I 
shall never be well. But his brother s son would riot regard 
what he said. When they took him to carry him to Guncja, 
he said to them ; l It is all to no purpose. I am perfectly 
sensible ; why will you take me thither ? He requested to 
be buried ; but they would not grant his request. They took 
him away and burned his corpse. After they had taken him 
out of his house he said nothing to any one. Those, who 
used to meet with him on Sabbath days, went to see him a 
few times during his illness, and he exhorted them not to 
forsake the assembling of themselves together, nor to cease 
publishing the glories of our Saviour. I am going, said 
he, but we shall soon see each other again ; and, with such 
sayings as these, encouraged and comforted them. Seboo 
Roy used to speak very favourably of his wife ; and, when he 
died, she did not beat her forehead and cry aloud, as is the 
custom in this country upon such occasions. Being asked 
why she did not, she answered, What use is that ? I sit and 
think of what he said to me ! " 

The Rev. S. Sutton, late of Moorshedabad, in a letter to 
the Author upon the subject of this book, observes, " The fol 
lowing are a few well-authenticated facts to establish what I 
have advanced. The late Mr. Ward of Serampore, recorded 
the folio wing case in his diary in 1813. On March 18th, 
at nine o clock in the morning, a sick man by the name of 
Beekenaut was brought by his relatives to the river side, and 
was laid on the wet sand in expectation of soon expiring. In 
this situation he remained, exposed to the scorching rays of 
the sun, till about four P. M., when he was immersed up to the 
breast in the river; and in this position one of his relatives 


voci it-rated in his ears, Hurree! Rain! Krishna! Ram!* 
After some time, finding that death was not so near as they 
had antieipated, he was again replaced on the wet bank. 
The next morning the same eeremony was commenced of 
immersing and repeating the names of their deities, until five 
o clock P. M., when the man expired, literally murdered bi/ 
liis own relations In the second volume of the Friend of 
India, it is remarked, that one very notorious trait in the 
character of the natives of India, is their want of humane 
feelings towards Hie brute creation, their own countrymen in 
distress, and even towards their sick relatives. That this 
is really the ease, needs no proof. The cruel manner in which 
they often treat the patient bullock, which they use as a beast 
of burden suffering their cows, notwithstanding the vene 
ration they pretend for this animal, often to perish in the 
winter for want of food, furnish a sufficient proof of their 
feeling for the brute creation. Their inhumanity towards 
their own countrymen is sufficiently evinced by their suffering 
one of them, in a state of want and disease, cruelly to perish 
before their eyes, if he should not happen to be one of their 
relatives or friends, or at least of their own division of cast ; 
and, above all, by their seeing a boat full of their countrymen, 
who perhaps a few hours before had been bowing before the 
same log of wood as themselves, sinking before their eyes 
without making the least effort to save them ! But their un 
feeling conduct towards their sick and dying relatives is 
sometimes shocking in the extreme. Of this an instance oc 
curred some years ago in a village near Serampore. An aged 
father was brought by his children to the river side to die. 
After having been there for some time, contrary to their ex 
pectations, he recovered and went home again ; but his 
unfeeling children, instead of rejoicing that he was spared to 
them a little longer, so tormented him by their jeers and scoffs, 
because he did not die when carried to the river side for that 
purpose, that, weary of his life, the old man at length put a 
period to his existence, by hanging himself on a tree near the 
public road ! 

" To the above statements, I will now add my own testi 
mony. I lived upon the banks of the Ganges for six years. 
During the whole of that period, scarcely a day passed with 
out some circumstance occurring, which strikingly reminded 
me of the language of the Psalmist ; The dark places of the 
earth are full of the habitations of cruelty. I have seen some 
held up in the river by two persons, while a third has been 
pouring water down the throat, until life has become extinct. 


f have seen others in the act of dying, laid upon the wet hank, 
with their feet in the water ; and I have observed others, who 
have been suffered to lie upon mats at a little distance from 
the river, for several days before they have expired ; but during 
this time no means have been employed for their recovery. 
It is a very rare occurrence, for any siek person to be brought 
back to his home, after he has once been earned from it to 

" One evening," says the Widow of a Missionary, " as I 
was walking with my husband by the river side, we saw two 
respectable natives carrying a woman in their arms. We 
asked them what they were going to do with her ? They 
very coolly answered, We are going to put her into the water 
that her soul may go to heaven, for she is our mother ! 1 
asked them if she was ill ? They said, She is not very ill ; 
but she is old, and has no teeth, and what is the use of her 
living ? I felt a great deal on hearing this, and said, What ! 
have you no compassion on your mother ? will you drown her 
because she is old ? The woman instantly fixed her eyes on 
me, and said, * What sort of a woman are you ? I told her I 
was an English w r oman, and wished to prevent her children 
from drowning her ; and, if they did, I would acquaint the 
Governor with it, and have them hanged. They said, Never 
mind ; and proceeded towards the river. Mr. R. then ran 
down the bank, and, taking hold of the woman, insisted upon 
their taking her home. They did so : but they brought her 
again the next evening, and Mr. F. Carey saw them throw 
her into the water, without performing the usual ceremony of 
giving her water in the name of their gods. 

" A man who worked in the Paper-Mill at Serampore was 
bitten by a snake. His companions immediately took him to 
the river to throw him in, without knowing whether it was a 
poisonous snake that had bitten him or not. When Mr. R. 
and Mr. F. Carey got to them, they found the poor creature 
between two men ; one had hold of his shoulders, the other 
of his legs, and they were about to throw him into the river. 
Mr. Carey said, he thought the man was not dead, and made 
them put him down. Medicine was sent for and a spoonful 
given to him. lie had no sooner taken it than he spoke and 
said, It is very strong. I will sooner die than take any more ! 
Mr. C. well understood the nature of the bite, and said it would 
be necessary to repeat the medicine every twenty minutes all 
night. Mr. R. asked those around him, if any one would 
stay with the poor man all night. They all answered, AV;; 
H c cannot /O.SY our xlccp. II would 1>< uiucli better /or /tint 


tu die, tli an fur us tn h< deprived of a niyhCs sleep / Mv 
husband stayed all night, and the poor man continued to get 
better. In the morning he was so far recovered as to be able 
to walk home. The next day he came to our house, and fell 
down at my husband s feet, and said, * I am come to worship 
you, Sahab, for saving my life ; and 1 will work for you as 
long as I live! lie proved a faithful creature; and was 
working on the Mission Premises when I left Scrampore (in 
1820). He attended preaching in Bengalee very regularly. 

"The Mission House at Serampore has been, and still is, 
a refuge to the Natives. There they are protected from the 
Brahmuns at their swinging feasts comforted when in trouble 
have medicine administered when they are sick ; they are 
relieved in distress they are instructed how they can be 
saved without cutting themselves with knives, or running spits 
through their tongues, and other cruelties that their Gooroos 
require. Not only in the Mission House have they found 
protection, but in the houses of our Native Christians. I have 
witnessed the deatli of two, who died under the roof of a Na 
tive brother at Serampore, where they had taken shelter from 
the jackals and birds of prey ; being cast out by their relatives 
when ill, forsaken by their companions in idolatry, and left to 
perish. One of them was an old woman covered with wounds. 
She had hut little clothing, so that the birds had eaten nearly 
all the flesh off her back as she crawled along: but she soon 
died. Mr. R. had a coffin made, and with his own hands 
put her in, lor he could get no one to assist him. Our Native 
brother and sister had fed and taken care of her while alive ; but 
they were too much afraid of the disease to touch her when she 
was dead. The oilier was a young woman who worked in 
the Paper-Mill. She was left a widow when only ten years 
of age, and at this early period became depraved. Her body 
was so maimed as almost to lose the appearance of a human 
being ; but in this miserable condition she was spared eight 
months. She died praising God for his goodness to her, in 
sparing her so long to enjoy the privilege of worshipping the 
true God."* 

The following extract of a letter from the same individual, 
dated Salisbury, May, 1828, is painfully interesting: 

"While I am writing, I am feeling all the horrors I formerly felt respect 
ing the sick in India. 1 once witnessed one of the scenes in all its aggra 
vations. The sick person was a young woman who was not willing to go 
to the river. AH they approached the (Jhaut her screams were intolerable; 

Youth s Mag. IH-.M, pp. -Jjtt IHM. 


crying, Ante nwrey jay na ! (I am not dying!); but the men who had 
taken her were linn to their purpose, and would not listen to any thing that 
was said to them. They laughed at my entreaties ; turned a deaf ear to my 
threats; and rushed forward into the water with their victim. Whether 
they were relations or not I could not ascertain. The poor creature had 
often said, / am not dying / but now she found herself in dying circum 
stances; a few cups of water poured down her throat, in the name of their 
gods, stopped her breath. I inquired, whether it was a common case, to 
take them to the river against their will. They said, Yes ; or else a great 
many would disgrace their families by dying in their houses. Many are 
carried thither at their own request ; but in this case, the conduct of the re 
latives w^as extremely cruel. Sometimes they leave them to perish by the 
river. I found a poor old man one morning by the river side, who had 
been left there all night. Those who had taken him, had rubbed his body 
with mud, and had left him quite naked, exposed to the ants; so that he 
was completely covered with insects! When I saw him move bis head, I 
went to him ; but, Oh ! the horror that thrilled through me, to see a fellow- 
creature in his dying moments, thus cruelly tormented with insects. I ran 
for assistance, but the Natives refused to do any thing for him, unless I 
would allow them to put him a little nearer the water; saying, he was too 
far off for the tide to reach him. I said, perhaps he may get better if he be 
cleaned and taken care of. They shook their heads, and said, He ivas 
put there to die, and die he must / My husband soon came with some wine 
for him ; we put a little of it into his mouth, which he swallowed, and said 
it was very good. I then thought he would revive. But he had lain all 
night on the damp ground, and it was now eleven o clock and the sun 
shining on him very hot; it had dried the mud that was on his body, which 
fatigued him very much. When we endeavoured to move him, he said he 
was very faint, and wished to remain where he was for a lew minutes. 
Alas ! it was but a few minutes indeed ! for he soon expired. I could 
mention many more facts of horror, but I forbear." 

The existence of this custom and the inhumanities con 
nected with it, were very fully discussed, in the public papers 
in Calcutta, before the Author left India in Nov. 1825 ; a few 
brief extracts may be interesting. In the Bengal Ilurkaru it 
is observed, " During the prevalence of Cholera, one of the 
symptoms of which is a sudden prostration of strength, leav 
ing the pulse scarcely perceptible and the patient in an 
apparently lifeless state, it must frequently happen, that indi 
viduals are carried down to the river in this condition and 
murdered under the pretext that they are already in a dying 
state ; when, if they had been properly treated, they might 
have been restored to health. AVe have heard, that these un 
happy victims of a demoralizing superstition are sometimes 
earned down expressing reluctance by every means in their 
power." (Aug. 1825.) 

The following letter, extracted from the Columbian Press 
Gazette, is given entire. 

" I was informed a few days ago, that numbers of sick Natives were daily 
brought to the Kidderpore Ghaut, to perform the last ceremony of dipping 


them in the stream, and forcing the mud and water of the Ganges into their 
mouths. Curiosity led me to see this, as well as to try, if I could be of ser 
vice in persuading any to desist from this horrid act. On my arrival at the 
spot to which I was directed, F saw three individuals, two old men and a 
boy of about thirteen or fourteen years of age. The old people were in a 
hopeless state, the boy however looked very well ; but as he was lying on 
the manhy ground on a bare mat, not five yards from the water, and his body 
uncovered, his case seemed dangerous. I went to him, felt his pulse, and 
perceived it beat well. I remonstrated with those around him, for having 
Drought the bov to such a place, and then leaving him in that condition. 
I inquired if a doctor had attended him. I was informed that the doctor 
attached to the Tannah was sent for, who gave him some English medicine, 
and promised to be back again very soon. Shortly after this the inhuman man 
(a Brahmun) appeared, but would give no medicine; saying, / have given 
ONCE, for which I A a iv not been paid; and I WILL NOT administer any more 
until paid fur / I was struck with ama/ement, but all persuasions and 
promises were of no avail. Humanity led me to suggest that, if the boy 
were taken to his house and kept warm, f would pay any charge the doctor 
might make. This was not acceded to: and as it seemed useless to do any 
thing further, so long as the boy remained in that damp place, exposed to 
the weather, I thought proper to go away. The doctor was still there; but 
whether he gave him any medicine after I left the place 1 cannot say. On 
inquiry the following morning, I was informed the boy died about midnight. 
Can you inform me if the doctors attached to the Tannahs are paid by 
Government? This information from you, or any of the readers of your 
valuable Ga/.ette, will much oblige C. 

Tnllifs Xullah, Sej>. 22, 1H25." 
" \Ve are unable to satisfy our Correspondent on this point." En. 

Would not this affair in Hritain IK- justly looked upon as 
murder ? " Ought not inquisition to bo made for blood " thus 
shed iu Hritish India? Does not humanity, even of the 
humane, in India, want elevating, which could leave a youth 
thus to perish without using compulsory measures to have 
him taken care of?* 

" In my way down from the Upper Provinces," says a 
correspondent in the same Paper, "my budgerow stopped at 
Ghaut on the Hooghly river, in the vicinity of Moorshedabad. 
The crowd, which was collected on the spot, excited my 
curiosity to know what occasioned it. I went to the place, 
and witnessed one of the most inhuman scenes that can be 
imagined. A poor helpless creature was stretched on a cot, 
the lower part of his bodv being immersed in water. In this 
posture, he was implorim/ 7//.v murderers in the most pitiful 
manner to let him yo, declaring f/iat he was yet far from 
death To hear his supplications, and observe the forlorn 
expression of his countenance, were enough to strike any 
heart with horror and pity. Hut these cruel wretches that 
were about him, unmindful of his entreaties, kept crying, 

* See Bap. Mag., .Sep. IH2U. 
N 2 


Hurreebol! Hnrreu bol ! and continued filling his month 
with water, till at length the poor creature became exhausted; 
his voice, which was at first loud, gradually sunk, and he fell 
an unwilling victim to superstition." (Aug. 1825.) 

" We had not proceeded far," says the Widow of a 
Missionary, who died at Digah, writing on the Ganges, Dec. 
1826, " when we saw on a sand-bed a poor man and woman 
sitting by the water. The woman was busied in laving her 
dying son with mud and water, who was old and strong 
enough to be heard to say, 1 1 will not die ! I will not 
die T To which she was heard to reply frequently, To die 
by Gunf/a is blessed, my son / She at length stifled him ; 
when the father assisted in pushing him into the river." 

A Bengalee Newspaper, the Kowmoody, Aug., 1825, 
contains the following testimony to the existence of these 
atrocities : " With a view to check the progress of the 
Cholera Morbus, the Government have, with their usual 
benevolence towards the natives, been pleased to appoint a 
native doctor to every Tannah, to afford medical assistance 
to the poor patients in the neighbourhood. We are happy 
to learn that a young man having been attacked with the 
Cholera, and his relations despairing of his life, took him to 
the river side, when suddenly his breath stopped, and he 
appeared to be dead ; his relations prepared a funeral pile, 
but to their great surprise they perceived him move, and 
approaching him, though with a degree of fear,* had recourse 
to some medicines, which restored him to life, and he returned 
home to the great joy of his whole family." 

"A respectable man of Sulkea, (says another Bengalee 
Paper, the SomacJtar Durpun, about the same date,) having 
been attacked with the Cholera, was taken to the river side; 
and on his becoming senseless, though not cold, every one 
thought he was dead ; and, having prepared a pile, put him 
upon it and set it on fire. The poor creature, by imbibing a 
certain degree of heat, came to himself and rose up. One of his 
relations who was close by, beat him o?t the head with a bam 
boo, and killed hint on the burning pile. This circumstance 
is not groundless ; we have obtained the account from a 

* " If a Hindoo, after having been taken to the river, and supposed to be 
dead, moves himself, or attempts to get up, (as is frequently the case,) his 
relations believe that some evil spirit possesses the body ; and instantly beat 
it down with a hatchet, spade, or some iron weapon which they find close 
by; thus killing the poor creature who might have survived. Such is the 
cruel reign of superstition among this simple race of people." (NOTE BY 


European gentleman, who was an eyewitness of it. The 
perpetrator of this murder (says the Hindoo Translator), 
though it was prejudice that prompted him to act as he did, 
no doubt conceived with respect to the supposed dead man, 
what we have already stated. Such absurd notions of evil 
spirits or supernatural beings, are not handed to us by our 
ancestors, nor can we find any trace of them in our shastras, 
and hence we are at a loss to conceive, how such groundless 
ideas could ever take root in the minds of modern Hindoos." 
A correspondent in the World Paper, .July 182!), thus 
describes the exposure of the sick, and what he terms, the 
wholesale Murders so frequently exhibited in Bengal. 

44 1 witnessed an instance where a diseased mother was exposed, with one 
infant at the breast, and another about two years of age, with no visible 
disease. We had landed to dig a grave and bury an officer, who died in 
the night, and when I returned to the ship, I could not eat my dinner in 
consequence of the loathsome sight, of two babes writhiny about their mother, 
expiring of the Cholera MorbuB. Going next day to examine if the 
jackals had torn up the officer s grave, I observed the elder babe dead, the 
yonmjer craicliny about it, and the mother had been devoured ! Being anxious 
to know the fate of the surviving infant, I went next day, and found it hail 
crawled under the bottom of a boat, and the dead child had disappeared : 
next morning the other had been devoured also. This was at Diamond 
Harbour, where, the population not being great, we might have saved one 
of the children, but feared to try; as I had been in great danger fr >m the 
natives at Calcutta, a short time previously, by attempting to carry off one 
in a boat, who was laid on the beach with a number of other human sacri 
fices. This was an interesting young woman, who happened to lay near the 
boat I was getting in ; she seemed to be overjoyed when I raised her up, 
and looked equally dejected when I was obliged to drop her and hasten 
into the boat, to avoid the stones which were thrown at me. Those I ha\e 
seen exposed were laid on their backs; as if the cruelty of the system eoubl 
not be complete, unless the poor unhappy creatures, who escaped the wild 
beasts in the night, were to die mad, with brain fever or apoplexy, through 
the face being exposed to the blazing sun during a tropical day, which, I 
believe, would cause the death of any man, even in sound health." 

77/6 appalling scenes presented to the humane, even in 
Calcutta, are such as shew the character of the Hindoo and 
Mussulman, and the necessity that the mild dictates of 
Christianity should be propagated among the people. " It 
redounds little to the credit of the Magistrates," says the 
Hurkaru, or to their subordinates, that the Ghauts present 
spectacles disgusting to every lei-ling mind. It not iinfiv- 
quently happens that ttcenly dead bodies, (and as many liriny 
ones,) are brought to one Ghaut to be burnt.* This Ghaut 

" The funerals of the Hindoos contribute to render them unfeeling; 
the wood which is to burn the body is sometimes brought and laid in the 
presence <>f the di/in;/ man, who is thus treated like an Knglish < riminal, 


will admit of lour or live only being consumed at one time. 
The rest are, of necessity, suffered to putrefy until an oppor 
tunity is afforded their relations to burn them ; while the 
groans of the dying, who are lying close by, are calculated at 
once to excite both pity and horror. Sometimes also the 
relations are so poor, that they cannot procure money suffi 
cient to burn the body, in which case they leave it at the 
Ghaut, and beg for the necessary pittance to purchase the 
wood ; and two days probably elapse before any charitable 
individuals are found to aid them ! But why confine these 
remarks to Ghauts only ? Turn towards the city; there we 
shall behold circumstances which excite our pity and our indig 
nation. Several bodies of poor men are seen lying in the 
streets. A poor man, who was struck by the sun, fell down 
on the Circular Road and expired. His body was suffered 
to lie a whole day, while the effigies of llussan and Hussein 
were exhibited by the Mussulmans ; and the body must have 
been trampled on by the crowd, which generally assemble on 
such occasions." (Sep. 1, 1825.) 

" We are led to understand (says the India Gazette) that 
the sickness among the natives has somewhat abated. Dead 
bodies, in rather considerable numbers, may still be seen 
afloat, and even in Tolly s Nullah we have seen several. 
Indeed one remained two days near Alliporc Bridge, and 
would, we suppose, have remained there to this hour, had it 
not been earned away by a rising of the water. It is quite 
horrible, close to a city like Calcutta, to see human carcases 
floating about, or lying at length on the bank, a prey to dogs 
or carrion birds. The sight is degrading and brutalizing. It 
is no less so, to see the Dooms carry in y the dead in a state 
the next to nudity, slung upon bamboos, and t/nts casting 
them into Hie river ; making a nuisance of the stream! It 
would be a most desirable thing, if such a scandalous mode 
of disposing of the dead could be obviated ; for scandalous 
such spectacles certainly are, to the eyes of Christians, in a 
eity subject to Christian Laws and Government. The 
expense could not be very great of providing a stock of 
mango coffins in different quarters of the town, to be availa 
ble for the purpose of the Dooms ; who ought also to be made 
to attach weights to the dead bodies they cast into the river. 
This would not prevent their being carried to the ocean, though 
it would keep them from floating on the surface of the water : 

dien his coffin is carried with him to the place of execution." Ward s View, 
ol. iii. Intro, p. 2 J. Amu. 


perhaps, if the matter were properly represented to (iovern- 
ment, such a suggestion would meet consideration. 1 * (Aug. 

From these various facts and observations, some idea may 
be formed of the nature of the practice of exposing the sick 
and the dead in British India, and the brutalizing and de 
moralizing influence of it upon the population. Does not 
the voice of humanity demand attention to these atrocities ? 
When; are the tender sympathies of nature ? Let Britain 
display her true character in India let her abolish every 
species of human sacrifices, and raise the tone of humane and 
moral feeling in society. 

CHAP. 11. 

On this subject it is impossible lo speak with precision. 
The Author hesitates to give an opinion ; but it is presumed, 
there can be no impropriety in presenting the statements ot 
those, who, from their residence in the vicinity of the Ganges, 
may be supposed best (nullified to form some idea of the pre 
valence of this unnatural and destructive custom. u The 
immersion," savs Dr. Buchanan, " of half the body of a person, 
supposed to be dying, in the water of the Ganges, must often 
occasion premature death. It is optional ; not commanded. 
Though very common on the banks of the Ganges, it is re 
probated in many places at a distance from it."t The 
Author never saw this practice during his residence in Orissa. 
It is hoped that attention will be awakened to this subject, 
and more correct information respecting it obtained. 

* "One of the first specimens of the manners of the country (says the late 
Bishop Heber), which have fallen under our notice, has been a human 
corpse, slowly floating past, according to the well-known custom of the Hin 
doos." (Jour. vol. i. p. :>.) "The practice of throwing dead liodies into the 
river is, in many places, a dreadful nuisance; a,s in case a body should Hunt 
to the side of the river, and remain there, it will continue to inlect the 
whole neighbourhood, till the tullures, dogs, jackals, and other animals have 
devoured it. The throwing of dead bodies ami other tilth into the river 
makes the Ganges, in the neighbourhood of large t> \MIS resemble a common 
sewer. Still the natives drink it with the greatest appetite, bathe in it every 
day, to cleanse their bodies and their souls, and carry it to an immense dis 
tance, a> the greatest imaginable treasure! Ward s View of the Hindoos, 
\ol. iii. p. J7i { Mem. Ksta. tor Iliitish India, p. ! l. 


Sonic traces of this custom arc found in Nr/taul. "The 
large valley of Nepaul is somewhat of a circular form, and is 
watered by the numerous streams contributary to the Bogmutty, 
which flow from the surrounding hills towards the centre, and 
unite a little way south of the capital (Catmandoo). In the 
valley there are two hills, one named Lambhunath is vene 
rated by the Buddhits ; the other is greatly reverenced by 
the Brahminical followers of the Vedas, as having been the 
residence of Siva and his wife, to each of whom a temple is 
still dedicated. These temples are frequented by great 
numbers of pilgrims, who, by visiting all the fanes, hope to 
escape degradation below the scale of man in any future me 
tempsychosis. The hill in a large proportion of its circum 
ference is washed by the Bogmutty, which is here so holy a 
river, that all Hie Hindoos of Nepaul wish to expire with 
their feet immersed in its stream, and after death to be burn 
ed on its banks. 1 * 

" Every Hindoo," says the Rev. W. Ward, in his Farewell- 
Letters, " in the hour of death, is hurried to the side of the 
Ganges, or some other sacred river, if near enough ; where he 
is laid, in the agonies of death, exposed to the burning sun 
by day, and to the dews and cold of the night. The water 
of the river is poured plentifully down him if he can swallow 
it; and his breast, forehead, and arms, are besmeared with 
the mud of the river; for the very mud of the Ganges is sup 
posed to have some purifying properties. Just before the 
soul quits the body, he is laid on the earth, and immersed 
t ) the middle in the stream; while his relations stand around 
him, tormenting him in his last moments with superstitious 
rites, and increasing a hundred fold, the pains of dying. Very 
often, where recovery might be reasonably expected, these bar 
barities bring on premature death. It is pretty certain that, 
hi using these rites, many private murders are perpetrated." 
Tn a calculation, made by the same author, of the number of 
Hindoos who perish annually, the victims of superstition, he es 
timates, that there arc 500 sick persons whose death is hastened 
on the banks of the Ganges ; and adds, " a gentleman, whose 
opinion is of great weight, says, I believe this estimate is 
far below the truth. " Of various kinds of Hindoo cruelties it is 
remarked, "There are a number of actions performed by 
Hindoos supposed to be meritorious in their nature, but 
which, in the opinion of a Christian, deserve punishment 
oven in this life. The Hindoo widow burning with the dead 
body of her husband, is promised a residence in heaven during 

Hamilton s Hind., vol. ii. p. (17. 


the ivign of fourteen Indras ; yet no Christian doubts whether 
these are real murders or not. Tlie death of vast multitudes of 
Hindoos is procured, or hastened, (unutlly, by immersing a 
l><trt of the body, in a state of dangerous weakness, in the (idn- 
fjcs, and fyy pouring htrye quantities of tenter into the wouHt of 
(he di/in<i person : yet the Hindoos think it <r work of great 
merit. Many persons voluntarily renounce life in the Ganges, 
under the ho])e of obtaining immediate entrance into heaven, 
and yet a jury of Englishmen would pronounce it self-murder. 
Infatuated mothers devote their children to this sacred river, 
not doubting but that they are sending them to heaven; yet 
u-c feel certain that every such infant is murdered."* Ought 
not Britain to exert her influence and abolish all these 
murderous practices? Is not this one great design of Pro 
vidence in her supremacy over the millions of India ? What 
a blessing would Christianity be to Hindostan ! 

A late resident in India observes, " With regard to the ex 
tent of the practice, every conjecture must be very uncertain. 
There are no registers of births and burials to which we can 
have recourse ; and consequently, we have no data upon 
which we. can form any accurate; calculation. The river 
Gauges rises in the mountains of Himmalch ; whence it flows 
in the direction of Hurdwar. From this place it gushes 
through an opening in the mountains, and entering Hindostan, 
flows 1:200 miles with a smooth navigable stream to the Bay 
of Bengal. In its course through these plains it receives 
eleven rivers, some of which are larger, and none smaller than 
the Thames. Through the whole course of the Ganges, and 
many of the tributary streams, the custom of exposing the 
sick prevails. Nor is it confined to those who dwell near its 
banks : some are brought from a great distance, that they may 
die near Gunga. If we consider the denseness of the popu 
lation, and the number of villages, towns, and cities, near 
which this river flows, it is easy to conceive that the loss of 
human life, occasioned by this custom, is of awful extent. Nor 
indeed have I heard of any Hindoos remonstrating against it, 
except Bruja Mohiin, who wrote an excellent Tract on the 
present state of Polytheism in India. When this respectable 
and enlightened man was seized with the Cholera Morbus, 
his relatives wished to hurry him away to the river, but he iv- 
fused and insisted on being left in his house." 

The late Bishop Heber, when at Benares, stated, "Fuel 
is extremely dear, and to this circumstance is imputed the 

* Ward s View of the Hindoo*., \ol. ii. pjv 127, 13*, 17M. 


number of bodies thrown into the river without burning. Sut 
tees are less numerous in Benares than in many parts of India, 
but self-immolation by drowning is very common. Every 
year, many scores of pilgrims from all parts of India come 
hither, expressly to end their days and secure their salvation. 
They purchase two large kedgeree pots, between which they 
tie themselves ; and, when empty, these support their weight 
in the water. Thus equipped they paddle into the stream, 
then fill the pots with the water which surrounds them, and 
thus sink into eternity ! Government have sometimes at 
tempted to prevent this practice, but with no other effect than 
driving the voluntary victims a little further down the river ; 
nor indeed, when a man has come several hundred miles to 
die, is it likely that a police officer can prevent him ? In 
struction seems the only way in which these poor people can 
be improved, and that I trust they will by degrees obtain from 
us."* (Sep. 1824.) The success of the British magistrate at 
Allahabad, in suppressing this practice, shews that this and 
similar cruel customs in India, may be abolished by the 
paternal power of Britain. 

The late Rev. D. Brown bears his testimony to the appall 
ing extent of this practice : " The Brahmuns can, as may 
serve their interest, devote any sick branch of a family to 
death : and incredible numbers are destroyed by this super 
stition"-^ " It is my deliberate opinion," says the Rev. S. 
Sutton, late of Moorshedabad, "that, yearly, thousands of 
persons would recover from their diseases, if this absurd cus 
tom were abolished." 

" The exposure of the sick and dying by the sides of the 
Ganges, and other sacred rivers, has been practised from time 
immemorial, and is extended to all the Hindoos residing near 
the rivers. At the hour of death, these poor creatures are 
brought from home, and exposed to the scorching heat of a 
vertical sun, even in the very agonies of death ; or to the 
heavy dew r s and cold of the night. The body of the sufferer 
is besmeared with the mud of the river, and a large quantity 
of water is poured down him, if he can be made to swallow it. 
Hereby the most horrible cruelties (ire practised on lite per 
son of I lie dying, in t/ie hour when suffer my Immunity, in 
every civil ized country, receives the most sooth hi y and un 
wearied attentions; and. hundreds arc hurried into a pre 
mature grave. "I 

Journ., vol. i. p. 2(V>. I Miss. Majj. vi 1. i. p. 117. 

* Remarks on the limn lutions of India. (l*urburv.) p- *>. 


" I was much interested," says a correspondent in the 
Columbian Press Ga/ette, "with the perusal of your remarks 
on the practice of suffocating invalid Hindoos with (lunyti-jol, 
or water of the Ganges. 1 have looked upon this horrid custom 
for years, in tho light in which you represent it; and in many 
instances, I consider it absolute murder. It is far more 
prevalent titan the burning of widows. Among the higher 
class of Hindoos, hardly any one is allowed to depart this 
life in peace at home, but is taken to the banks of the river, 
and then- offered np a sacrifice to Brahminical superstition. 
This indeed is such a crving and prevalent evil, among Hin 
doos, that it certainly deserves the serious consideration of 
those in authority." Aug. 18*25. 

Another correspondent states, "The perusal of a Paper 
called Brahminical Cruelties? and your observations upon 
it, induce me again, to say something in defence of the cause 
of humanity, which you have advocated. I entirely concur 
with you in opinion, that the John Bull, when speaking upon 
this subject, must have confined his view to the Bankshall 
and Chundpaul Ghauts, as the scenes of the barbarous acts; 
and am surprised, he should be so ignorant, of what is passing 
a little beyond Calcutta and its immediate environs. / can con 
fidently assert, that such murderous acts, as the one 1 described 
in your last number, are of almost daily occurrence in the I ro- 
rince of Ilenyal. Perhaps few of your readers are acquainted 
with a village called Clmkdah : it is situated on the banks of 
the Ilooghly, near Sooksaugur, a little above Bandcl. When 
any of the unfortunate individuals, who are carried to the 
river to receive the Gunya hibh* survive the dreadful treat 
ment of their murderers, by the physical strength of their 
constitution, or other causes, they are generally expelled from 
their cast, torn from their relations and sent to inhabit this 
village. After they are taken out of the house to undergo 
this inhuman rite, they are reckoned unholy and unfit for 
association. There they intermarry, and I suppose live as 
comfortably, as any of the low cast Hindoos. I do not think 
that this village is inhabited by any but these people and 
their children. Those who wish to have a correct idea of 
Brahminical cruelties, in this respect, may pay a visit toChak- 
dah, and then- learn, from the inhabitants, the extent of tor 
tures that each of them has suffered." 

The author of a very interesting little work, entitled, " Tin- 
/ rte/ifk ; a true Tale of woe and joy from the East," pub 
lished in 1830, bears his testimony to the extensive prevalence 
ol the practice. " A very distressing annoyance to foreigners 


travelling on the Ganges, is the number of persons that are to 
be seen dying along its sides. In Bengal, no sooner is a man 
thought to be near his end, than he is hurried away to the 
edge of the holy stream, that he may breathe his last beside its 
waters. Many of these are not actually dying ; but as the 
loss of cast is attendant upon their recovery after this step 
has been taken, their friends keep them exposed to the scorch 
ing sun of the day, and the killing damps of the night; and 
often are they seen putting them up to the chin in the water, 
pouring it into their mouths, and even choking them with 
mud and sand. These are spectacles to be seen not oucc a 
year, hut they are the every day, ay^ the hourly scenes, of 
the lower Provinces of Hindostan"* 

The following letter from a gentleman, in a Calcutta Paper, 
affords a specimen of the want of humanity and attention to 
the sick, so prevalent ainony the Hindoos: 

" I am a Mofussilite, and, in the absence of better society, I love to make 
companionship with a few faithful dogs, which have served me \\ell, ever 
since they had the happiness of having me for a master. The evening 
before last, having mounted my horse and whistled them about me, I started 
with the intention of running a fox if I could find one. I had scarcely 
proceeded a hundred yards from my house, when my horse started at some 
thing rolled up in a mat, lying under a tree by the side of the road. As 
there were numbers of people passing, who took no notice of it, I thought 
it could be nothing of consequence enough to require me to dismount, so I 
passed on ; and, after having had my ride, and killed a jackal, I returned 
home. About ten o clock next morning, my bearer informed me that a travel 
ler, oppressed with age, and wearied with his journey, was lying under a 
tree a short distance off, and was just about to die: andj added he in a 
tone of the most perfect unconcern, he has been lying there for several c/a;/,?, 
without am/ thing to eat or drink, so he cannot live more than a dai/! 
Having put on my clothes as hastily as I could, I repaired to the spot, and to my 
astonishment found, that what I had taken for a bundle of wood or grass was 
nothing less than a man. At first sight it appeared to me that he was totally 
stiff and dead; but, on turning him round, I found that life was not extinct, 
and that possibly something might yet be done to recal the parting spirit. 
I accordingly had him borne to my house, and with considerable difficulty 
I forced some medicine down his throat; by degrees he recovered so far as 
to make known to me that, having gone on a pilgrimage to the temple of 
Juggernaut, he was returning to his home at Moorshedabad, when he was 
seized \\ith an illness which day by day increased : that, his money being 
spent, he had been eleven days without tasting food ; and that, not being 
.able to advance farther than the place in which I found him, he had been 
left there by his friend. (Mark the word, Mr. Editor). As to not having 
eaten any thing for eleven days, his emaciated state bore full testimony to 
the truth of his story ; for I never could have believed it possible, without 
actually seeing it, that the human frame could be wasted to such a degree, 
and still have life in it. 

"The Friends," p. 121. 


" \\ hut a strange idea these people must have of religion, and what it 
requires ! In this case, two persons set out together from Moorshedabad to 
Juggernaut. The one is seventy years of age, the other a young man in 
full health. On their way back the old man fell siek; and, although his 
friend has been making this pilgrimage for the sake of his salvation, and 
trying to make his peace with his gods, yet he hesitates not to leave his sick 
companion to die as he may, and become food for dogs; and, when he 
returns to Moorshedabad, he, no doubt, thinks that he has washed away all 
the sins of his former life, by the merit of a pilgrimage to a shrine polluted 
with human blood! It is a comfort indeed to think, that we profess a 
faith which points out a very different conduct on such an occasion. It is 
ours to act the part of the good Samaritan, and pour oil and wine into the 
wounds of the distressed, whether Christian, Jew, Pagan, or Mussulman ; 
and I trust there are but few of my readers, who would Ijave passed by on 
the other side, without heeding the miserable skeleton who now lies at my 
door. The Hindoos have a definition of the word neighbour, but it is 
widely different from that given by the Author of our faith. They have no 
such precept as, do unto others as you would be done by. The fate of the 
poor wretch I hope to serve is the fate of thousands. Immense numbers of 
those who leave their houses in these pilgrimages, leave them never to re 
turn. Hundreds die by the way, and some are crushed to death by the 
ponderous car of Juggernaut. 

" This is the religion of those who have been so often called the mild 
Hindoos : this is the religion of a people, who shudder at the idea of killing 
a co\v, but subject it to the greatest tortures when alive. This is part of a 
system which condemns the unhappy widow to be burned in the embrace of 
the putrid corpse of her husband which has found a merit in exposing a 
new-born child to the jaws of a voracious shark, or a greedy alligator and 
which thrusts an iron hook into the back of its poor deluded votaries, and 
swings them in the air, with savage satisfaction to the spectators! It i.s 
melancholy to think, that one hundred millions bend the knee to innumer 
able gods, whose chief delight they conceive to consist, in witnessing the 
agonies of a human being, expiring under tortures with a view to conciliate 
their favour! Give them education sufficient to see the errors of their re 
ligion and the presumption of their priests, and then some bold spirits must 
break through those fetters which have bound them for centuries. W. 

July 5, 1 H25." 

The Periodical accounts of the Baptist Mission contain 
affecting statements of Hindoo cruelty. A passage or two 
only are given. " Do not send men of compassion here, (said 
the late Dr. Thomas,) for you will soon break their hearts. 
Do send men full of compassion here, where many perish 
with cold, many for lack of bread, and millions for lack of 
knowledge. In England the poor receive the benefit of the 
Gospel, in being fed and clothed, by those who know not by 
what they are moved. When the Gospel is generally 
acknowledged in a land, it puts some to fear and others to 
shame; so that, to relieve their own smart, they provide for 
the poor. But here, (O miserable sight!) I have found the 
path-way stopped up by sick and wounded people, perishing 
with hunger; and that in a populous neighbourhood, where 


numbers pass by ; some singing, others talking, but none 
shewing mercy ; as though they were dying weeds, and not 
dying men."* 

Diego de Lonta, an early Portuguese writer, during his 
residence at Goa, speaks of hospitals for animals in India ; 
but asserts the inhumanity of the Hindoos. "One means of 
making atonement for their sins is by forming hospitals for 
birds. We have seen a remarkable one in the fortress of 
Cambayette, in which were very comfortable places provided 
for the birds which sheltered there, and persons were employed 
to take care of such as were sick. The revenues are clerived 
from public alms. One hospital has persons in pay, whose 
duty it is to walk the streets and fields to search for sick or 
infirm birds, and bring them to the hospital. They have 
also places for sick and aged beasts, where they are lodged 
and attended ; people are kept to go in search of old buffaloes, 
horses, or mules, wounded or infirm ; which arc conveyed 
to the hospital and cured. If they see a lame man on the 
ground, they will not lend a hand to lift him up ; but let him 
be trampled upon by men and beasts, because they say he is 
reduced to this state by his sins. They buy birds merely to 
let them loose ; but would not contribute to release a man 
from prison, even if it were their own father."f 

These statements forcibly remind the humane and pious 
of the declaration of Scripture, "Their sorrows shall be 
multiplied that hasten after another god : their drink offerings 
of blood will I not offer, nor take up their names into my 
lips." What a blessing would Christianity prove to the 
myriads of India, thus " seeking death in the error of their 
way." The dictate of the Gospel, which it is the imperative 
duty of Britain to give to the East, is "Do thyself no harm." 
May its blessings extend as far as winds can waft and 
billows roll. 

* Vol. i. p. 284. 

f Asi. Jour., March 1827. See Hebcr s account of a similar institution 
at llroacli. Jour., vol. ii. p. 171. 



/lie impossibility of detecting murder irith the permission of 

this custom palliatioti of it absurd the propriety of 
adopting measures for the suppression of its atrocities 
utility of attending to the sick confirmation of the state 
ments concluding remarks. 

These appalling facts are submitted to the attention oi 
the humane in Britain and India. That such atrocious acts, 
under the semblance of religion, are perpetrated, is beyond a 
doubt ; but ought such infractions of the inviolable principles of 
justice 1 and humanity to be tolerated ? The celebrated histo 
rian, llollin, severely censures the conduct of Xerxes, in giving 
up his brother s wife to the revenge of his own, and says, 
" He was guilty of the weakest and most cruel piece of com 
pliance; making I he inviolable obligations of justice and 
humanity gire way to the arbitrary laws of a custom" It is 
written, " Righteousness exalteth a nation." "Mercy and truth 
preserve the king, and his throne is upholden by mercy." 
It is not necessary for the preservation of the British power 
in India, that these cruelties should be permitted. The God 
of nations, is "a God of truth, and without iniquity, just and 
right is he;" and He will u make inquisition for blood." Can 
it be doubted whether Britain possesses the power to issue a 
proclamation, declaring that whoever is accessary to the death 
of an individual by Infanticide, the Exposure of the sick, or 
any other inhuman custom, is a murderer, and as such ame 
nable to the laws? In India our will is our law. How 
great is the responsibility of the British Government! 

" Hear it, ye Senates hear this truth sublime; 
He who allows of murder, shares the crime." 

The impossibility of detecting murder, icitli the permission of 

this custom , is apparent from the following facts. 
The late Rev. W. Ward thus describes the circumstances 
of a heathen dying by the Ganges. "Just before or after 
being immersed, they spread the mud of the river on the 
breast, c., of the dying man, and with one of their fingers 
write on this mud the name of some; deitv ; they also pour 
water down his throat, shout the name of different deities in 
his ears, and, by this anxiety after his future happiness, hurry 
him into eternity ; and, in many cases, it is to be feared 1 , 
prerent recovery where it might reasonably be expected. 


Some persons who are carried down to the river side revive, 
and return home again ; but scarcely any instances are known 
of persons surviving after the half immersion in water. In 
cases of sudden and alarming sickness, many are actually 
murdered by these violent means of sending men to Gunga" 
" Private murder is practised to a dreadful extent among the 
Hindoos ; and is exceedingly facilitated, and detection pre 
vented, by the practice of hurrying sick persons to the banks 
of the river, and burning them as soon as dead. Many 
anecdotes on this subject might be given."* 

Dr. Johns, in his pamphlet before referred to, speaks of a 
man drowned in sport. " Some years ago as Shivu Shiromee 
(the Bralimun who related the fact to the Rev. W. Ward,) 
was returning from bathing, with Kashenaut, another Brali 
mun, they saw a poor old man sitting on the bank of the river, 
and asked him what he was doing there ? He replied that he 
was destitute of friends, and was about to renounce life in 
the Ganges. Kashenaut urged him not to delay then, if he 
was come to die. But the man seemed to hesitate, and 
replied that it was very cold. The Brahmun (hinting to his 
companion, that he wished to sec the sport before he returned 
home !) reproached the poor trembling wretch for his cowardice, 
and, seizing his hand, dragged him to the edge of the bank ; 
where he made him sit down, rubbed over him the purifying 
clay of the river, and ordered him to repeat the proper incan 
tations. While he was, with his eyes closed, repeating these 
forms, he slipped down and sunk into the water, which was 
very deep, and perished."f Was not this murder ? 

In the Circular Letters of the Missionaries at Serampore, 
accounts are given of the drowning of two lepers, at Futwa 
and Alumgung. "On hearing the people belonging to the 
boat say that a man was going to be drowned at Futwa, I 
looked out, and saw the poor creature, without fingers or toes, 
but in other respects apparently healthy. lie was eating 
very heartily, and surrounded by several people, who appeared 
to have conducted him to the spot. The bank being high, I 
could not get out of the boat, till we got to a considerable 
distance from the place where the man sat. As I was running 
towards the spot, I heard the people on the top of the boat 
call out, * He is drowned ! he is drowned / His attendants, 
who appeared to be his relatives, had assisted him down the 
bank of the river; but whether they pushed him in, or 

* View of the Hindoos, vol. iii. pp. 269. 201. f Facts and 

Opinions relative to the Burning of Hindoo Widows, 1810, p. 70. 


whether lie got into tin* water of his own accord, I cannot 
toll ; hut the hank was so steep at the place that he could not 
possibly get out again, lie made great efforts to reach tin- 
side, hut had he heen a good swimmer he could not have got 
out, the stream was so rapid. I saw him struggle much, 
hefore he sunk to rise no more. I endeavoured to impress on 
the people who attended him, the heinousness of the crime 
they had perpetrated ; hut they smiled at my concern, and 
said they had only complied with the wishes of the deceased, 
who had neither hands nor feet." (Nov. 1812).* 

" A Hindoo, of the writer cast," says the Rev. J. Moore, 
"informed me he saw a Hindoo carpenter drowned, because 
he had the leprosy. He was carried from one of the Ghauts 
at Alumgimg in a hoat, in the presence of a large assembly 
of people, and, when in deep water, put overboard. Two 
large earthen pots, one filled with sand, the other with barlev, 
were fastened to his shoulders. The man sunk, but after sonic 
time floated on the water. The people in the boat rowed 
after him and took him up, but made sure work of it the 
second time." (Oct. 1813.) 

"The Cama Morun, or voluntary death, is when a person, 
who is in distress or disgrace-, or believes it meritorious to die 
in the Ganges, forms the resolution of parting with life in tin- 
sacred stream. Some of them abstain from food that they 
may expire in the holy place; but the greater number drown 
themselves in the presence of the surrounding multitude. 
Their children and other relations generally attend them. // 
is no uncommon thiny for a father to be jmshed aytiin inl 
tJtc rh cr bi/ his sons, if Jtc nttcmjtt to swim back to land /"i 
Are not these acts of murder? Must not India be greath 
defiled with blood? 

The Kditor of the Bengal Hurkaru, in Aug. 1825, very 
judiciously and forcibly observes, on this subject, 

"We will make ;i remark or two on a topic that has been brought (>> 
public notice in the Columbian Press Gazette, and which has been attempted 
to be palliated on the ground of its being a Hindoo rite. It would be idle 
to wa.sU: words to prove, that if it could be clearly made out in evidence that 
a sick man was put to death by his relations, by Hrahmuns, or by any body 

* The Rev. IJ. Townley, recently related ihe following anecdote, illus 
trative of the Hindoo character. " A Hindoo once said to me, Why are 
vou so very earnest to save others? What is it to you if they should be 
lost? I said to him, If you should see a poor fellow -creature sinking 
beneath the waves of the (Jangcs and your boat was p-issing by him, would 
you not be glad to put out your hand that you might save him ? No, he 
replied, I should look to myself. Christianity reprobates the inijuiry, 
Am I ?;>/ brother s keeper "" | Burdcr s Miss. Awe. p. - 57. 



else, when carried do\\ii to tlic river, or by any other means, and whether 
against tlie prayers of the sick man or not, at least within the jurisdiction 
of the Supreme Court, it would be murder; just as the performance of a 
Suttee would be murder. The pretence, that the Hindoo religion authorized 
such practices, would be equally unavailable in one case as in the other. The 
fact, that death is anticipated by violent means may lie denied, and we 
certainly are in possession of no other proof than common report ; but, if such 
facts do exist, we do not conceive that the presence of Police Peons is any 
protection at all against abuse; certainly not if they are Hindoos. We 
should be glad to know, by what authority it is that dying persons are 
exposed by the river side; and would thank any of our readers, learned 
in the languages and customs of the Hindoos, to give us precise information; 
for without violence, and \\ithout the use of suffocation, the mere exposure 
on a muddy bank, under a burning sun, of a person dangerously ill, cannot 
be considered by am/ reasonable man, but as an act approaching very near to 
murder, under whatever pretext it is done. 

" There is a kind of fanaticism prevalent among Europeans in India, 
which is a melancholy proof of the force of habit, and of the puerile tendency 
to extremes that disgraces even intelligent men, who adopt theories that 
their sel t -love becomes interested to support. We allude not to the fanaticism 
in the dogmas of Christianity, but a fanaticism that is ready to go all lengths 
in palliation and support of the most revolting doctrines of Hindoo super 
stition. This turn of mind, of which we have perceived many traces in the 
writings of Europeans who have been in India, naturally arises from a wish 
to dignify those tilings which have been the subject of their studies and 
investigation ; and might be excused or pitied did it not lead to laxity of 
moral reasoning, and to sneers at real religion. Their religion is one mon 
strous tissue of absurdity and cruelty absurd in doctrine, cruel in practice; 
which no ingenuity in allegory, and no sophistry, can make reconcilcable with 
common, sense and h umanity ! Prudence may induce us to tolerate, prudence 
may induce us to be silent, but it is too much to speak of such a system 
with respect. Such conduct cannot but excite indignation. 

"There may be purposes to be served, and vanities to be gratified; the 
Philologist, who h;is mastered the difficulties of Sanscrit, and explored with 
tedious care the occult meaning of Hindoo Mythology, may gratify the 
pride of a futile labour by a preposterous estimation of the value of his at 
tainments : the cold Politician, who looks only to the preservation of power, 
may be tremblingly anxious to prevent all alarm, and to throw discredit 
upon all attempts at conversion: and the concealed Unbeliever in Chris 
tianity may be delighted in an opportunity of instituting presumptuous and 
impious comparisons; or insinuating that, when once the order of nature is 
quitted, there is no rule of judgment, and one mystery and one miracle is 
prima facie as probable as another. Hut every candid believer, every friend 
to morals, to human nature, and to happiness, ought severely to examine 
his own mind, and deeply pause, before lie is led away by literary /eal and 
vanity, by political interest and prejudice, or by polemical hate, to step for 
ward, the concealed or the avowed defender of a system that is degrading to 
man, and has entailed slavery, wickedness, and misery upon millions of 
millions of men." 

The inhumanity of the Native police shews the difficulty of 
allowing this custom t<> continue, consistently with the prin 
ciples of justice and the well-being of society. On this sub 
ject it is remarked, in one of the Calcutta Papers; "In 


order to prevent the continuance of these inhuman practices, 
we deemed it right to call attention to them, and to suggest 
the necessity of adopting some regulations, making it incum 
bent on the Brahmuns to have the authority of a Native Doctor, 
at least for pronouncing a fellow-creature so far past the hope 
of recovery as to justify, according to their own laws and 
customs, the administration of the inhuman ceremony adverted 
to. But we are told there is no necessity for this; and why r 
because the John Bull is persuaded that the cruel practices 
of Hindoism are, in many instances, exaggerated, therefore 
prevention and inquiry are unnecessary ! We are told that 
Police Peons are stationed at the Ghauts to prevent such 
murderous scenes as are said to occur. These, it must be 
admitted by all who know their character, are bad securities 
against the perpetration of inhumanity : fellows who look on 
with the utmost indifference at any scene of cruelty, whether 
it be a widow burning, a man drowning, or a poor diseased 
creature suffocated by a Brahmun. As for their reporting to 
a Coroner any thing of the kind, even if they did so (which 
we believe they would not), he has no control beyond the 
Mahratta ditch ; nor indeed have the Police Peons above 
referred to, for they are under the jurisdiction of the Zillah 
magistrates. We hope the Zillah magistrates will deem it 
their dutv to institute some inquirv into this matter; for 
humanity loudly demands it." 

Palliation of the nature of this rite upprars absurd. A 
correspondent, in one of the Indian papers, proves that no de- 
pendance can be placed on the unprincipled Native officers. 
"The idea of chokedars interfering in this business appears 
ridiculous to those who are at all acquainted with the 
nature of the country. 1 have frequently passed a dozen 
villages and Ghauts without seeing or hearing of a single 
chokedar. How are these people to inform the Coroner, or 
any bodv else, of what is passing in these places, when they 
themselves are often ignorant of it ? Unless there be, a par 
ticular and strict injunction laid upon them by the higher 
powers, (which 1 do not suppose is the case,) it is absurd to 
suppose they would interfere." 

The Calcutta .John Bull in Aug. 182"), attempted to palliate 
these evils. 4k We feel at all times a satisfaction in being 
enabled to vindicate the Native, and particularly the Brah- 
minical character, from the charges so often thrown upon it, 
as disfigured by all that is dishonest, selfish, and cruel ; but 
we withhold not our assent to the assertion, that there is much 
to lament over, after all that has been exaggerated has been 

o -2 


reduced within the fair proportions of truth. We leave to the 
indiscriminate admirer of all that is Hindoo, to speak his 
praises of a faith, which is a disgrace to human reason, and 
a lamentable instance of human folly ; and to arrogate to its 
priests, virtues altogether incompatible with the doctrines and 
duties which, as ministers of this religion, they must teach 
and practise. But it is possible to err on the other side : and 
when the Brahmuns were represented as in the actual com 
mission of murder, and that, as we are led to understand, 
within the very jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of Calcutta, 
we found that inquiry into the subject was due, if not to them, 
at least to the character of British justice itself. The fact 
of a person being stationed at the Ghauts within the juris 
diction, whose business it is, among other duties, to prevent 
the rites of Hindoo sepulture being given to any one bearing 
the marks of a violent death, until due investigation should 
be made, certainly seems to us altogether irreconcilable with 
the alleged occurrence of Brahmuns, causing the death of 
Natives brought to the river side to expire, before the disease 
was far from having overcome the vital energies. 

" It is a question, not unaccompanied with difficulty, to say 
the precise moment at which death has assuredly made good his 
position, if we may so speak. And admitting that, in cases 
where this is clear, the practice referred to is not to be in 
terfered with, as arising out of the religion of the Natives, some 
caution we think is requisite in affixing the stigma of murder 
to the acts of the Brahmuns. We readily admit, that a 
practice, which on many accounts we should rejoice to see 
abolished, may le, and no doubt is, perverted to the most in 
human purposes. The remark that, in the cases of Natives 
being seized with the Cholera Morbus, there is an imminent 
risk that before the constitution can rally, the cruel rites of 
Hindoism may have extinguished the only chance of life re 
maining, is highly deserving notice. It points to circum 
stances demanding a more than ordinary vigilance on the 
part of those whose duty it may be to prevent the violation 
of the laws, as they provide for the last rites that are to be 
performed by a dying Hindoo ; and, if those officers are not 
clothed with sufficient authority to act in such cases, every 
humane and Christian motive concurs in demanding that they 

To this it is replied, by the Editor of the India Gazette, 
"The existence of the inhuman practice complained of is no 
longer denied : but the writer evidently labours under a very 
important mistake on the subject. He seems to think that 


the only danger of murder resulting from it is, that tin- Brah- 
niiins may administer this inhuman rite to those who are not 
actually dead, owing to the difficulty, where great and sud 
den prostration of strength is a symptom of the disease, of 
ascertaining the precise moment, when death has assuredly 
made good his position. From this it would appear, that the 
writer imagines that the Brahmuns never administer this bar 
barous ceremony until their victim is pronounced dead, or 
until they actually think him so : but the fact is, that it is by 
110 means necessary that the poor creature should be dead, nor 
do they wait for this. The moment he is pronounced in a 
dangerous state by a Native Doctor, or even by themselves; 
he is hurried to the river, and subjected to a treatment, enough 
in itself, even in a disorder by no means dangerous, to bring 
on immediate death, as it no doubt often does. Was In- 
aware, that, many tcho Juice endured tJtese brutal ceremonies, 
on tJie pled th<it tliey icere dyiinj, Jun C recovered ? Unit their 
recorery entails disgrace on them ? and Uidt whole villages 
of these degraded Hindoos e.i isl wit/tin d datfx journey of 
its ? We confess with shame, that we were ignorant of the 
fact ; but it speaks volumes, as to the necessity of some re 
gulation, to prevent the unhappy victims of a dreadful disease 
from being, under false pretexts that they are in a state in 
which Hindoo superstition enjoins it, subjected to the cruelties 
we have denounced." 

" Since our last," says another public Journal in Calcutta, 
" the John Bull has put forth the following notice respecting 
the Ghaut Murders as denounced by us : A Correspondent 
has pointed out to us, that the person (not properly speaking 
a Police Peon,) stationed at the Ghauts, whose business is to 
superintend the burning, &c., of bodies, always prevents those 
that are brought from being disposed of according to the 
Hindoo customs, should any marks of violence appear on 
them, until the same is duly reported to the proper authorities; 
with whose duties, it would be obviously incompatible, to 
permit the alleged murderous practices of the Brahmuns. 
The absurdity of regarding any regulations like the above, as 
a security against the cruelties we have stated, must be suffici 
ently apparent to anv one at all acquainted with the subject. 
If marks of violence appear, then it seems the circumstance 
is reported to the proper authorities, by the Peons (not 
Police) of the Ghauts; but whoever heard of marks ol vio 
lence being produced by suffocating a sick man with mud and 
water; and exposing him, while under the influence of a 
dangerous disease, to the heat of the sun and the vicissitudes 


of the weather, both before and after the administration of 
these destructive ceremonies ? It is in this manner that the 
murders alluded to are perpetrated, and the fact has indeed 
been partly acknowledged to us by a Hindoo, and defended. 
He denied that any but OLD MEN were RELUCTANT VIC 
TIMS of these cruelties; but with respect to them he said, 
however they might Implore to be saved, or allowed to die at 
home, they were not listened to, but forced to the water side, 
to receive what is, with the Hindoos, deemed more important 
than the extreme unction of the Romish Church. Mut we 
disbelieve this ; for we have since been informed by a friend, 
who witnessed a circumstance of this kind, that old or young, 
willing or unwilling, are equally subjected to this inhuman 
mode of terminating their existence. It is said that the 
Native Doctor, employed by the family, first pronounces the 
sick individual incurable ; but it is needless to say, that this 
is no sufficient security against the perpetration of these 
murderous rites, in cases where, but for them, the patient 
might recover. If it would not be going further than the 
Government might feel justifiable, it would be a wise and 
humane regulation, to prohibit the administration of Gunga 
jal (Ganges water) until the patient has actually expired. 
In order not to shock the prejudices of the Hindoos, with 
respect to its importance as to future beatitude, that they 
should die by the water side ; it might still be permitted to 
carry the sick who are dangerously ill down to the river side, 
provided they kept them there under shelter, and not exposed 
as they are now, without covering, to the noonday sun or a 
tropical shower ; enough of themselves to produce a fatal ter 
mination of any disease, without the other barbarous aids." 
There appears, by the past experience of the regulation and 
consequent legalization of Suttees in India, no intermediate 
measure really beneficial to society, between entire neglect 
of the practice and its abolition as murder. The dead body 
might be brought to the river, but if the sick lie at the mercy 
of Native Doctors, Darogahs, Peons, &c., there can be no 
security that they will not be murdered by this cruel rite. 
The prohibition of the exposure of the sick appears the dic 
tate of justice and humanity. 

Tlic propriety of adopting measures for I he melioration, and 
even for the .suppression of the evils of tJiis practice, has en 
gaged the public attention. The opinion of the Editors of 
the India Gazette and the Calcutta John Mull has been 
given ; the Bengal Hurkaru in Aug. 18*25, contains the follow 
ing judicious remarks : " Ghaut ]\lurders. From all that 


we can learn on the distressing subject, the Cholera rages 
among the natives with unabated fury. It appears, from an 
expression in the John Bull, that regular reports are received 
from the different* Ghauts (where, we presume, the bodies of 
the dead are consumed) of the extent of the mortality. II 
this be the ease, we wish at the same time, that reports eould hr 
furnished of the number of siek brought down to these Ghauts, to 
benmrdered by those legalized butchersof their fellow creatures, 
the Brahmuns, under the pretence that they are past all hope 
of recovery. In this state, we understand, many are brought 
to the river side, and their existence quickly put an end to 
bv the administration of what is called (lion/a jnl ! Some 
means might be taken, to ascertain the fact that J.he unhappy 
beings put out of the world, in a manner so revolting to hu 
manity, are actually in articulo mortis when brought down 
to be submitted to this last inhuman ceremony: for unless 
they are, we understand, those engaged in putting a period to 
their existence would be liable to the penalty attaching to the 
crime of MURDER. 

"In cases where the miserable victim is capable of shewing 
any reluctance, and evinces it, interference to prevent it would 
surelv be more than justifiable, ?< becomes a sacred duly, the 
tieylect of which tcould no/ he cruel merely hut criminal. But 
how is this to be discerned? or who is to look after it ? The 
people in authority about the Ghauts, which arc the scenes of 
such sacrifices, the chokedars, &e., are generally, we believe, 
Hindoos, and by no means likely to discharge this duty faith 
fully, even if it be enjoined on them, which we greatly doubt. 
II ho then /.v to perform it? This is a question which \\ < 
presume the Zillah Magistrates can best answer; humanity 
loudly demands that the matter should be investigated; and 
we hope it will attract their attention. Where arc all tin- 
Native Doctors, about whom we heard so much in former 
days, when the Cholera prevailed? Many of these, we sup 
pose, are Mussulmans, and, as they have no prejudice in 
favour of the inhuman practice we have adverted to, they 
might be very properly employed to prevent it, where inter 
ference is deemed justifiable. \Vc imagine there could be no 
impediment of an order to this effect: That before any un 
fortunate being should be dragged to the Ghaut, to lie 
suffocated by the Brahmuns, it should be incumbent on them 
to have the authority of the Native Doctor. We hope this 
subject will receive the consideration it merits. We may be 
wrong in supposing there is a remedy for the evil, but we have 
felt it our dulv to endeavour to bring the ^ubject forward, ir, 


order that sonic means may be speedily devised, to elieck the 
perpetration of these legalized MURDERS, if the entire pre 
vention of them should be deemed impossible." 

"The exposure of the sick by the side of the Ganges surely 
requires a regulation securing greater comforts to these dying- 
persons. Such a regulation might easily be framed, as would 
gradually put a stop to these dreadful cruelties inflicted on 
persons in the agonies of death, and preventing the recovery of 
others suffering under temporary maladies. Highly honour 
able as is the determination of Government not to interpose 
In the religion of their Indian subjects, yet cruellies and 
murders, not authorized by the Hindoo laws, have surely no 
claim to toleration"* 

To legalize a cruel practice, pregnant with murder, is a 
highly exceptionable policy. The concession here made is 
very important, viz. " The chokedars, fyc., are generally Hin 
doos^ and by no means likely to discharge this duty faithfully, 
even if it be enjoined on them" The preservation of life is 
the imperious duty of a well regulated Government ;f and 
this cannot be accomplished with the permission of the prac 
tice. Hundreds and thousands have been murdered by the 
permission of Suttees. The perpetrators of this practice are 
guilty of murder, and the custom should be humanely and 
promptly abolished. 

The propriety and utility of medical attention to the sick, 
in the circumstances here contemplated, are deserving of par 
ticular regard. 

" The number of people in Calcutta, who fell victims to 
the Cholera in the course of this week, (says the Editor of the 
Somachar Durpun, Sep. 3, 1825,) has been estimated at an 
average of four hundred a day. Many, we believe, attacked 
with a slight sickness, give themselves up to death, through 
fear ; the more so when they are taken to the river, which 
makes them despair of life, and thus is their end hastened. 
We have known, that those who immediately after the attack 
of the disease applied to European Doctors have been re- 

* Remarks on the Immolations of India, p. 23. (Parbury). 
f "When the Russian Government conveyed to Japan, a number of its 
mariners who had been shipwrecked on the Russian coast, the Japanese 
Government thanked them ; but observed, at the same time, that theymiyht 
cither leave them or tnhe them lack as they mitjhl think fit. These are the 
sentiments of an ignorant and barbarous policy, though they have sometimes 
been mistaken for greatness of mind. But no sentiment is great that is not 
humane ; and no nation is civilized whose government is not solicitous lor 
the safety of the citizens." Ori. Herald. Vol. ii. p. liM. 


covered by their medical assistance ; it is indeed a matter of 
great pity, that persons should not apply lor medicine till it is 
too late. This disorder has also prevailed at Serampore and 
its neighbouring villages, but not with much violence. Those 
patients to whom we have given medicine in the early stage 
of the disease have recovered ; and we are happy to say that, 
by our appointing a Physician^ and Tendering medical as 
sistance, many lives /tare been saved. Two days since, a 
patient of the Boistub cast was found lying helpless on Joogul 
Uddies Ghaut at Serampore, and we immediately sent our 
doctor to afford him relief; and on his giving the poor man 
some medicine, he recovered on the third day." 

The following circumstance demonstrates the good effects 
of the friendly interference of Europeans in India, in prevent 
ing Hindoo cruelty to the sick: "A bearer who had lived 
for a long time in a family was taken ill, and was on the 
point of being carried to the banks of the river, for the pur 
pose of being given over to the care of the Ganges to be 
conveyed to heaven. Before he was taken away, he requested 
to be allowed to speak to his old mistress; and, on being 
taken to her, he begged her to interfere to procure for him a 
respite of three days. On her speaking, some remarks were 
made by his friends, as to the expense which would be incur 
red, if they were to comply with (his request!! J I is mis 
tress promised to pay all the expense that might be incurred ; 
and the result was, that the man, who was so near death live 
or six years ago, is now alive in Calcutta in the execution of 
his business."* 

A missionary writes on the Ganges: 

"Two or three days ago, I witnessed a scene more shocking 
than any 1 ever saw in this place. A poor weaver was brought , 
and cast into the river, with a pan full of water tied round his 
waist to make him sink ; but the stream was shallow, and he 
was taken out, after being in the miter a day and a n ujlit. 
Hearing of the circumstance, 1 went to him, and found the poor 
man only affected with rheumatic pains. 1 had him brought 
to my house, and hope he will be restored to health. What 
adds to the horror of this narration, is, that the perpetrators 
of this intended murder were the mother and brother of the 
unhappy I lindoo I 11 

The following letter from a native was addressed to the late 
Rev. W. Hampton, at Juggernaut, and shews the acceptable 

. Ilurk., Aug. 1*3:3. Asi. Mini., Maivli IH31. 


ness of kind attention to the Hindoos in sickness. The original 
now lies before the Author : 

" Most worth 


I have the honour to acquaint you that I am Sick by 
the fever this for cannot stand nor walk neither Rise from slip, hut pass 
yesterday at Evening here did you order if will you go to-morrow then 1 
will give you some physic, and [ cannot go for my misfortune and did not 
Cure, therefore I pray before you I am very poor man and orphan So 
Gracious Grant me grace to aboid from this fever and always to be nourished 
as any Room. I am Sir your Most obedient humble Servant Fukeerchunder 
Doss. " 

" It is pleasant to my feelings," says a late resident in 
India, in a letter dated Salisbury, May, 1828, "that I have 
ever been made the instrument of delivering any of the Hin 
doos from such horrid deaths. It used to cost me about 
three rupees a month for medicine. I always found them 
willing to take it; and in many instances they came to our 
house for it, so that my husband has been called up twice in 
a night, to administer medicine to the sick. When we have 
gone out an hour in the morning, we have frequently found 
three or four in the verandah waiting our return ; but these 
natives had been accustomed to receive medicine from the 
Mission family. The Mission House at Serampore has always 
been, and still is, an asylum for the sick and distressed. Mrs. 

M is quite a nursing mother to the natives. When I 

left India, our brethren had a line boy under their care, that 
was found by the riverside, left there to perish, but was taken 
up by a Christian woman, and put into the Bengalee school. 
lie has since been educated in the college, and is now preach 
ing the gospel to his countrymen. I wish I had property, 1 
would establish a Humane Society for the sick in India, and 
again administer medicine to them myself. I hope 1 shall 
meet many of them in a better world, where medicine will 
not be needed. My heart s desire and prayer to God for 
them is that they may be saved."* 

The following is from a Native Paper in Calcutta, the 

"The city of Calcutta is gradually increasing in size, by which its residents 
and visitors are subjected to a proportionate degree of convenience and 
comfort. The comforts have been increased by new roads and tanks; by 
the Strand ghauts; by the facilities for burning the dead; by contrivances 
to allay the dust; by the appointment of the Police Committee, and of 
Nativ e juries. These are the acts of Government ; but the remedies against 

* Sec also G. B. Ilqu>s. A p. 1820, p. K>7. 


disease remain without improvement. The Native Hospital, and that at 
(iurunhatta, possess no conveniences suited to tin- prejudices of the Natives. 
The Native Hospital is at the Chandnee-choke, in the European part of the 
town, and its arrangements prevent men of cast and respectability, from 
a\ ailing themselves of it; its benefits are therefore confined to bheestees 
(water carriers) and musalchees (flambeau carriers) of Gentlemen, and to 
those who are brought thither by the police. Every one knows that this 
city contains thousands of poor strangers, of all ranks, without wealth, con 
nexion, or friends, who when afflicted with disease, fly from the city, and 
receiving medicine, and the prescribed regimen elsewhere, recover : hut 
sotnc die on the road, and many perish fur utint of two pice worth of medi 
cine. Those who live from hand to mouth cannot obtain proper food or 
medicine, and for them there is no relief. Those who have no attendance, 
and no means of obtaining medicine, perish of course bv hundreds in the 
city. We hear that the governors of the Hindoo College, propose to estab 
lish an Hospital in its vicinity, the expense of which, will be partly defrayed 
from the funds received for the instruction of students. English medicines 
will be obtained from the Company s Dispensary, and other medicines will 
be prepared on the spot. The rich, the liberal, the compassionate in this 
city, will be able to raise something by way of subscription for it. Should 
the plan be carried into effect, the control ol the Institution will be divided 
between English and Native Gentlemen, and the medical students of the 
College will perform its duties, under the instruction of skilful physicians. 
Hindoo and Bnilunun attendants will be appointed, whereby, men of rank 
and respectability will be enabled to resort to it for medicine, and proper 
food, and thus save their lives. The practice of English Physicians, which 
is now held in such high repute, will thus be imparted to students and 
widely diffused over the country."* 

These statements admit of abundant confirmation. 

Colonel Dow, in his " History of Hindustan" has a sec 
tion entitled, "A Plan for restoring Bengal toils former pros 
perity ; " in which he says, "All religions must be tolerated 
in lien gal, except in the practice of some inluiman rust outs, 
which the Mahomedans hare already in a (/real measure 
destroyed. \Ve must not permit yountj it idoics in Iheir 
rirtuous enthusiasm to ihroiv themselves on the funeral pile 
of their dead husbands; nor the Kick and aged to be drowned 
trhen their friends despair of their fires. These are particu 
lar //.sY///f.s\ established by time into a laic, which our Itumanity 
must destroy. Let no women burn themselves with their 
husbands, or dying persons be exposed by their friends. To 
leave the Natives to their own laws, would be to consign them 
to anarchy and confusion."f 

"The removal; 1 says the late Rev. W. Ward, " of the dying 
to the banks of the Ganges, the voluntary immolations at 
places the resort of pilgrims, and the burning of widows 
alive, entail so much misery on the Hindoos, that crcry hu 
mane heart is rent in pieces, whenever these horrid practices 

* Asi. Journ., May 1830, p. 10. f Vol. hi. pp. I JH l-i:*. 


are brought into public notice. The great success which has 
attended the benevolent exertions of Government, in certain 
cases, encourages us to hope that the hand of mercy will, 
sooner or later, heal the wounds of a country, bleeding at 
every pore from the fangs of superstition. These cruelties 
can have so little sanction from any form of religion, are so 
abhorrent to every humane feeling, and have in some instances 
been prevented with so much ease, that one can scarcely for 
bear wishing, that more may be done to prevent such plain 
violations of the duties men owe to themselrex and to society"* 

The Rev. J. H. Hough, Chaplain on the Madras Estab 
lishment, in his " Reply to the Able Duboifi" demonstrates 
the facility of the suppression of Hindoo cruelties : " I main 
tain that the abolition of every practice that outrages the feelings 
and sympathies of human nature, and of which British law- 
would take cognizance, would tend to confirm our political 
power in the East. It might alienate the minds of the in 
terested few who profit by these immolations ; but it would 
conciliate the bulk of the Natives, and attach them more cor 
dially to our Government. Remove every barbarous super 
stition that paralyses the affections of the soul, and you will 
instantly perceive the feelings of humanity begin to revive. 
Each cord entwined about the heart will soon vibrate 
to the sounds of parental, filial, and fraternal love ; and even 
the Hindoo, no longer a misanthrope, or deaf and blind to 
the claims of society, shall own and rejoice in the relative ties 
by which man is bound to man. The gratitude with which 
the Rajpoot mothers presented at the feet of Colonel Walker 
the children preserved through his humane perseverance ; the 
conduct of the widow, rescued from the funeral pile at Cliica- 
cole, towards her benefactress, and the subsequent behaviour 
of her relatives, are alone sufficient to vindicate the Hindoos 
claims to the feelings of humanity, and to shew that these 
anticipations will, in all human probability, be realized, when 
the obstructions that now prevent the exercise of those feel 
ings shall be done away."f 

"As to the practicability of suppressing this wretched 
practice," says the Rev. S. Button, late Missionary in Bengal, 
" I am scarcely capable of giving an opinion. Every Indian 
custom appears so gigantic in its nature, and is so firmly 
imbedded in the affections of the people, that human means 
appear but little in opposing it. Two measures may be 

* View of ilie Hindoos, vol. iii. p. -2*1. 
I 1 1 (Mali s Reply to the AM>e Dubois, i. 2W. 


]>oiiiU <l out which are certainly lawful in themselves, and 
which can he immediately put into execution without the aid 
of the civil power. The first is, small pamphlets might be 
written on the subject, in English and the native languages, 
and these should be extensively circulated among Europeans 
and Hindoos; bv this means a spirit of inquiry will probably 
arise, and it will become a matter of public discussion. The 
second measure is the one you have alluded to, namely, a 
Humane Society. I have known many cases where indivi 
dual benevolence has been extended towards lepers, and 
others, who have been left to perish ; but, il a aeneral Society 
could be formed, for this object, in the metropolis of British 
India, il would soon extend its ramifications to all parts of 
the empire, and, the victims snatched from the jaics of 
destruction by its influence would richly repay its ldbouTS. n 

The Kditor of the Christian Observer remarks, respecting 
the sanguinary rites of the Hindoo, "They are of a nature too 
criminal to be permitted under any regular government. It 
is impossible to regard, without horror, the murders and 
atrocities which are openly practised in India under the name 
of religion. These are practices which come under the desig 
nation of enormous crimes, and ought not to exist under a 
Hritish Government, and which it might be proved, that 
Government have it in their power easily and safely to 

The late C. Grant, Esq., in a letter written Sep. 1811, has 
thus expressed himself on this subject; "1 would not be 
understood to imply, that the British Government has done 
all that it might and ought to do, in relation to the horrid 
superstition (the worship of Juggernaut) in question. / con 
ceive Unit, as a Government, ice mi</ht and should forbid all 
immolation of /in man rictims, or sacrifice in any mode of 
linmaii life ; and Uiat without nsin</ compulsion, or riolatin</ 
the toleration allowed to the. Hindoos. Il might do far more 
than it has vet done for the safe and gradual introduction and 
diffusion of Gospel light in India the only effectual cure for 
all the deplorable evils of idolatry and immorality which exist 
there. It has long been an interesting subject tome, and I 
regret I have not been able to render more service to a canst 
which, well understood, ought to be supported by the Politician 
and the Christian, since it is recommended by the soundest 
dictates of policy, as well as by the infinitelv higher con 
siderations of true religion."t 

* Mar. INM. f Review of Pilgrim Tux in India, Hup. Mag., April 


The late Hon. J. II. Harington, Member of Council, 
Calcutta, in a highly interesting document relative to the 
Suttee, justly observes ; " As far as the New Regulation 
(enforced at Saugur by a military guard) opposed an esta 
blished usage, originating in superstition, it maybe considered 
a precedent for prohibiting and punishing other inhuman 
practices of a superstitious nature. As I have never heard 
of any resistance being offered, or objection made to the exe 
cution of the penal law above mentioned, I cannot but think 
it affords some ground of presumption, that other supersti 
tious and inhuman practices, such particularly as the Suttee 
sacrifice, though sanctioned in a certain degree by the shastra 
and by popular opinion, might be suppressed by a legislative 
enactment with equal safety and success."* 

Lord Teignmouth, in his interesting pamphlet before quoted, 
proves the humane and beneficial influence of the British 
Government in India, in abolishing various customs opposed 
to sound reason and the true interests of the people.f 
" Usages originating in Hindoo superstition, and customs of 
immemorial prescription, have been discountenanced by the 
British administration in Bengal ; whilst the laws of the Ma- 
homedans, J which derive their authority from the Koran, have 
been modified or altered in various instances. In trial for 
murder, the Mahomedan law officers are required to deliver 
their opinions, according to the doctrines of certain learned 
expositors of the law named in the regulations ; but, as these 
expositors admit many distinctions as to the mode of com 
mitting murder, the British Government has enacted, (Reg. 9, 
A. D. 1793, S. 75,) that no regard shall be paid to these dis 
tinctions ; but the intention of the criminal, and not the 
manner or instrument of perpetration, shall constitute the 
rule for determining the punishment. The Mahomedan law 
considers, the religious persuasion of witnesses as a bar to 
the conviction or condemnation of a prisoner, or, in other 
words, rejects the testimony of Hindoos. The British Go 
vernment has most justly abrogated a distinction calculated 
to defeat the ends of public justice. A person deliberately 

* Sec Pur. Papers, on the Suttee, July 1825, vol. v. pp. 818. 

f pp. 2338. 

\ The late Sir Thomas Munro, very forcibly observed ; " No modifica 
tion can make the Mahomedan criminal law good for any thing ; it ought 
to be abolished, and our own substituted. For whom is this law preserved ? 
There is not one Mahomedan for twenty Hindoos ; nor \vas the law ever 
administered worse than among that small portion." Asi. Jour., March 
1830, p. 232. AUTH. 

(ill ALT MUKDKRS. !>07 

intending to murder one individual, and accidentally killing 
another, is not, by the Mahomedan law, held liable to the 
punishment of murder. The Regulations, in opposition to 
this rule, declare the homicide under such circumstances 
murder, and the punishment death. A murderer, though 
fully convicted, might escape the punishment due to his 
crime, by obtaining pardon of\ or from a compromise /r / ///, 
such heir* of lite deceased as icere entitled to demand retali 
ation. According to an exposition of the Mahomedan law, 
a father or mother, grandfather or grandmother, wilfully mur 
dering their child or grandchild, or any person of whom their 
child or grandchild may be heirs, cannot suffer death by the law 
of Kissaas* (Retaliation); nor can such a sentence be passed 
against a master for the murder of his slave, appropriated by 
his owners to the service of the public, nor against a person 
wilfullv killing another at the desire of the party slain, &c. 
The Governor in Council has declared to all Hindostan, the 
law of retaliation, in these and similar instances, repugnant to 
the principles of public justice. " 

The influence of the British magistrate in India, in sup 
pressing Hindoo cruelties, is very strikingly displayed in the 
abolition of self-murder at Allahabad. f The Asiatic Journal 
for August, 1827, contains the following statement: "A hor 
rid form of self-murder has happily been put down by a Regu 
lation of the Government, and the wise and firm application 
of it, by the present truly worthy judge and magistrate of 
Allahabad, Mr. C olvin, who said, he had not suffered any one 
to drown himself at the junction of the Ganges and Jumna. 
He has declared that, if any one aids another, either with a 
boat, or assists in tying on the earthen pots, or helps the in 
dividual to throw himself into the river, the person or persons 
so acting shall be regarded as accessary to the murder and 
dealt with accordingly. An instance of this self-drowning, 
Mr. ( . said, had not occurred since he had had the govern 
ment of Allahabad ; nor will he suffer these or any other 
cruellies, which he has power to prevent. We rejoice to state 

* The Mahomedan law considers the act as a private injury; not a pub- 

t The nature of the rite is thus described r "Two Mahratta women had 
travelled to Allahabad from a px-at distance, to devote themselves to the 
(ian^cs. In vain did the missionary attempt to convince them of the de 
lusion and wickedness of their purpose. After worshipping the river, those 
women entered a boat, with thice others of the same cast; they most un 
feelingly tied two earthen jars, filled with water, round the waist of each to 
make tliem sink, and saw them perish in the stream!" (Miss. lepers, !#.) 


that tliis is the judgment of all the judges and magistrates 
with whom we have had intercourse, in the diflerent Districts; 
this, in connexion with the fact, that the shackles of cast, 
and Brahminical domination, are much and obviously weak 
ening, is a subject of sincere congratulation to the friends of 
humanity and piety." 

Let Britain pursue the work of meliorating the state of 
society in India, until every custom opposed to the principles 
of humanity and justice shall be abolished. In what is here 
stated much has been done for the real welfare of India. O 
si sic omnia ! 

But to turn from India : it is highly gratifying to see the 
subject of the abolition of human sacrifices in Hindostan, 
exciting that attention among the members of the Hon. East 
India Company, which its importance demands. The fol 
lowing is an extract from "The Speech of J. Poynder, Esq., 
at a General Court of Proprietors of East India Stock, March, 
1827," in defence of a Resolution to the following effect; 
" That this Court, taking into consideration the continuance 
of human sacrifices in India, is of opinion that, in the case 
of all rites or ceremonies involving the destruction of life, it 
is the duty of a paternal Government to interpose for their 
prevention ; and therefore recommends to the Honourable 
Court of Directors, to transmit such Instructions to India, 
as that Court may deem most expedient for accomplishing 
this object, consistently with all practicable attention to the 
feelings of the Natives" This Resolution was carried by a 
decided majority, only fire Proprietors (four of whom were 
Directors), dividing against it. a The object of the motion 
(said the eloquent Gentleman) now before the Court, is, To 
throw the ample shield of British protection, quite as much 
over every deluded victim who may cast away life as a volun 
tary sacrifice, as over those who may be sacrificed by force or 
fraud. Wherever innocuous ceremonies terminate, and blood 
becomes necessary to the propitiation of them that are no 
gods, the motion I have the honour to submit will come into 
action ; its broad principle being that, IN THE CASE OF ALL 
duty of a paternal Government l(t interfere for their preven 
tion ; precisely, as it is the duty of a parent to save a foolish 
as well as a u-ise child from death, whenever it is in his 
power. God, in his Providence, having armed the British 
Government, with tlte power of saving life in India ; the 
point for which I contend is, that the Government has a bet 
ter right to exercise that power, than the victim of superstition 

CillAUT Ml RDKRS. *2U 1 J 

has to resist it; and that it is a greater duty in the Govern 
ment to preserve its own subjects from destruction, than to 
suffer them to perish. I contend that the wretched victim 
of a sanguinary delusion lias no more right over his own life, 
on the score of religion, than he has a right over the livrs of 
his fellow-creatures, upon no better pretext. And that, there 
fore, the Government which consents to look on, while these 
deeds of darkness are doing, is in the eye of God and man, a 
pai taker of the guilt of blood." In accordance with these 
sentiments, the abolition of Ghaut murders is the paramount 
duty of Britain. The language of the Almighty to Cain is worthy 
the attention of all Legislators: "And the LORD said unto 
Cain, Where is Abel thy brother ? and he said, I know not : 
Am I my brother s keeper? And he said, What hast thon 
done ? the voice of thy brother s blood crieth unto me from 
the ground." Gen. iv. 1), 10. 

The numerous facts laid before the reader, demonstrate that 
the practice of exposing the sick by the Ganges, is of thai 
inhuman and murderous nature which demands the attention 
of the Legislature. The engraving (placed at the beginning 
of this book), taken from a Drawing by a Native Artist, shews 
a few of the superstitious practices connected with the Ganges. 
Some persons are bathing in its supposed sacred stream ; 
others are procuring and carrying away its water for holy 
purposes. Hut DKATH is the chief subject of the Kn- 
graving, which displays some of the miserable delusions, under 
which the millions of our Hindoo fellow-subjects leave the 
world. The man on the couch has been brought down to 
breathe his last on the borders of the river, while a Brahmun 
is offering him its waters: the women are probably the wives 
of the dying man come to witness this scene. On the right 
hand is a Temple, before the door of which, another miserable 
man has been laid, there to breathe out his .soul in the presence 
of his Idol. 

Kven the light of nature is opposed to the practice of hu 
man sacrifices, and hence the abolition of them by certain 
civilized States before the Christian era. The Romans, prior 
to the establishment of Christianity, exerted their influence to 
abolish human sacrifices ; and Britain is indebted to them, as 
the precursors of that civilization, consequent upon the pro 
pagation of the Gospel in this country. And shall not Chris 
tian Britain emulate the humane example of Pagan Rome ? 
Shall Gelon, the tyrant of Syracuse,* nearly 500 years before 

* Kolliu s Ancient History, \ol. i. j>. K. 


Christ, stipulate with the Carthaginians, as an article of peace, 
to abolish human sacrifices ; and shall not Britain 

"Whom grateful Afric worships; and whose name 
Poor crouching Asia dreads," 

through every part of Hindostan, proclaim deliverance to them 
who are " drawn unto death, and ready to be slain ?" Reason, 
consistency, and the experience of past ages, require this ser 
vice for the common interests of humanity. The blood of In 
fanticides of Ghaut murders of Pilgrims led by British 
connection with idolatry to its shrines, have long cried to 
Britain ; and a their cries have entered into the ears of the 
Lord of Sabaoth." Britain, awake ! " Put on judgment 
as a robe and a diadem" " Do justly and love mercy" " Let 
judgment run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty 

The suppression of these cruelties is demanded of Britain. 
They outrage * the inviolable obligations of justice and hu 
manity. * Locke, in his " Letters on Toleration" clearly 
defines the religious observances, with which the civil magis 
trates can and cannot interfere. "The magistrate ought not 
to forbid the preaching or professing of speculative opinions 
in any church, because they have no relation to the civil rites 
of the subject; for it does not belong to the magistrate, to 
make use of his sword in punishing every thing indifferently, 
which he takes to be a sin against God. His post is only to 
take care that the Commonwealth receive no prejudice, and 
that there be no injury done to any man in life and state. 
You will say, 4 If some congregations have a mind to sacrifice 
infants, or practise any other such heinous enormities, is the 
magistrate obliged to tolerate them, because they are com 
mitted in a religious assembly ? No. These tilings are not 
lawful in the ordinary course of life, nor in any private house, 
and therefore neither are they so in the worship of God."f 

* Bruja Mohun, a Bengalee, in his "Strictures on the present System 
of Hindoo Polytheism," has the following just remarks : " With the view 
of obtaining Gunga, you, at midnight, in the month of January, dip your 
aged and afflicted parents in the river and thereby murder them. The 
weather is then so cold, and the wind so bleak, that were YOU to submerge 
a healthful youth into the river, his death would be no matter of surprise. 
You drink the water of a peculiar spot, and anoint your body with dirt and 
mud brought from particular places, and esteem these acts holy we do not 
To burn defenceless women, murder an aged father and mother by immers 
ing them in water, you esteem holy ; we esteem these deeds unholy." 
(Friend of India, Dec. 1820, pp. 267, 200.) 

f Locke s Works, vol. ii- pp. 308370. See Par. Papers on Hindoo 
Immolations, July 1825, vol. iv. p. 21. 


The abolition of human sacrifices of every kind would raise 
the tone of humane and intellectual feeling in India, and 
attach her to Britain, as a benefactor indissolubly endeared 
by the triumphs of our mercy.* 

And shall British India lie at the mercy of the hydra of 
idolatry ; to whom thousands are annually sacrificed on its 
sanguinary altars ? Shall no cry of " Murder ! murder !" no 
cry of u Mercy ! mercy !" be heard ? Oh yes ! a cry is heard 
it increases it is understood and the inhabitants of Bri 
tain, aided by other Christian countries, are seen rising to 
rescue the victims of superstition, and direct them to the cross 
of Christ ! Christianity is the only adequate remedy for the 
miseries of India, and of the world. Let the messengers of 
mercy, bearing " Glad tidings of great joy to all people," be 
despatched to every part of India, and of the East; and let 
these efforts be accompanied with fervent prayer for the effu 
sion of the Spirit of God, and his " way shall be known upon 
eartli, his saving health among all nations." How numerous 
the blessings which follow in the train of Christianity ! Be 
hold the Hindoo " a new creature in Christ Jesus." 

" On Guilt s diirk brow her glittering cross appears, 
His sullied cheek is wash d with pious teal s; 
And Ganges, hal)o\v d still for holier ends, 
Death stream no more, his wave baptismal lends."* 

To adopt the language of the late C. Grant, Ksq., referring 
to the other European nations who have held possessions in 
the East; " It remains for us to shew how we shall be dis 
tinguished from these nationsf in the history of mankind ; 
whether conquest shall have been in our hands the means, 
not merely of displaying a Government unequalled in India 
for administrative justice, kindness, and moderation ; not 
merely of increasing the security of the subject, and the pros 
perity of the country, but of advancing social happiness of 
meliorating the moral state of men, and of extending a 
superior light, farther than the Roman eagle ever flew. In 
success lies our safety, not our danger. Our danger must lie 
in pursuing, from ungenerous ends, a course contracted and 
illiberal ; but in following an opposite course in commu 
nicating light, knowledge, and improvement, we shall obey 
the dictates of duty, of philanthropy, and of policy. \Ve 
shall take the most rational means to remove inherent, great 
disorders to attach the Hindoo people to ourselves to en- 

* Wranghain s Poem on the Restoration of learning in the Kast, lKO. r ). 

f Portuguese, French, and Dutch, in India. 

I 2 


sure the safely of our possessions to enhance, continually, 
their value to us to raise a firm and durable monument to 
the glory of this country and to increase the happiness of 
the human race."* Let Christianity, with all her blessings, 
walk through the East, " in the length of it, and the breadth 
of it." 

"Light on the Hindoo shed! 

On the maddening idol-train, 
The flame of the Suttee is dire and red, 

And the Fakir faints with pain ; 
And the dying moan on their cheerless bed, 
By the Ganges laved in vain. 

Light for the forest child ! 

An outcast though he be, 
From the haunts \\here the sun of his childhood smiled, 

And the country of the free ; 
Pour the hope of heaven o er his desert wild 

For what home on earth has he ? 

Light for the Persian sky ! 

The Sopi s wisdom fades, 
And the pearls of Onnus are poor to buy 

Armour when death invades; 
Hark ! hark ! tis the sainted Martyn s sigh, 

From Ararat s mournful shades. 

Light for the Burin an vales ! 

For the islands of the sea! 
For the coast where the slave-ship fills its sails 

With sighs of agony ! 
And her kidnapp d babes the mother wails 

Neath the lone banana tree. 

Light for the hills of Greece ! 

Light for that trampled clime 
Where the rage of the spoiler refused to cease, 

Ere it wreck d the boast of time ; 
If the Moslem hath dealt the gift of peace, 

Can ye grudge your boon sublime ? 

Light for the darken d earth ! 
Ye blest its beams who shed, 
Shrink not, till the day-spring hath its birth, 

Till wherever the footstep of man doth tread, 
Salvation s banner spread broadly forth, 
Shall gild the dream of the cradle-bed, 
And clear the tomb 
From its lingering gloom, 
For the aged to rest his weary head." 
Hartford. America. 

* " Observations on the State of Society among the Asiatic subjects of 
Great Britain." Par. Papers, June 1813. 


S U T T E E S 


Introductory remarks origin nature number cause of 
former prevalence in Bengal and atrocity of Suttees. 

Tin: abolition of the cruel custom of Suttee, or the bunting 
and burying alive of Hindoo widows, by the British Govern 
ment in India, is an event which confers the highest honour 
upon the country and the age which gave it birth. The first 
Regulation relative to this humane and magnanimous object, 
was issued by Lord William Bentinck, Governor General of 
India, Dec. 4, 1829; a similar Regulation was adopted by 
the Madras Government, Feb. 2, 1830; and before the close 
of the year, the Bombay Government followed the same 
example. The philanthropist will eagerly inquire, l lias this 
practice ceased in every part of the Presidencies of British 
India, in the tributary, allied, and independent States of Ilin- 
dostan, and in all the eastern Islands ? Does this hydra <>f 
superstition still revel upon human blood ? Next in order, to 
placing upon historic record, the nature and extent of tin; 
Suttee, and the success of the measures adopted for its sup 
pression in India, it will be the object of this book, to shew 
the present state of this practice, and the propriety and 
facility of prosecuting its annihilation wherever it exists. 

Suttee* is the name given in India to a woman who immo 
lates herself on the funeral pile of her husband, or is buried 
alive with his body, and denotes that the female is considered 
faithful to him, even unto death ; the term is also applied to 
the rite itself. Diodorus Siculus, who twice refers to the 
practice of Suttee, in the 103rd and HHHli Olympiad, H. ( . 

"Sutler. From ntt, pond, chaste, pure, \c., a woman "ho bums 
herself on her husband s funeral pile, that being thought an irrefragable 
proof of her chastity." Dr. Carey s Beng. Diet. 


327 and 314 years, supposes the practice to have originated 
in the unfaithfulness of the women to their husbands, and 
their taking them off by mixing deadly plants with their food. 
" This wicked practice," says he, " increasing, and many fall 
ing victims to it, and the punishment of the guilty not serving 
to deter others from the commission of the crime, a law was 
passed, that wives should be burned with their deceased 
husbands, except such as were pregnant and had children ; 
and that any individual who refused to comply with this law 
should be compelled to remain a widow, and be for ever ex 
cluded from all rights and privileges, as guilty of impiety. 
This measure being adopted, it followed that the abominable 
disposition to which the wives were addicted was converted 
into an opposite feeling. For, in order to avoid that climax of 
disgrace, every wife being obliged to die, they not only took all 
possible care of their husband s safety, but emulated each 
other in promoting his glory and renown."* Strabo is of the 
same opinion.t Mandello, a German, who witnessed a Suttee 
at Cambay, in 1638, accounts for the rise of this singular 
custom in the same manner. 

" The origin of the custom," says an intelligent Magistrate 
in India, " will most probably be found in the voluntary 
sacrifice of a widow, inconsolable for the loss of her husband, 
and who resolved to accompany him on the funeral pile ; not 
with any idea that such an act could be acceptable to the 
gods, or any way beneficial for herself in a future existence ; 
but solely because her affection to the deceased made her re 
gard life as a burden no longer to be borne. The example of 
this heroine, if it remained the only incentive to Suttee, would 
have been rarely followed ; but it of course excited admiration 
as a novelty ; and in a short time the Brahmuns began to 
perceive, that, if properly managed, Suttee might be made a 
productive source of emolument ; and the most esteemed 

* Lib. xix. c. 32, 33. f Geogr. lib. xv. See Asi. Jour., May 1827. 

J Asi. Jour., Jan. 1823. A practice resembling the Suttee exists among the 
Yarribanians, iu Africa, and its origin is very similarly accounted for. Ecc. 
Rev., May 1832, p. 378. 

The expense of the Suttee witnessed by the author at Cuttack, in Aug. 
1824, was according to the pundit,as follows : " Ghee, three rupees ; cloth, 
one rupee; the woman s new cloth, two rupees and a half ; wood three 
rupees ; Adawlut pundit, three rupees; the woman gave one nij ec for some 
purpose; rice, one anna ; hemp, four annas; haldee, one anna ; matecanlet, 
churidun, doop, cocoa nut, one anna one pice , carrier, live annas ; musi 
cians, half a rupee ; paring nails, four annas ; cutting wood, three annas; 
total, fifteen rupees, Jive annas, three pice. Intended shradda (funeral feast), 
fifteen or twenty rupees" 


authors of the age were induced to recommend it as a most 
meritorious act, productive of good effects to the soul of the 
widow and her husband, and to those of the surviving members 
of their families: they also prescribed forms and ceremonies, 
in which the attendance of Brahmuns was of course indis 
pensable. Menu, and the most ancient and respectable 
writers, do not notice Suttee ; it was therefore, in their time, 
either unknown or not approved."* 

Various detailed accounts of Suttees have been communi 
cated to the public through the publications of Missionary 
Societies, the eight volumes of Parliamentary Papers on 
Hindoo Immolations, and the Newspapers and Periodicals of 
the Presidencies in India. A few instances only of the nature 
of this inhuman rite are here given. 

The " Friend of India," for Sep. 1824, published at Seram- 
pore, contains an account of a Suttee at Cuttack, in Orissa, 
which the Author and some of his friends witnessed. 

"On August 19, 1824, this place was defiled with innocent blood. 
About twelve o clock the Judge sent a note to the Mission House, informing; 
us of the intended Suttee. The woman was a Telinga, the wife of a Brah- 
mun who had died that morning about daybreak. Her reply to the several 
questions proposed to her through the Telinga interpreter was, What havu 
I any more to do with the world ? I must go to my husband. Support 
for life, and a conveyance to her own home, were offered, but they were 
rejected. From ray pundit I have gathered some particulars which cast 
light upon this dreadful rite. He stated, that it is customary to lament tin; 
dead with crying and noise, but she did not; saying she was going to her 
husband. She said, she was a stranger and had nothing, and therefore 
desired the neighbours to provide what was necessary for a Suttee. She 
jaid also that she had been a Suttee in three former birtht^ and must be so 
four times wore, and then she should attain endless felicity. Those who 
should dare to prevent her, by confining her in a house or jail, their seed 
should die, and they should descend into hell. Some approved of this; 
others said, that as she had no son nor daughter therefore she wished to 
die. To tins she replied, she had a brother and sister ; and in her own 
country many friends, but she wished to go to her husband. From joog in 
joog (age to age), in this manner, with the same husband, she was to be 
born and die. 

" About half-past three o clock she proceeded to the pile. I was then too 
unwell to venture out. Mrs. P. saw her on the way and talked with her. 
About six o clock in the evening I went to the spot, expecting the tragical 
business to be closed. I was, however, surprised to find nothing more 
done than the pile partly prepared. The Judge and three otlur gen 
tlemen, with some of our English congregation, were present, and a great 
number of Natives. Frequent and persevering efforts were made bv the 
above gentlemen to dissuade her from her purpose, assisted by the members 
of the Mhttion who were present She was sitting near the pile, with the 
corpse of her husband covered with a cloth lying near her. I knew two 

Tar. Papers on the Immolation of Hindoo Widows, 1821, vol. i. p. 231. 


Telinga Brahmuns present, and, taking them, endeavoured to speak 
to the woman. I told her, I was a Padrec; that God Lad sent me and 
others to teach the people the true Incarnation, Jesus Christ, who died for 
our sins: that if she would go with me to my house, she would be able to 
learn this knowledge ; and that I would send her in a palkee to her O\MI 
country : but it she now ate fire and died, how could she gain this know 
ledge, without which she could not be saved ? I told her, thus to destroy 
herself was not God s will. I fear my translators were not faithful ; but all 
the poor woman . -aid was, Narayun, Narayun. This she repeated with a 
stupidity of mind truly indescribable. Mr. 13., one of the gentlemen pre 
sent, was desirous to convince her, by some ordeal, that she could not burn; 
but the infatuated woman played with a piece of lire like a child, and when 
her hand was pressed upon a coal she shewed no resolution. lie lifted up 
one of her eye-lids, and affirmed that she was intoxicated! This was slated 
to the Judg e, and urged as a sufficient reason to forbid the horrid murder; 
but he thought it wanted evidence, and hesitated to use his authority to 
save her. 

" The pile, which was slowly preparing, was about eight feet long, four 
feet wide, and about two feet high. At each corner was a piece of wood, 
which supported the roof; three sides of the pile were blocked up. Raw 
flax was laid on the wood, upon which the corpse was placed. Ghee was 
forbidden to be put on the pile by the Judge, that the woman might have 
the opportunity to escape, by feeling the effects of the lire gradually. As 
she had been touched by several persons after her bathing, she went to the 
river and bathed again. I saw her enter the pile as a person would get 
into bed, and lay herself down by the left side of her husband, and farthest 
from the entrance of the pile. The wood under the corpse, after a short 
time, burned fiercely; and it was horrible to see il consuming the head 
and elevated stiffened hand of the deceased, while the woman was scarcely 
touched by the devouring element. I stopped about a quarter of an hour 
hoping the unhappy sufferer might labour to escape ; but, alas ! no signs of 
it appeared; and, after viewing the burning of the dead and the living, till 
my feelings, and concern for my health, determined me to go away, I left 
the horrid circle and hastened home. All such outrages u| on the principles 
of society are unnatural and inhuman, and, when said to be from religious 
motives,"a species of insanity ; and hence may properly be suppressed by 
the powerful voice of reason and authority." 

The following description of a Suttee was communicated, 
from the temple of Juggernaut in Orissa, in July 1824, by the 
Author s colleague, the late llev. W. Bampton : 

"The infatuated woman, whose death I witnessed, was the widow of a 
Brahmun, who had died in the morning. The man s age was about forty, 
and the woman s thirty-five. The place where the Suttee took place was 
called Swurgu Dwar, which signifies the gate of heaven ; and when I 
reached it, I found the coolies employed in digging the hole, which was 
circular, about six feet deep ; its diameter at bottom perhaps a little less 
than its depth, and at top twice as much. Soon after my arrival, about 
twelve persons came, each bringing a load of wood on his or her head. I 
charged them with being accessary to the crime about to be committed; the 
general reply was, they worked for money, and did this as they did other 
work, because they were paid for it. Carelessness or cheerfulness charac 
terized all the Hindoos near or on the spot. The pit being finished, a 
quantity of water was mixed with cow-dung and sprinkled on the margin 

SUTTEES. -217 

about one-third of the way down; two ropes were ;ilso well wetted with the 
same mixture. Inquiring the use of two bamboos whieh lay near, I \\as 
told, that they were to stir the fire and t irn about the bodies . The bits of 
wood prepared for the occasion were between twelve and eighteen inches 
long, and, on an average, live or six in circumference ; a quantity of them 
were thrown into the pit, and a man at the bottom proceeded to set them 
up on their ends, two or three thick round the sides ; upon this he placed 
a second tier; and on the second, a third; he also covered the bottom per 
haps live or six inches thick, so that the pit was now two-thirds lined with 
wood. Soon after all was finished, the dead man was brought on a rough 
bier, which I suppose might have been made in less than a quarter of an 
hour. I soon saw the procession (if it may be called one), halting a few 
hundred yards before me: the crowd was kept off the woman by a square, 
made of four pieces of wood, five or six feet long. The rabble was preceded 
by some of their rude music. Unwilling to see her burn herself, my worthy 
companions, Lieut. \V. and T. B. Esq., tried several times to prevent the 
horrid deed, and I lent my feeble assi>tance, but all to no purpose. They 
halted twenty or thirty yards from the flaming pit, where the last effort was 
made, and, that failing, her coadjutors gave her a lighted lamp, which I 
think she put into an earthen pot under her arm. In a little time all was 
confusion, and a scene, the most perfectly hellish was presented; a way 
was made for the woman to the pit, and its margin was left clear; she 
advanced to the edge lacing her husband, and two or three times waved 
her right hand ; she then hastily walked round the pit; having completed 
the circle, she again waved her hand as before, and then jumped into the 

" At this moment I believe the drums beat, and an infernal shout rent the 
air, but I can scarcely say I know; all was confusion. A dense smoke 
issued from the pit, intermixed with partial bursts of flame, occasioned by 
quantities of powdered resin thrown into the pit by handfuls. In a little 
time the fire was allowed to clear itself, and we saw the wretched woman 
in the midst of it : I think her posture was that of sitting on her heels; she 
sometimes moved gently backward and forward, as if she bowed. The poor 
creature still kept an erect posture; but at length seemed partially to rise, 
and pitched forward with her head against the side of the pit. The motion 
of her head, in this position, indicated pain, and she continued to live two 
or three minutes longer. The gentlemen then went home, but I staved a 
little longer and saw the bodies taken out; for, though the women are 
burnt in these pits, the bodies are taken out while they are distinguishable, 
and consumed in two different fires (at least this is the case here), and we 
are told it is done, that the son inai/ mult- sure of some fragments of both his 
parent* to be thrown into the (lamjcs. Now the ropes came into use; one 
was doubled and the middle thrown down to catch the man s eliin, one or 
two bamboo levers were put under his head to raise it, and get the lope 
round his neck; the rope was then twisted in order to fasten it, and they 
began to draw, but they failed, for the rope slipped. Another man then 
attempted to fasten the rope; he succeeded, and they drew up the 
body, with the exception, I think, of the legs; but it was quite dark, and 
n thing could be seen but by the light of the fire. They then tried to raise 
the woman, but could not easily get the rope round her neck, so they put it 
on her arm, which projected in such a way as to favour their doing so; 
and, after twisting it well, they drew her nearly to the top of the pit: but 
they seemed afraid that they should lose her again, if they ti listed entirely 
to her arm, so she was held just below the edge of the pit till another man 
put the other rope under her chin, and she was then drawn up! Some of 


the people employed themselves in arranging the wood for the fires to con 
sume the bodies, and I stayed perhaps ten minutes longer, finally leaving 
the bodies on the brink of the pit. Such are the facts, and I leave them to 
produce their proper effect." 

The account of the Suttee represented in the engraving, 
is from the pen of the Rev. J. England, of Bangalore, under 
the Madras Presidency, in June ] 826. 

" 1 received a note from a gentleman that a Suttee was about to take place 
near his house. On hastening to the spot, I found the preparations con 
siderably advanced, and a large concourse of spectators assembled. On my 
left stood the horrid pile ; it was an oblong bed of dry cow-dung cakes, 
about ten feet long, seven wide, and three high. At each corner of it, a 
rough stake, about eight feet in length, was driven into the ground, and 
about a foot from the top of these supporters was fastened, by cords, a frame 
of the same dimensions as the bed, and forming a canopy. This frame must 
have been of considerable weight; it was covered with very dry small faggots, 
which the officiating Brahmuns continued to throw upon it, till they rose 
two feet above the frame-work. On my right, sat the poor deluded widow, 
who was to be the victim of this heart-rending display of Hindoo purity and 
gentleness; she was attended by a dozen or more Brahmuns; her mother, 
sister, and son (an interesting boy about three years of age), and other 
relatives were also with her. Her own infant, not twelve months old, was 
craftily kept from her by the Hrahmuns. She had already performed a 
number of preparatory ceremonies; one of which was washing herself in a 
strong decoction of saffron, which is supposed to have a purifying effect. 
It imparted to her a horrid ghastliness ; her eyes indicated a degree of 
melancholy wildness; an unnatural smile now and then played on her 
countenance : and every thing about her person and her conduct indicated 
that narcotics had been administered in no small quantities. Close by me 
stood the Fousdar, a native officer, who, besides regulating the police, is the 
chief military officer of the station. So heartily did he engage in this mur 
derous work, that he gave the poor widow twenty pagodas (between six and 
seven pounds sterling), to confirm her resolution to be burned! 

"The Rev. Mr. Campbell addressed her in the Carnatic language, 
but the effect of his address was counteracted by the influence of 
the Brahmuns. The pile being completed, a quantity of straw was 
spread on the top. An increase of activity was soon visible among 
the men, whose feet are swift to shed blood, Muntrams having been 
repeated over the pile, and the woman and every thing being in readi 
ness, the hurdle to which the corpse of the husband had been fastened was 
now raised by six of the officiating Brahmuns ; the end of a cord about two 
yards long, attached at the other end to the head of the bier, was taken by 
the widow, and the whole moved slowly towards the pile. The corpse was 
laid on the right side, and four men furnished with sharp swords, one 
stationed at each corner, now drew them from their scabbards. The trem 
bling, ghastly offering to the Moloch of Hindoism, then began her seven circuits 
round the fatal pile, and finally halted opposite to her husband s corpse, at 
the left side of it, where she was evidently greatly agitated. Five or six 
Brahmuns began to talk to her with much vehemence, till, in a paroxysm 
of desperation, assisted by the Brahmuns, the hapless widow ascended the 
bed of destruction. Her mother and her sister stood by, weeping and 
agonized; but all was in vain the blood-thirsty men prevailed. The de 
voted woman then proceeded to disengage the rings from her fingers, wrists, 


and ears ; her murderers stretching out their greedy hands to receive them : 
afterwards all her trinkets, iScc., were distributed among the same relentless 
and rapacious priests. While in the act of taking a ring from her ear, her 
mother and sister, unable any longer to sustain the extremity of their anguish, 
went up to the side of the pile, and entreated that the horrid purpose miqht 
be abandoned; hut the woman fearing the encounter, without uttering a 
word, or even casting a parting ylance at her supplicating parent and sister, 
threw herself down on the pile, and clasped the half-putrid corpse in her 
arms. Straw in abundance was heaped on the dead and the living; gums, 
resin, and other inflammable substances were thrown upon the straw which 
covered the bodies, while in un trams were repeated at their head; six or 
eijiht pieces of kindled cow-dung cake were introduced among the straw, at 
different parts of the pile ; ghee and inflammable materials were applied, 
and the whole blazed in as many places. The men with swords at each 
comer then hacked the cords, which supported the canopy of faggots it fell 
and covered the lifeless corpse and the living woman! A piercing sound 
caught my ear; I listened a few seconds, and, notwithstanding the noise of 
the multitude, heard the shrieks of misery which issued from the burning 
pile. In an agony of feeling, we directed the attention of the Brahmuns to 
this; and, irhile so d*)iny, again still louder and more piercing than before 
the burning woman rent the air with her shrieks! Several of the Itrah- 
muns called out to the half-consumed, still conscious and imploring indnir, 
TO COMFORT HER! The pile was now enveloped in flames, and so intense 
was the heat, that, as by one consent, the Brahmuns and spectators retreated 
several paces; they then sang a Sanscrit hymn; the hymn ended, but not 
the shrieks and groans of the agonized sufferer; tliry still pierced our cars, 
and almost rent our hearts . Scarcely conscious of what I did, I left this 
scene of fiendish barbarity." 

The number of widows who have annually perished, the 
victims of this appalling superstition, has in former years been 
variously stated, and it appears (though doubtless undesigned- 
ly) exaggerated.* The following information may be relied 
on, being extracted from the official reports of the Magistrates 
in India, and printed in England by order of the House of 
Commons, from 1821 to 1830. It is probable, that Suttees 
have often been perpetrated, without being officially announc 
ed to the police ; and no correct idea can be formed, of the 
number that occur /// the territories of tributary, allied, and 
independent Chiefs, whose subjects are not under the laws 
and regulations of the British Government. 

Hie following facts shew that several widows have sometimes 
been burned with the body of their husband : 

"Goopeenaut, a Brahmun employed in the Serampore printing-ollice, in 

* The first petition in Great Hritain, against the practice of Suttee, was 
from Hertford, in April IH:>;J. In the petition it is stated, "From official 
returns it appears that the number immolated, in the Presidency of Calcutta 
alone, in 1M17 and 1818, amounted to upwards of 1,V)0; assuming this 
calculation to be a standard, whereby to judge of the extent of the practice 
throughout the whole of Hindostan, the total number may be computed at 
upwards of 20,000 in every year." 



1799, saw twenty-two females burnt alive with the remains of Ununtu, a 
Brahnmn of Bagnapore, near Nuddeya. This Kooleen Brahmun liad more 
than a hundred wives. At the first kindling of the lire only three of these 
wives had arrived. The fire was kept burniny three days . On the first day 
three were burnt, on the second and third days nineteen more. Some of 
these women were as mueh as forty years old, and others as young as six 
teen. The first three had lived with the Brahmun, the others had seldom 
seen him. He married in one house four sisters ; two of these were burnt."* 

" When Row Lacka, grandfather of the present chief of Cutch, died, 
fifteen concubines burned at his funeral pile, but not one of his wives per 
formed the sacrifice."t 

In the District of Cuttack, Orissa, in one of the instances of Suttee during 
the year 1826, "no less than three widows of one man, the proprietor of a 
tributary mehal, sacrificed themselves with his corpse ; the fourth and senior 
widow survives."! 

Number of Suttees in the different Districts of the Bengal Presidency, 
from 1815 to 1826. 













Calcutta Div. 













Cuttack Ditto 













Dacca Ditto 


























Patna Ditto 













Bareilly Ditto 













Benares Ditto 



























Total in the Presidency of Bengal in twelve years 7154 

In eight years in the Madras Presidency 287 

In nine years in the Bombay Presidency 248 

There being no returns for Tanjore, from 1814 to 1819 inclusive 

(17 being returned for 1820), lowest possible estimate for six J* 40 


In the Par. Papers, May 1 827, no regular returns are given fo 
Madras. In the Southern Concan (Bombay) 
in 1825, 32. Northern Concan in 1825, 1 Suttee 

ns are given for ") 
ly) in 1824, 27; V 
littee .... ) 

Total in twelve years, for the three Presidencies 



As it may be interesting to see at one view the extent of 
the practice under the Bengal Presidency, where it chiefly 
prevailed ; the following abstract is given from the Par 
liamentary Papers, March 1830 : 

* Buch. Apol. for Christ, in India, pp. 14 16. 

f Ham. Hind., vol. i. p. 638. + Par. Papers, 1830, vol. vii. pp. 139, 168. 
" In the period of four years, 1824 to 1827 inclusive, the total number of 
Suttees in the returns is stated at 158, 114 of which number occurred in 
the Southern Concan alone, being about tu cnty-cif/lit annually for that 
Province, and thirty-nine annually for the rest of the Bombay territories." 
Asi. Jour., Nov. 1830, p. 143. Sec Par. Papers, March 1830, p. 269. 
|| Par. Papers, 6 vol.s. Poynder s Speech, p. 4. 

SUTTEES. -221 


Of the number of Hindoo Women burnt or buried alive in the Zillah and 
City Courts, of the Bengal Presidency, during the year 182(5. 


N .. . : 







No. of 

Moorsbedabad Division. Dacca Division. C uttack Com. Calcutta Division. 

" Burdwan 

Benares Division. Bareilly Division. Patna Division. 






Citv Patna 

Tessore . 

Jungle Mebauls. . . . 




Suburbs of Calcutta 
Twenty-four Per- 1 
gunnabs C 



"" A grab .... . 



C uttack 











Total .... 
Buckcr^unge . ... 



1 j 

Joint ditto 





Dacca Jelalpore .... 
Mymmensing .... 


Boolundshehur .... 


MnzufTernugger. . . . 

T) 1 


Total .... 


Total .... 
f Allahabad 










Bundlecund, S. Div. 
Bundlecund, N. Div. 
City Benares 

City Moorsbedabad 








Rungpoor Com- 1 

Total .... 
Grand Total .... 

Total .... 





I^H 3 r? 



<<* C "" 

"^ .- 




oo : 



I- ::- 


:- : 



,. : : : ,,*- 





o : :<o.o 



^ : 



1 H I r-H 


i- ! 



22 : : 




g~ : =~ 


: : : 


g "2 

i ri - 

- " I ; 



i i i ; 



-< co : co o* : -* : : 


- : : 



: : : : : r-i 


. . . 












s 3 


g : : :J * : :^^ 


<-> . ^ 2 ^ ,0 

^ififllljf 1 




The cause of the former principal prevalence of this inhu- 
human custom in Bengal, and especially in the vicinity of 
Calcutta, is thus stated by II. Oakley, Esq., Magistrate of 
Hooghly, in 1818 : "The Suttee is supposed by some to be 
an act enjoined by the religion of the Hindoos ; but, if so, 
why does it prevail in one part more than another ? and why 
in the immediate neighbourhood of the Presidency ? The 
worship of the Hindoo deities is tolerably equal, wherever the 
religion extends, and the pilgrimages by which they are to 
be propitiated are the same throughout India ; and, if Suttee 
were really an act enjoined by religion, it would be universally 
meritorious, and equally observed wherever that religion is 
followed ; but, as it is not, we must account for its prevalence 
among the Hindoos in the neighbourhood of Calcutta, not by 
their peculiar strictness in the observance of religious and 
moral duties, but by some peculiar circumstances affecting 
their moral character. It is notorious, that the natives of 
Calcutta and its vicinity exceed all others in profligacy and 
immorality of conduct. The idol of the drunkard and the thief 
(Kalce) is scarcely to be met with in the distant provinces; 
and none, but the most abandoned, will confess that he is a 
follower of Kalec. In Calcutta we find few that are not. 
Her worship must harden the hearts of her followers, to whom 
scenes of blood and crime must become familiar. By such 
men a Suttee is not regarded as a religious act, but a choice 
entertainment; and we may conclude, that the vicious pro 
pensities of the Hindoos, in the vicinity of Calcutta, are a 
cause of the comparative prevalence of the custom. But I 
am utterly unable to assign a cause for this local depravity, 
and for the prevalence of a worship despised and abhorred by 
every Hindoo of respectable character."* 

Ram Mohun Roy, in a Pamphlet entitled " Brief Remarks 
regarding modern encroachments on the ancient rites of Fe 
males, according to the Hindoo lair of inheritance," supposes 
the prevalence of Suttee in Bengal to have arisen from the 
existence of polygamy, and the dependent and unhappy cir 
cumstances in which widows are left. 

" All the ancient lawgivers unanimously award to u mother, an equal 
share with her son, in the property left by her deceased husband, in order 
that she may spend her remaining days independently of her children." Hut 
modern expounders, " whose opinions are considered by the natives of Ben- 
pal as standard authority in the division of property among heirs," have 
thus explained away this ancient law: "A widow can receive nothing 
when her husband has no issue by her; and in case he dies leaving only 

* Par. Papers, vol. v. p. 237. 


one son by his wife, or having had more sons, one of whom lias happened 
to die leaving issue, she shall in these eases have no claim to the properly : 
again, should any one leave more than one surviving son, and they, being 
unwillingto allow a shareto the widow, keep theproptTtyundivided,themother 
can claim nothing in this instance; but when a person dies leaving two or 
more sons, and all of them survive, and arc inclined to allot a share to their 
mother, her right is in this case only valid. Under these expositions, and 
with such limitation, both step-mothers and mothers have, in reality, been 
left destitute in the division of their husbands property ; and the right of a 
widow exists in theory only among the learned, but unknown to the populace. 
" It is not from religious prejudices and early impressions only, that Hin 
doo widows burn themselves on the piles of their deceased husbands; but 
also,y>w/i their witnessing the distress in which icidows of the same rank in 
life are involved, and the insults to which thet/ are daily subjected, that they 
become in a great measure regardless of existence after the death of their 
husbands ; and this indifference, accompanied with hope of future reward 
held out to them, leads them to the horrible act of suicide. It cannot pass 
unnoticed, by those who are acquainted with the state of society in India, 
that the number of female suicides in the single province of Bengal, when 
compared with those of any other British provinces, is almost ten to one; we 
may safely attribute this disproportion, chiefly to the areater frequency of a 
plurality of wives among the natives of Bengal, and to their total neglect in 
providing for the maintenance of females." Referring to a practice of dis 
inheriting the daughters, throwing the expense of their marriage upon their 
brothers, and the sordid principle from which many are given in marriage, 
it is added " The humane and liberal among Hindoos trust that the at 
tention of Government will be directed to those evils which are chief sources 
of vice and misery, and even of suicide among women ; and to this they are 
encouraged to look forward, by what has already been done in modifying, 
in criminal cases, some parts of the law enacted by Mahomedan legislators, 
to the happy prevention of many cruel practices formerly established."* 

The subject of this cruel custom could seldom le considered 
voluntary. This is very forcibly slated by W. Ewer, Esq., 
Sup. of Police, in the Bengal Presidency : " It is generally 
supposed that a Suttee takes place with the consent of the 
widow, and that she frequently persists in her intention to 
burn, in spite of the entreaties of her relations. But there are 
many reasons for thinking that such an event, as a roltnitary 
Suttee rery rarely occurs : few widows would think of sacrificing 
themselves unless overpowered by force or persuasion ; very 
little of either, being sufficient to overcome the physical or 
mental powers of the majority of Hindoo females. A widow, 
who would turn with instinctive horror from the first hint of 
sharing her husband s pile, will be at length gradually brought 
to pronounce a reluctant consent ; distracted with arief at the 
erent, without one friend to adrise or protect her, site is little 
prepared to oppose the surrounding crowd of hungry 

* Miss. Regis. 1823, p. 187 190. See Heber s Jour., vol. i. p. 37. 
Oriental Herald, vol. x. pp. 251 258. 

SUTTF.ES. "2-20 

mans and her interested relations , either hy ari/nmt nt nr 
force. Accustomed to look on tlic former with the highest 
veneration, and to attach implicit belief to all their assertions, 
she dares not, it she were able to make herself heard, deny the 
certainty of the various advantages which are supposed to at 
tend the sacrifice ; that by becoming a Suttee she will remain 
so many years in heaven, rescue her husband from hell, and 
purilV the family of her father, mother, and husband ; while, 
on the other hand, that disgrace in this life, and continual 
transmigration into the body of a female animal, will be the 
certain consequence of refusal. In this state of confusion, a 
few hours quickly JHISS, tind the widow /.v burnt before she ltd* 
had tune (Ten to think on the subject."* 

A letter from a lady who has resided in India, dated Salis 
bury, Dec. 1827, contains an affecting illustration of these 
sentiments : 

"At a Ghaut near Seramporc, I witnessed the burning of a respectable 
woman about thirty years of age, whom I found withyur children, the eldest 
a fine boy about thirteen. As soon as she saw me, she asked, if I were 
come to deliver her. I told her I had no power to deliver her, but was come 
to persuade her not to burn. She shook her head and said, / trill burn ! 
Jfow can I tjo buck 3 I/owerer the tenant is tjone. to the h Magistrate,^ 
at his return mi/ fate will be decided. 1 Two hours elapsed before he returned, 
the greater part of which I spent in conversation with her. She often turn 
ed to her children, and with affection placed her hand upon the face of her 
youngest child, who could just lisp ;/ia / ma ! At length the servant return 
ed with permission for her to burn. As soon as she saw him, her counte 
nance changed, her eyes sunk into her head, the furrows deepened in her 
face, and when she heard her fate, resolution failed, and nature took posses 
sion of her breast. When the eldest son siw that his mother was so timid, 
he said, he would not set fire to her head. But her brother-in-law said, Now 
she burn ; for the boro Sahab has sent her permission to burn! 1 lit 1 
then began to anoint her, and put a little oil into her hand to pour over her 
children as her blessing. The eldest son refused the oil, and persisted that 
he could not set fire to her. But neither the tears nor the screams of the bov, 
nor the agonizing fear of the mother, prevented her being bound to the dead 
bod i/ of her husband, and pressed dotm with tiro bamboos. If I had had any 
authority, merely to hare said, * i/ou are not to burn, a/I this would hare been 
prerented. I am sure both the people and the Brahmuns would have dis 
persed without a murmuring word. Many call it a bad custom and areanite 
tired of it." 

The following account of a Suttee is one of a most appalling 
character :- 

* Par. Papers, vol. i. p. 227. See vol. v. p. 17. 

| "During my residence at Serampore, many iridon-s applied for ;r- 
misxion to burn, but were not jtermilled. Those who did burn were obliged 
to get permission of an English Magistrate, and go out of the bounds of 



" One Seetloo, ?i Brahnuni, died when absent from his family. A fort 
night afterwards his widow Houmuleea, a yirl about fourteen years of age, 
proceeded to burn herself, the pile being prepared by her nearest relations, 
at the village in which she resided. IJer father Puttun Terwarry was in 
another part of the country, and does not appear to have been made ac 
quainted with what was passing. Whether the sacrifice was originally a 
voluntary one has not been ascertained ; it must be presumed it was so. 
The preparatory rites being completed, Hoomuleea ascended the pile, which 
was fired by her uncle the prisoner Sheolol. The agony was soon beyond 
endurance, and she leaped from the flames; but seized by Sheolol Bhich- 
hook, and others, she was taken up by the hands and the feet and again 
thrown upon it, much burnt, and her clothes quite consumed ; she again 
sprang from the pile, and running to a well hard by laid herself down in 
the watercourse, weeping bitterly. Sheolol now took a sheet offered for the 
occasion by Roosa, and, spreading it on the ground, desired her to seat herself 
upon it. No, she said, she would not do this; he would af/ain earn/ her 
to the fire, and she would not submit to this ; she would quit the family and 
line by beqgary ; any thiny, if they would have mercy upon her. Sheolol, upon 
this, stcnre by the Ganyes, that, if she \\ould seat herself on the cloth, he 
would convey her to her home. She did so ; they bound her up in it, sent 
for a bamboo which was passed through the loops formed by tying it to 
gether, and carrying it thus to the pile, now fiercely burning, threw her into 
the flames. The wretched victim once more made an effort to save herself, 
when, at the instigation of the rest, the Moosulman Buraichee approached 
near enough to reach her with his sword, and cutting her through the head 
she fell back, and was released by death. The number of spectators before 
whom this diabolical and most lamentable sacrifice was exhibited is variously 
stated ; about 200 persons were probably witnesses of it." A trial ensued, 
and the following was the sentence : " Making allowances for the super 
stitious prejudices of the Hindoos concerned, and for the ignorance of the 
Moosulman, the Court do not discern in any of them the guilt of murder; 
and, viewing the case as culpable homicide, sentence the prisoner Buraichee 
to be imprisoned with labour for five years; and the prisoners Sheolol, 
Bhichhook, Hurrepal, and Ijrail, to be imprisoned without labour for two 
years, from this date." Goruckpoore, May 1821. Such an account needs 
no comment.* 

The description of a Suttee, the motives which generally 
lead to it, and the objects for which the victims were sacri 
ficed, abundantly prove that the Suttee has been miscalled a 
voluntary self-immolation. This idea receives confirmation 
from the fact, that in the annual list of Suttees, from the years 
1815 to 1820 inclusive, it appears sixty-one widows were 
burnt, most of whom were mere children in years.f 

Years of age I 1 7 
Number. . 14 

l(>i I 16 


14 ] 13 1 12 

2 ! 2 10 

10 I 8 
1 3 

A Bengalee Newspaper, named Kowmoody, published at 
Calcutta, in Aug. 1825, contained the following account: 

"Ramchundea Mitto, an inhabitant of Boydbooty, who generally lived 
at Calcutta, being attacked with the Cholera Morbus, was taken home by 

* Par. Papers, vol. ii. p. (58. f Par. Papers, vol. v. p. 17. 


his relations, and on the night of the 2!)th he died, aged twenty-five years- 
His young and beautiful widow, only about fourteen or fifteen years of aat, 
thinking herself altogether worthless in the \vorld on the death of her hus- 
hand ; and anticipating (he tnani/ distretses she trould haw to suffer if she 
.turrim/ him, absolutely burnt herself on the funeral pile." 

This paper, in Oct. 1825, contained a similar relation: 

" We are astonished to hear that Muddon Mohun Chuckrohutty, about 
fifteen years of aye, inhabitant of the twenty-four Purgunnahs having lately 
died, his widow, a little yirl about ticelre years of aye! no longer willing to 
inhabit this transitory world, obstinately burnt herself on the funeral pile." 

Of juvenile and aged Suttees, the Asiatic Journal for Sep. 
1827, justly remarked : " It is lamentable to find, that of the 
twentv-four young creatures under twenty years of age, who 
underwent this cruel rite in 1824, one was aged thirteen, 
another elrren, and another only nine ! Of aged Suttees 
there are many examples in the Returns, (Par. Papers, vol. v. 
1827,) several having burned who were eiyhty and upwards, 
some aged ninety, and one at the great age of ninety-fire. 
Surely these poor creatures ought to have been assumed to be 
irrational, and their anticipation of an event which must be 
so near, prevented on that ground." The indifference fre 
quently manifested, by the unhappy mothers, to their orphan 
children, confirms the propriety of the rather singular reply 
of a Magistrate to an official inquiry relative to the act of Sut 
tees being voluntary or not: " The act, 1 apprehend, is 
always rolnntary, prodded a being in a .state of stupefaction 
and delusion can he said to j)os.sess the power of volition.* 
The aggregate of Suttees in India in twelve years, according 
to the official documents, was 7789; allowing only two chil 
dren to each widow, this would give 15,578 orphans, " left to 
the mercy of those who have decoyed their mothers to the 
fathers funeral pile." The misery of a Hindoo orphan was 
thus pathetically described by a writer in a Calcutta paper, 
while the Author was in India: 


" Upon a woody bank I roam d at eve, 

Close to the Ganges gliding stilly on : 

And through a glade the sun s last beams I saw, 

And o er the golden tide their radiance streum d. 

1 Ml. I l| ll>, TUI *. ( *V 

t These lines were probably written on reading the following account: 
"Asa party were proceeding up the river, in passing Ixharah, near Serainpore, 
their attention was attracted by the cries of a child, and on drawing to the shore 
they were redoubled. Near her WHS lying a heap of ashes, not quite extin 
guished, which appeared like the remains of a recent eoncremation. A number 



It was a sweetly pensive hour of calm ; 

The Myna chirp d upon the Mango bough, 

And gently coo d the Ring-dove midst the leaves. 

I heard a fretful cry of infant wail, 

Tremulous, floating on the breeze of eve, 

And paused, to listen, when these words I caught : 

"Mother! mother! Oh my dearest mother!" 

I hurried onward to the sandy waste 

That edg d the water. On the ground there sat, 

Near to a heap of ashes mould ring drear, 

Weary and desolate, a little child : 

One tiny hand a drooping flower held fast, 

Emblem most meet of that unhappy child ; 

The other \\ip d away the scalding tears 

That from her dim black orbs came trickling down, 

As on that ashy heap she gaz d intent, 

Repeating still her cry of infant wail, 

"Mother! mother! Oh my dearest mother!" 

" Stranger !" exclaim d an aged peasant near, 

" The story of that orphan soon is told. 

Child of my child, her father paid the debt 

Which awful nature claims, nor reck d his babe, 

Who deem d him sleeping in a heavy sleep : 

And wont you wake my father? she would say, 

And wont you speak, nor take me on your knee ? 

The Brahmun came a garland in his hand 

And hung it round the victim mother s neck: 

And then the living with the dead went forth. 

The drear procession reach d the fated ground 

Where wood and fire as meet convenient lay : 

The child her mother follow d, laughing still, 

Or skipp d before her, sportive as a lamb ; 

Or grasp d the hand whose soft caress was life. 

At last the parent stoop d and kiss d the child, 

And as she kiss d her, down a truant tear 

Trickl d away, and from her quiv ring lips, 

The pangs she spoke not, breatli d upon her child ! 

A quick presentiment appear d to cast 

Its instant gloom upon the little one : 

Unto her mother s bosom fast she clung, 

And sobb d and wept. The mother, soothing, plac d 

Yon flower, now faded, in her infant hand. 

The frail pledge remains, but Oh the giver! 

One last long kiss she gave, then tore away; 

And then the pile she mounted by the side 

Of him who press d that bridal couch of death. 

of children were standing near her, and at a little distance three or four 
grown up people looking on very contentedly. An inquiry was made by a 
humane individual whence the cause of her distress proceeded, and it was 
some time before an answer could be obtained. At length it was ascertain 
ed, that, the ashes were those of the funeral pile, on which the mother of this 
unfortunate child had immolated herself icith the bodi/ of her husband, and 
the lamentations of the child were occasioned by this cause." Bengal Hurkaru, 
August, 1823. 


Her infant fain would follow; but we held 

The little struggler, while her piercing cries 

In vain reach d her, who soon could hear no more; 

Come back, my mother ! mother! mother! mother! 

The din of direful discord rose, and smoke 

Ascended blackly through the sunny air. 

The crowd dispers d, but still the babe remains, 

And has remaiu d since that dread morning hour, 

Weeping, and ga/.ing for her mother there ; 

And nothing finds but loneliness and ashes. 

Mark the sad wildness of her young despair, 

As on the ashy heap her ga/.e is lix d, 

With bitter tears and thick convulsive sobs; 

And hark again! her cry of infant wail, 

4 Mother ! mother! Oh my dearest mother! 


The Suttee not an integral part of Hindoism, shewn in n 
renew of a Pamphlet written in Jtejiyalee, i* defence of 
the burning of Hindoo widows. 

The celebrated Ram Mohun Hoy, in 1818, addressed to his 
countrymen a Pamphlet on the subject of the Suttee, to which 
an ansvver was drawn up by some of the pundits in Calcutta, 
written in the form of a dialogue between an advocate for the 
system of burning widows, under the term " Bidhaok" and 
an opponent, termed " Nishedhok." In the work every au 
thority supposed to countenance the inhuman custom, and 
every scrap of Sanscrit found on its side among Hindoo 
writers, is given in the original text, and translated into Ben 
galee. It is valuable from its containing every thing found in 
the Hindoo shastras in favour of this practice. It was evidently 
intended for the perusal ofKuropeans, as an English translation 
is prefixed. In our extracts* from this pamphlet we prefer 
([noting its own language for the sake of doing it every degree 
of justice. Tin 1 work commences by tin; advocate urging the 
claims of his cause in the following sweeping declaration: 

" It is ordained bv Srutee, Smrtee, Pooranas, and other 
sacred books, that the women, on the death of their husbands, 
should die in Shuhu-murun, that is to burn themselves alive 
with the corpse of their respective husbands ; and that, in 

* This review is taken from the Friend of India, tol. ii. pp. -1.03483. 


want of the corpse, they should die in Unoo-murun, that is to 
burn with something belonging to their husbands : which 
usages the great sages during all the four ages of the world, 
Suttwa, Treta, Dwapur, and Kalee, have regularly maintained 
in their codes. It is very improper that you throw obstacles 
to prevent such a matter." To this the opponent replies : 
" You say this is improper for want of knowledge of the 
shastras or law, but, when you know the shastra, you will no 
more say so." 

This forms the signal for the advocate to pour forth on the 
opponent every scrap of Sanscrit, in support of the practice, 
which he had been able to collect. The chief of these au 
thorities is that of UHgcera, who, however, does little more 
than recommend the practice. We give his opinion in the 
advocate s translation : " The woman that mounts the funeral 
pile of her deceased husband equals herself to Uroondhootee 
the wife of Vushisht ha, and enjoys bliss in heaven with her 
own husband. She that accompanies her husband to the 
other world dwells in heaven for three and a half cootee years 
(thirty-five millions),* which is equal to the number of hairs 
on a human body ; and with her own power taking her hus 
band up, in the same manner as a snake-catcher would have 
taken a snake out of its hole, remains with him in diver 
sion. She that goes with her husband to the other world 
purifies three generations, that is, the generations of her 
mother s side, father s side, and husband s side ; and so she, 
being reckoned the purest and best in fame among women, 
becomes too dear to her husband, and continues to divert her 
self with him for a period equal to the reign of fourteen 
Indras ; and, although the husband be guilty of slaying a 
Brahmun or friend, or be ungrateful of the past deeds, yet the 
said woman is capable of purifying him from all these sins. 
Hence," says the advocate, " Ungeera affirms, that after the 
demise of a husband, there can be no other duty for a chaste 
wife than to destroy herself in the fire." 

Purasura is then quoted as confirming part of this recom 
mendation : " The woman that goes with her husband to the 

* " lie who offers a single rijie plantain to Seeb, shall, \\ith his relations, 
be exalted to heaven for thirty millions of years." (Asi. Ohs. Ap. 1824.) 
"If," says Rum Molnin Roy, "in defiance of all the shastras, you maintain 
that such promises of reward are to be understood literally and not merely 
as incitements, still there can be no occasion for so harsh a sacrifice as 
burning people to death in order to save the lives of progenitors ; for, by 
makiny an offering of one ripe plantain to Keeb, or a xinnlc flower of hum- 
beer cither to Sccb or Vishnoo, thirty millions of lircs of progenitors may be 
saved. 1 " AUTH. 


oilier world, dwells in heaven for three and a half cnolcc 
years, which is equal to the number of hairs on a human 
body." Hareeta is introduced as enjoining it by consequence 
in the following observation : * Alter the death of a husband, 
until his wile does burn herself in the lire, she cannot get rid 
of her feminine body." The Muhabharut is then adduced as 
declaring that a woman burning herself on her husband s 
funeral pile, atones for her having been a seold or even un 
faithful through life, and secures her accompanying him in the 
other world; maugre all unwillingness on his part: and this, 
although she burn herself from " amours, wrath, fear, or af 
fection." The highest countenance given to the practice 
therefore, by their own writers, (and these appear but four, 
Ungeera, Pnrasnra, llarecta, and Vyas^) amounts only to a 
recommendation of it from certain advantages the widow is 
deluded with the hope of obtaining; that is, enjoyment of 
happiness with her husband by no means to eternity, but 
for as many years as there are hairs on the human body ; after 
which, she must descend to the earth at/di/i, and \inderyo all 
tJtat vicissitude of birth which) in tlte opinion of the Hindoos, 
constitutes future punishment. 

The advocate for the burning of widows goes on to notice 
another authority, that of Vi&hnoo-Risee^vfhO) however, leaves 
burning jtcrfectly optional, in the following language : u After 
the demise of a husband, his wife shall either devote herself 
to brumhachurya (a life of austerity), or mount the funeral 
pile of her husband." To remove the force of this option, the 
advocate adds, that the choice of a life of austerity would in 
volve in it eight faults or crimes, (but which he has not men 
tioned that the reader might judge of their nature,) and that, 
even this option is therefore to be rejected. He then goes on 
to state the authority for Unoo-murun, or a woman burning 
herself after her husband s death with something belonging to 
him. For this he adduces the authority of only a solitary 
writer, the authority of the Mutsya-Pooran : k " In case of 
the demise of a husband in a distant countrv, the chaste wile 
should purify her person by bathing, and then, taking her 
husband s shoes or another thing, enter into a burning pile to 
be prepared on purpose." This he justifies by saying, that 
the Ria-reda declares such women are not to be guilty <-f 
self-murder ; which plainly indicates, if this In; self-murder, 
in the opinion of the Hindoos, it would be condemned. Such 
is the whole of the countenance this advocate has been able 
to adduce from the Hindoo writers themselves; and this, one 
quotation from Ooxiina condemns in the gross, - it is the voice 


of nature involuntarily speaking: " Let not Brahmunees, or 
wives of Brahmuns, suffer death by entering into a separate 
pile ; bitty for the rest of the women, this law is most prefer 
able" If it be meritorious to ascend the separate funeral pile, 
why deny this privilege to the daughters of Brahinuns ? Na 
ture spoke in the breast of this writer. He was a Brahmun, 
and he shuddered at the idea of the immolation of his daugh 
ter, for the sake of a husband, who might perhaps have treated 
her with neglect and cruelty. The Brahmuns of the present 
day have consigned them to the flames precisely as they do 
others ; a proof, that a regard for the authority of their own 
shastras has little to do in tJi is practice. 

To these quotations from Ungeera, Harecta, and Purasura, 
the advocates for this practice are well aware, are opposed 
authorities of far greater weight, and such as completely 
nullify them and forbid this inhuman custom. The opponent 
is now made to quote these, that the advocate for the burning 
system may obtain an opportunity of invalidating them. He 
first adduces the famous Legislator Metni, whose authority is 
paramount to that of every succeeding writer, as prescribing 
an opposite course for widows: "Listen to the law which 
Menu has prescribed for the husbandless woman. After the 
death of husbands their wives shall make themselves lean, by 
living upon sweet flowers, roots, and fruits ; never mind the 
name of a man, and, until the time of their death, with resigna 
tion and restriction continue to observe the laws prescribed 
for Ekputnccs (those who have married but one husband) ; 
that is, they should, with the desire of obtaining the state of 
chaste women, devote themselves to the law prescribed for 
brumhachurya. As thousands of young Brahmuns, who, 
before arriving at full age, devoted themselves to brumha 
churya and begat no children, have gone to Surga or heaven; 
the chaste women in like manner, who, after their husbands 
death, devote themselves to the law of brumhachurya, may 
obtain bliss in heaven, though issueless. Hence, says the 
opponent, Menu has ordained that women, after their hus 
bands death, should spend the remaining part of their lives 
in brumhachurya. This decision of Menu the opponent con 
firms, by adducing the following corroborative declaration 
from one of the I edas : Know that whatever Menu pro 
nounces is medicine for the soul ; and another from Vrihus- 
piiteC) A Sreeti inconsistent with that of Menu is not praise 
worthy. " 

To remove this decision of Menu, which forbids the prac 
tice y is the grand object of this work, and for the sake of this 

SUTTEKS. -2, 4 33 

alone it is quoted. This, the advocate, knowing that no 
commentator can erect himself into a lawgiver, and abolish 
the la\v itself, first attempts by affirming, that it is only the 
Smritee inconsistent with Menu which is unworthy of regard; 
but, as a woman can live a life of abstinence and chastity 
after burning herself, these two of course are not inconsistent ! 
Feeling ashamed of this argument, he quits it, and, adducing 
the following sentence from Juyminee^ " where there arises 
an inconsistency among laws, that maintained by many is 
preferable," attempts to infer, that the recommendation of 
Ungeera, Purasura, and llareeta, ought to outweigh the laic 
/ , enacted by Menu. Deserting this argument as unten 
able, he quotes a passage from the Riff-veda, recommending 
the practice of burning, and affirms that the law of Menu on 
the subject means nothing more than that a woman who may 
by any accident be prevented from burning herself with her 
husband, or afterwards with one of his shoes, ought to devote 
herself to a life of austerity. The author, while he professes 
to set the authority of the Ilig-veda against that of the great 
Hindoo legislator, is however well aware, that the I edtix 
contradict each other on this very point. That he may, in 
some way or other, obviate this discrepancy, so fatal to his 
argument, he now introduces the opponent as quoting a well 
known passage from the Veda which forbids the burning of 
widows in the following words: "As by means of living 
still, the duties usual and occasional can be performed to 
purify the mind, and as by hearing of, fixing our mind and 
devoting our soul to Brumhu or the Supreme Spirit, we can 
attain it, (absorption in Brumhu,) no woman should therefore 
spend her life, that is, suffer death, in hopes of attaining 
Surga, or bliss in heaven." 

This is the doctrine which it is the object of the writer of 
this pamphlet to overthrow. After the opponent has stated 
it, the advocate urges, first, that to infer from the authority of 
Menu and the Veda, that a woman, instead of burning herself, 
ought to embrace a life of abstinence and chastity, would 
strip the writings of those who recommend her burning her 
self of all authority ! an overwhelming argument truly. He- 
then adduces a sentence from Menu, to shew that when one 
Smriti appears to have one meaning, and another a different 
one, both are to be held ax late The plain inference from 
this would be, that a widow ought to immolate herself on her 
husband s funeral pile, and to embrace a life of austerity too ! 
To confirm this exposition the advocate quotes the following 
contradictory sentence by way of illustration : il In the Otirata, 


or the oblations of clarified butter, offered to the consecrated 
fire, the Shorassee is to be taken ; and in the Otiratra the 
Shorassee is not to be taken." The just meaning of which 
contrary Sutras, says he, is, that if in this sacrifice the Sho 
rassee be taken or received, the sacrifice is superlatively 
meritorious; but, if it be not, the deed is still complete. 
From this illustration the writer infers, that if a widow wishes 
to attain connubial bliss in heaven, she may burn herself; 
but if she wishes final beatitude, she may embrace a life of 
self-denial ; and then adds triumphantly, " See therefore, that 
a woman s burning herself for the sake of connubial bliss in 
heaven has no way been forbidden." Thus, even by these 
authorities, if a widow desires final beatitude she is not com 
manded to bum herself; and according to them, all is merely 
mailer of option. But a further examination of the subject 
will shew that this recommendation, while viewed by them 
selves as dagrading in the highest degree, is subversive of tlie 
whole system of Hindoism. 

The Hindoos, throughout India, believe the human soul to 
form an integral part of Brumhu, or the Deity, and hence 
esteem the summit of future bliss to consist in final beatitude, 
or absorption into Brumhu. To the attainment of this all 
their endeavours are directed ; for the sake of it the most tre 
mendous austerities are performed ; and nothing beyond this 
is supposed to be within the wish of man. There are, ac 
cording to their ideas, many heavens to be obtained by meri 
torious deeds. None of these, however, is considered lasting; 
but the duration of every state of bliss, is, according to them, 
proportioned to the merit of the deed of which it is esteemed 
the reward. Their state of misery is esteemed no more last 
ing than that of happiness ; but every kind of suffering is sup 
posed to be proportioned in duration to the demerits of the suf 
ferers ; after which, they also are said to be born again on the 
earth, and undergo all the vicissitudes of transmigration, till 
they become sufficiently pure to obtain absorption. Hence 
a woman who may burn herself for the sake of living with her 
husband in heaven, for a certain period, on its expiration 
descends to the earth, and, according to the Hindoos, may be 
found in hell in the course of years. 

The opponent is represented as approving this decision ; but, 
for the sake of its being answered, he is made to urge another 
objection in the following words : "As in various shastras 
contempt has been poured on actions done from cupidity, a 
woman s burning herself from such motives is by no means 
proper." lie then quotes the Kulhopunishut as declaring. 


tliat while the pursuit of the system of sacred wisdom is consi 
dered safe, he who pursues the other system, which includes 
a widow s burning herself, degrades his own nature. This lie 
further corroborates by a long quotation from the B]ta</un(t 
G?ft, which charges such as follow the system with acting 
onlif front cupidity and ambition. The whole of this system, 
tin refore, is, by their best writers, regarded as having nothing 
in it of the nature of virtue; but as being, in reality, the 
indulgence of cupidity, ambition, and malice. Among these, 
the opponent properly classes a widow s burning herself with 
her husband s corpse, with the view of enjoying connubial 
bliss in heaven ; and intimates that, if actions of this kind are 
not evil, they are at least unnecessary. This fires the advo 
cate, who, to overwhelm his adversary at once, exclaims, 
" Listen then to Srutee. * A man wishing heaven for himself, 
shall perform Ushwameda-jauga 1 (the sacrifice of a horse); 
and again, a man wishing heaven for himself, shall perform 
Jotisuma-jauga. These, and other Srutees, are they to lose 
their spirits ? (that is, to have no effect). Say what is your 
answer r" The opponent acknowledges that the Srutees 
which commend selfish actions are not useless, but intended 
for those who, previously filled with u amours, wrath, and 
covetousness," are not inclined to enter disinterestedly into 
the service of the Supreme God ; and that, without these 
Srutees enjoining them thus to sacrifice from cupidity or 
malice, they would be like an elephant without his guide. 
To prevent this, says he, certain jaugas were ordained to be 
performed bv them ; as sena-jauga, bv one wishing the 
death of his enemy; pootrosti-jauga, by one longing for a 
son ; and jotistuma-jauga y bv one wishing bliss in hea 
ven. This concession is made with a view of enabling the 
opponent to bring forward the last objection he has left, that 
the advocate may demolish it like a man of straw. This is 
couched in the following words : " If you maintain that 
disinterested actions are better than those self-interested, why 
do vou then, instead of permitting husbandless women to 
adopt the law of bnimhachurya, which gives final beatitude, 
endeavour to preserve the system of self-interested actions of 
Shuhu-munin and Onoo-murun, which produce bliss in 
heaven ?" 

This argument, which the advocate was aware must appear 
on the face of the subject, and weigh in favour of a life of 
abstinence and chastity, in preference to burning, he attempts 
to obviate by urging that a woman, in embracing a life of 
chastity, would still do it with a view to final beatitude, and, 


therefore, from self-interested motives ; hence, as burning 
herself would also rescue her husband from the pit he might 
be driven into for slaying a Brahmun, or friend, or being 
ungrateful, together with the three generations before men 
tioned, and enable the woman to " get herself rid of her 
feminine sex," he esteems it far more desirable that she should 

To this conclusive argument the opponent replies : " Now 
your sayings are consonant with the shastras." Still, how 
ever, he suggests the probability of women s attaining the 
state of final beatitude, were they, after the death of their 
husbands, " to be disciplined in sacred wisdom, which, by 
burning themselves, they can never attain." To this the ad 
vocate has an unanswerable argument ready, that all instruc 
tion would be totally vain ; for, says he, " it would be attended 
with no other success than to condemn them for both the one 
and the other ;" in other words, either they would not live the 
life of chastity recommended, or they would be too dull to do it 
from proper motives. He concludes the argument with say 
ing, " It is therefore very improper, that the women who have 
never been conscious of so much as the meaning of the word 
wisdom, should be desired to follow the system of sacred 

These are the grounds, on which those who oppose the 
abolition of the practice desire to preserve this privilege of 
burning alive their mothers, their sisters^ and their da u (fil 
ters. It is not because it is sanctioned by the Hindoo law ; 
for their greatest legislator positively forbids it by enjoining 
on widows a contrary conduct. But this unparalleled course 
of murder has been practised wholly as a PREVENTIVE ! 
As a preventive of what ? the effects of their dulness ! their 
inability to comprehend " the instructions of sacred wisdom !" 
What would be these effects ? That they would live a life of 
abstinence and chastity from improper motives, from a desire 
after final beatitude ! and thus, losing final beatitude, only 
obtain heaven. This honest declaration, that their chief 
motive for supporting this system of burning, is furnished by 
women s stupidity, brings to light a part of the creed of these 
advocates for matricide, which few ever suspected to belong 
to Hindoism. The whole of the sex are hereby doomed to 
interminable misery, since they are declared to be such, that 
it would be improper for them, even to be desired to follow 
that system of sacred knowledge universally esteemed by the 
Hindoo writers, I tic only path to final beatitude! 

The advocate evidently stales, that, as they would not live 


a lift <>f chastity, their burning themselves is the only pre 
vent ire of their condemnation. And have the Hindoos this 
shocking idea of their female relations ? Will nothing preserve 
them in widowhood from a life of lewdness but being burnt 
alive? Then a Suttee at once loses its name and its nature. 
It is no longer the effect of chaste affection ; it is the highest 
dishonour to evert/ family in which if ittfii/ happen, lint is 
it right that this preventive measure should be adopted with 
any one, much less with such near relatives ? If it be, ought 
it to be confined to one se.r ? If this preventive course be 
allowable, it ought not to be confined to the most virtuous, 
merely because they are the most defenceless ; it ought to be 
extended to the advocates of the measure themselres. The 
same preventive might, with equal benevolence, be exercised 
on them, or, at least, on such as seem most likely to perpetrate 
vice ; and, if they are less fond of the burning system than 
the poor widow, they might be permitted to choose any other 
mode of dying, and thus the country would, in due time, be 
purified in the most effectual manner. 

The author having thus far silenced the opponent, attempts 
to justify binding the poor widow to the corpse of her deceased 
husband, heaping wood upon her, and pressing her down with 
bamboos. For this purpose he makes the opponent, after 
acknowledging that the advocate for the system had given 
the "just sense of various shastras," observe, that instead of 
causing the women to mount the burning pile, they make 
them first mount the pile, and then, having tied the widows 
to the corpse of their husbands, heap over them wood and 
large bamboos, and burn them to death. " We proclaim that 
you must not slav women in such a manner." The advocate 
does not reply bv denying the truth of this shocking fact, or 
by urging that it is too strongly stated; but he defends it by 
saying, " In whatever country the practice is to mount the 
full burning pile, there it is indisputable;; but that in those 
countries where this is not the practice, this following of local 
custom is not inconsistent with the shastras, quoting several 
authors to shew that the usages of a country ought to be 
observed." The opponent is then made to reply : " By this 
rule, those who, residing in forests and mountains, make it 
their profession to kill living creatures, arc to be held blame 
less." " By no means," says the advocate, "for the actions 
of these rude foresters are not approved by men of fidelity, 
and the laws on the head of Shuhu miirun have been regu 
larly maintained by the holy sages, philosophers, and the 
learned." The plain meaning is, that the learned introduced 


into Bengal this custom of binding women to the corpse of 
the deceased husband, heaping wood on them, and pressing 
them down with large bamboos, from a regard to the custom 
of the country, when no such custom existed till created by 
them ! 

The manner in which the advocate justifies the violation of 
the woman s promise to mount the burning pile, is more 
singular. The woman, before she burns, pronounces what is 
termed the sunkulpa, which is couched in the following terms, 
" / will mount tike BURNING pile." Adverting to this, the 
opponent says, " How can the sunkulpa be completed, because 
it is pronounced with a promise to mount a burning pile ? 
instead of which they mount it before it touches fire." This 
difficulty the advocate removes in a moment. " Whatever 
you say regarding the incompletion of the sunkulpa arises 
from your inattention ; for, should a little part of a village or 
a cloth be consumed by fire, it is then said, even by learned 
men, that the village or cloth was burnt. In the same manner 
a little burning pile is also called a burning pile, and in that 
case the sunkulpa was not incomplete." As much as to say, 
if a single twig be set on fire, this constitutes a burning pile ! 

The next reply, for its levity and falsehood, is, if possible, 
more disgusting. The opponent is made to answer ; " I 
approve of your saying this ; but from what instances do the 
people attending funeral ceremonies tie up the women that 
are about to mount the burning pile 1 and why are they not 
guilty of the sin of slaying women ?" To this the advocate 
replies : " In the aforesaid text of Hareeta it was expressed, 
that until the women themselves cause their bodies to be 
consumed in the fire, they cannot finally get rid of their sex. 
In which case, should any part of their bodies, while burning 
asunder in the piles, be slipped out thereof, it cannot be wholly 
consumed" It is difficult to say, whether the indelicacy, 
levity, or falsehood of this reply be most to be detested. For 
men thus to sport with decency, humanity, and truth, in 
defence of MURDER, is of itself sufficient to condemn for ever 
the INHUMAN CUSTOM. The opponent having expressed 
his approbation of this reason for binding women, has only 
one scruple left, which is, whether those who assist in burning 
the widow are not guilty of sin. To this the advocate replies, 
that it rather exalts them to glory, than renders them guilty 
of sin, which he confirms by reciting the following example 
from the Mutsya-pooran. "There was a prostitute, named 
Leelavutee, who, having resolved to make an offering of an 
artificial salt-hill, a goldsmith undertook the work, and per- 


ceiving it to be a divine action he took nothing from the girl 
lor his hire, but constructed for her a salt-hill with so much 
elegance that afterwards, in reward thereof, the said poor and 
theological goldsmith, together with his wife, was endowed 
with immense riches, and became himself the monarch of the 
sevcn-dweep universe, with a shining form equal to the rays of 
ten thousand suns." Hence he gives the opponent to under 
stand, that whoever assists in burning a widow is likely to 
reap glory, as well as this theological goldsmith for assisting 
the prostitute in her devout offering. Thus do the supporters of 
this system, by the most idle fables^ as well as the most indecent 
e.vawith s, trifle with the real murder of their female relatives. 
We subjoin a few extracts from a document, drawn up in 
Sanscrit by Mrityoonjuy-Vidyalunkur (the chief pundit suc 
cessively in the college of Fort William, and in the Supreme 
Court), at the request of the chief Judge in the Sudder 
Dewanee Adawlut, who wished him to ascertain, from a 
comparison of all the works extant on the subject, the precise 
point of Idtr rctntire to burning icidoicx, according to those 
who recommend the practice. This document, as the com 
piler of it, from his own extensive learning and the assistance 
of his friends, had an opportunity of consulting more works 
on the subject than almost any pundit in this Presidency, 
may be regarded as possessing the highest legal authority 
according to the Hindoos. After having consulted nearly 
thirty works on the subject, current in Bengal and the 
northern, western, and southern parts of Hindostan, among 
which are all those quoted for the practice by the author of 
this pamphlet, he says : " Having examined all these works, 
and weighed their meaning, I thus reply to the questions I 
have been desired to answer. The Juttce Mullah liilas 
shastra directs the following formula to be addressed to the 
bride, by the priest, at the lime of marriage : be thou perpe 
tually the companion of thy husband, in life and in death. 
Hareeta, a Inter irriter, says that it is the inheritance of every 
woman belonging to the four casts, not being pregnant, or 
not having a little child, to burn herself with her husband." 
The compiler afterwards quotes Vixhnoo moonee, as speaking 
thus, "let the wife either embrace a life of abstinence and 
chastity, or mount tin; burning pile ; but he forbids the latter 
to the unchaste." He then enumerates particularly the va 
rious rules Laid down by him and others who have followed 
him on the same side of the question, relative; to the time and 
circumstances in which a woman is permittee! to bum herself, 
and in what cases she is even bv them absolutely forbidden. 


These extracts shew that binding the woman, and the other 
acts of additional cruelty which the author of this pamphlet 
justifies, are totally forbidden. The Soodheekoumoodee, as 
quoted by the compiler, says, "Let the mother enter the 
fire after the son has kindled it around his father s corpse ; 
but to the father s corpse and the mother let him not set fire ; 
if the son set fire to the licing mother, lie has on him the 
guilt of murdering both a woman and a mother" Thus the 
possibility of a woman being bound to her husband s corpse 
is taken away : the son is not to be, in the least degree, acces 
sary to the mothers death ; if she burn herself at all, it must 
be by throwing herself into the flames already kindled. And 
the Nirnuya-sindoo forbids the use of any bandage, bamboos, 
or wood, by way of confining the woman on the funeral pile ; 
nor before she enters it must the least persuasion be used, nor 
must she be placed on the fire by others. 

Mrityoonjuy shews, from various authors, that though 
burning is termed optional, it is not to be recommended. To 
this effect he quotes the Vijuyuntee : " While brumhachurya 
and burning are perfectly optional, burning may arise from 
concupiscence, but brumhachurya cannot ; hence they are not 
equally worthy, how then can they be equally optional ? By 
brumhachurya the widow obtains bliss, though she have no 
son." He then quotes several authors, as declaring that wo 
men ought not to burn, because it is merely a work of concu 
piscence ; the Julwa mala-rilas and others, as declaring that 
the practice is merely the effect of cupidity, and not the fruit 
of a virtuous and constant mind; and the Milakshura, as de 
claring that by embracing a life of abstinence the widow, by 
means of divine wisdom, may obtain beatitude; and hence, a 
woman s burning herself is improper ; adding, that, informer 
ages nothing was heard of women s burning themselves : it is 
found only in this corrupt age. 

The following is the conclusion drawn by this able pundit 
and jurist: 

" After perusing many works on this subject, the following 1 are my de 
liberate ideas. Vishnoo-moonee and various others say, that, the husband 
being dead, the wile may either embrace a life of abstinence and chastity, 
or mount the burning pile ; but, on viewing the whole, / esteem a life of 
abstinence and chastity to accord best with the law; the preference appears 
evidently to be on that side. Fya.-j, Sunykoo, Unyeera, and Hareeta, speak 
ing of a widow burning, say, that by burning herself with her husband she 
may obtain connubial bliss in heaven ; while, by a life of abstinence and 
chastity, she, attaining sacred wisdom, may certainly obtain final beatitude. 
Hence to destroy herself, for the sake of a little evanescent bliss, cannot be 
her duty; burning is for none but those who, despising final beatitude, 
desire nothing beyond a little short-lived pleasure. / rrtjHrd a woman s 


i herself as an untcorihy act, and a lift- of abstinence and chant it if n< 
highly excellent. In the shastras appear many prohibition* of a u-oman\s 
<li/int/ irith her husband, but ayainst a life of abstinence and chastity (here is 
n<> prohibition. Against her burning herself tin- following authorities arc 
found: In the Meemangthadunhun it is declared that every kind of self- 
inHieted injury is sin. The Sankhya says, that a useless death is absolutely 
sinful. The killing for sacrifice commanded by the sha-stras h;ts a reason - 
able cause, and is yet sinful in a certain degree, because it destroys life. 
And while, by the Mccinamjsha, cither of the two may be chosen; by the 
Sunkhya, a life of abstinence and chastity is alone esteemed lawful. Hut, 
by the Vedanta, all works springing from concupiscence are to be abhorred 
and forsaken; hence a woman s burning herself from the desire of connubial 
bliss ought certainly to be rejected with abhorrence. 

" No blame whatever is attached to those who prevent a woman burning. 
In the shastras it is said that Kundurpa being consumed to ashes by the eye 
of Shiva, his wife, Rutee, determined to burn herself; and commanded her 
husband s friend, Mudhoo, to prepare the funeral pile. U{X)n this the and s 
forbade her ; on which account she desisted, but by Kalee-das no blame is 
attached to them for this conduct. Thus also in the Shree-Bhagubut ; a 
woman, named Kripce, had a son, a mighty hero, from love to whom she 
forbore to burn herself with her husband ; yet she was deemed guilty of no 
sin therein. Now also we hear of sons and other relatives attempting to 
dissuade a woman from burning; yet they are esteemed guilty of no crime. 
It i? also evident that a woman, in thus burning herself, dies merely from 
her own self-will, and from no regard to any shaslra ; such the command of 
a thousand sh astro.* irotild not induce to die. They merely reason thus : By 
the death of mv husband I have sustained an irreparable loss; it is better 
for me to die than to live. Hence a woman determines to die; and her 
relatives, seeing this mind in her, provide the funeral pile, and say, if you 
are determined to die, to die by falling from a precipice would be tedious, 
die in this manner : thus a father who has a son determined to go to a dis 
tant country, finding all dissuasion vain, at length sends a guide with him 
who knows all the rivers and dangerous places. The various shastras there 
fore describe this action as being merely that of one who, having received an 
incurable wound, i.i determined to die, whether bif fallin</ from a precipice, bif 
fire, or by water" 

After this full investigation, by one so able mid possessing 
such opportunities, the subject, as far as relates to the law of 
the Hindoos, or to the countenance it receives from the Hindoo 
system, may well be supposed to be fully before the public. 
While this practice is allowed to have been recommended by 
certain writers, it is evident that it was never considered as a 
law, or a religious injunction essential to the duty of a good 
Hindoo. If it be a law, the greater part of India must have 
lived in a state of direct disobedience to the laws of their own 
religion ; for, as the recommendation is directed to widows of 
every cast, it must have been imperative on all, at least as 
matter of conscience. Yet, if the number of widows burnt in 
Bengal annually exceeds not live hundred, it cannot have been 
obeyed even in Bengal, by at least ninety-nine out of a hun 
dred of the population, and in the western part of Hindostan 



by a still greater proportion ;* while, in the southern part of 
the British dominions, it is scarcely regarded at all. But 
many have condemned the very principle on which it has been 
recommended. Those who contend for the burning of widows 
hold that certain deeds, though done from the most unworthy 
motives, are in themselves so available, as to merit a certain 
degree of recompense. All these deeds the more learned treat 
with the greatest contempt, declaring them to be nothing 
more than vice in another shape. Thus, those who form the 
great support of the Hindoo system, totally condemn the very 
PRINCIPLE on which the practice is recommended, while 
they insist that the law commands a widow to live a life of 
abstinence and chastity. That these compose the greater 
part of the Hindoos, may be inferred from the proportion of 
widows burnt alive when compared with the whole population 
of Hindostan. Such is the state of things relative to this 
practice, even when described by its most strenuous advocates. 
As a command it has not the least foundation in the Hindoo 
system. As a recommendation it has not been supported by 
one-fifth of the Hindoo writers on ethics or jurisprudence, nor 
practically regarded by a thousandth part of those who pro 
fess Hindoism. It is in direct opposition to the command 
of the great Hindoo lawgiver, grounded on principles com 
pletely subversive of the Hindoo system, and opposed to that 
course which the Hindoos believe to be the only path to final 


T7ie tendency of partial interference to promote Ihe increase, 
celebrity, and legality of the Suttee authorities to shew 
the propriety, safeh/, and facility of the abolition of the 

The sentiment of the Poet, " Tis but lame kindness that 
does its work by halves," applies with peculiar force to the 
Regulations adopted in British India, relative to the Suttee. 

* " Supposing the entire Hindoo population of the Bengal Presidency to 
be 50,000,000, and the annual deaths to be 1 in 33, or above 1,500,000* J a 
sixth of this number, or 250,000, might, on a general computation, be as 
sumed as the number of Hindoo females becoming widows, of whom little 
more than f>00 devote themselves on the death of their husbands." (Par. 
Papers, July 1825, p. 11.) AUTH. 


This appears from the sentiments of the great majority of the 
Indian Magistrates, as expressed in the eight volumes of 
Parliamentary Papers, on the burning of Hindoo Widows, 
printed July 1821, June 18-23, June 1824, July 1825, May 
1 827, July 1 828, March 1 830, and June 1 830. A few extracts 
from these volumes may be interesting, to dcvelopc the na 
ture and tendency of the partial system of prevention and 
mitigation, deter from the re-adoption of measures too in 
efficient, and lead to the entire suppression of this horrid 
custom, wherever British influence can extend. The nature 
of the system, formerly adopted by the British Government in 
India, for the regulation of the rite of Suttee, appears from the 
following Draft of Directions to be issued by the Magistrates 
to the Police Darogahs: 

" Whereas, during the ceremony denominated Suttee, certain acts have- 
been occasionally committed in direct opposition to the rules laid down in the 
religiousinstitutes of the Hindoos,by which that practice is authorized, and for 
bidden in particular cases ; as, for instance, at several places pregnant women, 
and girls not yet arrived at their full ape. have been burnt alive; and people, 
after having intoxicated women by administering intoxicating substances, 
have burnt them without their assent whilst insensible; and, inasmuch as 
this conduct is contrary to the shastras, and perfectly inconsistent with every 
principle of humanity (it appearing, from the expositions of the Hindoo 
law delivered by pundits, that the burning a woman pregnant, or one having 
a child of tender years, or a girl not yet arrived at full age, is expressly for 
bidden in the shastras; and also that intoxicating a woman, for the purpose 
of burning her without her assent, or against her will, is highly illegal, and 
contrary to established usage), the police darogahs arc hereby accordingly, 
under the sanction of Government, strictly enjoined to use the utmost care, 
and make every effort to prevent the forbidden practices above mentioned 
from taking place within the limits of their thannahs. And they arc furthei 
required, on all occasions, immediately on receiving intelligence that this 
ceremony is likely to occur, either themselves to proceed to the spot, or send 
their mohurrir, or jemadar, accompanied by a burkunda/. of the Hindoo 
religion, to learn of the woman who is to be burnt, whether she has given 
her assent, and ascertain the other particulars above mentioned, relative to 
her age, <*vc., ^c. In the event of the female who is going to be burnt 
being less than sixteen years of age, or there being signs of her pregnancy, 
or on her declaring herself in that situation, or should the people be pre 
paring to burn her after having intoxicated her, without her assent, or 
against her will (the burning a woman under any of these circumstances, 
being in direct opposition to what is enjoined in the shastras, and manifestly 
an act of illegal violence), it will then be their duty to prevent the ceremony 
thus forbidden, and contrary to established usage, from taking place, and 
to require those prepared to perform it, to refrain from so doing; also to ex 
plain to them that in their persisting to commit an act forbidden, they would 
involve themselves in a crime, and become subject to retribution and punish 
ment. Hut in the case of the woman being of full age, and no other impe 
diment existing, they will nevertheless remain on the spot, and not allow 
the nnst minute particular to escape observation. And, in the CJLSC of people 
preparing to burn a woman by compulsion, or after having made her insen- 

K 2 


sible by administering spiritous liquors or narcotic drugs, it will be then 
their duty to exert themselves in restraining them ; and, at the same time, 
to let them know that it is not the intention of the Government to check or 
forbid any act authorized by the tenets of the religion of the inhabitants of 
these dominions, or even to require that any express leave or permission be 
obtained previously to the performance of the act of Suttee, and the police 
officers are not to interfere or prevent any such act from taking place. And, 
lastly, it will be their duty to transmit, immediately, for the information of 
the magistrate, a full detail of any measures which they may have adopted 
on this subject. And also, on every occasion, when, within the limits of 
their thannahs, this ceremony of Suttee may take place, the same being 
lawfully conducted, they will insert it in the monthly report"."* 

Calcutta, Oct. 9th, 1813. 

N. B. Instructions were subsequently communicated, that a Brahmunee 
must not burn on a separate pile ; and a child, under three years of age, 
was not to be left without a written security from some one, that it should 
be provided for.f 

The nature and influence of the system of legalizing the 
practice of Suttee, appear from the following extracts, which 
might be greatly increased, if requisite: 

W. Ewer, Esq., Acting Superintendent of the Police, Lower 
Provinces, in 1818 observed; "It appears to me that, if the 
practice be allowed to exist at all, the less notice we take of it 
the better. The interference of the police may, in some cases, 
have induced compliance with the rules of the shastras ; but 
the official attendance of the daro<jah stamps every regular 
Suttee with tie sanction of Government ; and I must humbly 
submit, that authorizing a practice is not the way to effect 
its gradual abolition."^ 

The late Marquis of Hastings stated, as his opinion of the 
system ; " The Governor General in Council is reluctantly 
led to express his apprehension, that the greater confidence 
with which the people perform this rite under the sanction of 
Government, as implied or avowed in the circular orders 
already in force, combined with the excitement of religious 
bigotry by the continual agitation of the question, may have 
tended to augment, rather than diminish, the frequency of 
these sacrificcs." (Calcutta, Dec. 1819). || 

The increase referred to was evident from the returns of 

* Par. Papers, vol. v. pp. 38, 39. 
f Par. Papers, vol. i. pp. 4143. See pp. 137, 144. 
| Par. Papers, vol. i. p. 22<). See pp. 232, 236. pp. 241, 242. 

|| His Lordship s successor, Earl Amherst, declared, in March 1827, " I 
am very much inclined to believe, that half measures will be unproductive 
of good ; nay, that they are not unlikely to produce positive evil ; and, I 
am not prepared to recommend an enactment prohibiting Suttees alto 
gether." Par. Papers, vol. vii. March 1830, p. 133. 


Suttees in the several Districts subordinate to the Presidency 
of Fort William, viz. in the year 

"1815 378 

1816 442 

1817 707 

1818 8.39."* 

Relative to this increase, the magistrates in the Allypore Dis 
trict remarked, "The abstract statement of the number of 
Suttees exhibits the frequency of these abominable sacrifices 
so progressively and materially increased since the period 
referred to (from 1815 to 1818), as to justify our being con 
firmed in the belief, before, more than once, expressed by this 
to the superior court, that any interference, sure that of a 
total prohibition under the severest penalties^ will ever be 
productive of a mistaken spirit of jealousy and opposition, 
which will hope, by encouraging the prevalence of this super 
stitious usage, to induce us to discontinue altogether our in 
terference. ^ 

"Our Government," says C. Smith, Ksq., Second Judge in 
Calcutta, in 1821, "by modifying the tiling and issuing orders 
about it orders which even the Government and the Sudder 
Judges themselves do not appear clearly to comprehend 
have thrown the ideas of the Hindoos upon the subject into 
a complete state of confusion. They it ll I believe Unit ice 
abhor I/K; iisdt/e, irhen ice prohibit it in toto, by (in absolute 
and peremptory law. They hare no idea that ice in it/lit not 
do so ii i/h the most perfect safety. They conceive our power 
and onr trill to be commensurate "$ 

The Hon. Court of Directors, in a letter to the Governor 
General in Council, in 1823, express their opinion upon the 
subject of partial interference : " To us it appears very 
doubtful, (and we are confirmed in this doubt by respectable 
authority,) whether the measures which have been already 
taken have not tended, rather to increase than to diminish 
the frequency of the practice. Such a tendency is, at least, 
not unnaturally ascribed to a regulation which, prohibiting a 
practice onlif in certain rv/.sv.v, appears io sanction it in all 
others. It is to be apprehended that, where the people have 
not previously a very enthusiastic attachment to the custom, 
a law, which shall explain to them the cases in which it ought 
not to be followed, may be taken ax a direction for adopting 
it in all others. It is, moreover, with much reluctance that 

* Par Papers, vol. i. p. 241. f p. 21K Sec olio pp. 26-1 2/Jfi. 

\ Vol. ii p. f>7. 

24 (> SUTTKKS. 

we can consent to make the British Goveniment, by a specific 
permission of the Suttee, an ostensible party to the sacrifice; 
we are averse also to the practice of making British Courts 
expounders and vindicators of the Hindoo religion, when it 
leads to acts which, not less as Legislators than as Christians, 
we abominate."* 

The opinions of the second, third, and fifth judges of the 
Nizamut Adawlut in Calcutta, in 1824, were as follow: 

" The second judge cannot subscribe to any instructions 
that have a tendency to modify, systematize, or legalize the 
usage, or that appear to regard a legal Suttee as at all better 
than an illegal one. He is convinced that, if this mode of 
issuing orders under the sanction of Government to regulate 
Suttees, is continued, the practice will take such deep root, 
wider the authority of the supreme power of the country, that 
to eradicate it will become impossible"^ (C. Smith, Esq.) 

" I conceive that we have already done a great deal of mis 
chief in this way, and that instead of diminishing we have 
increased the cvil."J (J. T. Shakespear, Esq.) 

" I confess that my own opinion inclines me to impute to 
the Regulations a positively pernicious tendency, in proportion 
to the degree in which they have brought the sacrifices under 
the more immediate cognizance of the officers of Goveniment; 
whose presence at the ceremony, instead of operating as a 
restraint, has, I am afraid, contributed to invest it with addi 
tional solemnity, and to confer on the performance of it, in 
the mistaken views of the natives, a species of authoritative 
sanction which it was not before considered to possess."^ 
(W. B. Martin, Esq.) 

The late llev. T. Thomason, chaplain in Calcutta, in a letter 
dated Feb. 1827, speaking of the Bengal Government requir 
ing that the Suttee should be performed agreeably to certain 
regulations, observed : " The measure actually legalized it by 
British authority, to the great joy and benefit of the Brah- 
muns ; securing to them and even increasing their fees by 
multiplying the formalities. Every evil might have been an 
ticipated from this unwise act. This regulation legalized the 
Suttees. The Government became by it, without intending 
it, particeps criminis. It pronounced that to be legal (under 
certain circumstances) which ought never, under any circum 
stances, to be deemed legal. If the Government interfere at 
all, their interference should be to abolish, and not to limit or 

Par. Papers, vol. iii. p. 45, IS. f Vol. iv. p. 14<>. \ p. MR 

Par. Papers, vol. iv. p. 11!). Sec also p. s, r >. Vol. v. p. f>l. 


sanction such an abomination. This I very strenuously main 
tained in argument, with some persons officially concerned in 
the regulation. The question has often been asked, whether 
this regulation did in fact increase or diminish the number of 
Suttees. On a deliberate review of the whole case, / rent in 
the conviction, that the number has been increased nit her than 

The Petition of the Natives of Calcutta, to Lord W. Ben- 
tinck, against the Regulation abolishing the Suttee, in the 
Bengal Presidency, presented Jan. 1830, shews the sentiments 
of the Hindoos upon the subject of partial interference : "The 
qualified measure did not answer the object proposed, the 
fact was, that tlie number of Sift teen in Bengal considerably 
increased in consequence i within a short time^ and in order to 
ascertain the cause, a reference was made to the Sudder l)e- 
wanny Adawlut, who could assign no satisfactory cause to ac 
count for it. Though it might perhaps have occurred to 
Gentlemen of so much experience, that the interference of 
Government, even to this extent, with the practice, was likclv, 
by drawing to it the attention of the Native community in a 
greater degree than formerly, to increase the number <>/ 

The opinion of the British Magistrates in India, generally, 
relative to the safe!)/ and fttcililif of the abolition of tlie Snlli-<-, 
will appear by a few extracts from the Parliament documents. 

H.Oakley, Esq., Magistrate of Hooghly,in 1H1H, stated; I 
do not hesitate in offering my opinion that a law for its aboli 
tion would be objected to, only by the /wirx, who derive worldly 
profit from the custom, by Brahmuns, who partly exist b\ 
it, and bv those whose depraved nature leads them to look 
on a sacrifice as a highly entertaining show ; at any rate, the 
sanction of Government should be withdrawn without delay. 
The adoption of this measure will most likely be followed by 
a decrease in the number of Suttees, and the Magistrate"** 
feelings will not be outraged^ as tliei/ frequently are at present , 
by compelling him to so barbarous a custoni"\ 

The late J. II. Harington, Esq., officiating Chief Judge at 
Calcutta, in a minute relative to the Suttee, written in 1S % 2. ], 
declared, " On a deliberate view of all those instances in 
which the laws, customs, and prejudices of the Hindoos, 
when found to be at variance with the principles of justice 

* Poymlrr s Speech on Human Sjimlurs in Iinlia, 1H27, pp 
Sec pp. :v>, 7o,i)!). | Asi. Jouni., July is:o, p. 1:13. 

t Par. Papers, vol. i. p. y,\7 Sec pp. 212, 2:13, 2:J!. 211. 


248 STTTEESs. 

and good society, have been necessarily superseded and abro 
gated by the Laws and Regulations of the British Govern 
ment,* and the whole of which supercession has been quietly 
submitted to, as obviously and exclusively originating in 
mot ices of equity and humanity, unconnected with any decree 
of religious intolerance, we may, I think, safely conclude, that 
a similar result will attend the enactment of a legislative pro 
vision to prevent the yearly sacrifice of several hundreds of 
deluded unoffending females, born and living under the pro 
tection of the British Government." This document thus 
closes. Referring to certain probable excesses in the per 
petration of Suttees, it is added, " In such a state of things 1 
could not hesitate to adopt the opinion expressed by the 
second Judge of the Court of the Nizamut Adawlut, that 
the toleration of the practice of Suttees is a reproach to our 
Government; and eren, now, I am disposed to agree with 
him, that the entire and immediate abolition of it would 
be attended with no sort of danger" "f 

The opinion of J. II. Harington, Esq., officiating chief 
Judge in the Nizamut Adawlut, Calcutta, in 1824, on the ex 
pediency of abolishing the Suttee, has been given. The 
second Judge, C. Smith, Esq., declared : " The practice of 
Suttee OUGHT TO BE ABOLISHED, and it may be abolished 
with PEHFECT SAFETY." The third Judge, J. T. Shake- 
spear, Esq., likewise stated: "I am prepared to concur in a 
recommendation to Government, that a regulation be promul 
gated prohibiting Suttees throughout the country." The iifth 
Judge, W. B. Martin, Esq., at the same time stated: "The 
toleration of the practice by our Government, and its dispo 
sition to interfere no further than w^as necessary to guard it 
from abuse, has been misconstrued into a tacit recognition of 
the principle of a usage, the legality of which, within certain 
limits, it has formally acknowledged." The minute of the 
officiating Judge, J. Ahmuty, Esq., was as follows: " I feel 
satisfied, that it would be far preferable to enact a regulation 
prohibiting Ihe practice of Suttees at once, and rendering it 
punishable by lair, than having recourse to any partial or in- 

* Such as the execution of Brahmuns ; suppressing the sacrifice of 
children at Saugur; preventing: women and children, in the provinces of 
Benares, from burning in a koorh, or circular enclosure, on the approach of 
a public officer to serve any judicial process on Brahmuns; abolishing 
Dhurna; Infanticide among the Rajkoomars; burying widows alive; cruel 
ordeals, &c. 

t Par. Papers, vol. iv. pp. 8 IS. See an article on Female Immolation 
from the Friend of India. Par. Papers, vol. iv. pp. l;J, 22 24. 

SUTTKES. -219 

direct means to repress it gradually, if even such a result 
could be reasonably expected to ensue."* 

The Hon. Court of Directors, in a letter addressed to the 
Governor General in Council, in 182. J, thus express their 
views of the obligatory nature of Suttee, and the means of its 
abolition : " Connected with the opinions expressed by many 
intelligent men, that the practice of Suttee is not <i tenet of 
religion to tchich the people are enthusiastically attached, hut 
rntJter an abuse, fostered by interested priests and relations, 
these instances of ]>artial success lead us to regard the notion 
of prohibition, modified according to circumstances, of this 
barbarous custom, with rather less apprehension than it has 
generally produced. Assuredly the most acceptable form of 
success would be, that which would be brought about by such 
an increase of intelligence among the people as should shew 
them the wickedness and absurdity of the practice; next to 
this, we should rejoice to see the abolition effected by the inllu- 
ence and the co-operation of the higher order of natives." f 

R. Jackson, Ksq., in the debate on the subject of the Suttees, 
at the General Court of Proprietors, March 1H27, observed, 
" lie relied upon the opinion of nearly sij ty of their most 
eminent seri ants, such as Residents. Judges, and Magistrates, 
that it might easily be subdued by a mixture of linn and con 
ciliatory measures ; who founded their opinions upon, at least, 
as manv instances in which such conduct had been successful. 
Should it now fail, he would not hesitate at coercion they 
must obey God rather than man !"J 

The Rev. T. Scott, of Aston Sandford, in his valuable Com 
mentary, has the following remarks on Numbers xxxv. 33: 
" So ye shall not pollute the land wherein ye are for blood 
it defileth lite land : and (he land ca/utof be cleansed of the 
blood tliat is .shed therein but bif (he blood of Jiim lltat shcil 
//." "The connivance of our Government in the burning of 
widows, and in human sacrifices, and in other species of mur 
der committed in our Kast Indian dominions, under the pre 
text of an idolatrous religion, is wholly unjustifiable, and 
burden* our land, and all connected icith those distant ret/ion*, 
icitJt the o^utlt of blood not e.rpiatcd by that of those it ho 
shed / /." 

It appears important to place upon record, (he opinion <>/ 

* Par. Tapers, vol. i\. pp. IIS, I J, ir>3. SIT also pp. U7, 20!. Vol. 
\ii. p. 142. 

I I ar. I apuis, \..]. iii. p. |;>. SIT \ol. i\ . pp. .?<>, !.,;>, |. ii. |s|, |.s-.. 

J Asi. Jour., May 1H1>7, p. 7.TJ. St-f tlii^ admiral lr Sprrrh. published 
I V I ailuirv, 


Ike Hindoos relative to the obligatory nature of the rite of 
Suttee. While some of them appeal attached to the practice, 
it is grateful to see the prevalence of humane principles among 
this interesting people. Reference has been made to the 
great Hindoo sage, Menu ; Sir W. Jones, in his translation 
of" The Institutes of Menu" thus describes the work: 

" This system of duties, religious and civil, and of law iu all its branches, 
the Hindoos firmly believe to have been promulgated iu the beginning of 
time by Menu, son or grandson of Brahma; or, in plain language, the first 
of created beings, and not the oldest only, but the holiest of legislators." 
His high character is described in the following terms : " Menu sat reclined 
with his attention fixed on one object, the Supreme God; when the divine 
sages approached him, and, after mutual salutations, in due form, delivered 
the following address; Deign, sovereign ruler, to apprize us of the sacred 
laws in their order, as they must be followed by all the four classes, and by 
each of them, in their several degrees, together with the duties of every 
mixed class; for thou, lord, and thou only among mortals, knowest the true 
sense, the first principle, and the prescribed ceremonies of this universal, 
supernatural Veda, unlimited in extent, and unequalled in authority. " 
After a careful perusal of this work, not the slightest reference to the custom 
of the Suttee has been found. It contains various laws relative to females; 
a few extracts maybe interesting: "In his passage to the next world, 
neither his father, nor his mother, nor his wife, nor his son, nor his kinsmen, 
will remain in his company; his virtue alone will adhere to him. When 
he leaves his corse, like a log or a lump of clay on the ground, his kindred 
retire with averted faces: but his virtue accompanies his soul. Equal care 
must be taken of barren women, of women without sons, of women withmit 
kindred, ofioidows true to their lords, $-c. A widow, who, from a wish to bear 
children, slights her deceased husband, by marrying again, brings disgrace 
on herself here below, and shall be excluded from the seat of her lord. Like 
those abstemious men (unmarried Brahmuns) a virtuous wife ascends to 
heaven, though she have no child, if, after the decease of her lord, she de 
vote herself to pious austerity. In childhood, must a female be dependent 
on her father; in youth, on her husband; her lord bciny dead, on her sons ; 
if she have no sons, on the near kinsmen of her husband; if he left no 
kinsmen, on those of her father; if he have no paternal kinsmen, <>n the 
sovereign"* The duty of Hindoo widows is evidently a life of austere 
devotion till death, and the custom of Suttee is unknown in the institutes of 
this great legislator. 

In the bewasta, received from Mrityoonjuy, Pundit of the 
Supreme Court, in 1817, respecting the burning of Hindoo 
widows, and other sacrifices among the Hindoos, Menu is not 
mentioned among the various authorities quoted; and it is 
acknowledged, " on the subject of anoogamiui (Suttee) the 
shastras exhibit a great variety of opinions ; but no difference 
prevails with regard to leading a life of austerity ."f 

The late Rev. W. Ward, in a letter to the Earl of Claren 
don, relates the following remarkable fact. " In 18171 was 

* Sir. W. Jones s Works, vol. vii. pp. 2-10, 331, 271. 
1 Par. Papers, vol. i. p. 121. 


riding near Seramporc, where there had been a Suttee ; after 
making inquiries respecting the family and rank of the widow, 
I addressed a few individuals on the crime in which they had 
been assisting. One of these men answered, Sir, u haterer 
the act note committed may be, ice have nothing (o fear. 
You (the English Government) J//M.V/ we to that ; for the police 
magistrate Jut* been here and given the order, and according 
to that order the trotnan fins been burnt. * 

In Malabar a summary of the laws of the shastra was drawn 
up by the natives, from which they actually conclude against 
the practice in the following terms ; "From these texts it is 
clear, that the rules relative to the observance of anugamanuiu 
(Suttee) do not extend to the Keroola, and cannot be ad 
mitted to be performed there, even if a person is willing to 
do so."f 

Hruja Mohun, in his Strictures on the present system of 
Hindoo Polytheism, written in the Bengalee language, and 
printed in Calcutta, 1818, reprobated the practice of Suttee. 
" Promising heaven to your elder or younger sister to your 
mother or grandmother or daughter or friend you bind 
them down with ropes and bamboos, and burn them on the 
funeral pile. When we witness the perpetration of these 
murders, does not nature itself move us to forbid them? Some 
of you consider the drinking of wine, and the extinction of 
life, and the shedding of blood, as conducive to salvation 
we do not. To burn defenceless women, to murder an aged 
father and mother, by immersing them in water, you esteem 
holy we esteem these deeds unholy. "J 

In 1819 a Petition was presented to the late Marquis of 
Hastings, from the Hindoo inhabitants of Calcutta, praying 
for the abolition of Suttees. How much it is to be lamented 
that this Petition was not regarded. An extract only is 
given : " Your petitioners beg leave to submit, to the bene 
volent attention of your Lordship s Government, that in the 
opinion of many of the most learned Brahmuns, founded upon 
the shastras, all kinds of voluntary death are prohibited ; that 
Menu, whose authority is admitted to be equal to that of tin. 
Vedas, positively enjoins widows to lead a life of virtue and 
abstinence from sensual gratifications ; that the / cduni \\ liich 
contains the essence of the Vedas, as well as the (iceta, for 
bids all acts done with the view of future temporary reward; 
and that amongst the inferior authorities, while some, as the 

* Poynder n Speech nn Human Sucrifircs in India, p. < . Src p III 
\ I . 217. { i/rii-nd oflndia, l>tr 1*1 . 

25-2 SUTTEES. 

Smritee shastras, actually prohibit all violent death : others, 
Mitakshura, declare the leading of a virtuous life preferable 
to dying on the pile of the husband ; and a few only insist on 
the superior merit of concremation."* 

In 1823, u When the meeting was held by the Hindoo 
gentlemen of Calcutta, to vote an address of thanks to Lord 
Hastings, on his leaving Bengal, lihadacant Deb proposed, 
that Lord Hastings should be particularly thanked, for the 
protection and encouragement which he had afforded to the 
ancient and orthodox practice of widows burning themselves 
with their husbands bodies ; a proposal which was seconded 
by Ilurree Mohuii Thakoor, another wealthy baboo. It was 
lost, howecer ; the cry of the meeting, thoiiyh all Hindoos, 
beiny decidedly ayainst //."f 

Ham Mohun Hoy, in his pamphlet entitled, "A Conference 
between an advocate and an opponent of the practice of burn 
ing wid-ows" states the sentiments of the humane and en 
lightened among the Hindoos on this subject: "The Veda 
declares, By living in the practice of regular and occasional 
duties the mind may be purified. By hearing and reflecting 
and constantly meditating on the Supreme Being, absorption 
in Brumhu may be attained. Therefore, from a desire during 
life of future fruition, life ought not to be destroyed ! Menu, 
Yagnyuvulkyu, and others, have, in their respective codes of 
law, prescribed to widows the duties of ascetics only. The 
ancient saints, and holy teachers, and their commentators, 
and yourselves (advocates of the Suttee), as well as we and 
all others, agree that Menu is better acquainted than any 
other lawgivers with the spirit of the Vedas. He has directed 
widows to spend their lives as ascetics." It is thus closed ; 
" It is to me a source of great satisfaction, that you (the ad 
vocates) are now ready to take this matter into your serious 
consideration. By forsaking prejudice, and reflecting on the 
shastra, what is really conformable to its precepts may be 
perceived, and the en I and disgrace bronyht on tins commu 
nity, by the crime of female murder, will cease." 1 " 1 

" 1 have heard," says the Rev. II. Townley, " of the reply 
being repeatedly given to the expostulations of Europeans: 
If there is any blame in our proceedings, it belonys to 
yourselres ; for we are acting under British sanction. " He 
adds, " The native who instructed me in the Bengalee lan 
guage (who was a Brahmun of more than ordinary intelligence). 

* Foyndefs Speed), p. 220. Sec pp. 72, 222-221. 
f Hebei s Journal, M>1. i. p. 72. 

SUTTEES. 2,>3 

( reijiienthj expressed his surprise, that Government did not 
issue an order, that no more Suttees should bo permitted ; 
intimating his conviction that no commotion whatever would 

The Rev. E. Carey, late Missionary in Calcutta, at a public 
meeting in Manchester, in 1H28, observed, " As the subject 
of Suttees had been mentioned, he would state his conviction, 
that (ill the real obstacles to the practice of burning widows 
existed at home. He did not mean to say, that obstacles 
were to be found in the wishes of any party, but in their mis 
conception of the case, lie had conversed with a Brahmun 
and Pundit on the subject, who said, * If the practice is so 
heinous, ////// not suppress it ?" They fear (Mr. C. observed) 
to hurt their religious scruples. 1 * What ! (replied the lirah- 
imin,) We have compulsory taxes on the brahminical lands, 
and will it go nearer to our consciences, to save our daughters 
from the flames ? " 

The Journal of the Rev. W. Tlowell, at Cuddapah, contains 
the following passage: "Jan. 1, 1830. Received visits from 
many respectable natives to day ; chiefly servants of the 
revenue and judicial department. Mr. Peggs s pamphlet on 
Suttees being in my hand at the time, 1 entered into conver 
sation with them on that topic. Some said it is supposed to 
be meritorious, when the wife puts an end to her life on the 
death of her husband. 1 replied, if that is the case why do not 
the men do so on the death of their wives ? They observed, 
Because the men are at liberty to many again. I said, So 
ought the women to be also. I asked them next, whether 
they would feel averse to Government abolishing such a 
practice among them ? They said, It was matter of indiffer 
ence to them, but that it is better to preserve life than other 
wise. Blessed be G-od for its abolition, by a late regulation, 
in Bengal. "f 

This chapter may be closed by the following Supplicatory 
Linen ; addressed to the Marquis of Hastings before he left 
India, in Jan. 1823. Myriads of hearts responded to these 
sentiments. O that this prayer had been heard. It is said, 
this Nobleman would have abolished this practice, " if he 
could have relied upon the popular feeling being in his favour 
in our own country, and that the danger u as felt, not in India, 
but only in England "]; 

* TWnlcy s Answer to the Abbe Duhois, pp. 180, 11)0. 

f Kvung. Mag., Sep. 1830, p. -107. 
Account of York meeting relative to the Snit.-c, IH 27, jv . 


" Ere thy benignant power retires 

From India, bless d beneath tliy care, 
O (|uench those foul unhallow d fires, 

Which hell s own flame has kindled here, 
The stain of earth and upper air ! 

Then o er the sea, 
The orphan s blessing and the widow s prayer 

Shall follow thee. 
O ne er to man has pitying heaven 
A power so blest, so glorious given, 
Say but a single word and save 
Ten thousand mothers from a flaming grave, 
And tens of thousands from the source of woe, 
That ever must to orphan d children flow ! 
Save from the flame, the infant s place of rest, 
The couch by nature given a mother s breast; 
O bid the mother live the babe caress her, 
And sweeter still its hoping accents bless her. 
India with tearful eye and bended knee, 
Hastings, her lord and judge, presents her plaint to thee." 


Nature and success of efforts by the British Government in 
India, for the abolition of the Suttee ^probable prevalence 
of the practice at the present period necessity and pro 
priety of persevering exertions till it is annihilated. 

The measures adopted by the British Government in Ilin- 
dostan, relative to this unnatural practice, were for many years 
of a partial or preparatory character, and, as might have been 
anticipated from their nature, not decisive or successful in the 
suppression of Suttees. 

The Collector of Ahmednauger, Cap. H. Pottinger, speak 
ing of a Suttee that occurred in that city in 1818, stated: 
" I tacitly consented to the sacrifice, but at the same time 
positively refused any assistance towards defraying the ex 
penses for the requisite clothes for the woman, or for the wood 
to form the pyre, and likewise declined to sanction the pro 
ceeding by my presence or that of any person on my par I. ] 
have little doubt of the success of my interposition, in the 
majority of cases that may occur, when I have it in my power, 
to assure theicoman of the means of subsistence"* A former 

* Par. Papers, vol. v. p. 20. Vol. i. p. 244. 


volume of the Par. Papers remarks: "An encouragement 
seems at one time to have been held out to Suttees, by grant 
ing to the family of the victim a portion of free land, similar 
to the provisions of the descendants of sepoys killed on service. 
The instances are far from numerous."* Chandgurgh, Bom 
bay Presidency, July 1821. 

In the Par. Papers, relative to the Bombay Presidency, 
reference is made to making provision for the widow who 
was prevailed upon to decline immolating herself. But this 
plan, like every other, short of entire prohibition, is defective, 
as it may have (to use the language of W. Chaplin, Esq., 
Commissioner of the Deccan) " the injurious effect, of leading 
persons to feign a resolution to burn themselves, in the hope 
of being paid for desisting."f 

The late J. H. llarington, Esq., in 1825, suggested that 
magistrates should be authorized, " to hold out some public en 
couragement, as an honorary dress, title, or other rewards, to 
any landholder or other person of local influence, who should 
distinguish himself by active and successful endeavours to dis 
courage and suppress the sacrifice of Hindoo widows. * The 
chief Secretary to Government replied; "His Lordship in 
council will be happy to notice by a suitable mark of his appro 
bation any Zemindar, or other Native of rank or respectability, 
who may have caused or may cause the discontinuance of the 
practice, where it was before prevalent among his own relations 
and connexions, and may have successfully exerted himself 
in procuring the general relinquishment of it in his own estate, 
or to any considerable extent within the sphere of his influ 
ence. 1 ! 

The natiu e of the system of discountenancing Suttees pur 
sued on the Madras side of India was as follows : " Before 
any woman can destroy herself by burning, permission must 
be obtained of the magistrate. On the request being preferred 
the applicant is directed to wait a little for an answer; the 
magistrate in the mean time sends for his cutwal and instructs 
him to proclaim that a certain woman intends burning her 
self, but should any bunian or bukall be discovered selling 
any article required for the purpose to the said woman, or 
any cooly offering his assistance by carrying oil, wood, &c., 
to the spot appointed, the former shall be turned out of the 
bazar, ami the latter otherwise punished. It is also proclaim 
ed that, should any crowd collect, the police peons are to 

* Par. Papers, vol. iii. p. -17. f Vol. 

t Vol. v. p. f>l. 


disperse it, and to confine to the Cutwal s Choultry all persons 
resisting the police authority ; should any Brahmun belonging 
to any public offices be seen in the crowd, or any of his rela 
tions aiding the ceremony, such wrwntt Khali be discharged 
from 7//.v situation. The whole of this being proclaimed, the 
applicant is desired to take leave. As may l)e expected, it 
has been observed, that with these restrictions no burning IMS 
taken place! Precept a crowd from collecting to witness the 
immolation, and rest assured no such ceremony proceeds /"* 
(R. Moligaipore, March 1823.) 

The opinion of some of the more intelligent Hindoos, re 
specting the propriety and utility of humane and decisive 
measures for the prevention of this rite, appears by some letters in 
the Asiatic Journal for July 1826, written in English by natives 
of Bengal. Two or three short extracts only are given : 

" Her brother Roopnarain Gosanl, who is supposed to be a wealthy man, 
and being so long in the Hon. Company s Service ought to be discharged 
from his place, and prosecuted in the Supreme Court forgiving countenance 
to sucli an inhuman act. No body anger could be minded when a life is con 
cerned ; she, ought to be prevented to burn. If Governor General gin s orders 
to remove the woman from her relations, at her pronouncing that she will burn, 
and allow her to remain one day in a comfortable place with JSnt/lish Ladies 
that understand the country s language, there is not doubt her mind shall be 
purified, and her foolish thoughts shall be removed, and will not be anxious 
to do such a base act as to burn with the dead person." (Muddunmohun 
Mulliclc, Calcutta, Jan. 1820.) 

" I fully agree with the sentiments contained in Muddunmohun s letter. 
Ff the Government in Council give orders to remove all the women on pro 
nouncing that they will burn, to be placed with an intelligent English person 
to persuade them to the contrary, and not allow any of the relations to con 
verse, or make them take intoxicating drugs, they will never die in such an 
inhuman manner. I have lost my wife these six years, and have not married 
again for fear she may burn with my body at my death. The Hindoo 
women have no sense ; they hear from their superiors tbc cremation is an 
holy act, and they are fools enough to listen to it, which only induces them 
to express their sentiments that they will bum ; and as soon as such a 
declaration is obtained, all the unfeeling relations use all their exertions to 
induce the poor unfortunate widows to suffer such a cruel death. I hope 
you will not refuse to have this appeared in your interesting Paper, and 
oblige me." (Sunchurn Sill, Calcutta, Jan. 1820.) 

In many instances, the humane exertions of Magistrates, 
and various other individuals, have been successful in dissuad 
ing from the sacrifice, or rescuing the victims of superstition, 
when fleeing from the men, whose " feet are swift to shed 

In the Barcilly division it is reported in the official docu- 

f Seealso .Shepherd s Inefficiency of the Ecc. Esta. of India, 2d. edition 
(London), pp. 07, 08; and Asi. Jour., April 1830, p. 200. 


mcnts that, in 1815, three women were prevented from be 
coming Suttees. Tn the Patna division, in 1817, twenty-five 
Suttees took place, but five women were prevented, who 
" were saved from burning by the interference of the people 
of the village, or by the arrival of the police officers." In 
the same year five Suttees are stated to have been prevented 
in the city of Benares. In the following year three other 
Suttees were prevented in the same city, and, * one woman, 
cast a Brahmun, ran away from the pile after it was set 
fire to, and is still living." Four widows were saved at 
Cuddapah in 1820.* The Magistrate of the Patna division, 
in his returns of Suttees for 1822, writes, "It is with 
satisfaction that I have noted that twelve widows have been 
either prevented or dissuaded from becoming Suttees ; in nine 
of which they were dissuaded by the police officers ; in one 
the widow was prevented by a police officer, on account of a 
legal impediment, and in the two remaining cases the widows 
were dissuaded, one by the Zemindar of the village and the 
other by her friends." In the returns from the same division 
for 1823 is the following interesting statement: "It will 
probably be considered the most remarkable feature of the 
present report that, on nine occasions of intended Suttees, at 
which alone the police officers had an opportunity of being 
present, they succeeded, without difficulty or opposition, in 
dissuading the widows from sacrificing themselres. From 
the inquiries that I have been able to make on the subject of 
Suttees during the last two years, I do not hesitate to offer 
an opinion that, in this district, it would not be attended with 
any dissatisfaction of a dangerous nature, if the Government 
should deem it proper to prohibit this lamentable custom al 
together ; it even appears to me, that the inhabitants of the 
district generally arc prepared to hear of such a prohibition."f 
Why was not such a prohibition immediately issued? 

In some parts of Orissa a pit is used, and the woman, after 
circumambulating it three or seven times, throws herself into 
the fire. The Author saw one of these pits at Juggernaut s 
temple, in May 1824, but did not hear of the Suttee in time to 
be present. Kven from this pit the victim sometimes escapes. 
In the Par. Papers of 1825, is the following account: " Ra- 
hang, in the thannah of Pooree (Juggernaut), died Aug. 25, 
1823, and his widow, Mussumut Munce, aged fifty, declared 
her intention of becoming a Suttee, and repeated the declara- 

* Par. Papers, vol. i. pp. 1(57, 173; vol. iv. and v. pp. 22 - 24. 
| Par. Papers, vol. iv. p. 122. Sec also Par. Papers, 182*, p. IN. 


lion in the presence of the police officers. In pursuance of 
this intention, the day following she went through the usual 
ceremonies, and threw herself into a burning pit, where the 
body of her husband was consuming ; but almost immediately 
leaped out and made her escape. She w r as severely but not 
dangerously burnt, and an engagement was taken from the 
managers of the village, binding themselves that she should 
be taken care of and proper remedies applied. She returned 
to her family and was received by them as usual. * 

The Regulation of 1813, to confine the practice, as was 
anticipated, to the directions of the shastra, has been given, 
and its impolitic and mischievous character is evident. To 
adduce another proof, in addition to what has been advanced, 
,T. F. Petty, Esq., Magistrate in the Southern Concan, in 
1819, observed, " As far as my observation goes, I shall say 
that the humane intentions of the framers of the Regulations, 
regarding these ceremonies, will not be fully answered. Some 
few widows, perhaps, escape, as falling under exceptions spe 
cified in the Bengal pundit s reports ; whilst, on the other 
hand, it can hardly be doubted, that the necessary presence 
of the police officers of Government, at these immolations, 
stamps on them that character of strict legality, and seems to 
afford them that degree of countenance on the part of Go 
vernment , which must produce an evil effect ."f 

Among the decisive measures of the British Government to 
suppress the Suttee, was a Regulation " prohibiting widows 
of the Jogee tribe from burying themselves alive with the 
bodies of their husbands" issued Sep. 1817. It was as 
follows : 

1. "It having been ascertained that the shastra contains no authority for 
a practice which has prevailed amongst the Jogee tribe in some parts of the 
country, especially in the district of Tipperah, of burying alive the widows of 
persons of that tribe, who desire to be interred with the bodies of their de 
ceased husbands, such practice must necessarily be regarded as a criminal 
offence under the general laws and regulations of Government. 

2. " The magistrates and police officers, in every district where the prac 
tice above mentioned has been known to exist, shall be careful to make the 
present prohibition as publicly known as possible ; and if any person, after 
being advised of it, shall appear to have been concerned in burying a wo 
man alive in opposition thereto, he shall be apprehended and brought to 
trial for the offence before the Court of Circuit. 

3. " The magistrates and police officers are farther directed to use all 
practicable means for preventing any such illegal act; and an attempt to 
commit the same, after the promulgation of these rules, though not carried 
completely into effect, will, on conviction, be punishable by the city magis- 

* pp. 109, 1.00. See vol. v. pp. 18, 19, 28. 
I Par. Papers, vol. i. p. 254. 


r.ii* , or by the Court of Circuit, according to the degree of criminality and 

in u instance of the case."* 


The nature of the rite of burying alive, is affectin^ly de 
scribed by an eye-witness, the late Capt. Kemp, in 1S1:J. 

" It is tlie eustom of the Jogee sect to l)iiry their dead ; preparation \vas 
therefore made for the iutenneut of the deceased, as also, (shocking to re 
late,) of his wife, a young woman of about sir tern years of a^e, who had 
signified her intention of IXMIIJ; buried alive with the dead body of her hus- 
hand. Accordingly, at six I*. M., they repaired to the place of interment, a 
little below our bungalow, at the water side. At nine P. M. I went to the 
place, and found a large concourse of people of both sexes collected, and 
some employed digging a circular grave, which, when finished, might have 
been thirteen or fourteen feet in circumference, and five feet six inches in 

Par. Papers, vol. i. p. 111. Mis. Keg., l)e< 
s *^ 

M, p. :><M. 

2(>0 SUTTEES. 

depth. I could scarcely believe that persons in their senses could, in a 
voluntary manner, be brought to terminate their existence in such a horrid 
manner, and had suspected some intoxicating liquor, or herbs of a narcotic 
nature, were used on similar occasions, to deprive these deluded victims of 
their reason ; but, on conversing with her, I found her free from all 
effects of this nature, and all efforts to persuade her from this desperate 
purpose of rushing into the presence of her Creator as a suicide, had no 
effect. On asking her mother, who was by her, how she could divest her 
self of that feeling, which was even discernible amongst the most ferocious 
inhabitants of the jungle, who would run to save their offspring from de 
struction, even at the risk of their own lives. Her reply was, it was her 
daughter s determination, and what could she do? 

" The dead body was now placed in a sitting posture at the bottom of the 
grave : the young woman was then brought forward. She held a small 
basket, having betel leaves in it, with one hand, while with the other 
she distributed, during seven circumvolutions about the grave, koee 
(sugar-plums) and cowries ; all were anxious to catch some of this 
consecrated donation. The seventh time that she had walked round the 
grave, she stopped, when a Brahmun repeated some words to her. She 
now lifted up her right hand above her head, with her fore-finger erect, she 
waved it in a circular manner, pronouncing the words, Hurree bol, Hurree 
bol, in which the surrounding multitude joined her. She then, without 
any reluctance or dismay, descended to the bottom of the grave, placed 
herself behind the dead body of her husband, her left hand round his waist, 
the other over her own head, which she reclined between his shoulders. In 
this position the mother was called (as I supposed) to resign her daughter, 
or to sanction her conduct, by applying a wisp of lighted straw to the crown 
of her head, for the space of a second or two. The grave was now gradually 
filled by the by-standers, whilst two men trod the fallen earth around the 
living and the dead, as a gardener does the mould around a newly trans 
planted tree, and thus deliberately proceeded till the earth rose to the sur 
face, leaving the bodies about three feet beneath ; when the multitude 

Burying alive was practised after the promulgation of the 
above Regulation. The Magistrate of Burdwan, in 1820, was 
commended for not using his authority to save the widow of 
a jogce.f The Magistrate of Tipperah in 1825 reports, u In 
this District female Immolation, by means of burying alive, 
appears to be very prevalent. This custom is peculiar to the 
Jogee or weaver cast, and more than one half of the sacrifices 
which occurred, during this year, were done by these means."^ 
How soon the above Regulation became a dead letter ! The 
Somachar Durpim, a Newspaper in Bengalee, also contained 
the following account, " A certain jogee, or weaver, inhabitant 
of Somrah, died ; his wife, according to the custom of her own 
cast, went down to the grave with her deceased husband. 
Her friends and relatives instantly covered the victim and the 

* Dr. Johns Pamphlet on the Suttee, 1816, pp. 6668. 

f Par. Papers, vol. ii. p. 27. See vol. vii. p. 21. 

+ Par. Papers, vol. vii. 1830, p. 27. 


corpse with earth, and in this inhuman manner made an end 
of her existence."* It is hoped, that the recent measures for 
the abolition of the Suttee, will be of a more effective and 
permanent character, than the above Regulation. 

Previously to the adoption of Lord W. Bentinck s decisive 
Regulation, of Dec. 1829, some preparatory steps appear to 
have been taken. The Rev. Mr. Smith, a Missionary at 
Benares, adverts to them in Feb. 1829. "Went out by the 
river side and conversed with a number of Brahmuns on re 
ligious subjects, and also brought in the order respecting the 
prohibition of Suttees. On hearing which, a Brahmun ex 
claimed. What has Government now arisen from sleep ? So 
many years has this cruel practice been carried on, and has 
compassion at last entered into their breasts? They ought 
to have prevented this horrid practice many years ago. It 
astonished me," says Mr. S., " to hear such expressions from 
ii Hindoo." An interesting statement is also given by him, of 
this prohibitory order being read by the Daroga at Gopee f/ttrtj, 
before more than 200 Brahmuns and pundits : after which, tin- 
whole listened to his preaching the gospel, and some indi 
viduals seemed to be much affected by it. "The English, 1 
say they, " now wish to enlighten us." 

This prohibition enjoined, "That no Suttee should take 
place, in future, in the District; but should any woman feel 
determined to be burned with the corpse of her husband, 
notice should be given to the magistrate ; and should it be 
sanctioned, she must then gather firewood herself, and pre 
pare the pile without making any fence to it, and it should 
be done in the presence of the daroga. After putting a slow 
fire to the pile, she must voluntarily get on it ; and should 
any person be found assisting, advising, and encouraging her 
in the horrid deed, they should be prosecuted; as the flames 
touch her body, should she wish to get off the pile, nobody 
should prevent her ; and should any person be found threat 
ening her, in order to keep her in the flame, that they should 
be prosecuted as murderers. "f 

Some measures of a similar character were also adopted by 
the Governor of Bombay, before the abolition of the Suttee 
in that Presidency. The India Gazette, in Feb. 1830, slated, 
"Although the burning of widows was chiefly practised in 
Bengal, yet it is well known that instances of it are not un- 
frequent in the territories subject to the other Presidencies. 
It is probable that the example of the Supreme Government, 

* Asi. Jour., Feb. IW. I Asi. Jour, Nov. I*.1O. ,,. IMI. 

26 2 SUTTKKS. 

will load to the entire abolition of the practice; but, in the 
mean time, it is interesting to know the course which is 
adopted for //.v reyttlutioH where it is still permitted. Instruc 
tions, we understand, have been given by the Governor in 
Council at Bombay, to all the civil authorities of that Presi 
dency, to the following effect ; That when a Suttee requests 
leave of a Magistrate, to burn with the body of her deceased 
husband, he is to assemble a Pnnchayet of the most respect 
able natives, who are to report whether permission should be 
given. This is wary treading on what is believed to be dan 
gerous ground ; but no one can suppose that the verdict of 
the native punchayets against the unfortunate widows, will 
exonerate British rulers from the moral guilt of being acces 
saries to the sacrifice, or from the stigma which it attaches to 
their political government of the country. This mode of pro 
ceeding is probably as unobjectionable as any other that can 
be suggested, short of abolition ; but it is a mere subterfuge, 
and only proves the anxiety which men of humane and gener 
ous feelings experience, to remove, as far as possible from 
themselves, all participation in so unnatural and odious a 

The following is the Regulation for abolishing the Suttee 
" throughout the Territories immediately subject to the Presi 
dency of Fort William, passed by the Governor General in 
Council, Dec. 4, 1829."f 

" The practice of Suttee, or of burning or burying alive the widows of 
Hindoos, is revolting to the feelings of human nature; it is nowhere 
enjoined by the religion of the Hindoos as an imperative duty; on the con 
trary, a life of purity and retirement on the part of the widow is more espe 
cially and preferably inculcated, and by a vast majority of that people 
throughout India the practice is not kept up nor observed: in some exten 
sive districts it does not exist; in those in which it has been most frequent 
it is notorious that, in many instances, acts of atrocity have been perpetrated, 
which have been shocking to the Hindoos themselves, and, in their eyes, 
unlawful and wicked. The measures hitherto adopted to discourage and 
prevent such acts have failed of success, and the Governor General in 
Council is deeply impressed \\ith the conviction, that the abuses in question 
cannot be effectually put an end to without abolishing the practice altogether. 
Actuated by these considerations, the Governor General in Council, without 
intending to depart from one of the first and most important principles of 
the system of British Government in India, that all classes of the people be 
secured in the observance of their religious usages, so long as that system 
can be adhered to without violation of the paramount dictates of justice and 

* Asi. Jour., Aug. 1830, p. 20(5. 

f Par. Papers, vol. viii. June 1830, pp. 4, 5. See a projected Regulation 
of the late J. H. Harington, Ksq., Feb. 1827, in anticipation of the abolition 
of the Suttee, Par. Papers, vol. vii. 1*30, pp. 130- - M-J. 


lmia.inily, ha- deemed it right to establish the following rules, which are 
hereby enacted to be in force from the time of their promulgation throughout 
t/ir Territories immediately subject tn the Presidency of Fort William. 

II. " The practice of Suttee, or of burning or burying alive the widows 
of Hindoos, is hereby declared illegal, and punishable by the Criminal 

III. "First, All Zemindars, Talookdara, or other proprietors of land, 
whether Malgu/.aree, or Lakheraj ; all Sudder fanners, and Under-rulers of 
land of every description; all dependent Talookdars; all Naibs, and other 
local agents ; all native officers employed in the collection of the revenue, 
and rents of land on the part of Government, or the Court of Wards; and 
all Munduls, or other head men of villages, are hereby declared especially 
accountable for the immediate communication to the officers of the nearest 
police station, of any intended sacrifice of the nature described in the fore 
going section ; and any /emindar, or other description of persons above 
noticed, to whom such responsibility is declared to attach, who may be con 
victed of wilfully neglecting or delaying to furnish the information above 
required, shall be liable to be lined by the Magistrate, or joint Magistrates, 
in any sum not exceeding 200 rupees, and in default of payment to be con 
fined, for any period of imprisonment, not exceeding six months. 

" Second Immediately on receiving intelligence that the sacrifice de 
clared illegal by this Regulation is likely to occur, the Police Darogah shall 
either repair in person to the spot, or depute his Mohurhir or Jemadar, 
accompanied by one or more Hurkenda/.es of the Hindoo religion, and it 
shall be the duty of the police officers to announce to tlie persons assembled 
for the performance of the ceremony, that it is illegal, and endeavour to 
prevail <m them to disperse, explaining to them that in the event of their 
persisting in it, they will involve themselves in a crime, and become subject 
to a punishment in the Criminal Courts. Should the parties assembled 
proceed in defiance of these remonstrances, to carry the ceremony into effect, 
it shall be the duty of the police officers to use all lawful means in their 
power to prevent the sacrifice from taking place, and to apprehend the 
principal persons aiding or abetting in the performance of it; and in the event 
of the police officers being unable to apprehend them, they shall endeavour to 
ascertain their names and places of abode, and shall immediately commu 
nicate the whole of the particulars to the Magistrate, or joint Magistrates, 
for his orders. 

" Third Should intelligence of a sacrifice, declared illegal by this Regu 
lation, not reach the police officers until after it shall actually have taken 
place, or should the sacrifice have been carried into effect before their arrival 
at the spot, they will, nevertheless, institute a full inquiry into the circum 
stances of the, in like manner as on all other occasions of unnatural 
death, and report them for the information and orders of the Magistrate, or 
joint Magistrates, to \\hom they may be subordinate. 

IV. "First On the receipt of the reports required to be made by the 
Police Darogahs, under the provision of the foregoing Sections, the Magis 
trate, or joint Magistrates, of the jurisdiction in which the sacrifice may 
have taken place, shall inquire into the circumstances of the ease, and shall 
adopt the necessary measures for bringing the parties, concerned in pro- 
muting it, to trial before the Court of Circuit. 

" Second It is hereby declared, that after the promulgation of this Regu 
lation, all persons convicted of aiding and abetting in the sacrifice of a Hin 
doo widow, by burning or burying her alive, whetner the sacrifice be volun 
tary on her part or not, shall be doomed guilty of culpable homicidr, and 


shall be liable to punishment, by fine or by imprisonment, or by both tine 
and imprisonment, at the discretion of the Court of Circuit, according to the 
nature and circumstances of the case, and degree of guilt established against 
the offender; nor shall it be held to be any plea of justification that he or 
she was desired by the party sacrificed to assist in putting her to death. 

" Third Persons committed to take their trial before the Court of Circuit, 
for the offence above mentioned, shall be admitted to bail or not, at the 
discretion of the Magistrates, or joint Magistrates, subject to the general 
rules in force, in regard to the admission of bail. 

V. " It is further deemed necessary to declare, that nothing contained in 
this Regulation, shall be construed to preclude the Court of Nizamut 
Adawlut from passing sentence of death on persons convicted of using vio 
lence or compulsion, or of having assisted in burning or burying alive a 
Hindoo widow, while labouring under a state of intoxication or stupefac 
tion, or other cause, impeding the exercise of her free-will, when, from the 
aggravated nature of the offence proved against the prisoner, the Court may 
see no circumstance to render him or her a proper object of mercy." 

This magnanimous act of the Government of Lord W. 
Bentinck, will be mentioned in terms of high approbation by 
all succeeding generations. He has acquired honours, in 
comparison of which, 

" The laurels that a Caesar reaps are weeds." 

In the official " Letter from the Governor General in Council, 
to the Court of Directors," relative to this important measure, 
are the following paragraphs, which appear worthy of the 
most extensive publicity. 

" Your Honourable Court will be gratified by perceiving the great pre 
ponderance of opinions of the most intelligent and experienced of the civil 
and military officers, consulted by the Governor General, in favour of the 
abolition of Suttees, and of the perfect safety with which, in their judgment, 
the practice may be suppressed. A few indeed were of opinion, that it would 
be preferable, to effect the abolition by the indirect interference of the Ma 
gistrates, and other public officers, with the tacit sanction alone on the part 
of Government ; but we think there are very strong grounds against the 
policy of that mode of proceeding, independently of the embarrassing situa 
tion in which it would place the local officers, by allowing them to exercise 
a discretion in so delicate a matter. To use the words of the Governor Ge 
neral, we were decidedly in favour of an open, avowed, and general pro 
hibition, resting altogether upon the moral goodness of the act, and our power 
to enforce it. 1 

" In conclusion, we venture to express a confident expectation, that under 
the blessing of Divine Providence the important measure which we have 
deemed it our duty to adopt, will be efficacious in putting down the abhor 
rent practice of Suttee, a consummation, \\e feel persuaded, not less anxiously 
desired by your Honourable Court, than by every preceding Government of 
India, although the state of the country was less favourable in former times 
than at present, for its full and complete execution. It would be too much 
to expect that the promulgation of the abolition will not excite some degree 
of clamour and dissatisfaction, but we are firmly persuaded that such feel 
ings will be short-lived ; and we trust, that no apprehension need be enter- 


tamed of ib exciting any violent opposition, or any evil consequences 

We have, &c. 

(signed) W. HENTINCK. 


"Fort William, 4/A December, 182U. C. T. METCALFE."* 

The Madras Governor in Council, speedily followed the 
noble example of the Supreme Government in Bengal, and 
enacted a similar Regulation, bearing date Feb. :2, 1830. In 
the letter upon the subject to the Hon. Court of Directors, 
are the following important remarks, "We fully concurred 
in Mr. hushington sf opinion, that so far from this inhuman 
practice being strictly enjoined by the most celebrated and 
revered of the Hindoo lawgivers, a life of piety and virtue 
was, by them, specially ordained to be observed by widows ; 
and that the abolition of this cruel and revolting custom 
would be an act of duty and of mercy, to that small portion 
of the Hindoos who still adhered to it, provided it could be 
accomplished without entailing worse consequences upon the 
people at large, and upon our empire over them. Having, 
therefore, under consideration, the long experience which all 
classes of the people have now had of that spirit of toleration 
and regard, for all their religious institutions, by which our 
Governments have always been distinguished; reflecting also 
upon the present tranquil state of these Territories, and of our 
political relations throughout India, we felt no apprehension, 
that the few who may be disaffected to the Company s power, 
would be able to excite any serious misconstruction from our 
execution of what has been so long the humane desire of your 
Honourable Court, and we therefore resolved, that the time 
had now arrived when this barbarous custom might be safely 

The Suttee was abolished in the Bombay Presidency, before 
the close of the year 1830. The Asiatic Journal contains the 
following "Motion of thanks, to Sir John Malcolm, from the 
Bombay Missionary Union," bearing the date Nov. 1, 1830 : 
"That the grateful acknowledgments of the Union should 
be presented to the Hon. Major General, Sir John Malcolm, 
G. C. B., Governor of Bombay, for the facilities, which he 
has granted for the preaching of the gospel in all parts of tin- 
Bombay Territories, /or /its honourable exertions in the 
abolition of Suttee, and for the kind manner in which he has 

* Par. Papers, vol. viii. IH30, pp. 3, 1. f The (o\eriior. 

| Par. Papers, \ul. viii. 1H30, n. U. 


countenanced Christian education." The " Reply " is so hon 
ourable to all parties, that its insertion cannot but be acceptable 
to the reader: " Sir, I entreat you to convey to the Bombay 
Missionary Union, that they may communicate to the Societies, 
of which they are agents, my warm and sincere thanks for the 
kind expression of their sentiments ; and I beg that you will 
assure them, that it is solely to their zeal and Christian hu 
mility, combined, as I have ever found it, with a spirit of 
toleration and good sense, that I owe any power I have 
possessed of aiding them in their good and pious objects, 
which, pursued as they are, by the members of the Societies 
who have honoured me with their approbation, must merit 
and receive the support of all who take an interest in the pro 
motion of knowledge, the advancement of civilization, and the 
cause of truth."* 

The probable prevalence of the Suttee at the present time 
in the tributary, allied, and independent States of India, and 
in the Asiatic Islands, is a subject of much interest. It may 
be presumed, that this unnatural custom being abolished within 
the Territories of the Hon. East India Company, the respec 
tive Governments will be led to promote its suppression wher 
ever their influence can be exerted. 

An interesting Paper, read before the "Institute of France" 
gives the following information respecting Hindostan. Allies 
and Tributaries of the British Government in India: "The 
Nizam, inhabitants, ten millions ; the Rajah of Nagpour, in 
habitants, three millions; the king of Oude, inhabitants, three 
millions ; the Guicowar, inhabitants, two millions ; the Rajah 
of Mysore, inhabitants, three millions ; the Rajah of Sattarah, 
one million and a half; Travancore and Cochin, one million ; 
Rajahs of Jeypore, Bicancre, &c., Holkar, the Seiks, the Row 
of Cutch, and a multiplicity of other chiefs total inhabitants, 
fifteen millions. Independent States. The Rajah of Nepaul, 
inhabitants, two millions; the Rajah of Lahore, inhabitants, 
three millions ; Sind, inhabitants, one million ; the dominions 
of Sindia, inhabitants, four millions." Happy day when Bri 
tish and Christian influence realizes the abolition of the Suttee, 
and every inhuman custom among these numerous tribes and 

In Nepaul, an independent State north of Bengal, the rite 
of Suttee has existed, and it may be feared is still practised. 
Hamilton, in his account of this State, observes ; " The higher 
ranks, when not compelled by the most urgent necessity, con- 

Asi. Jour., April 1831, p. 105. 


real their women, and their widows ought to burn themselves 
with their husbands corpse, the custom beitnf more prevalent 
than in most /tarts of India, the vicinity of Calcutta e.vrcpted. 
In Nov. 1N1(>, the Rajah of Nepaul, while the ministers and 
principal persons of the Court were deliberating, regarding 
the expediency of having him vaccinated, died of the small pox, 
at the early age of 21 years. One of his Queens, one of his con 
cubines, and./rVt female attendants were burnt alive along with 
the corpse. The last words of the unfortunate Queen were 
collected, and treasured up ; as whatever a Suttee utters is 
supposed to be prophetic."* The Calcutta John Bull, in 
Jan. 1824, contained the following appalling fact. "General 
Bbecm Svre s eldest nephew, Vizier Singh, arrived at Nepaul 
in November, and died Dec. 3d. The following day the body 
was burnt, and along with it, two of his wives and three 
shire girls ! the latter had not the honour of being burnt on 
the same pile, but had one to themselves. The brother of 
the deceasc-d, with his nephew in his anus, lighted the funeral 
fires such being the custom ! Suttees (ire not unfreqnent 
in the ralleij. A curious one took place some months ago, 
of a woman burning herself with her seducer, who had been 
killed bv her husband. So much for relit/ions ordinances /" 

" By accounts lately received from the Hill country, twenty- 
c/ f/hf females were burnt irith the remains of one of the 
Rajahs ; there appear to have been two other women who 
escaped ; one was pregnant, the other resisted all importunity 
to be burnt. I low can we expect that these horrid practices will 
cease among the neighbouring heathen princes, while they are 
countenanced by the British Government !"f Surely the con 
duct of Britain, in suppressing this horrid rite in her eastern 
dominions, will lead to its extirpation in every part of Asia. 

The writer of "Sketches of India" observes; "In the 
middle of the hills of [ jtjjcr Tibet, (beyond Dcpra,) are many 
rude piles of stones four or live feet high, erected in the sim 
plest manner. On a few of them moss had gathered and im 
printed age and decay. On inquiry] learned that these were 
the monuments of Suttees, and that in these peaceful regions, 
theif were rerif frequent"\ 

The Asiatic Journal contains an account of a Suttee, in the 
little Independent Territory of Am/ria, contiguous to Bombay, 
subsequent to the abolition of the practice in the other Presi- 

* Hum. Hind., \nl. ii. pp. (J7 J, KJ, <>*!). 
Proceedings of Manchester Meeting relative to Suttees May 
I For a description of a Suttee in Tibet, see p. "H. 


dencies of India. " The widow of a native of Bombay, in 
Aug. 1830, determining to perform the rite of Suttee, pro 
ceeded from Bombay to Allybagh, in Angria s territory, where 
she ordered a pile to be erected. She refused to accept the 
dress which is usually given by Angria, to Suttees coming to 
his country. Having performed the religious ceremony pre 
paratory to self-immolation, she approached the pile with 
courage, accompanied by a crowd of people, and the horse 
men and other retinue furnished by Angria : and as she was 
about to ascend the pile, she took a pinch of snuff, and gave 
her nose-ring and ear-rings to her son, who was standing by 
her. She requested that the posts supporting the shade over 
the pile, (which are usually cut down, and thus shorten the 
sufferings of the Suttee,) might on no account be cut away."* 
The Suttee probably still exists among the Jahrejas of 
Guzerat and Cutch. Col. Walker thus described its pre 
valence in 1808 : " It is remarkable that it is the practice of 
these rackelees, to perform Suttee with deceased Jahrejas, 
which is but rarely done by their wives. When Rao Lacka, the 
grandfather of Rao Ray dim, the present chief of Cutch, died, 
fifteen rackelees burnt at his funeral pile ! Two of these 
women were Mahomedans of the country, and another a See- 
deen ; the rest were Hindoos of different casts, but not one of 
Rao Lackas^s wives sacrificed herself on tins occasion. This 
deviation from the general Hindoo practice is merely the 
effect of another custom, as there is no law against a Jahreja 
wife burning with her husband, and she sometimes voluntarily 
devotes herself to the flames. This ceremony is less expected 
from the wife than the rackelee ; and these unfortunate females 
conceive it a point of honour to consume themselves with 
their lords, being often inspired with a dreadful emulation 
to become the first victim. It may be mentioned as another 
extraordinary deviation from the general custom of Hindoos, 
that, in the district of Hulwud, lite wives of lite lowest casts 
invariably burn with their husbands, which may be the reason 
that the Jahreja women excuse themselves; and, as it is only 
people of rank who keep rackelees, instances of this nature 
arc not frequent."f 

Sir John Malcolm, in his account of Malwa, in 1821, makes 
the following deeply interesting, but brief reference to the 
prevalence of the Suttee in the adjacent states : " It is 
consolatory to state, that those shocking scenes which still 

* Asi. Journ., April 1831, p. 188. 
I Par. Papers on Infanticide, 1824, p. 41. 


occur on the death of the princes of Jaypore, Joudpore, and 
Oudipore, to swell whose funeral honours numbers of unwil- 
liiiy females are forcibly tlirown upon the pile, have lony 
been unknown in Maluxi."* 

Crawford s "History of the Indian Archipelago" states the 
existence of the sacrifice of women, among the inhabitants 
of the Island of Bali. " In Bali, this practice is carried to 
an extent unknown even in India. When a wife offers her 
self, the sacrifice is termed Satya ; when a concubine, slave, 
or other domestic, Bela, or retaliation. A woman of any 
cast may sacrifice herself in this manner; but it is most 
frequent with those of military and mercantile classes. Women 
of the servile class seldom sacrifice themselves; and never of 
the sacred. It mostly occurs on the death of princes and 
persons of rank." The Rajah of Blelliry stated, that when 
the body of his father was burnt, 74 women sacrificed them 
selves with it. In 1813, 20 women sacrificed themselves on 
the funeral pile of Wayaham Balantcg. The female domes 
tics of a chief, in numbers sacrifice themselves, as well as 
his wives." 

" In 133 the Dutch sent an embassy to the Sultan of Motaram, who saw 
an execution of this kind. The Queen was dead. The narrative states, 
The same day about noon, the Queen s body was burnt without the city, 
with twenty-two of her female slaves. The body was drawn out of a large 
aperture made in the wall. The female slaves destined to accompany the 
dead went before, according to their ranks ; those of the lowest rank taking 
the lead, each supported from behind by an old woman, and carried on a 
badif skilfully constructed of bamboos, and decked all over with flowers. 
There were placed before a roasted pig, some rice, some betel, and other fruits, 
as an offering to their gods; and these unhappy victims of the most direful idol 
atry, were thus carried in triumph to the sound of different instruments, to 
the place where they were to be, in the sequel, poniarded and consumed by 
fire. Each, there, found a particular scaffold prepared for her, nearly in the 
form of a trough raised upon four short posts, and edged on two sid*es with 
planks. After moving three times round in a circle, at the same pace at 
which they arrived, and still sitting in their litters, they were forthwith taken 
ont of the vehicles, one after another, in order to be placed in the troughs. 
Presently five men and one or two women approached them, pulling off the 
flowers with which they were adorned, while at each occasion, holding their 
joined hands above their heads, they raised the pieces of the offering, which 
the other women, posted behind, laid hold of and threw upon the ground, 
as well as the flowers. Some of the attendants set loose a pidgeon or a fowl, 
to mark by that, that their soul was on the point of taking its flight to the 
mansion of the blessed. 

At this last signal they were divested of all their garments, except their 
sa.shes, and four of the men sci/ing the victim, two by the arms which they 

Report on Malwa, Feb. 18 Jl. Par. Papers, vol. 
f A kind of litter. 


held out extended, and two l>y the feet, the victim standing, the fifth prepared 
himself for the execution, the whole being done without covering the eyes. 

Some of the most courageous demanded the poniard themselves, which 
they received in the right hand, passing it into the left ; after respectfully 
kissing the weapon, they wounded their right arms, sucked the blood which 
flowed from the wound, and stained their lips with it, making, with the 
point of the linger, a bloody mark on the forehead ; then returning the 
dagger to their executioners, they received a first stab between the false 
ribs, and a second from the same side under the shoulder blade, the weapon 
being thrust up to the hilt, in a slanting direction towards the heart. As 
soon as the horrors of death were visible in the countenance, they were per 
mitted to fall prone on the ground; their limbs were pulled from behind, 
and they were stripped of the last remnant of their dress, so that they were 
left in a state of perfect nakedness. 

After this, the nearest relations, or others, washed the bodies, which were 
then burnt to ashes. The dead body of the Queen was then brought forward, 
which was also consumed. The bones of the Queen only were preserved, 
the rest having been gathered up and thrown away. When a prince or 
princess of the royal family dies, their women, or slaves, run round the body, 
uttering cries, or frightful howlings. The King designates next day, who 
are to be slaughtered. A woman whose husband dies is not obliged to fol 
low this barbarous custom ; yet those who do not offer themselves are shut 
up in a convent, and should they escape, and be taken, are then poniarded, 
dragged through the streets, and the body then cast to the dogs. At the 
funeral of the King s two sons, who died just before the Queen, forty-two 
women of one, and thirty-four of the other, were poniarded and burnt. On 
such occasions, princesses of the royal blood leap at once into the flames. 
The first wife of the younger of these two, having been married but three 
months, and very young, wished to be excused, and asked her father 
whether she ought to devote herself. Her father persuaded her to devote 
herself, and the wretched young woman leaped into the flames. On the 
death of the reigning King, 100 or 150 devote themselves to the flames, and 
then none are poniarded."* 

A recent account of the Island Kali, or little Java, furnished 
by some Missionaries who visited it in 1829, shews that the 
Sutlee exists among its rude inhabitants : 

" There are instances of the widows of the lower class choosing to burn 
with the dead body of their husbands, but these are very rare ; whereas, when 
a kiiKj dies, it is the invariable custom, for several of his u idnirs to burn with 
him. At the death of a king, his wives of royal blood, are asked if they will 
follow him, as they term it, into the other world, and on their assenting they 
are put to live apart, and are allowed to eat and drink the richest viands, to 
dress in the most costly apparel, and to visit their friends and relations as 
much as they please, in order that they may enjoy all this world s delights 
previous to their going out of it. The king s body is consumed separately, 
and a distinct pit of fire is prepared for each of the women who choose to 
burn. Here they part with their ornaments, and scatter presents among the 
people; after which, taking a creese, they wound themselves slightly in the 
arms, and smearing themselves with the blood, mount the scaffold, and pre 
cipitate themselves into the pit. In the last year, thirteen women, some of 
them blooming and young, were burnt alive in Baliling, upon occasion of the 

Histoire General des Voyages, vol. xvii. p. 52, vc. 


death of ihe old king. Some of them are said to feel their hearts fail, when 
they see the lire ; but the stage is so constructed, that by tilting up the end of 
the board, they are precipitated into it, whether they will or not. If by any 
means they escape, they are creesed on the spot. The women are induced 
to take this resolution, from the degradation which threatens to await them 
should they refuse ; and from the certainty of their being creesed in private 
if they be of royal blood : for it would be an indelible dishonour on the whole 
nation, if the royal widows were to go astray."* 

The reader will hour with surprise, that a rite similar to the 
Suttee has been found to exist among the sable Yarribauians, 
in Africa. The Landers, when at Jenna, in April 1830, dis 
covered that, " it is the custom there, when a Governor dies, 
for two of his favourite wives to quit, the world on the same 
day, to bear him company. 1 " The travellers state, in their 
interesting narrative : 

"To-day, one of these unfortunates was discovered in her hiding-place at 
the present governor s, and the alternative of a poisoned chalice, or to have 
her head broken by the club of the fetish-priest, was offered her. She has 
chosen the former mode of dying, as being the less terrible of the two, and 
has come to our yard, to spend her last hours in the society of her faithful 
slaves. These address their mistress by the endearing name of mother. 
Poor creatures! As soon as they learned her misfortune, they dropped their 
spinning; the grinding of corn was also relinquished; their sheep, goats, 
and poultry were suffered t< roam at large without restraint; and they 
abandoned themselves to the most excessive grief. Hut now, the arrival of 

their mistress has added, if possible, to their affliction Females 

have been coming all day to condole with the old lady, and to weep with 
her; so that we have heard and seen nothing but sobbing and crying from 
morning till the setting of the sun. The principal males in the town have 
likewise been here, to pay their last respects to their mistress; and so has her 
graiv-diyyrr, who has just risen from prostrating himself on the ground be 
fore her. Notwithstanding the representations and remonstrances of the 
priest, and the pra\ers of the venerable victim to her gods for fortitude to 
undergo the dreadful ordeal, her resolution has forsaken her more than once. 
She has entered our yard twice, to expire in the arms of her women, and 
twice has she laid aside the fatal poison, in order to take another walk, and 
ga/e once more on the splendour of the sun and the glory of the heavens, 
for she cannot bear the idea of losing sight of them for ever! She is still 
restless and uneasy, and would gladly run away from Death, if she durst; 
for that imaginary being appears to her in a more terrible light than our 
pictures represent him, with his shadowy form and fatal dart. Die she 
must, and she knows it; nevertheless she will tenaciously cling to life till 
the very last moment. Meanwhile her grave is preparing, and preparations 
are making for a wake at her funeral. She is to be buried here in one of 
her own huts, the moment after the spirit has quitted the body, which will 
be ascertained by striking the ground near which it may be Iving at the time, 
when, if no motion or struggle ensues, the old woman will be considered as 
dead. The poison used by the natives on this occasion destroys life, it is 
said, in fifteen minutes. 

The reason of our not meeting with a better reception at Laatoo, when 
we slept there, was the want of a chief to that town, tin; last having followed 

* Asi. Journ., Nov. IH30, j. >!.>. 

272 .SUTTEES. 

the old governor of Jenna to the shades, for he was his slave. Widows are 
burnt in India, just as they are poisoned or clubbed here; but in the former 
country, I believe, no male victims are destroyed on such occasions. The 
origin of this abominable custom is understood to have arisen, from a dread 
on a part of the chiefs of the country in olden time, that their principal wives, 
who alone were in possession of their confidence, and knew where their 
money was concealed, might secretly attempt their life, in order at once to 
establish their own freedom, and become possessed of the property. That, 
far from having any motives to destroy her husband, a woman might, on the 
contrary, have a strong inducement to cherish him as long as possible, the 
existence of the wife was made to depend entirely on that of her lord ; and 
this custom has been handed down from father to son even to the present 
time. But why men also, who can have no interest to gain on the death of 
their prince, should be obliged to conform to the same rite, is not near so 
easily accounted for. The present governor of Jenna must of necessity go 
down to the grave on the first intelligence of the demise of the king of Yar- 
riba; and as that monarch is a very aged man, the situation of the former 
is not the most enviable in the world. 

" Previous to her swallowing the poison, the favourite wife of a deceased 
chief or ruler destroys privately all the wealth, or rather money of her for 
mer partner, in order that it may not fall into the hands of his successor. 
The same custom is observed at Badagry also ; and although the king s 
son may be of age at the period of his father s death, he inherits his autho 
rity and influence only. He is left to his own sagacity and exertions to pro 
cure wealth, which can seldom be obtained without rapine, enslavement, 
and bloodshed. 

" The old queen-dowager, like Prior s thief, 

Often takes leave, but seems loath to depart : 

although her doom is inevitably sealed, she has been more cheerful to-day 
than yesterday, and seems determined to spin out her thread of life to its 
utmost limit. Spies are now set over her, and she is not permitted to go 
out of the yard. 

" Nothing deserving particular notice has occurred to-day. We have 
had the customary visit to our yard, of a long line of women, who come every 
morning, with rueful countenances and streaming eyes, to lament the ap 
proaching death of the old widow. They weep, they beat their breasts and 
tear their hair, they moan, and exhibit all manner of violent affliction at the 
expected deprivation. Perhaps their sorrow is sincere, perhaps it is feigned. 
At all events, their transports are ungoverned and outrageous ; the first 
woman in the line begins to cry, and is instantly followed by the other voices ; 
the opening notes of the lamentation are rather low and mournful, the last 
wild and piercing. 

" The principal people of the place, finding the old lady still obstinately 
bent on deferring her exit, have sent a messenger to her native village, to 
make known to her relatives, that, should she make her escape, they will 
take all of them into slavery, and bum their town to ashes, in conformity to 
an established and very ancient law. They would therefore strongly advise 
the relatives of the old woman, for their own sakes, and for the sake of the 
public, to use all their endeavours to prevail upon her to meet her fate hon 
ourably and with fortitude. A deputation is expected from the village to 
morrow, when, no doubt, after a good deal of crying and condoling, and 
talking and persuading the matter will eventually be decided against the 
old lady. It is understood, that she has bribed a few of the most opulent 

SUTTKES. "273 

and influential inhabitants of Jenna with Urge sums of money, to i miner 
them to overlook her dereliction from the path of duty, and that by their 
representations she has obtained the taeit consent of the King of Katungii 
to live out the full term of her natural life. But the people for many miles 
round, horror-struck at such impiety and contempt for ancient custom s, have 
risen to enforce the laws of the country against her."* 

The necessity and propriety of persevering exertions till 
this horrid practice is extirpated from tliv world y /.v evident. 

The rite of Suttee was prohibited by Lord Bentinck, in the 
Bengal Presidency, in Dec. 1S-2J). In Jan. 1830, a petition 
was presented to his Lordship, bv a deputation of respectable 

natives of Calcutta, opposed to the Regulation ; a similar 
petition was presented from the interior. In the reply his 
Lordship observed, " If the petitioners should still be of 
opinion that the late Regulation is not in conformity with the 
enactments of the Imperial Parliament, they have an appeal 
to the King in Council, which the Governor General will be 
most happy to forward. "f A few days afterwards, two coun 
ter petitions were presented, expressive of thanks for the 
abolition of the Suttee practice ; one signed by about 300 
native inhabitants of Calcutta, presented, on their behalf, by 
Baboos, Callynath Roy, Huree Hur Dutt, Ram Mohun Roy, 
and others ; the other from the Christian inhabitants of Cal 
cutta, signed by about 800 persons. The following is the 
Native Address, which was read in Bengalee by Callynath 
Roy, and afterwards in a translation into English by Huree 
Hur Dutt. The Native Petition, and Lord Bentinck s reply, 
appear worthy of preservation, and cannot fail to interest the 

" To the Right Hon. Lord William Cavendish Benlinck, &c. 

" My Lord : 

"With hearts filled with the deepest gratitude, and impressed with 
the utmost reverence, \ve, the undersigned native inhabitants of Calcutta, 
and its vicinity, beg to be permitted to approach your Lordship, to offer 
personally our humble but wannest acknowledgments for the invaluable 
protection which your Lordship s government Ins recently afforded to the 
lives of the Hindoo female part of your subjects, and for your humane and 
successful exertions in rescuing us for ever, from the gross stigma hitherto 
attached to our character as wilful murderers of females, and zealous pro 
moters of the practice of suicide. 

" Excessive jealousy of their female connexions, operating on the breasts 
of Hindoo princes, rendered those despots regardless of the common bonds 
of society, and of their incumbent dutv as protectors of the weaker sex, inso 
much that, with a view to prevent every possibility of their widows forming 
subsequent attachments, they availed themselves of their arbitrary power, 

* lenders Expedition to the Niger. Kcleetic Rrv., May 1H3 , pp. 
377 37. t Asi. Journal, July 1 830, p. 13tf. 


074 J 

and. under the doAl cf religion. introduced the practice c-1 buraiug widows 
alive, under the first impressions of sorrow or despair, immediately after the 
demise of iheir husbands, This system of female destruction. being admi 
rably suited to the selnsh and servile dispensation of the populace, has been 
eaerl flowed b them, in denanee of the mas* sacred authorities, such as 

tbe OywKuJttulf. or the priijoipal part of the Fi*, and the Bktwrvi 
as well as of the direct commandment of .Vto^v, the first and the greatest 
^f all t v e legislators, conveyed in the following words: Let a widow con 
tinue till death, forgiving all injuries, performing austere duties, avoiding 
everv sensual pleasure/ -Vc. Ch. v. 51. v. S.) 

- WLile. in fact, fulfilling the suggestions of their jealousy, they pre 
tended TO instifv this hide. -us practice bv quoting s^me passages frvm 

.his hide us practice by quoting s^me passages fr. 
n^y inferior weigh:, sanctioning the wilful ascent oi 

widow , n the fianiin^- pile :f her husband, as if they were offering such 
female sacrifices in oledience to the dictates of the shastras, and not from 
tic -Innjenct of je^loufj. It is, h: \\ever. very fortunate that the British 
Govemmer.:. under h;s^ pr^iecdon the lives of K--th the males andfercales 
cf India ha>e 1-cen taprily plac-c-d by Provi3enc-e. has, after dUijent 
raiuiry. isc^TtAine-d that even thcse inferior authorities, permitting wilful 
ascent by a widow- to the raming pile, have be*n practically set aside ; and 
that, in violation of tbeir language and spirit, the relatives of widows 
hare, in the burning of those inia:uait-d females, alm:>st invariably used !> 
fasten them down on the pile, and heap over them larsre quantities of w.xxi 
and othfr niateriais adequate to the prevention of their escape an outrage 
on humanity which has b-een frequently perpetrated under tbe indirect 
sarction uf native oSoers, undeservedly employed for the security of life 
and prestrraiioc of peace acd tranquiility. 

-In i^Any i^scances. in which the viirllance of the magistrate has deterred 
ihe native oictrs of police from induiring their own inclination, widow-? 
Lave either rr.ade their escape fr-?m the pile, after being partially burnt, or 
retracted their revelation to burn -nben brought to the awful task, to the 
in.Ttifyiiig disappvintnaeni of the insiiiraiors ; while, in seme instances, the 
res..- luti-:r: !; die has b^en rrtracied, en pjinting out to the widows the im 
propriety .;f tleir intended under^tini:. and on promising them safety and 
maintena-vre duri-jr li:r. notwithstarding the severe reproaches liable 
tiere -y t? t*e hearei en th^m by their relatives and friends. 

" Iz or-nsicierati.Mi cf cirramsiarces so disgraceful in themselves, and >o 
irK-ompiatible with tie principles of British rule, your Lordship in Council, 
fully in-pressc-d i the duties required of you by justice and hurcaritv, 
has deemed it incumyent on yoc, fcr the honour of the British name, to 
ocrne t the res<-luti:n.that the "lives cf your female Hindoo subjects should 
be henceforth m?re e5riently proiectoi ; that the heinous ?:n cf cruelty to 
ferules may n? longer be commitird, and that the most ancient and purest 
rraem cf Hindoo religion she-aid not any knrer b* set at nought by the 
Hindoos themselves. The magistrate^, in c-:iise-:uence are, we understand, 
positively -Tcierrd to execute the resolution of government by all possible 

**Weare. icy Le-rd. relncianily res.rraiijei by the consideration cf the 
naiure cf your eifcliei situaae-n, from indicating our inward feeling? by 
presenting any valuable offering a? commonly adopted on such occasions; 
bet -ce sb:-ula consider : urselve* highly guilty :f insincerity and ingratitude, 
if -we retrained reglirmtly silent when urget- Jy called up^n by our feelings 
asd cor:>c-ie2C* t:- expres."p t rt >i kk the rra^rj-i* w e fetl for the everlasting 
you have grack-a^T c --^ferred en the H_:nd->? community at large. 
ii, are a: a !:*> * Lac o_-e stirririentlv indicative even\>f 


a small portion of the sentiments we are desirous of expressing on the occa 
sion ; we most, therefore, conclude this address with entreating that your 
Ixrdship will condescendingly accept our most grateful acknowledgment* for 
lhl* act of benevolence towards us, and will pardon the silence rf those who, 
though equally partaking of the blessing, bestowed by your Lordship, hare, 
through ignorance or prejudice, omitted to join us in this common cause." 

The following was his Lordship s reply : 

44 ft is very satisfactory for me to find that, according to the opinions of 
so many re^pectab e and intelligent Hindoo*, the practice which has re 
cently been prohibited, not only was not required by the rules of their reli 
gion, bat was at variance with those writings which they deem to be of the 
greatest force and authority. Nothing but a reluctance to inflict punish 
ment, fur acts which inizht be conscientiously believed In be enjoined by 
relijnous precept", could have induced the British Government at any time 
to permit, within territories under its protection, a usage so violently op 
posed to the best feelings of human nature. Those who present this address 
are right in supposing, that by even nation in the world, except the Hin 
doos themselves, this part of their customs has always been made a repr acli 
against them, and nothing so strangely contrasted with the better feeling 
of their own national character, so inconsistent with the affections which unite 
families, so destructive of the moral principles on which society Is founded, 
has ever subsisted amongst a people, in other respects, so civilized. I trust 
that the reproach is removed for ever ; aud I feel a sincere pleasure in 
thinking, that the Hindoos will thereby be exalted in the estimation of man 
kind, to an extent in some degree proportioned to the repugnance which 
was felt for the usage which has now ceased." * 

The Hindoos in Bengal, inimical to the abolition, deter 
mined to appeal to the King in Council ; and a European (it 
is presumed professing himself a Christian !) was found, who 
undertook to advocate their object. To meet the expense of 
the undertaking a considerable sum was subscribed, and this 
renegade Christian embarked for England, to prosecute the 
revival of the unnatural rite of widow burning. The 
enlightened Hindoos were not backward in the representation 
of their sentiments in England, relative to the propriety of tin 
Suttee abolition. The legal authorities against the rite were 
put together at great length from their most celebrated sha>- 
tras. A Gentleman, who was proceeding to Europe, under 
took the charge of them, free of expense, declaring, "h-- 
esteemed himself sufficiently happy in having witnessed the 
extinction of female Immolations.^t Ram Mohun Roy alo 
was the bearer <>f a Hindoo petition, infarourof the abolition, 
which was presented to the House of Lords, in July 1 *>!. I 

The Appeal to the King in Council, against the Regulation 
abolishing the Suttee, was heard June *23, 1832, and the two 
following Saturday-. The author addressed letters, contair- 

* AM .l.-ur, July lx.TO.pp. IIV* 140. f An. J-nr. IVc. l<v. n I- .. 

t Ai. Jir . Mar, r 2O. and Ane 1 *:<! . i> >* 


->7() SUTTEES. 

ing extracts from Menu against the rite, to Lords Brougham 
and Russell, and to the Hon. E. Ellicc, M. P. by him to be laid 
before the Council for the Hon. East India Company, which 
was done. The Evening Mail, July 9th, thus speaks of the 
third meeting of the Privy Council : "The Lords of His 
Majesty s most Hon. Privy Council, held a meeting on 
Saturday, at the Council chamber, Whitehall, to resume the 
hearing of an Appeal from the Hindoo inhabitants of India, 
against an order of the Governor General and the Supreme 
Council of Bengal, abolishing the rite of Sultee. The Lords 
present were, the Lord President, the Lord Chancellor, the 
Master of the Rolls, the President of the Board of Control, the 
First Lord of the Admiralty, the Paymaster of the Forces, 
Earl Amherst, Sir L. Shadwell, and Sir II. East; the Rajah 
Ram Mohmi Roy was present. Mr. Greville, and the Hon. 
W. Bathurst, attended as clerks of the Privy Council. Mr. 
Sergeant Spankie resumed his address on the part of the East 
India Company, in support of the powers possessed by the 
Governor and Council to issue the order in question. Dr. 
Lushingtoii rose to reply on the part of the appellants, and 
pointed out the spirit of discontent, which, according to the 
evidence of those most conversant with the feelings and cus 
toms of the Gentoo nation, would be excited, should their 
Lordships sanction this interference with one of their most 
sacred rites. Dr. L. concluded at three o clock, when coun 
sel withdrew. Their Lordships afterwards remained a con 
siderable time in deliberation, and will submit the result to 
His Majesty in Council for his approbation." A few days 
after, a Privy Council was held by the King, at which the 
report of the Lords of the Council, on the petition from cer 
tain Hindoos, against the order of the Government of Bengal, 
abolishing the Suttee, heard at three different, sittings, was 
taken into consideration by the King in Council, when it was 
ordered Ilutt the petition l)c dismissed ! Thus the impor 
tant object of the abolition of Suttees has been happily 
effected, and the efforts of the few Hindoos in Bengal, who 
desired the continuance of this murderous rite, rendered 

The Government in India should now be stimulated to 
promote the abolition of this rite in the tributary, allied, and 
independent states, and in the Eastern Islands. Represen 
tation and remonstrance from its Functionaries, would go far to 
effect the extirpation of this custom in every part of the East. 
This object should be steadily and sedulously pressed upon their 
attention. The expression of public opinion in this country 

SUTTEES. -277 

is very influential. The Hon. Court of Directors, in a public 
letter to the Governor General, in 1827, remarked, relative to 
the abolition of the Suttee, " You will have perceived, from 
the public channels of intelligence, that this is a subject winch 
has excited a strong interest in the public mind of this coun 
try."* Let every philanthropist exert himself to promote the 
annihilation of this and every inhuman practice in llindostan. 
Britain is eminently qualified for such a work, may she know 
and act agreeably to her high destiny. " Who that sees 
Great Britain yet upon her throne, after a conflict in which 
she has survived the united assaults of the European nations, 
and has equally triumphed over the arts and arms of her ori 
ental enemies who that beholds her i sitting as a queen, and, 
after having humbled the Tyrant of Europe, and raised the 
nations he had oppressed, now legislating in peace, for her 
own remote empire in the East; who that beholds her en 
riched by commerce, and ennobled by conquest, will hesitate 
to pronounce, that this is peculiarly the time to interpose for 
the deliverance of her own subjects from the oppression of a 
sanguinary superstition, and to prove to the world that she 
has herself been preserved amidst surrounding ruin, for no 
ordinary purposes ?"f And what are those purposes, but 
being the eminently honoured means, of promoting the uni 
versal diffusion of the principles of that Gospel, by which the 
language of prophecy shall be fulfilled: "All the ends of 
the world shall remember and turn unto the Lord: and all 
the kindreds of the nations shall worship before Thee. They 
shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain : for the 
earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters 
cover the sea." 

* Par. Papers, vol. vi. July 182H, p. 21. 
f Poyndcr s Speech, on Human Sacrifices in India, IH27, p. 214 




WHAT means that gloomy funeral pyre, 

On Ganges banks its tall head raising, 
And those red gleams of murky fire, 

E en now around its hroad base blazing ? 
What mean those wild and frantic yells, 

As from a thousand throats resounding, 
With drums and trumpet s awful peals, 

From distant hills and woods resounding ? 

Ah ! tis a dark and murd rous deed, 

Which cruel Brahmuns there are doing, 
Well may the heart turn siek, and bleed, 

While such a dreadful theme pursuing! 
For see ! on that detested pile, 

By her lord s corpse the widow lying, 
While Moloch, with a fiendish smile, 

Looks on, and views his victim dying. 

See how she writhes ! hark to her screams, 

As now the lurid flames enfold her! 
But all is vain, no pity gleams 

In the stern face of one beholder ! 
Her kindred stand with hearts of stone, 

Cased by the demon Superstition ; 
Hear her last agonizing groan, 

Nor heave a sigh at her condition ! 

Ye British matrons, husbands, sires, 

Your souls with soft compassion glowing., 
O ! haste to quench the horrid fires 

Whence human blood is daily flowing! 
With your loved King and Country plead, 

Implore the Senate of your nation, 
That Ilindostan may soon be freed 

From scenes of such abomination. 

And send, O ! send the Gospel forth 

To the dark haunts of superstition ! 
That they may learn a Saviour s worth, 

And find in him sin s true remission. 
Arise, thou Sun of Righteousness ! 
^ On heathen lands pour forth thy splendour; 
Then love and peace their homes shall bless, 

And their steel d hearts grow soft and lender. 

Matlock Bath. ELLEX 



CHAP. i. 

Introductory remarks origin, nature, and ceils of 
Slavery in India. 

A LATK highly respected writer on India, has stated, relative 

to slavery in the East, "Though no slavery legally exists /// 
the liritish territories at this moment, yet the terms and ges 
tures used by servants to their superiors, all imply that such 
a distinction was at no distant date very common. 1 am thy 
slave; Thy slave hath no knowledge, are continually used 
as expressions oi submission and ignorance." From this 
extract, and others of a similar kind which might be made; 
from different writers, it is evident that the nature and extent 
of slavery in India are imperfectly understood.* A volumi 
nous collection of Papers on this subject, containing nearly 
1,000 folio pages, was ordered by the Hon. House of Com 
mons to be printed, March 12th, 18*28 ; and it is important 
that their contents should be generally known. Of these 
papers it has been remarked, An attempt to digest such amass 
of documents into a narrative, or to reduce them into any 
symmetrical shape, is hopeless; the Author has not been thus 
discouraged in his investigation of them ; but, being convinced 
that slavery in India is a subject of considerable interest, he 
has devoted much time to die perusal of these Papers, and 
hopes his labours may be beneficial to the interests of suffer 
ing humanity in India. While so many works are extant on 
West India Slavery, the Author is acquainted with but one 
on Slavery in India,f and that a small pamphlet recently 

* Sec an article on Kast Indian .S Amry, in the l- ricnd of India, (Qnar. 
Scr.) Dec. 1823. 

I Most India Slavery liy Sainblmry, 1H-J!. Sn ;!? Kast and West 
India Sugar, 1H->. 1. Iliitchard. 


published. To bring the real state of India before the British 
public must be beneficial ; and, under this conviction, the 
Author submits his humble labours to the candid attention of 
his readers. 

J. Richardson, Esq., Judge and Magistrate of Zillah Bun- 
dlecund, in his valuable communication to the British Govern 
ment in India, on the subject of slavery, in March 1808, very 
justly remarks, "The humane abolition of the slave trade 
in England has added lustre to the enlightened wisdom of the 
British senate ; and enrolled, to the latest posterity, the name 
of Wilberforce amongst the benefactors of mankind. That 
slavery should ever have been authorized, in any civilized com 
munity, is as astonishing to the mind, as disgraceful to human 
nature. The great Author of creation made all men equally 
free. By what act then can that freedom be forfeited or given 
up ? Surely liberty can be forfeited by no act that does not 
militate against the general security and well-being of society. 
Nor has man more right to sell or give up the natural freedom 
of his person, than In; has to lay down his natural life at 
pleasure ; much less can he have any title to dispose of the 
liberty of another, even of his child. That slavery is an in- 
frinyemeiit of the law of nature cannot be disputed. The 
most respectable authority proves that, it is in its own nature 
invalid. Blackstone, speaking of the law of nature, says, this 
law of nature, coeval with mankind, and dictated by God 
himself, is of course superior in obligation to any other. It 
is binding all over the globe, in all countries, and at all times ; 
no human laws are of any validity if contrary to this ; and 
such of them as are valid, derive all their force and authority 
mediately or immediately from this original. The most 
strenuous defenders, of this imposition of the powerful on the 
weaker part of mankind, pretend not to maintain its propriety 
but on ideas of political utility. Impartial and minute inquiry 
into its effects would at once remove this specious veil, by 
which the principle is sometimes hidden ; and the system, 
decorated in the eye of sensible and virtuous men under mis 
taken notions of human expediency, proves the uniform ten 
dency of slavery to be depressive of every emanation of the 
mind, and highly destructive to our species."* 

Tlie origin of slavery in India, as it exists among the Hin 
doos, is involved in considerable obscurity. Its rise among 
the Mahomedans is evidently to be traced to the triumph of 

* Par. Papers on Slavery in India, 1H28, p. 2i>!>. There is much truth 
in the observation " He \vho loses his liberty, loses half his virtue." 


their anus. The following extracts, from the Parliamentary 
Papers on slavery in India, afford some information upon a 
subject interesting to every humane mind. These Papers com 
mence with the following Regulation for punishing decoits or 
robbers, and shew one source of slavery in the East. " That 
whereas the peace of this country hath for some years past 
been greatlv disturbed by bands of decoits, who not only in 
fest the high roads, but often plunder whole villages, burning 
the houses and murdering the inhabitants : And whereas these 
abandoned outlaws have hitherto found means to elude every 
attempt which the vigilance of government hath put in force, 
for detecting and bringing such atrocious criminals to justice, 
by the secrecy of their haunts, and the wild state of the dis 
tricts which are most subject to their incursions ; it becomes 
the indispensable duty of government to try the most rigorous 
means, since experience has proved every lenient and ordinary 
remedy to be ineffectual : that it be therefore resolved, That 
ever} such criminal, on conviction, shall be carried to the 
village to which he belongs, and be there executed for a ter 
ror and example to others ; and, for the further prevention of 
such abominable practices, that the village, of which he is an 
inhabitant, shall be fined according to the enormity of the 
crime, and each inhabitant according to his substance; and 
that, the family of the criminal shall become t he stares (if the 
Xtat< , and be disposed of for the general benefit and conveni 
ence of the people, according to the discretion of the govern - 
ment. Aug. 1772."* 

" If we may judge (says the Editor of the Asiatic Journal, 
in a review of the contents of the Papers on East India Sla 
very,) from a subsequent minute and regulation of the Bengal 
Government (1774), this proposal was not listened to; for 
therein, not only is the stealing of children or selling any Ilin- 
doo as a slave (without a regular deed) forbidden, but it is 
proposed to abolish slavery altogether, after the iirst genera 
tion then living, owing to the (jreat increase of late years 
of tit is savage commerce, and in order to prevent hasty strides 
towards depopulation. 1 Further inquiry however seems to 
have convinced the Uengal Government, that there were dis 
tricts where slavery iras in general usage, and the abolition 
of which might impede cultivation. The Government observes, 
that the opinions, of the most creditable Mussulman and Hin 
doo inhabitants, condemn the usage of selling slaves, as re- 

* Par. Papers, 


pugnant to the particular precepts both of the Koran and the 

Tlie Provincial Council of Patna, in Aug. 177 1, address 
the Governor, Warren Hastings, Esq., on this subject as fol 
lows: "We find that there are two kinds of slaves in this 
province, Mussulman and Hindoo ; the former are properly 
called Mualazadeh, and the latter Kahaar. Blares of either 
denomination arc considered in the same light as any other 
property, and are transferrdble by the owner, or descend at 
Ms demise to his heirs. They date the rise of the custom of 
Kahaar slavery from the first incursions of the Mahomedans 
when the captives were distributed by the general among the 
officers of his army, to whose posterity they remained. All 
other slaves have become so by occasional purchase, as in 
cases of famine, &c. The Kaboleh must be signed by the 
mother or grandmother, and not by the father. Children also 
born of slaves are the property of the owner of the woman, 
though married to a slave of a different family. "f 

The Collector at Trichinopoly, in the Madras Presidency, 
in reply to the inquiries of the Government, addressed to a 
number of Collectors on the subject of slavery in their respec 
tive districts, describes the origin of pullers or agricultural 
slavery as follows : " It is, I apprehend, indisputable, that 
in the earliest ages of Hindoo government, agricultural and 
domestic slavery existed to an indefinite extent. The practice 
was sanctioned by prescription, and upheld by law : but it 
will be found that the terms of bondage, and the nature of the 
services required from the slaves, differed essentially in almost 
every district. No distinct information can be obtained at 
what period agricultural slavery commenced. It is now im 
possible to trace, whether this establishment took its rise 
from the voluntary submission of the indigent to the wealthy, 
or whether the pullers were originally captives taken in war. 
But, as this species of bondage is generally the concomitant 
of barbarous governments, it must of necessity have been a 
very ancient institution of the Hindoos. Under their arbitrary 
government, the distinctions of cast were scrupulously main 
tained ; and, adverting to the circumstance of the meerassidars 
in Trichinopoly being Bralimuns, it scarcely excites surprise 
that agricultural slavery should, exist here unchanged and 
u n dim In ish ed. " 

* Asi. Journ., Nov. 1S2H, p. f>5!). 
I Par. Papers on Slavery in India, p. 5. { Par. Papers, p. 


The late Sir Stamford llailks, Lieut. Governor ol the Island 
of Java, iii 1812, gives the following information, respecting 
the origin of slavery in the Eastern Isles: 

" Macassar and its neighbourhood may bo considered as a principal source 
Iiom which slaves have been exported; and without entering into any dis 
cussion of the origin and causes of this state of society, which, in a general 
point of view, must be referred to backwardness of civilization and prevalence 
of native authority, it must be observed that, in consequence of its being the 
favourite source of revenue among those chieftains, it will require much 
caution in attempting any measures to restrain, where argument could be of 
no avail, and force would be inconvenient. In my instructions to Captain 
Phillips, on his proceeding to Macassar, I directed his attention in a par 
ticular manner to this interesting subject; but I regret to find from his 
report, that at present there is little prospect of his favourable interference 
In short, he seems decidedly of opinion that, as mcn-stealers are very 
common over the country, if he prohibited their selling their stolen property 
at Macassar, they would still carry on the trade in the Boui territory ; 
where, though so immediately under the eye of the Resident, the Rajah 
would no doubt maintain his right, equally with that which he exercises at 
pleasure, of life and death. 

44 The native laws, usages, and habits, regarding slavery, are in many 
instances so various and contradictory, and it is so difficult to trace them to 
any authentic source, that is universally admitted, that I am fearful very little 
light will be obtained from them. Prisoners of war are in many eases con 
sidered as the property of the conqueror, and consequently sold as slaves. 
The families of criminals, who may be executed for particular crimes become 
likewise a droit of the chief; and in many cases criminals are pardoned on 
condition of being sold into slavery. Throughout the whole of the Eastern 
Islands, debtors become responsible in their services to their creditors, and it 
does not appear, that there is any generally acknowledged law among them, 
to prevent the chief of a family selling his wife and children into slavery. 
The desperate manner in which tbe Bugguese prows are known to defend 
themselves at sea, is accounted for by the numerous crew, who are all sepa 
rate adventurers on a borrowed capital, having left their families hypothecated 
for the debt, who become slaves to the creditor, in the event of the debtor 
parting with the properly under any circumstances without his life. 

44 The Dutch law being blended with the Roman, and the colonial law 
founded on both, slaver} has been fully recognised as legal by the European 
government; while the universal prevalence of Mabomcdanism renders it 
legal with every native administration, and as such it appears, without any 
occasional difference of opinion, to have been always viewed. Slavery ou 
the island of Java, is exclusively confined to domestic purposes, and may be 
considered rather as a regulated domestic servitude, than that detestable 
system which the legislature of Great Britain have, to the credit of humanity, 
so vigorously suppressed in the West Indies. Slavery, however t under any 
thape, or if it bears only the name, is so rejnit/nant t<> every principle <>f < - 
lightened administration, and so inconsistent irit/i yottr Lordships* benevolent 
plans, that I fair I should not stand excused, in my defence of such a system, 
under any modifications or circumstances whatever."^ 

* Lord M into. | Par. Papers, p. 154 150. For an account of the 

Slave Trade at the Island of A mv, near Sumatra, see an interesting article 
fp-m the Singapore Chronicle, in the Imp. Mag. Jan. 183<, pp. 18 -51. 


The rise of slavery in Penang, or Prince of Wales Island, 
is thus described in a letter from the Judge and Magistrate in 
Jan. 1802, to the Marquis of Wellesley, then Governor 
General of India : 

"My Lord Marquis: In a case which lately came judicially before me 
a question arose, Whether civil slavery, that is, a right of one man over 
the person and fortune of another, was to be considered as established at 
Prince of Wales Island. I was not ignorant that slavery, limited and un 
limited, had been tolerated. I know that emigrants, both from the Malay 
Peninsula and from the Eastern Island, who had become inhabitants of 
Prince of Wales Island, have been permitted to retain in slavery, those whom 
they had brought as slaves to this place. Some of these, indeed, are in utter 
slavery, while others are only in limited servitude. The latter is the con 
dition of those who are styled slave debtors, and these are people that 
voluntarily become slaves to their creditors till their debts are paid. But 
all this passed, sub silentio; for, after a careful search, I have not found 
any regulation of the local government, or any order from the Governor 
General in council, authorizing the establishment of slavery, limited or un 
limited, at Prince of Wales Island. This right, if any such in fact exists, 
rests therefore simply on a usage of fourteen, years. Thus circumstanced, 
having no authority to guide my judgment, my delicacy increased in pro 
portion to the interests on which I was called to determine ; and, in this 
case, subordinate to the question of civil slavery, arose two other questions. 
The first a question of fact, Whether the father of A. ever had been a slave 
at Quiddah ? The second a question of law, What was to be the con 
dition of A. now resident at Prince of Wales Island, whether born of one 
parent who was free, and of another, who was enslaved, or born of parents 
who were both slaves, and now resident at Prince of Wales Island. 

" I was desirous of avoiding the determination of this case, and remitted 
it to the Lieutenant Governor; but, in deference to his particular request, I 
gave my opinion, that the evidence did not prove that the father ever had been 
a slave, but that it inclined to sheiv that the mother had been a slave at Quid 
dah , and I though t the son should follow the condition of his father. I was led to 
this opinion, from a consideration that it is the old law of villanage in England, 
and, although I know it was contrary to the maxim of the civilians, partes 
sequitur ventrem, yet the latter authority had no weight with me; first, 
because slaver} had not yet been established by authority ; next, because 1 
could not see any local circumstance requiring its establishment; and, lastly, 
because a state of slavery is, in its oicn nature, bad, neither useful to the 
master nor to the slave, nor to the state under which they live. The Lieutenant 
Governor, on the contrary, was of opinion that the evidence proved both 
parents of A. were slaves, and under the regulations for the administration 
of justice on this island, ultimately decreed, that A., resident in this island, 
should l>e delivered up as a slave to Plakim Sullee, Captain Malay, resident 
also on this island. 

" By this decree slavery is now recognised and established by the local 
government of this island ; and therefore, in addition to the observations 
which I have had the honour of submitting to the consideration of your 
Excellency in council, I feel the necessity of representing that regulations 
are now requisite, in which the right that a master is to possess over the per 
son and fortune of his slave, at Prince of Wales Island, should be explicitly 
denned; and I hope thatyour Excellency in council will take into consideration 
the case of the offspring f slaves, and particularly of those, who are born of 


one parent who is free, while the other is a slave. Nothing can he presumed 
on the moderation or justice of Mahomedans who possess slaves. By their 
usages the virtue or honour of female slaves is at the mercy of their master! 
\ could hope that the right of the master was by law expressly limited to 
the bounds of humanity. I have no other apology to offer, than my con 
viction, that the subject matter of my letter is of the first importance, to the 
interests and prosperity of this rising colony."* 

The nature of slavery in India will appear from the fol 
lowing extracts. The Governor General, in 1775, transmitted 
to the Hon. Court of Directors, extracts from a translation of 
the Hindoo Laws, by N. B. Halhed, Esq. From this code 
it appears that slaves are divided mio fifteen classes, viz. 
"1. Whoever is born of a female slave, and is called Gerhejat. 
"2. Whoever is purchased for a price, and is called Keereeut. 

3. Whoever is found ant/ where by chance and is called Lubdehee. 

4. Whoever is a slave by descent from his ancestors, and his called 

5. Whoever hath been fed, and hath had his life preserved by another 
during a famine, and is called Enakal Behrut. 

6. Whoever hath been delivered up as a pledge for money borrowed, and 
is called Abut. 

7. Whoever, to free himself from the debt of one creditor, hath borrowed 
money from another person, and, having discharged the old debt gives him 
self up as a servant to the person with whom the present debt is contracted; 
or whoever, by way of terminating the importunities of a creditor, delivers 
himself up for a servant to that creditor, and is call Mookhud. 

H. Whoever hath been enslaved by the fortune of battle, and is called 
Joodih Peeraput. 

9. Whoever becomes a slave by a loss on the chances of dice, or other 
games, and is called Punjeet ; according to the ordinations of Perkashkar 
and Pareejaut, and according to the ordination of Chendeesur, it is thus, 
that by whatever chance he is conquered, and becomes a slave, he is called 
Punjeet approved. 

10. Whoever of his own desire says to another," I am become your slave," 
and is called Opookut. 

1 1. When a Chebteree, or Bice, having become Sinassee, apostates from 
that way of life, the magistrate shall make him a slave, and is called Per- 

12. Whoever voluntarily gives himself as a slave to another for a stipulated 
time, and is called (iheerut. 

13. Whoever performs servitude for his subsistence, and is called Bheekut. 

14. Whoever, from the desire of possessing a slave girl, becomes a slave, 
and is called Berbakrut. 

15. Whoever of his onn accord sells his liberty, and becomes a slave, and 
is called Bekreet."f 

Sir R. Chambers, on the trial of the commander of a Danish 
trading vessel, for procuring native children, and exporting 
them as slaves, in 1789, stated the only cases in which slarery 
was lair ful under the Mahomedan Government. " Infidels, 

* Par. Papers on Slavery in India, pp. 429, 430. 
t Par. Papers, pp. 7, 30(5. 


taken prisoners in war, fighting against Mussulmans, were con 
sidered the slaves of the captors; and the slavery extended to 
their children. In cases of famine, publicly declared, it was law 
ful for farmers to sell their children ; and persons of more than 
fifteen years of age , might sell themselves to obtain a subsis 
tence. But that in these four cases, (the only existing ones 
under the Mahomedan Government,) the condition of slavery 
was put under many legal restrictions, and that it was un 
lawful for a Mussulman to sell his slave. That the expor 
tation of subjects of a Mussulman government to be sold to a 
state of slavery was unknown ; and, he believed, that it was the 
first time such an offence had been committed under the Bri 
tish flag, and he trusted it would be the last. He wished it 
to be understood that, if a similar offence should ever unhap 
pily be again tried before the court, the punishment would 
be more severe."* 

The nature of slavery, Hindoo and Mussulman, will appear 
by the following extract, from the valuable communications 
to the Bengal Government, of the Magistrate of Bundlecund. 
This gentleman observes, " Previously to my submission of 
the draught of the Regulation directed to be submitted to the 
court of Nizamut Adawlut, I deem it of essential importance 
to the elucidation of the subject, to offer a few remarks, on 
the hues of slavery as tJiey noiv ca ist in that part of Hindos- 
lan, which it has pleased God to allot to the government of 
the British nation. For the sake of perspicuity, I shall tran 
scribe the questions put to the Mahomedan and Hindoo law 
officers officially, for the purpose of procuring a declaration of 
laic on MIC subject of slavery, according to their respective 
codes, insert their answers, and, offer such remarks as 
present themselves to my judgment, or as seem applicable 
to the subject. 

Questions put to the by the Nizamut Adawlut. 

First Qucs. "What description of slaves arc authorized 
by the Mahomedan lair ?" 

Ans. " All men are by nature free and independent, and 
no matt can he a subject of properly, except an infidel in 
habiting a country not under the power and control of the 
faithful. This right of possession which the Moslems have 
over Hurbus (infidels fighting against the faith) is acquired by 
Tstcela, which means, tJie entire subduement of any subject 
of property by force of arms. The original right of property, 
which one man may possess over another, is to be acquired 

* Far. Papers on .Slavery in India, ]>. "2\ 


solely by Istcela, and cannot be obtained in the first instance 
by purchase, donation, or heritage. When, therefore, an 
Iinaum subdues, by force of arms, any one of the cities in 
habited by infidels, such of them as may be taken prisoners 
become his rightful property, and he has the power of putting 
them to death or making them slaves, and distributing them 
as such among the ghazees (victorious soldiers), particularly 
when fighting against infidels ; or he may set them at liberty 
in a Mussulman country, and levy the capitation tax; should 
he make them slaves, they become legal subjects of property, 
and are trans ferrable by sale, gift, or inheritance. But if, after 
captivity, they should become converts to the faith (Islam), Ihe 
power of death over them in thereby barred, thouyh they 
would continue slares ; for, slavery being the necessary con 
sequence of original infidelity, the subsequent conversion to 
Islam does not affect the prior state of bondage to which the 
individual has been regularly rendered liable by Isteela, pro 
vided this be clearly established. From this it is evident that 
the same rules are applicable to the slaves of both sexes. If 
slaves are afterwards sold, or given away, by the Iinaum, or by 
the ghazees, who shared at the distribution, or if they should 
become the property of another by inheritance, thcv then 
become slaves under the three different classes of purchase, 
donation, and inheritance. 

"If a female should bear offspring, by any other than by 
her legal lord and master, whether the father be a freeman or 
a slave, and whether the slave of the said master, or of any 
other person, in any one of these cases, such offspring is sub 
ject to slavery, and these are called khanazad (born in the 
family); but, if the children be the acknowledged offspring of 
the right owner, they are then free, and the mother of them 
(being the parent of a child by her master) becomes, at his 
decease, free also ; and this rule is applicable to all their 
descendants to the latest posterity. The practice among free 
men and women of selling their own offspring, during the 
time of famine, is exceedingly improper and unjustifiable, 
being in direct opposition to the principle above stated, vi/. 
that no man can be a subject of property, except an infidel 
taken in the act of hostilities ayainst the faith. In no case 
can a person, legally free, become a subject of property ; and, 
children not being the property of their parents, all sales or 
purchases of them, as any other articles of illegal property, 
are consequently invalid. His also illegal for any free man to 
sell his own person, either in time of famine or though he be 
oppressed by a debt which he is unable to discharge. For 


in the first of these cases a famished man may feed upon a 
dead body ! or may rob another ; and a distressed debtor is 
not liable to any fine or punishment. 

"We are not acquainted with the principal or detailed circum 
stances, which led to the custom prevailing in most Mussulman 
countries of purchasing and selling the inhabitants of Zangui- 
bar, Ethiopia, Nubia, and other Negroes : but the ostensible 
causes are, either that the Negroes sell their own offspring, or 
that Mussulman or other tribes of people take them prisoners 
by fraud, or seize them by stealth from the sea shores. In 
such cases, they are not legally slaves, and the sale and pur 
chase of them are consequently invalid. But if a Mussulman 
army, by order of an Imaum, should invade their country, and 
make them prisoners of war by force of arms, they are then 
legal slaves ; provided that such Negroes are inhabitants of a 
country under the government of Infidels, and in which a 
Mussulman is not entitled to receive the full benefit and pro 
tection of his own laws. With regard to the custom, prevail 
ing in this country, of hiring children from their parents, for 
a very considerable period, such as for seventy or eighty 
years, and under this pretext making them slaves, as well as 
their produce also, under the denomination of kharazad (do 
mestic slaves), the following laws are applicable; It is law 
ful and proper for parents to hire out their children on service, 
but this contract of hire becomes null and void when the child 
arrives at the years of discretion, as the right of parentage 
then ceases. A free man, who has reached the years of dis 
cretion, may enter into a contract to serve another, but not 
for any great length of time, such as for seventy years ; as this 
also is a mere pretext, and has the same object of slavery in 
view, whereas the said free man has the option of dissolving 
any contract of hire under either of the following circum 
stances: It is the custom, in contracts of this nature, for a 
person hired on service to receive a compensation in money, 
clothes, and food, as the price of hire ; any day therefore that 
a servant receives such a compensation, he is in duty bound 
to serve for that day, but not otherwise. The condition of 
contract of hire requires that the return of profit be equal to 
the price of hire, and this cannot be ascertained but by de 
grees, and in course of time. The contract of hire, therefore, 
becomes complete, or fulfilled according to the services or 
benefit actually rendered in return for the price of hire re 
ceived, and the person hired has consequently the option of 
dissolving the contract at any moment of the period originally 
agreed for. 


"It is unavoidable and actually necessary in contracts of 
a different nature, such as in rent of land, &c., that the lessee 
should not have this power; but reverting to contracts of hire 
for service for a long period, the nefarious practices of sub 
jecting free men to a state of bondage, under this pretence, 
it appears expedient to provide against such abuses ; and witli 
this view to restrict the period for service in all contracts of 
hired freemen to a mouth, one year, or the utmost to three 
years, as in cases of Ijauawugh, a form of endowment. It is 
customary also among the Zananc Towaf, (women who keep 
sets of dancing girls,) to purchase female free children from 
their parents, or by engagements directly with the children 
themselves ; exclusively of the illegality of such purchases, 
there is a further evil resulting from this practice, which is, 
the children are taught dancing and singing for others, and 
an; also made prostitutes, which are extremely impropei, and 
expressly forbidden by the law." 

Remarks. " From the reply it is evident that, by the Mussulman law, no 
man can have the right of property over another human being except a 
Mussulman, and even he can acquire that right over an infidel only, in 
habiting a country not under the power and control of the faithful ; and that 
this right, which Mussulmans have over infidels lighting against the faith, is 
acquirable by Isteela, which means the entire subduement of any subject 
of property by force of arms; the right of property, therefore, which one 
man may possess over another, is to be acquired, in the first instance, by 
Isteela. It follows that all persons in a state of bondage, over whom the 
right of property has not been obtained by Isteela, or the offspring of parents 
over whom the above right was not acquired, are, by the Mussulman law, 
free; and that it is the duty of the Hakim, respecting persons claiming their 
freedom, over whom the right of property derived from Isteela cannot be 
legally established or traced, to declare such persons of either sex free by a 
legal recorded decision, which shall secure to them the future enjoyment of 
that freedom. 

" Slaves sold or given away by the Imaum, or the gha/ee (conquerors 
or victorious troops) who shared at the distribution, or if afterwards they 
become the property of another by inheritance, continue slaves under the 
different rights of purchase, donation, and heirship. It appears by the 
Mussulman law that the offspring of a female slave, whether by a free 
man or slave of any description, except by her master, such offsprings are 
slaves, and are called hhanazad (born in the famih). If, however, the 
offspring shall be acknowledged by the master, they shall be free, and the 
mother also, at the death of her owner, becomes free; and this also emanci 
pates their descendants to the latest posterity. It may lie inferred from the 
provision here noticed, \c., that, to entitle the child to fmdoin, and the 
mother to emancipation, on the death <>f her lord, his acknoiclcdtjinent, and 
that he is the father, the offtpring "/ the slaw iineccuaryto give the late force. 
Here the principles pursued by European legislation are reversed, and there 
are many obvious motives that may induce the -owner to deny his being 
the father of the child. 

" It is declared by the Mussulman law, as here developed, that a fire 
man cannot sell his men person. The law officer here states his unacquaint- 


-290 SLAVERY. 

ance with the circumstances which led to the prevalence of the custom in 
most Mussulman countries, of purchasing and selling the inhabitants of 
Zanguibar, Ethiopia, Nubia, and other Negroes : they are evidently not 
legally slaves by the Mussulman law. 

"A free man arrived at the years of discretion, may contract to serve for 
a reasonable, not a great length of time, such as seventy years; but it is 
here stated, that the said free man, so contracting, is to receive a compen 
sation, and is compelled to serve for that day for which he has received 
compensation, but not otherwise; the person hired has consequently the 
option of dissolving the contract at any moment of the period originally 
agreed for. It is observable, that this is contrary to the nature of all con 
tracts, which are, or ought to be, specific and mutual ; but the Mussulman 
law assigns reasons, in the subsequent paragraph of the answer on which I 
am remarking, explanatory of the causes which render this contract different 
from others, such as rents, <Scc., where the lessee has not this power, and 
those reasons are more enlightened, and shew a greater anxiety for the per 
sonal liberty of the individual, than is commonly to be found among the laws 
of Mahomed. 

" Here is stated a custom existing amongst the Zanane Towaf, (women 
who keep sets of dancing girl?,) of purchasing female free born children from 
their parents or others, or making engagements with the children themselves, 
to be taught the practice of dancing and singing for others, and also for the 
purpose of being made prostitutes, which are allowed to be extremely im 
proper and expressly forbidden by the law. The extent of the above evil 
would be. best ascertained by a f&u appropriate queries put to the several magis 
trates, but more especially to those of the large cities ; the result would at once 
open the eyes of government to an evil which loudly calls for the interference 
of the Legislature, on every principle of humanity, morals, and policy" 

Second Ques. " What legal powers are the owners of slaves 
allowed to exercise upon the persons of their slaves, and par 
ticularly of their female shires ?" 

Ans. "The rightful proprietor of male and female slaves 
has a claim to the services of such slaves to the extent of 
their ability. He may employ them in baking, cooking, in 
making, dyeing, and washing clothes ; as agents in mercantile 
transactions ; in attending cattle, in tillage, or cultivation ; as 
carpenters, ironmongers, and goldsmiths ; in transcribing ; as 
weavers, and in manufacturing woollen cloths ; as shoemakers, 
boatmen, twisters of silk, water drawers ; in shaving ; in per 
forming surgical operations, such as cupping, &c. ; as farriers, 
bricklayers, and the like, ; and he may hire them out on ser 
vice in any of the above capacities ; he may also employ 
them himself, or for the use of his family in other duties of a 
domestic nature, such as in fetching water for washing on 
evazoo (religious purification), or anointing his body with oil, 
rubbing his ieet, or attending his person while dressing, and 
in guarding the door of his house, &c. He may also have 
connexion with his legal female slave, provided she is arrived 
at the years of maturity, and the master or proprietor has not 
previously given her in marriage to another." 


"Then 1 is nothing 1 objectionable in the duties here stated to be lawfully 
demandable from slaves of both sexes. The obvious immorality, and the 
threat inijH>licy and inhumanity of the licentious authority stated in this 
answer, requires no comment. The law officer, although he has stated in 
part the truth, has not embraced the whole truth: the Islamite has the 
power, bv the Mussulman law, of exercising, with his female slaves, licentious 
intercourse, at the mention of which modesty recedes with blushes and 
humanity shrinks with horror!" 

Third Ques. u Wliat offences upon the persons of shires, 
find particularly of female slares, committed by tlieir oirncrs 
or by others, are legally punishable, and in what manner?" 

Ans. " If a master oppress his slave by employing him on 
any duty beyond his ability, such as insisting upon his carry 
ing a load which he is incapable of bearing, or climbing a tree 
which he cannot, the Hakim or ruling power may chastise 
him. It is also improper for a master to order his slave to do 
that which is forbidden by the law, such as putting an inno 
cent person to death, setting fire to a house, tearing the clothes 
ofl another, or prostituting himself by adultery and fornication ; 
to steal or drink spirits, or to slander and abuse the chaste 
and virtuous; and, if a master be guilty of such like oppres 
sions, the Hakim may inflict exemplary punishment by Fazir 
and Ucqubut Shukool Allah, literally, the right of God, and 
meaning on principles of public justice. 

" It is further unlawful for a master to punish his male or 
female slave for disrespectful conduct, and such like offences, 
further than by sadeeb (slight correction), as the power of 
passing sentence of tazeer and gizes is solely vested in the 
Hakim. If, therefore, the master should exceed the limits of 
his power of chastisement, above stated, he is liable to tazeer. 
If a master should have connexion with his female slave, 
before she ha.s arrived at the years of maturity, and, if the 
female slave should in consequence be seriously injured, or 
should die, the ruling power may punish him by tazeer and 
Utjitbnt Ilaijool Jillah, as before defined." 

" It will be allowed, that the spirit which enumerates and limits the em 
ployments which a master is hereby forbidden to extort from his slaves, under 
the penalty of being liable to exemplary punishment by the Hakim, on 
principles of public justice, is humane and proper, and might be sufficient 
for the puq>ose of good order and government, were it possible that the 
spirit of the law could be carried into eflect. To any man acquainted with 
the manners and customs of the natives, no argument is necessary to prove 
that the reverse is the case. It is hardly necessary to remark on the degree 
of suffering that an illiterate, wretched, and desponding slave will submit to 
from his lord, whom, from infancy perhaps, be ha* been accustomed to look 
upon, with trembling anxiety, as the sole arbiter of his fate, upon whose 
pleasure all the little happiness, or rather the absence of misery, which he 

U 2 


hopes to experience, entirely depends. Is it likely that a slave under such 
circumstances should dare to apply to the ruling power for redress? 

" If a master, excited by lust, unrestrained by shame, or by habit, shall 
have connexion with a female slave before she has arrived at the years of 
maturity, if the female slave should in consequence be severely injured or 
die, what is the consequence ? The ruling power may punish him as before 
defined. Shall a British government sanction so horrid a law ? " 

Fourth Qucs. "Are slaves entitled to emancipation upon 
any and what maltreatment, and may the courts of justice 
adjudge their emancipation upon the proof of such maltreat 
ment? In particular, may such judgment be passed upon 
proof that a female slave has, during her minority, been pros 
tituted by her master or mistress, or that any attempt of 
violence has been made by her oivner ? " 

Ans. " If the master of male or female slaves should tyran 
nize over them by treating them unjustly, stinting them in 
food, or imposing upon them duties of an oppressive nature ; 
or if a master should have connexion with his slave girl before 
she has arrived at the years of maturity, or should give her 
in marriage to another, with permission to cohabit with her 
in this state, such master sins against the divine laws, and 
the ruling power may punish him ; but, the commission of 
such crimes by the master does not authorize the manumission 
of the slave, nor has the Hakim any right or authority to 
grant emancipation. Adverting to the principle upon which 
the legality of slavery is originally established, viz. that the 
subject of property must be an infidel, and taken in the act 
of hostilities against the faith ; and also to the several 
branches of legal slavery arising from tJtis principle, as by 
purchase, donation, inheritance, and kJianazadee ; whenever 
a case of possession of an unlawful male or female slave 
should be referred to the Hakim for investigation, it is the 
duty of the Hakim to pass an order, according to the original 
right of freedom of such individual, to deprive the unjust pro 
prietor of possession, and to grant immediate emancipation to 
the slave. 

(Signed and sealed) 

Soorajoddeen Ullce 
Mahomed Hashed" 

"The purport of this question is, whether on any and what maltreatment 
a slave is entitled to emancipation on proof, and whether the courts of justice 
are entitled to pass such judgment, particularly on females prostituted 
by their master or mistress during their minority, or on any attempt of 
violence being made. From the reply to this question, it appears that 
acts of oppression, and even violation of the person of a female slave, be 
fore she is at the years of maturity, by the master, or the crime of giving 


her at tluit age in marriage, are declared, as they truly are, crimes against 
the divine laws, and the ruling power may punish by stripes; but it is to be 
obscru-d that, by the Mussulman law, the commission of these crimes bv the 
owner does not entitle the wretched slave to manumission, nor has the ruling 
power a right to grant her emancipation ! ! 

* Humanity, which is shocked at the idea of its being a question whether 
or not British legislation shall sanction so diabolic a law, under the impres 
sions oi horror which every humane mind must feel at the depravity of such 
inhuman laws, is relieved bv the perusal of the next sentence. Adverting 
to the principle upon which the legality of slavery is originally established, 
vi/. the subject of property must be an injidel, taken in the act of hostilities 
ayainst the faith ; and also to the several branches of legal slavery which 
snoot from this root or principle, purchase, donation, inheritance, .and 
khana/eed ; whenever a case of possession of an unlawful male or female 
slave, that is to say, who is not himself or herself under the original descrip 
tion of an infidel taken in the act of hostilities against the faithful under an 
Imaum, or descended from a person of the above description, over whom 
the right of property has not been obtained by one of the modes described, 
shall come before the ruling power, to pass an order according to ihe origi 
nal right of freedom of such individual, and to deprive the unjust proprietor 
of possession, and to grant an immediate emancipation." 

Similar questions put to the Hindoo Pundit by the Nizanuit 

First Qucs. Ans. "There arc fifteen different sorts of male 
and female slaves." See p. 285, in this Volume. 

Remarks. "Of the injustice and unreasonableness of the whole of the 
description of slaves sanctioned by the Hindoo law on the acknowledged 
principles of natuial freedom, or on principles of expediency and humanity, 
few I conceive will doubt; ami to enter into argument to prove this self- 
evident perversion of the laws of nature and of God, written in the hearts of 
all enlightened men, would be a waste of intellect. I am confident such 
wide-spread degradation of the human race can never be authorized by an 
enlightened British Government" 

Second Ques. Ans. " The owner of a male or female slave 
mav require of such slave the performance of impure work, 
such as plastering and sweeping the house, cleaning the door, 
gateway, and necessary ; rubbing his master s naked body, 
bunudoine nehanu t wiui oil, and clothing him; removing frag 
ments of victuals left at his master s table, and eating them ; 
removing urine and human ordure ; rubbing his master s feet 
and other limbs, &c. In cases of disobedience or fault com 
mitted by the slave, the master has power to beat his slave 
with a thin stick, or to bind him with a rope : and, if he 
should consider the slave deserving of severe punishment, he 
may pull his luiir or c.rf)oac Jiini upon an ass; but, if the 
master should exceed this extent of his authority, and inflict 
punishment upon his slave of a severer nature than above 
stated, he is liable to pay a fine to the Hakim or ruling power, 


of a thousand puns ofkhar mahozrens, eight thousand cowries. 
This is declared by Menu, according to Palnakar Behbad, 
Chinta, Munnie, and other authorities." 

" The facility and impunity with which power can tyrannize over a wretch 
in a state of bondage and absolute dependence is evident ; and what is the 
punishment if, against all chance or hope, the tyrant is brought to trial, and 
even to conviction ? A pecuniary fine ! 

Third Ques. Ans. "A master has no right to command his 
male or female slave to perform any other duties besides those 
specified in the answer to the second question, or authority to 
punish his slave further than in the manner before stated; and 
if he should exceed this discretionary power, in either case, 
he is liable to the same penalty, viz. one thousand puns of 
cowries. This is declared by Menu and Beshie." 

Fourth Ques. Ans. "The commission of offences, of the 
above nature by the master, docs not affect the state of the 
slave ; and the ruling power has not the right of granting his 
manumission ; but if it should be established in evidence, 
before the Hakim, that any person having stolen or inveigled 
away, a child or slave, had afterwards sold him to another, 
or that any person had compelled another into a state of 
slavery by violence, the ruling power may then order the 
emancipation of such child or slave ; and if a master, or any 
other person by permission of the master, should cohabit with 
a slave girl before she has arrived at the years of maturity, and 
this fact be proved, the ruling power may sentence such offen 
der to pay a fine of Jifty puns of cowries, but cannot emanci 
pate the slave girl ! 

" Whenever a slave girl has borne a child by her master, 
.such slave, together tenth the child, becomes free, and the ruluuj 
power should sanction their emancipation. 

"This is the law declared by Jak Bulk Mannoo and Kutoo- 
bun, according to Mittuchora arid other authorities. 

(Signed) Chattoor Bhooj Necarutun 

Chiicrpnt Oapadhea" 

" It does not appear that the commission of any, or all of the offences sup 
posed in the fourth question, affect the stale of bondage in the sufferings of 
the wretched slave, nor by the Hindoo law has the ruling power the authority 
of emancipating the injured bondsman, even under all the above maltreat 
ment; but a treacherous imeieling away of a child and selling it as a slave, 
or subjecting to slavery by violence, are declared illegal, and the ruling 
power may emancipate such child or slave. Should however a master, or 
any other by permission of the owner, cohabit with a slave girl before she 
has arrived at the years of maturity, and the fact be proved, the ruling power 
may sentence the offender to fifty puns of cowries. Here a crime, most 


monstrous, by which the laws of nature are outraged, is punishable by a 
pecuniary line ! I suppose for the benefit of the ruling power." 

" The foregoing being the Mussulman law, as expounded 
by the law officers, and the Mussulman law being that by 
which we govern in cases of life and limb, surely it ought to 
be extended to personal freedom ; for from personal freedom 
alone can life or limb, the first gifts of nature, acquire their 
due value. The foregoing, I think, will be admitted, and in 
vestigation will render it evident, that at the present moment, 
of the many thousands male and female stares held in bond 
age in the Company s dominions, and subject to the grossest 
usage, prostitution, and every other depravity, under Uic 
pretence of slarery being sanctioned by the Mussulman laic, 
not a single man or woman exists, to idiom the right of pro 
perty^ on the principle laid dou-n by that lair, can possibly 
be established ! The mode, therefore, of remedying the gross 
evils that exist, is as easy as it is obvious. Enforce the spirit 
and letter of the Mussulman law as it applies to slaves, and 
as far as that portion of the inhabitants of our Indian posses 
sions are concerned, you remedy the evil, and give the bless 
ing of liberty to thousands, without infringing a particle of the 
Mahomed an religion ; on the contrarv, so far as this regulation 
is connected with the Mussulman religion, you only check a 
licentious deviation from the principles of law and religion on 
the point in question. "* 

The practice of kidnapping children, for the purpose of sell 
ing them as slaves, appears to have been very prevalent in 
various parts of India. Respecting a case of this kind at 
Midnapore, on the borders of Orissa, in 1794, the Magistrate. 
R. Hathurst, Esq., thus expressed his indignation of the 
crime. "To that part of the futwa which respects Shazaddee, 
equity and humanity alike prompt me to object in the strongest 
terms. Her crime is of a nature to break asunder tJie 
tenderest ties, and to consign its innocent victims, either 
rudely torn, or cruelly .seduced front their parents 1 home, to 
hopeless slavery, to experience in the course of it, too probably, 
no n-anes but stripes, no relief but death. Such is the com 
plexion of her guilt. What says the futwa, which, regulated 
by Mussulman justice, weighs, it would seem, in the same 
scale of moral turpitude, the stealing of a cur dog and the 
kidnapping of a child? Thirty-five strokes with a rattan and 
four months confinement, which if changed to hard labour 
and imprisonment for life, although still disproportioned to the 

Far. Paprrs on Slavery in India, pp. WO- "I7. 


extent of her offence, might, perhaps, operate to deter others 
from the practice of similar enormities."* 

The nature of slavery in Canara, under the Madras Presi 
dency, is thus described by J. G. Ravenshaw, Esq., Collector, 
in 1801: "There are three distinctions of the Daerds or 
slaves, the Moondaul, Mogare or Mayor, and Matey Dacrd : 
the former two differ from the latter in the way of food; 
neither of them will eat the flesh of a cow or bullock ; or go 
near the place where one has died or been killed, till the car 
case is removed ; the Mavcy Daerd, though he will not kill 
the animal, will eat its flesh after it is dead. If one dies at the 
house of a Moondaul or Magor, a Mavey is sent for to remove 
the carcase. In the Moondaul and Mayer sects, property 
descends from uncle to nephew ; a father (jives up his children 
1o their uncle. In the Mogare sects, property descends from 
father to son. A Mogare and a Moondaul will eat together, 
though it is not common ; if, however, they do, the form of 
taking away the dishes or pans they eat out of, washing and 
reluming them clean to the party who gives the repast, is in 
variably observed. They never intermarry by consent ; but 
if a Moondaul runs away with a Mogare, the latter sect as 
semble, call on the Moondaul, and, after reprimanding him 
for the crime he has committed, make him pay a fine for the 
ofl ence, and give a repast to the whole party ; when they have 
eaten, the Mogare is considered as having relinquished her 
cast, and being made over to the Moondaul. Neither of these 
sects associate with the Mavcy Daerd. 

" If a Moondaul goes to a landlord, or other person, and 
says he wants to marry through his interests ; if the person 
consents, he gives him from three to four pagodas to pay the 
expense of the ceremony ; the Daerd, as soon as married, 
brings his wife to his landlord s house, and both are bound to 
serve him and his heirs as long as the husband lives. The 
landlord is considered as bound to give the man, per annum, 
two cloths, each five cubits in length ; and the woman two, 
each of eight cubits length, one to cover the lower and one 
the upper part of their frame, the estimated expense of which 
is one and a half rupees ; the man is to receive one and a half, 
and the woman one haiiii of rice per diem, besides one mora 
of rice per annum between them ; this allowance is called 
* mogu. This couple have no claim aver any children they 
tuny have born : lltey arc the exclusive property of their uncle. 
If he agrees to their remaining with their father till they are 

* Par. Papers, p. 52. Sec also pp. 212. 213. 


grown up, and their father consents to keep them, this may 
}>e done ; and if, when grown up, their lather s owner gives 
the males money to marry, they are bound to serve him and 
his heirs as long as they live. If, however, their uncle does 
not agree to their remaining with their father when young, 
he takes them, and his master pays them according to the 
work they do. As to the daughters, if their uncle agree, 
they may remain with their father, till some person comes 
with their uncle s consent to ask them in marriage ; they are 
then given up and bound to serve their husband s owner. In 
the event of the husband s death, his master has no right 
whatever over the mother and children, who become the pro 
perty of, or for whom the children s uncle is bound to provide, 
and they are bound to serve his master if he has work for 
them. If a man wants to marry a second time, his master 
supplies him with money ; in consideration of this extra ex 
pense, lie stops the mogu, or allowance of one mora of rice 
per annum. A man receives no daily allowance for himself 
and family during his master s harvest, but, in lieu thereof, 
he gets an elerentli part of as much arain as iscut y t/iras/te<l y 
and stacked by the -whole of them ; when this work is done, 
they receive their daily subsistence as usual. The sect may 
be called a life property on the male side ; they are never 
sold, though they sometimes mortgage themselves, and their 
owners may also mortgage them. 

" The Mogare are bought and sold, and hence they and 
their male heirs are bound to serve their master and his heirs 
for erer. Females remain with their fathers till married, after 
which their owners have no claim on them ; they become the 
property of their husband s master. The average price of a 
man and his wife, if purchased together, is from four to fire 
jMiyodas. These Mogairs receive the same daily allowance 
of rice and cloth as the Moondauls, but they get no annual al 
lowance, the piece of land and the two trees they get are sup 
posed more than to equal this; and in addition to it, if their 
master can afford it, he frequently gives them a bullock. The 
owner pays only as many of the family as work for him. This 
sect are sometimes mortgaged, as well as sold. 

"If a person purchases a man and woman of the Maura i/ 
sect, and marries them, they and their male heirs are bound 
to serve him and his heirs for ever ; the purchaser pays the 
expense of the marriage. If the man dies, and the woman 
marries again, the children she may have by her new husband 
are all the property of her owner, by reason of his having 
purchased the woman; but he has no claim whatever on the 


new husband. When these people are not purchased, but 
merely bind themselves to the sendee, on account of some 
person having paid the expense of their marriages, as the 
Moondauls do, the same rules are observed as with them ; 
but there are many of these sects, who belonging, or being, 
as it were, an appurtenant to an estate, are bought and sold 
therewith ; they enjoy the same privileges and allowances as 
those of the same sect who are purchased without an estate. 
The landlord can neither sell nor mortgage them, nor can 
they, without the landlord s consent, mortgage themselves or 

" In many of the foregoing cases, an owner is bound to give 
daily subsistence to as many only of the family of his Daerds 
as he employs ; if he has more than he requires, he may lend 
them out to other people, who pay him the mogu, or annual 
allowance of one mora of rice, as a sort of acknowledgment 
that the Daerd he employs belongs to him. Daerds cannot 
go to work for another person without their owners consent, 
and they are bound to return whenever he may have work for 
them. This is the result of an inquiry I was induced to make 
into the customs of the people, in consequence of many com 
plaints having come before me of Daerds being ill-treated by 
their masters. The little labour has been amply repaid, from 
a consciousness of my having done justice to many of them, 
which I should not have considered myself competent of doing 
without a knowledge of their manners and services."* 

" The utmost to which the sale of slaves is tolerated in 
Malabar," says J. H. Baber, Esq., Judge and Magistrate in 
the North Zillah in 1812, "is domestic slavery, and this 
exclusively confined to those born in a state of bondage. 
Formerly this degraded race of men were the exclusive pro 
perty of the Hindoos of Malabar, but in course of time, from 
necessity and other causes, they w r ere transferred and sold to 
the Mopillas, but it was never bargained that they were to 
be made proselytes. A Pooliar sold or transferred could not 
be removed out of the district, his place of nativity; in con 
sequence the social tie amongst them was still preserved ; 
even the women, though sold, are never separated from their 
husbands, whom they still follow, however often they may 
change their masters ; the owner of the female, however, still 
maintaining his claim to her and to her offspring, whose 
right is thus perpetuated from generation to generation. In 
some districts, the offspring are divided between the owners 

Piir. Papers on Slavery in India, pp. 5 


S LAVE 11 Y. 21)9 

of the father and the mother, but they are never separated 
from their parents until adults"* 

The evils of slavery are innumerable. "To remedy the 
evil," says one of the Judges in India, "it appeared to me 
highly necessary that it should be ascertained and acknow 
ledged, and its extent fully understood."f The propriety of 
this appeal s from the want of information respecting slavery 
in India. The following extracts from the valuable Papers 
on this subject, it is hoped will rouse the attention of Britain, 
to the state of slavery in her eastern dominions. 

" No progress in arts or science can be expected," says the 
worthy Judge of Bundlecund, "from unhappy beings whose 
daily reflections press their forlorn condition upon their 
thoughts. The rudest cultivation of the earth is performed 
with reluctancy, by wretches whose miseries know no end, 
but in the moments of repose. Perhaps exposed to the burn 
ing heat of a vertical sun, immerged to the knees in water, 
stagnate and unwholesome, respiring a vapour inimical to 
existence ; perhaps buried alive in mines replete with nox 
ious minerals and baneful air, which slowly consumes the 
human frame. Or if (which is the summit of a slave s good 
fortune) they meet with a more lenient lord, still their com 
forts are embittered by the dread of a change. The stroke of 
death, or the pressure of misfortune, may transfer them with 
their former master s cattle or his lands, to a less tender lord ; 
devoid of any established mode of providing for, or bringing 
up a family, and fearful of entering into the marriage state, 
having no protection or security that their dearest and most 
tender connexions will not be set at nought by the capricious 
lust of pampered power, population suffers. 

"In llindostan slaves are kept for show, or employed in 
the meanest and most laborious offices of servitude. In an 
cient times slaves were bred to trades ; to cultivate the sciences 
and other philosophic studies, and some of this class distin 
guished themselves bv their abilities, and contributed to 
enlighten mankind. But how much more speedily has gene 
ral improvement increased, since the establishment of freedom 
through the principal parts of Europe. The freest nations 
have ever been the first to dispel the clouds of error, and 
brighten the dawning* of knowledge into the meridian splen- 

* p. 5(57. See p. S!7. This state of society is prevalent in the Indian 
Archipelago. See a description of Malay Slavery by the Acting President 
of Fort Marlborough in 1813. Par. Papers, pp. 203205. 
t Par. Papers, p. 30K 


dour of truth. If any tiling can add to the horror which the 
idea of slavery raises in every human breast, it is the reflec 
tion that, by the Mussulman law respecting female slaves, the 
master is not only legal lord of their persons for purposes of 
laborious services, but for sensual gratification ; even such as 
his unnatural passions may impel his brutality to indulge. 
It is not less shocking to reflect that women, who have spent 
their youth and worn out their persons in the grossest de 
bauchery, when their faded beauty no longer produces their 
wonted luxuries, and even their former paramours in guilt 
turn from them with disgust, purchase female children for the 
avowed purpose of the most licentious life. These females, 
were such injurious practices prevented by Hie abolition of 
all slavery, would become useful members of the community, 
and add to the prosperity of the state, by the increase of their 

" Under systematic slavery the minds of mankind are in 
evitably debased. Children being educated amongst, and 
attended by these wretches, imbibe their dispositions, and, 
having the examples of their parents always before their eyes, 
leam to consider those under them as a distinct race, unworthy 
of the rights of humanity. The first efforts of imitative cruelty 
are viewed by the parents without reprehension, their own 
minds having undergone the same perversion by the same 
tuition, and the practice of maturity having deadened their 
feelings ; so that I fear, not unfrequently this early discovery 
of vicious inclination is considered by the fond, but mistaken 
parent, as a sure presage of spirit and future greatness. View 
the manners of those nations who tolerate slavery, and say 
whether this reasoning is not warranted by reality."* 

Sir William Jones, in a charge to the grand jury at Cal 
cutta, in 1785, described the miseries of slavery existing at 
that period, even in the metropolis of British India. " I am 
assured, from evidence which, though not all judicially taken, 
has the strongest hold on my belief, that the condition of 
slaves within our jurisdiction is, beyond imagination, deplo 
rable ; and that cruelties are daily practised on them, chiefly 
on those of the tenderest age and the weaker sex, which, if it 
would not give me pain to repeat, and you to hear, yet, for the 
honour of human nature, I should forbear to particularize. If 
I except the English from this censure, it is not through par 
tial affection to my own countrymen, but because my infor 
mation relates chiefly to people of other nations, who likewise 

* Pur. Papers on Slavery in India, pp. 298300. 


call themselves Christians. Hardly a man or a woman exists 
in a corner of this populous town, who hath not at least one 
slave child, either purchased at a trifling price, or saved, 
perhaps, from a death that might have been fortunate, for a 
life that seldom fails of being miserable. Many of you, I 
presume, have seen large boats Jilled with such children, 
coming down the river for open sale at Calcutta ; nor can you 
be ignorant that most of them were stolen from their parents, 
or bought, perhaps, for a measure of rice in a time of scarcity; 
and that the sale itself is a defiance of this government, by 
violating one of its positive orders, which was made some 
years ago, after a consultation of the most reputable Hindoos 
in Calcutta, who condemned such a traffic as repugnant to 
their shastra. The number of small houses, in which these 
victims are pent, makes it indeed very difficult for the settle 
ment at large to be apprized of their condition ; and, if the 
sufferers knew where or how to complain, their very com 
plaints may expose them to still harsher treatment to be tor 
tured, if remanded, or if set at liberty, to starve. Be not 
discouraged by the difficulty of your inquiries ; your vigilance 
cannot but surmount it; and one great example of a just 
punishment, not capital, will conduce more to the prevention 
of similar cruelties, than the strongest admonition or the 
severest verbal reproof. Should the slave-holders, through 
hardness of heart, or confidence in their places of conceal 
ment, persist in their crimes, you will convince them, that 
their punishment will certainly follow their offence, and the 
most hardened of them will, no doubt, discontinue the 

In 1H10 a claim was preferred before the court of Sudder 
Dewanny Adawlut, for the restoration of some slaves who had 
escaped from Nepaul, and sought an asylum in the British 
territory. Nine slaves were stated to have been purchased 
for 220 rupees. This sum was given by the British Govern 
ment, and the slaves liberated. The depositions of two or 
three of them shew the cruel nature of slavery in Nepaul. 

" Jecwee acknowledged that he was a slave, but alleged that, being em 
ployed in cultivating, and receiving nothing from the prosecutor, he hud run 
away. He represented that if he should now return to t/ic hills, the prosecu 
tor trould cut off his cam as a punishment for hi a offence. 
acknowledged that she was the slave of the 

Dhunsree acknowledged that shewaa the slave of the prosecutor, saying, 
slit: harintj killed her otrn child, was brought b\f the prosecutor before 
Mccr Singh Tuppa, who gave her to him to keep as his js/atv, that this uw 

* Par. Papers on Slavery in India, p. 10. For an affecting account of a 
slave girl seized at Serampore, see pp. 48 50. 

30 2 SLAVERY. 

the usual punishment for murder in the hilly country: she added, that, 
having received nothing from the prosecutor to eat, she had run off. 

" Joonhee and Lainee also acknowledged that they were slaves, and 
alleged the same reason for having run away from the prosecutor. 

"Oodhree, witness, deposed that Meer Singh Tuppa had given Nathee 
and Dhunsrce to the prosecutor s son as payment of his monthly allowance; 
that Nathee had formerly been the slave of Shoobur Suen, and that Dhunsree, 
having killed her own child, had been given by Meer Singh Tuppa to the 
prosecutor, whose slave she had now been for three years. With respect to 
the other four persons, the prosecutor not having given them any present, 
they had therefore run off. He further stated, that it was the custom of the 
hilly cotintry that, if any woman put to death her new-born infant, she was 
reduced to slavery by the ruler; but, if she be able to give her value to her 
master, he may free her ; and, in case of a dispute regarding the amount of 
the purchase money, it is to be settled on the oath of the master." It is added, 
" that if the slaves were delivered to the prosecutor, he would certainly put 
them to death, on yetting them to their own country."* 

The misery of arbitrary servitude is depicted in a very 
affecting manner, in the Par. Papers relative to thirty-five 
natives of Bengal, who, in 1813, were found in the service of 
Mr. W. Browne, at Sydney, New South Wales ; they were 
discharged by the colonial magistrates, and restored to their 
native country, at the expense of the British Government in 
India.f A few of their depositions before the magistrate are 

" Chotee Lutchman, servant of Mr. Browne I complain of want of food; 
I sometimes got rice, sometimes ottar and wheat, and dhal and corn, the 
same as the rest; I have been ill-treated while I was employed in the store. 
Mr. O Brien tied a rope to me to awake me in case of alarm ; I did not like 
it, and objected to it; Mr. O Brien persisted in it, and then he gave me a 
rope s-ending. I used to do all sorts of work for him ; I got a thrashing for 
throwing some straw out, which offended Mr. O Brien, in consequence of 
which I went up to the farm ; Mr. Browne ordered me back to Sydney, but 
as it rained he allowed me to remain till next day. I got drunk, for which 
Mr. P. Browne put me for three days on short allowance. I ran away in 
the bush; I was not flogged for it. I have worked on Sunday s for myself; 
if the others go home, I want to go also, but if they stop I will not. I had 
two bottles of rum charged to me ; it was watered. I have lost my cast for 
eating victuals of Europeans, because I could get nothing else. 

" Kcereim, a table waiter of Mr. Browne s, sworn on the Koran, saith I 
have to complain of bad and insufficient food. Mrs. Browne agreed I should 
be her table waiter, but, since I have been here, I have been put to the 
work of a groom and chamber-maid, and cooking the dog s victuals. I have 
often received a thump on the face, and a box on the ear, on frivolous occa 
sions. I was once sent for by Lieutenant M Q,uarie to prepare his hookah 
for him. I was told by the ladies to go in my cap ; Mr. Browne asked me 
why I did so, and gave me five or six blows with his fist ; I ran behind a 
cask, where I was so severely beaten that two men came and lifted me up, 
gave me water, took me in the kitchen, and nursed me. I was so beaten 

* Par. Papers on Slavery in India, pp. 1 H>, 120. Sec pp. 243, 244. 
f Sec pp. 367 2JMJ. 


that I lay behind the cask for an hour; Mrs. Browne called out of the win 
dow, Gii* the rascal two or three more kicks. 1 Mr. Browne once gave me 
fifteen strokes with a horse-whip, because I did not get his breakfast ready 
in time; I still bear the marks. Doth Mr. Brownes were up at the farm, 
and I was ordered by Mrs. B. to remove their chamber-pot; I refused to 
do so, and she made me do it, by which I have lost my cast. I applied for 
mv provisions to the man who gives them out ; he kicked me for asking for 
them. I came to Sydney to complain to Mr. Browne, and I was sent to 
the watch-house, brought before Mr. Wentworth, and by him discharged. 
Mr. Browne said he would investigate it; he came up, and gave the men a 
club to beat me with. I agreed for twenty seers of food per month ; I have 
never received that quantity while I was in Sydney; I have received rice 
and ottar, but at the farm 1 had nothing but damaged corn ; Mrs. Browne 
said, Shall I feed these ho;/ s upon rice? .Sometimes we had buttermilk, 
but always three parts of water; Mrs. Browne once said, * You hoy, you y ire 
me nil the little jtotatoes, and keep all the large ones yourself. I once received 
some good flour, but generally bad ; I gave it to the dogs, and complained 
to Mrs. Browne, when she gave me some rather better. I want to go home, 
but, if I had been well-treated, I would have remained twenty years. 

" The memorial of Chamine Dongrinc, and of Charon Munny, respect 
fully shcweth : 

"That both memorialists engaged with Mrs. Browne of Calcutta, to serve 
her in New .South Wales, and have both been employed on Mrs. Browne s 
farm ; but, by reason of cruelty and ill-usage on their mistress s part, they 
pray humbly, but earnestly, to be released from such agreement. The for 
mer memorialist has to complain, that she was employed at field labour, 
such as commonly is done by men in this colony; and, having been put to 
bed of a male infant, she was ordered to return to work by Mrs. Browne, on 
the fifth day after the child wax born ! Upon remonstrating that she was 
not sufficiently strong, Mrs. Browne withheld her victuals; thereby com 
pelling her to go reaping wheat, the infant lying on the ground of the store 
room locked up, which occasioned its death at twenty-one days old, for want 
of milk ! 

" Your memorialist, Charon Munny, has to represent, amongst a con 
tinued length of ill-treatment, that, having been forced to carry a large bra 
zen vessel of great weight, she then being heavy with child, miscarried ; 
the next day Mrs. Browne ordered her to work, such as earning large logs, 
and other loads. Reiving fully on the justice and humanity which distin 
guish every court under British administration, your petitioners submit their 
hardships to your consideration, should the same appear to require such re 
dress as they ask."* 

Of the state of slavery in Malwa, in 1821, Sir John Mal 
colm observes, " Male slaves are few in Mahva, and are 
generally treated more like adopted children than menials. 
Hie case is very different with females, who in almost every 
instance are sold to prostitution ; some, it is true, rise to be 
favourite mistresses of their master, and enjoy both power and 
luxury, while others are raised by the success in life of their 
sons ; but these are exceptions. The dancing women, who 
are all slaves, are condemned to a life of toil and vice, lor the 

* Par. Papers on Slavery in India, pp. 27-1 i7<>, JHl. 


profit of others, and some of the first Rajpoot chiefs and 
zemindars in Malwa, who have from 50 to 200 female slaves 
in their family; after employing them in all the menial labours 
of their house during the day, send them at night to their 
own dwellings, where they are at liberty to form such con 
nexions as they please ; but a large share of the profits of 
that promiscuous intercourse, into which they fall, is annually 
exacted by their masters, who adds any children they have to 
his list of slaves. The female slaves in this condition, as well 
as those of the dancing sets, are not permitted to marry, and 
are often very harshly treated ; so that the latter, from this 
cause and the connexions they form, are constantly in the 
habit of running away. If discovered, they are always given 
up, provided the deed of purchase can be produced ; which 
with them, above all others, must be registered at the cutwall s 
chabootrc at the period the slave is bought. 

"It is not the habit of the native governments of Malwa, to 
take any cognizance of the punishment which masters inflict 
upon slaves, except such extend to their life, when they are 
responsible ; they are in some cases cruelly treated, but this 
is not general ; it is indeed against the interest of the master 
to do so, when there are so many opportunities of escaping 
from his authority. The state of Malwa for the last thirty 
years has been favourable to the species of slavery described, 
and that province is filled with the mixed progeny of these un 
fortunate women. This traffic must however now decrease, 
as the Gwarriahs and others who carried it on, can no longer 
steal or conceal children with that confidence of impunity 
which they had long done. A few years ago, no man dare 
leave his own district to inquire after his wife and daughter ; 
the whole country can now be traversed in safety. From this 
cause, and the discoveries of guilt which have recently been 
made, the stealers of women and children have taken alarm ; 
while the restitution to their relatives of slaves, bought by 
them at high prices, must deter future purchasers."* 

The Committee appointed by the Government of Prince of 
Wales Island, in 1808, to report on the propriety of the 
abolition of slavery, advert to one of the many evils of this 
state of society in the following terms : "Allowing that the 
abolition of slavery might have the effect to retard the increase 
of the population, by partially preventing the arrival of settlers, 
it would benefit the island in another respect more essentially 
by effectually putting a stop to the infamous practice (still 

* Par. Papers, pp. 415, 4 1C. 


existing, notwithstanding every effort and regulation of 
Government) of purchasing females for the purpose ol hiring 
them, and compelling them to ply as public prostitutes, 
and enable many industrious Chinese and others to obtain 
wives, whom this infamous practice has hitherto prevented 
(the great gain resulting from it, enabling the bawds to pur 
chase these females at most extravagant prices) ; and conse 
quently by connecting these Chinese and others more per 
manently, through the medium of families, with the settlement, 
will not only much improve the character of the community, 
but tend ultimately to afford a more certain source of increase 
of population than from casual residents."* 

The evils of slavery in the Island of Nias, near Sumatra, are 
forcibly depicted in an article from the Singapore Chronicle; 

"The circumstances that attend the traffic of slaves are no less revolting to 
humanity, than those which marked it on the coast of Africa. The unhappy 
victims torn hy violence from their friends and country, and delivered, 
pinioned hand and foot, to the dealers in human flesh, are kept bound during 
the whole course of the voyage a precaution which is found necessary to 
the safety of the crew. Instances have occurred, where the captives have 
seized a moment of liberty, to snatch up the first weapon within their reach, 
stab all whom they encountered, and complete the scene by leaping overboard, 
and voluntarily seeking a watery death ! The sudden change of diet to 
which they are subjected on board a ship, added to the confinement and 
dejection of mind, prove fatal to many. Of a cargo of third/ slaves, twenty 
have been known to perish before the conclusion of the voyage; and on a 
moderate calculation it may be estimated, that, of the total number pur 
chased, one-fourth never reach their destination. 

" On the scenes of violence that take place in the country itself, in the 
search of victims, it is needless to dwell ; they can be better imagined than 
described. We shall relate one well authenticated instance, given by an 
eye-witness. A plan had been laid to attack a single insulated house, in 
habited by a man, his wife, and children, and to sei/e the whole family. At 
the appointed hour the house was surrounded ; the man no sooner discover 
ed his situation, and saw that there was no escape, than he locked himself 
in the inner apartment, drew his kris, killed first his wife and children, and 
then plunged it into his own breast, preferring death to a life of slavery! 

" Independently of the habits of cruelty and rapine, which the slave trade- 
tends to infuse, the exorbitant profits it holds out, create an aversion to the 
slower advantages of legitimate commerce and agricultural labour. In 
order to convey their produce to the sea-ports, the inhabitants of the interior 
are obliged to unite in parties of several hundreds, all completely armed, 
and, with their loads of rice on their hacks, descend in order of battle to the 
shores to dispose of it ; such is the general insecurity and distrust, that the 
husbandman goes armed to his labour in the fields, they select the most 
difficult situations for their villages, and construct their houses with every 
precaution against surpriscs."f 

* Par. Papers, p. 441. t See Imp. Mag., Jan. 1830. For 

an account of the misery of slavery in the Isle of France, see Memoir of 
Mr>. Judson, p. 81, respecting a Burmese female slave; see also p. 300 



Slavery in Cape Colony, is thus described by a modern 
writer : " The timid silent step with which the young slave 
girl enters the room the subdued tone in which the message 
is delivered her looks of apathy, where all the warm stirring 
blood of youth seems tamed down; and when I have gazed 
upon dark lustreless eyes that were born to flash, and upon 
the listless form that was born to bound, I could not but feel, 
that the being before me was bowed down that all the ener 
gies which liberty would have called forth, were crushed 
beneath the severity of her lot. In travelling, when stopping 
at a Boor s house, I remember thanking a slave girl for some 
trifling service, when she turned to her companion, with a 
look of more than surprise, and they both burst into uncon 
trollable laughter laughter, that to my ear, " had no mirth in 
it;" for it told of a state in which blows might follow the 
non-performance of any command ; but to which thanks were 
an unknown sound. All this is characteristic of slavery, and 
strikes an Englishman from its strong contrast with the re 
spectful, yet cheerful manners of the servants of this country." 

Many pages of the Par. Documents on East India Slavery 
are occupied in detailing the state of the slaves in Malabar ; 
especially in the investigation of the conduct of a Mr. Browne, 
of Anjarakandy, towards his slaves (see pp. 560 790). A 
few extracts only can be given of the examinations of these 
slaves, taken by the Magistrate of Zillah North Malabar. 

" I was with five children who were tending cattle, and while at play two 
mopillas seized me and took me that very night to Aloppi, where they gave 
me to Assen Ally, who sent me in a moonchoo to Mahe ; thence I was sent 
to Anjarakandy, where they made me eat Pooliars food; before, if I should 
be defiled by Pooliars, I must wash myself. I am not willing to return to 
Anjarakandy, if I can be admitted again to my cast; I wish to go to my 
country. My house name is Tekkadati. 

" My tambooran is Panakada Canden ; I was asleep at night when Pana- 
parambil Pamikaree seized and brought me away, and gave me to Ayeca- 
gata Shut Moidun, who gave me to a Sahib at Cochin ; thence I was put in a 
moonchoo and landed at Chetwa; whence Coony Pareay and Bappen 
brought me by land to the Sahib, at the Bangsaul of Anjarakandy, twelve 
other poliars who were also brought with me, are now here. 

" I was at work, when, without the knowledge of my tambooran and poo- 
lian (husband), myself and two of my children, Dampan and Kanda, were 
seized by Eddacatta Vudeen,moplaand some others, and brought to Cochin, 
detained there eleven days, and then given to Walladara who brought us in 
a manchoo and landed us at Chitwa. Besides myself there were eleven 
others, whence two moplas of Mahe, named Coony Parray and Bappen, 
brought us to Anjarakandy, and made us stay with a Sahib; those eleven 
that were brought with me are present here."* 

Par. Papers, pp. 005, G09. G13. 


"Nothing can be more abject and wretched (says T. 1J, 
Baber, Esq., Magistrate in Malabar, in 1813,) than the con 
dition of that degraded race of mortals, the slaves of Malabar, 
1 whose huts (to us the words of Mr. Francis Buchanan in his 
tour through Malabar) are little better flian mere baskets, 
and whose diminutive stature, and squalid appearance, 
evident I ij shew a want of adequate nourishment. 1 * 

" The slave alone (says Mr. Grieme in his Report of Mala 
bar, lH->2) has his sieve of a lint in the centre of the rice lands ; 
but on the coast at least, he is an industrious, and not an un 
intelligent being, in good condition, and nothing deficient in 
bodily frame. In the interior, he is a wretched, half-starved, 
diminutive creature, stinted in his food, and exposed to the 
inclemencies of the weather, whose state demands that com 
miseration and amelioration which may confidently be expect 
ed from the humanity of the British Government, provided it 
can be shewn, that a change for the better can be effected 
without hazarding an evil of any formidable magnitude ; with 
out incurring the risk of general discontent, or exciting a 
worse feeling towards the objects themselves, by an unsuc 
cessful endeavour to mitigate their ill treatment. The slaves 
of Malabar, known generally by the name of chermurs, are 
entirely pratdial, or rustic, being engaged only in the culti 
vation of rice lands and plantations. I except, of course, the 
Mussulmans, who may be domestic slaves, and live in the 
houses of their masters, and partake of all the privileges of 
their religion. This kind of slavery is a social fraternity, and 
is a step to the best comforts, and the highest honours of life 
among Mussulmans. It is totally dissimilar, in every essential 
point, to the servitude of the chermur, which is the most 
prevalent designation of the slaves of Malabar."f 

" In the Calicut district, there is an anomaly in the general 
system among the Paliur, the Kulladee, and the Kunnakur, 
which are the only three casts of slaves residing there. There 
is a mixture of the two customs of mukkatayum and murroo 
mukkatayum, that is, the one or the other does not obtain 
separately in different families in the district, but in all the 
families throughout the district the inheritance partakes of 
the two modes ; and, half of the children are considered to 
go with the mother^ and consequently to belong to her pro 
prietor, and half to be attached to the father, and therefore 
to be the property of his master. 11 here the number may 
not admit of an equal division, the odd number is reckoned 

Pur Paper*, pp. TOO, 7JI. 
\ > 


to be the mothers The wife of a Paliuin, and of all the 
casts who observe the murroo mukkatayum, may be sold 
separately, and may there fore belong to a different master from 
the master of her husband, but she cannot be separated from 
her husband ; she must be allowed to remain with him ; she 
is purchased separately in consideration of her future offspring, 
which, bv the custom of murroo mukkatayum, would become 
the property of her purchaser. In the other casts, the females 
are not separately saleable, neither the wife nor her female 
children. The daughters become the temporary property of 
the masters of their husbands ; but this right of property ceases 
upon the death of the husband, and the wife returns to the 
house of her father. The rules of Malabar prescribe that a 
slave of the cast of Poleyan, Waloovan, and Brayen, shall 
remain seventy-two paces from a Bramin and from a Nair, and 
forty-eight from a Tean. A slave of the Kunakur cast sixty- 
four paces from a Bramin and Nair, and forty from a Tean ; 
and the other casts generally forty-eight paces from a Bramin 
and Nair, twenty-four from a Tean ! In the northern division 
these rules are deviated from in practice, in favour of the 
slaves ; whilst in the southern division, they are thought to be 
exceeded in strictness."* 

One of the Malabar Magistrates, in 1823, suggested that, 
on account of " certain instances of cruelty practised on slaves 
by their masters, the forfeiture of the right of property over 
slaves should be made the penalty for ill usage." Slaves ap 
pear occasionally to have their noses cut off by their cruel mas 
ters. "Adverting (says one of the Judges) to the facts elicited 
during the foregoing trial, it will no longer be denied that 
cruelties are practised upon the slaves of Malabar ; and 
that our courts and cutcherries are no restraints upon their 
owners or employers. Whatever doubts may exist with re 
gard to the exact period of the death of the Cherooman 
Koorry Noryady, or to the immediate cause of his death, 
there can be none as to the fact, of his nose /taring been am 
putated, as well as those of three other slaves belonging to the 
same owner ; and that, although the case had come before 
the Magistrate, no steps have been taken to bring the perpe 
trators of such horrid barbarities to justice. Upon the latter 
head it maybe argued that the slaves themselves preferred no 
complaint : but, if it is to depend upon the slaves themselves, 
to seek for the protection of the laws, their situation must be 
hopeless indeed ; for, having no means of subsistence, inde- 

* Par. Papers, p. 020. 


pendent of their owners or employers, their repairing to and 
attending upon a public cutcherry is a thing physically 
impossible ; and even though those provisions of the regula 
tions, that require all complaints to be preferred in writing, 
were dispensed with in favour of slaves, and they were ex 
empted from the payment of tolls at the numerous ferries they 
would have to pass, and though an allowance were made to 
them by government during their detention at the cutcherries 
and courts, unless forfeiture of the r ujht of property over slaves 
was the penalty for ill usage, their situation would only be 
come more intolerable than it was before they complained."* 
The last page but one of the Par. Papers contain the following 
remarks respecting the misery of slavery in British India. 
"The second Judge makes mention of two cases tried in Ca- 
nara, wherein the accused were charged with causing the 
death of their slaves by severe chastisement, which, he states, 
induced him to make inquiry at Mangalore, regarding the 
prevailing custom in instances where the slave of one master 
marries the slave of another ; and particularly whether their 
respective owners can prevent them from living together. 
The second Judge remarks that the frequent absence from 
his master s work, which occasioned the deceased s chastise 
ment in one of the above cases, was owing to visits to his 
wife, who resided at a distance on her master s estate, who 
would not allow her to lire with her husband. lie was told 
that it is usual for the female slave to reside with her husband, 
and, if his residence be at such a distance as to prevent her 
from coming to work daily at her master s house, the master 
of the husband must indemnify her owner by the pavment, 
annually, of half a moorah of rice ; but, if the master should 
employ the female at his own house, he must employ also her 
husband, whose owner he must indemnify bv the payment 
annually of one moorah of rice. Die Judge offers his opinion 
that the Magistrate should correctly inform himself on this 
point, and be required under the authority of Government, 
after due notice given, to enforce the obligation on the part of 
the owners, to allow their married slaves to live together. 
The court of Foujdaree Adawlut are of opinion that the in 
terference here proposed to be exercised by the Magistrate, 
could not be put in practice without the enactment of a Re 
gulation for that purpose; and they are not prepared to sug 
gest provisions with this view which would br free from 
objection; should, however, the Honourable the Governor in 

* Par. Papers on Slavery, p. r2. 



council deem it fit to give effect to the humane recommenda 
tion of the Judge, it may be in the power of the provincial 
court, in communication with the Magistrates in the provinces 
of Malabar and Canara, 1o devise a mode to prevent the sepa 
ration of married slaves, without any violation of rights, 
which the established usages in this respect confer"* 

This chapter may be closed, by contrasting "the effects of 
slavery, with those of voluntary servitude, under a system of 
liberty," as described by the Judge of Bundlecund. 


" 1. It is the constant object of the 
master, to get the greatest quantity 
of labour at the cheapest rate ; con 
sequently lie stints the slave in fond 
and raiment. It may be urged, by 
clothing and feeding well, the slave 
would be strong, and better able to 
endure fatigue, but it is the constant 
practice of avarice, by short-sighted 
policy, to counteract its own wishes : 
a trifling immediate advantage being 
generally preferred to much more 
essential objects, if more remote. 

2. It is the uniform endeavour of 
the slave to mitigate the hardship of 
his lot by evading toil, which brings 
him no advantage. 

3. The slave, finding himself sub 
ject to capricious treatment and 
change of masters, will seldom add 
the cares of providing for a family of 
children to his other woes, and con 
sequently avoids marriage. 

4. In their old age, it is the mas 
ter s interest to get rid of the feeble, 
who eat but cannot labour ; conse 
quently the worn down slave is neg 
lected, and perishes for want of care, 
having no family or children to ease 
the pains of sickness, or prop the 
weakness of decline, by the soothing 
attention of filial duty. 

5. In times of scarcity and famine, 
the master must starve his slaves, 


1. The same object actuates the 
master here also, but the servant being 
free to stipulate, his interest coun 
teracts that of the other, and the 
contest reduces and establishes the 
price of labour to its just rate; that 
is, it allows the servant to provide 
for himself and family, and leaves 
the master a competent profit. 

2. It is the general wish of servants 
to satisfy their masters, that they may 
not lose their employment; or, if their 
services are no longer requisite, to 
entitle them to a recommendation. 

3. The servant knowing he can 
dispose of his earnings as he pleases, 
and being provided with a fund for 
the provision of a wife, <S:c., will 
marry ; thus the slate reaps benefit 
by the increase of population. 

4. Under voluntary servitude, by 
the time old age approaches, many 
have saved a little from the rewards 
of their services, to assist in softening 
the hardships of sickness and debility, 
&c. ; and almost all, having married 
and added to the general stock of 
industry and riches, have some chil 
dren to soothe the evening of life. 
Though this may have little weight in 
thescaleof political reasoning, it ought 
to have some in that of humanity. 

5. In scarcity, a servant is not 
harder to subsist than a slave; he 

Par. Papers on Slavery in India, pp. 935, i)3(>. 



send them to plunder, or emancipate 
them. The latter, his avarice will 
never permit. 

6. When slaves can sell them 
selves or their children, numbers are 
induced to flock to great towns and 
cities, where many die from disap 
pointed expectation, who would other 
wise pick up a scanty subsistence in 
scattered villages. 

will not eat more, and, having his 
wages, he is better enabled to evade 
the effects of famine, by making 
timely provision for its approach. 

6. Were slavery abolished, this 
evil could not happen : knowing 
they could not sell themselves or 
children, the v would not be tempted to 
cities in sucL numbers; having only 
a precarious charity to rely on, they 
would substitute manv modes of sup 
plying a mere sustenance, from ber 
ries, herbs, <Scc. 

7. Were voluntary servitude sub 
stituted for slavery, avarice, real or 
mistaken, could not affect population . 

7. It would appear to be the ad 
vantage of masters, to promote the 
rearing of their slaves. This, like 
many other theoretic ideas, is found 
to be fallacious, and contradicted by 
fact. The expense of rearing, and 
the loss incurred by the indispensa 
ble attendance of the parents on their 
offspring, has always made proprie 
tors prefer recruiting casual diminu 
tions of their slaves by purchase; 
even in Rome, where slavery was 
universal. How much more will 
masters avoid such trouble and ex 
pense in India, where I have seen, 
in a time of local scarcity only, a 
stout lad of fourteen or fifteen years 
old, sold for the trilling consideration 
of two rupees, scarcely a month s 
wages for the meanest servant. 

8. Women of bad fame purchase 
females for the most public prostitu 
tion, which are thereby lost to the 

9. Children are sometimes sold in 
to bondage by the villany of others, 
in the case of death or absence of 
parents, instances of which are not 

10. The sanction of slavery, not 
many years ago, gave birth to an in 
famous traflic, and as injurious to 
our government as disgraceful to 
those concerned, diminishing our re 
sources, by depriving us of subjects." 

"The effects of slavery are as plainly injurious, as the be 
nefits of freedom are obvious and undoubted."* 

8. Abolish the unnatural law of 
slavery, and the evil could not occur. 

!>. Nor this. 

10. Nor this. 

* Par. Papers, pp. 301303. 


CHAP. ii. 

Nature and success of efforts for the abolition of the Slave 
Trade in India melioration of Slavery by the Hindoos, 
Mussulmans, French, Dutch, and British. 

The abolition of the Slave Trade, by the British nation, 
was attended with very salutary effects in British India, It 
is pleasing to trace the influence of just and humane princi 
ples in the abolition of the Slave Trade in our Eastern domi 
nions ; and the nature of the efforts, though partial, to melio 
rate the existing state of slavery in those extensive territories. 

Lord Cornwallis, Governor General of India, in a letter to 
the Court of Directors in 1789, states his detestation of 
slavery, and his purpose to suppress it as far as he was able. 
" An infamous traffic has, it seems, long been earned on in 
this country by the low Portuguese, and even by several 
foreign European seafaring people and traders, in purchasing 
and collecting native children in a clandestine manner, 
and exporting them for sale to the French islands, and other 
parts of India. I have, at different times, taken steps to pre 
vent the continuance of practices which are so shocking to 
humanity, and so pernicious to your interests. And, in order 
to deter all persons under the authority of this government, 
from being concerned in that species of trade, I lately directed 
that a commander of a country vessel, who carried off some 
children last winter, should be prosecuted criminally before 
the Supreme Court ; and I have likewise published a procla 
mation, to give notice that any person living under the Com 
pany s protection, or in any shape under the authority of this 
government, who shall be convicted of carrying on, or aiding, 
or abetting the barbarous traffic that I have mentioned, will 
be certain of meeting with the most exemplary punishment. 

" There are many obstacles in the way against abolishing 
slavery entirely in the Company s dominions, as the number 
of slaves is considerable, and the practice is sanctioned both 
by the Mahomedan and Hindoo laws. I have, however, a 
plan* under consideration, which I hope to be able to execute 
without doing much injury to the private interests, or offering 
great violence to the feelings of the natives, and which has 
for its object the abolition of the practice under certain limi- 

* " No further notice of the plan, here adverted to by his Lordship, has 
been traced upon the records of the Bengal Government." 


tations, and the establishing some regulations to alleviate, as 
much as may be possible, the misery of those unfortunate 
people during the time that they may be retained in that 
wretched situation."* 

A Proclamation was made in the same year, and was 
" published in the English and country languages." Refer 
ring to the period at which it was issued, this document must 
be read with considerable interest. See the Proclamation at 
the foot of the page. 

44 PROCLAMATION. Whereas information, the truth of which cannot be 
doubted, has been received by the Governor General in Council, that many 
Natives, and some Europeans, in opposition to the laws and ordinances of 
this country, and the dictates of humanity, have been for a lone; time in the 
practice of purchasing or collecting Natives of both sexes, children as well 
as adults, for the purpose of exporting them as slaves in different parts of 
India, or elsewhere: and whereas the Governor General in Council is de 
termined to exert to the utmost extent the power vested in him, in order to 
prevent such practice in future, and to deter, by the most exemplary punish 
ment, those persons who are not to be otherwise restrained from commit 
ting the offence: his Lordship hereby declares, that all and every person or 
persons, subject to the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, or in any respect 
to the authority of this government, who shall in future be concerned directly 
or indirectly in the above mentioned inhuman and detestable traffic, shall 
be prosecuted with the utmost rigour, in the Supreme Court, at the expense 
of the Company, and, if British born subjects, shall be forthwith ordered to 
Kurope; or, if such person or persons be not subject to the Court s jurisdic. 
tion, lie or thev, upon information being given to the Magistrate of the 
place or district in which the offence shall have been committed, shall be 
apprehended by him and kept in confinement, to be dealt with according to 
the laws of the country. 

"And also, that no one may plead ignorance hereof, the Superintendents 
of the police for the town of Calcutta, and the magistrates of Adawluls, in 
the several parts of the country, are hereby required to give immediate no- 
lice of this proclamation in such manner as shall render the knowledge of 
it universal to persons of all description, and to refteat the same on the first 
day of January in every year ; they are further directed to pay the strictest 
attention to the Regulations contained in it, audio take the most active 
steps in their power to enforce them. 

"And that all persons offending against this proclamation may be brought 
to punishment for the same, and the unhappy sufferers rescued from miscrv, 
a reward of one Inindred sicca rupees is hereby offered for the discovery of 
every offender, to be paid on his conviction before the Supreme Court of 
Judicature, or before the Magistrate of the District, and of // /// rupees for 
such person of either sex, who shall be delivered from slavery, or illegal 
confinement in consequence of such discovery. The money will be paid to 
the informer or informers <u his or their application to the Secretary of 
government, and presenting to him a certificate of the conviction of the |>cr- 
son or persons committing the offence, of which such informer or informers 
made discovery. 

* Par. Paper*, p. 13. 


It is pleasing at this period to seethe French authorities in 
India co-operating with the British, in suppressing this trade in 
human beings. " We understand," says the Calcutta Gazette 
in Sep. 1789, " Monsieur Montigny, Governor of Chanderna- 
gore, has lately issued a proclamation prohibiting all persons 
within the jurisdiction of the French Government, from pur 
chasing or transporting any of the Natives of these provinces 
as slaves ; and, in order more effectually to prevent this in 
famous practice, a reward of forty rupees is offered to any 
person who shall give information of the offender, besides the 
sum of ten rupees to be given to each slave who shall be 
released in consequence. Both sums to be paid by the offender. 
The master attendant of Chandemagore is also directed to 
see that no Native be embarked, without an order signed by 
the Governor; and all captains of vessels trading to the port 
of Chandemagore are strictly prohibited from receiving any 
Natives on board. Nothing can reflect greater honour on the 
humanity of Monsieur Montigny, and the liberal policy of the 
French Government, than the above order; and we have no doubt 
this co-operation with the measures already taken by our own 
government, will put an effectual stop to this odious traffic."* 

" The Governor General iu Council further recommends to British com 
mercial houses, and private merchants, to assist, as far as depends upon 
them, in carrying these regulations into effect, by taking the most effectual 
means in their power to prevent the commanders of their ships or vessels, 
or of ships or vessels consigned to them, or otherwise placed under their 
directions, from carrying away natives of this country in order to sell them 
for slaves. 

" The master attendant of this port is hereby forbidden to grant in future 
an English pilot to any ship or vessel, the commander of which shall not 
have previously declared upon oath, that there are not then on board, and he 
will not, during his continuance in the river, consent to receive on board, 
any natives to be exported as slaves, with an intent to dispose of them at 
some foreign place, or whom he has any reason to imagine will be disposed 
of as such after they leave this country. 

" And the master attendant is hereby directed to give notice to all the 
native pilots, that if they should pilot out any vessel, having on board natives 
of this description, knowing or believing them to be such, the privilege of 
piloting will be taken from them for ever, and their names and offence re 
gistered. And, that no one may plead ignorance of this order, it is hereby 
directed that it be placed constantly in view at the Banksaul, in the English 
and country languages. 

Proclaimed at Fort William, in Bengal, this 22nd day of July, 1789. 
By order of the Governor General in Council, 

(Signed) E. HAY, Secretaiy to the Government.^ 

* Par. Papers, pp. 18, 10. See also in 1791, pp. 34, 487, 4U3, 520. 
f Par. Papers on Slavery in India, p. 22. 


Sonic free Natives of Bengal having been taken to St. Helena, 
and sold as slaves, the practice was prohibited by authority. 
The Hon. Court of Directors, in a Letter to the Governor 
General in 1793, observe "It having been stated in the 
letter to you from the Governor and Council of St. Helena, 
in July, 1701, that they have heard of other complaints 
of the Natives of Bengal, who were free, having been 
unjustly sold on that Island, we direct that you cause an ad 
vertisement to be issued for the discovery thereof, and that 
you take the most effectual means for liberating such as may 
be under this unfortunate predicament ; and for putting a stop 
to a practice so disgraceful to humanity, reporting your pro 
ceedings for our information."* To secure the return of 
Native sen-ants, proceeding from Bengal to Europe, it was 
determined by the Government that a bond of 1000 rupees 
should be given for each individual. " The humane pin*pose 
of this bond," says the Hon. Court, in 1796, "is sufficient to 
ensure our approbation of the measure." 

The murder of a slave, under the Bengal Government, is 
made a capital offence. In 1799 was issued "A Regulation 
for certain Modifications of the Mahomedan IAIIC in cases of 
Murder." It enjoins " In every case of wilful murder, where 
in the crime may appear to the court of Nizaniut Adawlut to 
have been fully established against the prisoner, but the futwa 
of the law officers of that court shall declare the prisoner not 
liable under the Mahomedan law to suffer death by kissans, 
(or retaliation), solely on the ground of the prisoner s being 
father or mother, grandfather or grandmother, or other ancestor 
of the slain ; or of the heirs of the slain, or one of the heirs of 
the slain, being the child, or grandchild, or other descendant 
of the prisoner ; or of the slain having been the slave of the 
prisoner or of any other person, or a slave appropriated for the 
service of the public ; or on any similar ground of personal 
distinction and exception from the general rules of equal jus 
tice ; the court of Nizamut Adawlut, provided they see no 
circumstances in the case which may render the prisoner a 
proper object of mercy, shall sentence him to suffer death, as 
if the futwa of their law officers had declared him liable to 
kissciHs, or to suffer death by seaziit, as authorized by the Ma 
homedan law in all cases of wilful murder, under the discre 
tion vested in the Magistrate, with regard to this principle of 
punishment, for the ends of public justice. "f 

* Par. Paper?, p. 4,0. Uy a recent Regulation all persons horn on the 
I .-land arc free. | Par. Papers on Slavery in India, p. 7(5. 


In 1796 a communication was addressed to the Governor of 
Bombay, from the Sultan and Chiefs of the island of Johanna, 
praying for assistance against the incursions of the French 
and the Madagascar people, who destroyed and enslaved the 
inhabitants. They offer to " give these islands to the Com 
pany," and that " whatever shall be produced in this country, 
half shall be for you and the other half for us." In consider 
ation of the friendly treatment which ships invariably received, 
at Johanna, some assistance was given to these islanders.* In 
1813 an application was made to Bombay, by the Sultan of 
Johanna, respecting some persons who had been earned from 
the island to the Mauritius by the French, and there reduced 
to slavery. The Hon. Court of Directors very humanely re 
mark, upon the proceedings of the Indian Government, 
" With respect to the circumstance alleged by the King of 
Johanna, of certain persons, his subjects, having been carried 
by the French to Mauritius, and there made slaves, we en 
tirely approve of your suggestion to the Governor of the 
Mauritius, for the purchase of such individuals, if in a state 
of slavery ; and likewise of your further application to the 
Governor of Mauritius, respecting several natives of our Indian 
provinces of both sexes, being in a state of slavery on that 
island, and requesting his assistance in obtaining their release, 
or in purchasing their freedom, and charging the expense to 
your Government." f 

In 1811 an important "Regulation for prevent in (j the im 
portation of slaves from foreign countries, and the sale of 
slaves in the Territories immediately dependent on the Pre 
sidency of Fort William" was passed by the Vice President 
in Council. Copies of the regulation were ordered to be cir 
culated among the officers of the Bengal Government, and also 
forwarded to those of Fort St. George, and Bombay. It was 
also resolved, that this "Regulation be sent to the political 
department, in order that a communication may be made to 
any of the Native States, which it may be deemed proper to 
apprize of the purport of the Regulation. ^ 

The Resident at Delhi, in 1812, C. T. Metcalfe, Esq., 
actively prosecuted the humane measures of the Government. 
He wrote to the Chief Secretary as follows: "The slave 
trade, which has been prohibited for a considerable time in 
the other provinces in the British dominions in India, continued 
to exist in the district of Delhi subsequently to its abolition in 

See the letters, \\hich are very interesting documents, pp. 828-4. 
I Par. Papers on Slavery in India, p. 224. | See p. !>0. 


other places, no local orders having been issued for its discon 
tinuance ; and, in consequence, the resort of slave merchants 
to this quarter was becoming more frequent than ever. Being 
convinced, that it was not the intention of Government; that 
this iniquitous traffic should be encouraged in any part of its 
territories ; satisfied rather that it was, and is, its earnest de 
sire to abolish so abominable a commerce ; I consider myself 
to be only fulfilling the manifest intentions of the Right Hon 
ourable the Governor General in Council, /;/ putting a stojt 
tu the sale of human beings in the town and country of Delhi. 
I have accordingly proclaimed the orders of Government for 
the abolition of the slave trade.* 1 * 

The officers of the " Ncpaul admistration, in 1811 requested 
the co-operation of the British Government, in their measures 
towards an amelioration of the situation of the inhabitants of 
the mountains." The co-operation requested was cheerfully 
granted. f 

The proceedings in India, are particularly worthy of notice, 
as it respects the bearing of the Act of Parliament, passed in 
the fifty-first year of his Majesty George III. commonly called 
the ft/are Felony Act, or "An Act for rendering wore effec 
tual an Act made in the forty-seventh year of ///.<? Afajestifg 
reif/n, intituled, l An Act for the Abolition of the Slare Trade. " 
Two hundred copies of this important act were printed in 
Calcutta, and duly circulated. A Letter to the Chief Secre 
tary at Fort St. George, and a similar one to Bombay, shew 
the sense taken of this act in India. See this important 
communication at the foot of the page. 

"The exact nature of the traflic in slaves, mentioned by you to be carried 
on from Travancore, not being stated in your letter, the Governor General 
in Council is of course precluded from forming a judgment, whether that 
traftic falls within the purview of the Act of the ;>1 Geo. III. c. 23, intituled, 
"An Act for rendering more elfectual an Act made in the forty-seventh year 
of his Majesty s reign, intituled, An Act for the Abolition of the Slave 
Trade. " With respect to that particular point, his Lordship in Council can 
only observe, that he. does not consider the pronirioiu of the Act in question * 
applicable to the importation or removal of slaves by land. It having been 
deemed proper, however, to consider maturely the measures which should 
be pursued by the local governments of this country, with respect to the 
above mentioned statute, the following is the purport of the resolutions 
adopted by the Governor General in Council on that subject. 

"The provisions of the Act being highly penal in their operation, and its 
object highly important, the Governor General in Council has considered it 
proper to order a copy of it to be published in the Calcutta Ga/ette, for 

Par. Papers on Slavery in India, p. 101. 
f Par. Papers, p. 115. 


The Bombay Government, in 1813, issued a "Regulation 
for preventing the importation of slaves from foreign countries, 
and the sale of such slaves, in the territories immediately 
dependent on the Presidency of Bombay."* A difference of 
opinion upon the application of this act to India has been 
entertained ; that of the Advocate General of Bombay, H. G. 
Macklin, Esq., is expressed in the following terms, in a letter 
to the Secretary to Government: 

" With great deference to the opinion of the Right Honourable the Go 
vernor General in Council, I think the Act extends to importation by land 
as well as sea. In the preamble it is recited, that it is fit such measures 
should l)e extended, to the effectual abolition of the slave trade wheresoever 
it may be attempted to practise the same ; and, in the enacting part im 
mediately following, If any person residing or being in any of the Islands, 
&c., or Territories under the government of the United Company of Mer 
chants trading to the East Indies, shall, &c., carry away or remove, &c., as 
a slave or slaves, &c., any person or persons whatsoever from any part of 

general information. In like manner, his Lordship in Council has directed 
copies of the Act to be forwarded to the local governments of Bombay, Java, 
of Prince of Wales Island, of Mauritius, of Ceylon, and the Residents at the 
Moluccas, and at Fort Maryborough. On the same principle, copies of the 
statute will be forwarded to the magistrates of Chittagong and Cuttack (the 
only sea ports, excepting Calcutta, in Bengal), in order that in their capacity 
of justices of the peace, under the law of England, they may aid in enforc 
ing the provisions of the statute. 

"The Governor in Council, at Fort St. George, is aware that a Regulation 
was some time ago passed at this Presidency, for preventing the importation 
of slaves from foreign countries. Inquiries will be made, with the view of 
ascertaining whether the provisions of that Regulation have been effectual 
in preventing that species of traffic ; if not, a further Regulation will be 
passed without loss of time, establishing severer penalties for the infringe 
ment of the prohibition now existing under the Regulation above noticed, 
of the importation of slaves from foreign countries, in conformity to the 
spirit of the statute, to which the foregoing remarks allude. In like manner, 
the Governor General in Council begs leave to recommend that a Regulation be 
passed, at Fort St. George, for preventing the importation of slaves by land 
into the territories subject to that Presidency, under such penalties as the Go 
vernor in Council may deem fully adequate to the prevention of that traffic. 

" The foregoing remarks, it is presumed, will inform the Governor in 
Council sufficiently of the construction annexed by the Governor General in 
Council to the Act of the 51 Geo. II F. c. 23, and of the measures which 
it has been judged necessary to adopt at this Presidency. It is scarcely 
necessary to add, that his Lordship in Council is of opinion that similar 
measures should be adopted by the government of Fort St. George, with 
such modifications as local circumstances may suggest, without of course 
departing from the principle on which the measures above detailed are 
founded. I have, &c. 

G. Dowdeswell, Sec. to Government Judicial Department. 
Fort William, Sept. 26th, 1812.f 

* Par. Papers, p. 216. | p. 137. 


Africa, or from any other country, territory, or place whatsoever; or shall 
import or bring, &c., into any island, colony, country, territory, or place 
whatsoever, any such persons as aforesaid, for the purpose aforesaid ; then 
in every such case, &c., the persons so offending, \c., are declared to be 

"This enactment is taken verbatim from the statute, and appears to me, 
to comprehend every possible case of the importation (that is, the introduc 
tion) oi slaves into British Territories. The act is highly penal, and I have 
great satisfaction in observing that his Lordship in Council is resolved to 
lay before the Hon. Court the difliculti s which attend carrying the penal 
part of the statute into execution in India, where slavery is of a much milder 
feature than in the western hemisphere. The manumission of the slave will 
be sufficiently provided for by the regulation, and the King s Courts may act 
upon the statute in cases of aggravation or enormity."* It is unnecessary 
to enlarge upon the importance of this view of the subject. It is evident, 
that the abolition of the slave trade, both in the West and the East Indies, 
is not the abolition of slavery. It prevents the increase of slaves, but leaves 
those already in slavery nearly in the same state that they were. 

A Proclamation against the slave trade was issued by the 
Government in Madras, in March 1790, similar to the one 
issued by the Marquis Cornwallis, in 1789.f 

It is grateful to see the Dutch authorities in India, at this 
period, co-operating with the British, in suppressing the de 
testable traffic in human beings. The following letter was 
addressed to the Governor of Madras, in 1793: "Favoured 
with your Honour s letter, we cannot indeed emphatically 
enough express our indignation and aversion, with regard to 
so horrible an event, as the exportation of 180 natives from 
Bimlipatam, as slaves, in a French brigantine bound to the 
French islands ; which, however, according to the declaration 
that came enclosed, was surprised and taken at Pedir by the 
Malays, who killed all those that were on board of her, and 
did not escape out of their hands. 

"To shew how much the exportation of the unhappy 
creatures merits our disgrace, we shall renew, in the strongest 
manner, our orders to our northern factories, to oppose such 
inhuman practice ; not only in our subjects, but also with all 
possible diligence in strangers, in case they should think our 
territory a safe place for it ; with a charge to deliver the un 
happy creatures out of the hands of those who will not desist, 
but are refractory, either by good or forcible means, and to 
send them to one of your agents there, for the protection of 
their liberty, and the benefit of their support. We feel the 
propriety of your Honour s resolution, that such kidnapping 
may be prevented, to check it with exemplary punishment ; 

Par. Papers on Slavery in India, pp. 2H>, 217. 
f See Par. Papers as above, pp. -16!>, 170. 


and, in case any of our subjects transgress the orders instituted 
against it, they shall be seized and delivered over to justice, 
to be punished according to the exigency of the case 1 ."* 

These extracts shew the efforts of the Kuropean authorities 
in India, with the occasional co-operation of the Natives, to 
abolish the Slave trade. The success experienced in these 
humane efforts should have encouraged them to attempt more 
than has yet been done ; not merely to meliorate, but to 
abolish slavery in the East. In consequence of the active 
measures described, many slaves were liberated, and their im 
portation into India, by sea, in a great degree prohibited. 

It is interesting to trace the melioration of slavery in the 
East. From the following extract of a translation of the 
Hindoo Laws, transmitted by the Bengal Government to the 
Hon. Court of Directors in 1774, it appears that the Hindoos 
admit various modes of enfranchising slaves. 

" Whoever is born of a female slave ; whoever hath been purchased for a 
price; whoever hath been found by chance any where, and whoever is a 
slave by descent from his ancestors, these four species of slaves, until they 
are freed by the voluntary consent of their master, cannot have their liberty ; 
if their master, from a principle of beneficence, gives them liberty, they be 
come free. 

" Whoever, having received his victuals from a person during the time of 
a famine, hath become his slave, upon giving to his provider whatever he re 
ceived from him during the time of famine, and also two head of cattle, may 
become free from his servitude; according to the ordinations of Pachesputtee 
Misr, approved. Chendeesur, upon this head, speaks thus : That he who 
has received victuals during a famine, and hath, by those means, become a 
slave, on giving two head of cattle to his provider, may become free. 

" Whoever, having been given up as a pledge for money lent, performs 
service to the creditor, recovers his liberty whenever the debtor discharges 
the debt ; if the debtor neglects to pay the creditor his money, and takes no 
thought of the person whom he left as a pledge, that person becomes the 
purchased slave of the creditor. 

" Whoever being unable to pay his creditor a debt, hath borrowed a sum of 
money from another person, and paid his former creditor therewith, and 
hath thus become a slave to the second creditor; or who, to silence the im 
portunities of his creditor s demands, hath yielded himself a slave to that 
creditor, such kind of slaves shall not be released from servitude until pay 
ment of the debts. 

" Whoever, by the loss of chance in any game, and whoever by the fortune 
of war is enslaved, these two persons, upon giving two others in exchange, are 
released from their servitude! 

" If the slave of one person goes to another, and of his own desire con 
sents to be the slave of that person, in this case he must still be the property 
of the person to whom he was lirst a slave. The mode of release for every 
kind of slave shall take place according to the ordination laid down for 

* Par. Papers, pp. 537, 538. 


"A Chehtree and Bice, who, after having been Sinasses (religious mendi 
cants) apostate from that way of life, and are become the slaves of the 
magistrate, can never be released. 

" If a Brahmin hath committed this crime, the magistrate shall not make 
him a slave; but, having branded him in the fore head with the print of a do<fs 
foot, shall banish him the kingdom. 

u Whoever hath yielded himself a slave for a stipulated time, upon the 
completion of that term, shall recover his freedom. 

" Whoever performs a servitude for his subsistence, shall recover his free 
dom upon renouncing that subsistence. 

"Whoever, for the sake of a slave girl, becomes a slave to any person, he 
shall recover his freedom upon renouncing the slave girl. 

" Whoever hath become a slave, by selling himself to any person, he shall 
not be free until the master, of his own accord, gives him his freedom. 

" If the master, from a principle of beneficence, give him his liberty, he 
becomes free. 

" If a thief, having stolen the child of any person, sells it to another, or a 
man, by absolute violence, forces another to be a slave, the magistrate shall 
restore such person to his freedom. 

" If the master of a slave should be in imminent danger of his life, and 
at that time this slave, by his own efforts and presence of mind, is able !o 
save the life of his master, the slave shall be freed from his servitude, ami be 
held as a son. If he choose, he may stay with his former master, or, if he 
choose, shall quit that place, and go where he will at liberty. 

"Whoever is without a legitimate child, and hath a child from (he womb 
of a slave girl, that girl, together irith her son, becomes free. 

" When any person, from a principle of beneficence, would release his slave, 
the mode of it is this: the slave shall fill a pitcher with water, and put therein 
beren<je-a-rook (rice that has been cleansed without boiling), fuadJUnccrt and 
dinib (a kind of small salad), and, taking the pitcher upon his shoulder, shall 
stand near his master; and the master, putting the pitcher upon the slave s 
head, shall break the pitcher, so that the water, rice, flowers, and doub, that 
were in the pitcher, may fall upon the slave s body ; after that, the master 
shall three times pronounce the words, i I hare made you free: 1 upon this 
speech, the slave snail take some steps towards the cast, whereupon he shall 
be free. 

" Whoever hath become a slave to any person, the master is proprietor of any 
prowrlt/ which that slave mat/ actjiti re, exclusive of the price oj his own slaven/, 
ana exclusive also of am/ thiny which mat/ be given to him a.v a present."* 

" I make no scruple," says Sir W. Jones, in his charge to 
the Grand Jury at Calcutta, in 1785, "to declare my own 
opinion, that absolute unconditional slaver} , by which one 
human creature becomes the property of another, like a horse or 
an ox, is happilv unknown to the laws of England, and that 
no human law could give it a just sanction ; yet, though I 
hate the word, the continuance of it, properly explained, can 
produce little mischief. I consider slaves as servants under a 
contract, expressed or implied, and made either by themselves 
or by such persons a* are authorized by nature or law to con 
tract for them, until they attain a due age to cancel or confirm 

Par. Papers ou .Slavery in India, pp. 7, 

:j->2 SLAVERY. 

any compact that may be disadvantageous to them. I have 
slaves whom I rescued from death or misery, but consider 
them as other servants, and shall certainly tell them so, when 
they are old enough to comprehend the difference of the 

In the province of Dacca many children were kidnapped, 
given away, or sold by their parents into slavery ; a number 
of these were recovered, and restored to their parents or rela 
tions. The Collector of Dacca, in 1787, addressed the Su 
perintendents of Police at Calcutta " I have the pleasure to 
acknowledge the receipt of your letter, accompanying ticelve 
boys and twenty-one girls belonging to this district, under 
charge of Churrecmeulah and three other peons, and which, 
in obedience to the wish of the Right Honourable the Go 
vernor General, shall be restored to their parents or relations, 
in the same manner as those transmitted to me two years 

It appears to be a received opinion among the Mahome- 
dans, that murder may be atoned for by money, or by giving 
a slave. In 1790 two persons, named Mungaly Khan, and 
Assud Khan, were convicted of the murder of Nowaz Khan, 
and were ordered to make a pecuniary compensation to the 
plaintiffs, viz. Peranow the widow, and the brothers of the 
deceased. In conformity with the Nawaub s orders, they were 
called upon to pay " the price of blood" The widow r stated, 
" Mungaly Khan being unable to pay a pecuniary compensa 
tion, Iw&yiren- to me his son, to be my servant for life. Assud 
Khan has given me, in satisfaction of the murder, his share 
of the village of Caympoor." The other plaintiffs declaring, 
" In consequence of the poverty and distress of Mungaly 
Khan and Assud Khan, they remitted their claim to a com 
pensation." The Governor General, Earl Cornwallis, and his 
council, disapproved of the proceeding, agreeing that "The 
Naib Nazim be recommended not to admit of Mungaly 
Khan s making over his son as a slave for life to Peranow, 
and that he be requested to levy the amount of the compen 
sation, which it may be determined to exact from Mungaly 
Khan, by the customary mode of process."^ 

Ceylon has been a market of slaves from Bengal. In 1789, 
a " Captain Ilorrebow took on board at Fultah, 150 children, 
whom, previously to his departure, he purchased in Bengal : 
he transported them, under English colours, to Columbo, 
where they were sold as slaves. The Dutch Governor, Myn- 

* Par. Papers, pp. 9, 10, and 710. t P- 12- + P- 27 


beer Van DC Grave, in terms most honourable to himself, re 
fused to permit their being landed; but Captain Horrebow 
(ound means to elude the vigilance of the Governor, and 
availed himself of an excellent market for his wares."* He 
" was sentenced to be imprisoned for three months, to pay a 
fine of 500 rupees, and to give security for his future good 
behaviour for three years ; himself in a bond of 10,000 rupees, 
and two sureties in 5,000 rupees each."f 

The state of slavery in Ceylon, anterior to its subjugation 
by the British, and the mitigation of it proposed by the con 
quering power, are ably stated in a communication to the 
Marquis Welle sley, Governor General of India, in 1800. A 
short extract only can be given : 

" The scandalous manner in which the unhappy persons, whom it is the 
principal object of the proposed regulations to protect, are treated in general 
by their masters and mistresses of every nation, cast, and religion, within 
these settlements, render it a positive duty of Government, to delay, as little 
as possible, the adoption of strong measures for their relief. Those \\hich 
I propose are taken chiefly from the statutes of Batavia, particularly from one 
published in the year 1770, and which was in force at the time of our occupa 
tion of this Island (though never observed in practice). I have also recurred, 
in some instances to the civil law, on which the jurisprudence of Holland is 
founded ; and, as the principal class of the proprietors of slaves are of the 
Mahometan religion, I have adopted, and made general some of the admirable 
regulations by which the Kkomn, and its commentators have softened the 
rigours of slavery, at the same time that they established its lawfulness. 

" The principal point on which all codes, which have allowed domestic 
slavery, have universally insisted, the clear and unequivocal definition of the 
*/a?v, and of the means by which he or she may hare been acquired, was neg 
lected in Ceylon, with the most barbarous indifference. Of more than a 
hundred cases that have been brought before me, the masters or mistresses 
of the beings claiming liberty, have not, in more than six or seven instances, 
produced slave bonds properly authenticated, or such as a Dutch tribunal, 
ticting according to the Dutch laws, would have received. In many cases 
no papers are existing; in others simple testamentary devices, proving the 
opinion of the defunct as to his power over the slave bequeathed, have been 
insisted on, not as a collateral, but as a positive proof of the slavery of the per 
son claimed under it; and, in the province of Baticalva, the assertion that 
a child was sold by his parents in a famine, was urged before me, as the 
right on which the greater part of the slaves in that province have been held 
for some time past, as well as their posterity. The practice of kidnapping 
at Cochin, was, for many years, notorious, but the reception of slaves from 
that place was subject to scarcely any restrictions on this Island; and those 
restrictions, I am afraid, were but ill observed. In short, that, institution, 
reprobated as it is by good policy, inoraliti/, and religion, exists here irit/t all 
the aggravated horrors of uncertainty in its application, and cruelty in its 

The abolition of slavery in Ceylon is thus described by Sir 
A. Johnstone, in* a letter to W. W. Wyun, Ksq. " As the 

* Par. Papers on Slavery in India, p. 14. f p. 21. \ pp. *! !- . 

v 2 


right of every proprietor of slaves to continue to hold slaves 
in Ceylon was guaranteed to him, by the capitulation under 
which the Dutch possession had been surrendered to the 
British arms, in 1794, the British Government of Ceylon 
conceived that, however desirable the measure might be, they 
had not a right to abolish slavery in Ceylon by any legisla 
tive act. A proposition was made on the part of Government 
by me, to the proprietors of the slaves in 1806, before trial 
by jury was introduced, urging them to adopt some plan of 
their own accord for the gradual abolition of slavery ; this 
proposition, at that time, they unanimously rejected. The 
right of sitting upon juries was granted to the inhabitants of 
Ceylon in 1811. From that period I availed myself of the 
opportunities which were afforded to me, when I delivered 
my charge at the commencement of each session to the jury 
men most of whom were considerable proprietors of slaves, 
of informing them what was doing in England upon the. 
subject of the abolition of slavery, and of pointing out to them 
the difficulties, which they themselves must frequently expe 
rience, in executing, with impartiality, their duties as jury 
men, in all cases in which slaves were concerned. A change 
of opinion upon the subject of slavery was gradually per 
ceptible among them; and, in the year 1816, the proprie 
tors of slaves, of all casts and religious persuasions in Cey 
lon, sent me their unanimous resolutions, to be publicly re 
corded in Court, declaring free all children born of their 
slaves from the 12th of August 1816. This, in the course of 
a few years, must put an end to the state of slavery, which 
had existed in Ceylon for more than three centuries."* 

The valuable co-operation of the Rajah of Kotah with the 
Resident at Delhi, in 1808, in the suppression of the sale of 
children into slavery, shews how much Europeans in India 
may accomplish for the interests of humanity. f 

While the Island of Java continued in the possession of 
the British, the abolition of the slave trade, and the improve 
ment of the condition of the slaves, was considered an object 
of importance. The importation of slaves into the Island, 
after the commencement of 1813, was prohibited by Procla 
mation ; and instructions on the subject were sent to " the 

* Ori. Her., vol. xvi. p. 136. "At a levee of Cingalese Chiefs, held 
at Kandy, Jan. 1832, the Governor, Sir. W. Horton, declared it to be the 
intention of Government gradually to abolish slavery throughout the Island, 
and called upon the Chiefs to afford their assistance in this benevolent 
work." E. I. Mag., Sep. 1*3 2, p. 291. 

f Par. Papers on Slavery in India, pp. 99, 100. 

SLAVERY. 3-25 

Islands depending on the Government.** Previously to the 
transfer of Java to the Dutch, the slaves were emancipated. 
Upon which the Hon. Court of Directors declared, " We 
entirely approve of your proceedings, in emancipating the 
slaves at Java, previously to the transfer of that place to the 
Dutch, as we do of the option you gave to all the slaves, of 
being conveyed at the public charge to their native countrv."t 

The slave trade appears to have been very effectually 
suppressed under the Bengal Government, by the humane 
and vigorous efforts above described. The magistrates of the 
Bareilly Court, in 1812, state "We have now the honour to 
submit attested copies of the answers received from eight out 
of the nine magistrates under our authority; from which it 
will be evident to Government that, since the promulgation 
of the Regulation above specified, the traffic in slaves im 
ported from foreign countries is almost, if not entirely, sup 
pressed in the districts of Bareilly, Moradabad, Cawnpoor, 
Furruckabad, Etawah, Agra, Alligurh, and Seharunpore 
South. "J "But, it should be understood, the slaveowners 
still disposed of those who were actually sUn-e.s t as part of 
their real property"^ 

The British Government in India has abolished tlic duly 
levied on the sale of slaves, by the former Government of Ku- 
maon, and suppressed the traffic in slaves in those countries 
bordering on Nepaul, which were brought under its authority 
by treat v in 1815. This duty or tax was for every male and 
female slave two rupees eight annas. " We cannot touch 
on this subject," said the late Marquis of Hastings, " without 
adverting to a consequence of our having wrested the hill 
country from the Ghorkas, in which your Hon. Court will 
feel the most lively satisfaction. A slave trade of great extent 
has been totally extinguished ; and the hapless families, from 
whom the Ghorkas used to tear away the children for sale, 
have now to look with joyful confidence on the security be 
stowed towards their offspring by the British Government.")! 

In this part of India, an extraordinary practice existed, of 
selling wires and widwcs, which has been abolished. 11 Tin 

* Par. Papers on Slavery in India, p. 1H.3. See also pp. K!S, 1<>!>. 

tp.25. + p. MO. p. Ml. || p.2o <>. See Hcber s Jour., vol. i. p. Utt. 

U "The people of Laos arc in ^rcat dread of the Burmese, and the cruel 
system of1>order warfare and man-catching, to which our occupation of the 
Tena.ssfrim provinces has put an end to the southward, still continues in 
force to the north, between Lanx and Am. It would appear that, as in 
I .iinn.ih, women are bought and sold at Laos. The price oi one is ten head 
of cattle, or twenty-five rupee?." Asi. Jour., Nov. 1H3<>, p. 2.">i. 


Governor General, in 18*26, wrote to the Com! of Directors 
" We took measures to furnish the Commissioner, without delay, 
with the form of proclamation approved by us, prohibiting 
the sale of wives and widows by their husbands or late hus 
band s family. We need not repeat the expression of our 
determination to put down so barbarous and hateful a 

The Calcutta Journal, in March 1824, contained an article 
entitled, the " Slave Trade in British India" An extract or 
two only are given : 

" Our readers are of course aware, that the nefarious traffic in hinnan 
beings is equally forbidden by the letter and the spirit of British law in 
every portion of the British dominions, be their geographical position what 
it may, whether in the frozen regions of the north, or the scorching climate 
of the torrid zone; wherever the British flag waves, the disgraceful com 
merce is made criminal by British law ; what then, will the humane and 
enlightened community of this magnificent capital of our Eastern possessions 
say, when they are told, that with all its glittering spires of the temples of a 
pure religion ; all its splendid palaces, bespeaking the taste, the refinement, 
and the riches of their inhabitants ; with all its colleges, and schools, and 
societies, to promote the propagation of knowledge, civil and religious ; 
what will they say, when they learn that, amidst all these signs of veneration 
for Christianity, the philanthropy, the greatness, and the refinement of Bri 
tons and British subjects, in a British capital, it is disgraced by witnessing 
the lowest degradation of the human species? that this great capital is, in 
short, at once the depot of the commerce and riches of the East, and the 
mart in which the manacled African is sold, like the beast of the field, to 
the highest bidder. It is known, too, that the Arab ships are in the habit 
of carrying away many of the natives of this country, principally females, 
and disposing of them in Arabia, in barter for African slaves for the Calcutta 
market ! Can it be possible that such degrading, such wicked scenes are 
passing around us, and that the actors are suffered to escape unnoticed and 
unpunished ? We fear the fact is too true ; but we hope that the publicity 
thus given to it will lead to the prevention of such gross violations of law 
and humanity in future. We can conceive the difficulty of detection in 
these cases ; but let all those who are aware of the illicit practices of 
these followers of Mahomed, remember that they are imperiously called on 
as Christians, and as British subjects in particular, to bring to punishment 
these violators of law and humanity. Nature shudders at the thought of 
the barbarities practised by these ab users of God s noblest creatures, who are 
led by an accursed thirst of gold to brutalize the human species."f 

The Magistrates of Calcutta immediately addressed the 
Government upon the subject, acknowledging, " Under the 
provision of Iteg. X., 1811, a bond is taken from the com 
manders of a certain class of ships, previously to their being 
allowed to land their cargoes ; and they are also required to 
give in a list of their crews and passengers. We must con 
fess, however, that these arc very inadequate restrictions to 

Par. Papers, p. 41(5. | Par. Papers on Slavery in India, p. 3 

SLAVERY. .527 

prevent the introduction of slaves into the town ; the penalty 
could only be enforced by the detection of the offence, whicn 
is attended with much difficulty." 1 Translations in the Per 
sian and Arabic languages were made of an extract of the 
51 Geo. III. c. 23,f for circulation among the merchants; 
which measure was certainly of a decisive character. 

Slaves appear still to be clandestinely imported into India. 
A Calcutta Paper, in June 1830, contains the following ex 
tract from a native paper: "Jewellery, and other articles, 
to the value of four lacks of rupees, had been offered by a 
European jeweller for purchase by tin; king (of Onde), who 
took other merchandise in the shape of a batch of newly-im 
ported AbyssinianS) which had been offered for sale, and 
bought by his Majesty. This demands, and we hope will 
receive investigation, and if it is properly conducted, and all 
the obstacles to the prosecution of the offenders are removed, 
we venture to predict that it will be found that the importa 
tion of slaves continues to be earned on, to an extent utterly 

In 18*21, the opinion of the Recorder of Prince of Wales 
Island was taken "as to the legality of apprehending and 
sending back to Malacca a runaway slave." This important 
question was answered in a Letter to the Secretary of Govern 
ment. " I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of yours, 
with a copy of a dispatch from the Governor of Malacca. 1 am 
not acquainted with the Dutch language, and therefore if there 
should be any circumstance in that part of the dispatch which 
varies the question submitted to me, from the Governor of 
Malacca s letter in French, I should wish to have a translation 
of it; but, as it is not probable, I do not delay my request, 
that you will communicate to the Honourable! the Governor 
in Council, that in the absence of any treaty, 1 am of opinion, 
Hit it the xlare in question cannot be legally secured and sent 
back to Malacca"^ 

A number of slaves, procured in the neighbourhood of Jug 
gernaut s Temple in Orissa, in 1790, were liberated and the 
captain of the vessel severely reprimanded, and threatened th;it, 

* Par. Papers on Slavery in India, p. 377. 

t Par. Papers, p. . WO. Hya more recent Act of Parliament, I (ir<>. IV. 
e. 27, the trallic in slaves ha.s l>een declared to be an act of piracy, and all 
British subjects who may be concerned in it, are liable to be dealt with 

J India Gaz., June IH30. Asi. Jour., Dec. 1H30, P. 1!M. See Asi. Jour, 
March 1KM, p. 123. 

Par. Papers on Slavery in India, p. 162; see also p. 4.*><i. 


" on committing a second offence, he should be punished to 
the utmost rigour of the law and sent by the first conveyance 
to England."* Some slaves from Ganjam were also set at 
liberty, and the slave trader directed to be " fined, the sum of 
200 rupees (to be distributed amongst the natives liberated 
from the vessel under his command), imprisoned for three 
months, until he pays the fine, and that he be then publicly 
expelled the District."f 

The sale of slaves, under the Madras Government, for the 
arrears of the State was not discontinued till 1819. The 
Secretary writes to the Collector of Malabar : " The Board s 
proceedings on the general subject of slaver^ have been laid 
before the Government, whose final orders will hereafter be 
communicated to you ; but, in the mean time, I am directed 
to desire, that the practice of selling slaves, for arrears of 
revenue, may be immediately discontinued"^. 

These extracts display the humane and vigorous efforts of 
the British functionaries in India to abolish the slave trade, 
and mitigate the evils of slavery. The state of slavery at the 
present period next demands attention. The following chap 
ter will shew that much remains to be done, before every 
British subject in India is free. 


The present state and extent of Slavery in Hindustan. 

The nature and extent of slavery in the British territories 
in India, is a subject that cannot but be deeply interesting to 
every liberal and humane mind. The following extracts, irom 
the valuable Papers on East India Slavery, will throw some 

the Governor General addressed the Court of Directors, in 
1813: "We observed, that the proclamation not only pro 
hibited the importation of slaves for sale into the assigned 
territories, but the sale of slaves actually within those terri 
tories previously to its promulgation ; a measure which we 

* Par. Papers on .Slavery iu India, p. 17f>. | p. 4!M. } j>. 87:t. 

SLAVERY. 3 2i) 

u ere not prepared to sanction. Odious and abominable as 
such a traffic is, although it must be admitted that the system 
of slavery in this country is infinitely mitigated, when com 
pared with that against which the enactments oi the legisla 
ture in England have been directed. The hues, which have 
hitherto been enacted to restrain it, have been confined in 
OR EXPORTATION; but they have not been extended to the 
emancipation of persons already in a state of slavery, nor to 
the prohibition of their transfer by sale, to other masters 
within- the country which they inhabit. 

" We informed the Resident that for these reasons, and 
from other considerations of much apparent weight, our views 
were limited to the prohibition of the further importation of 
slaves for sale into the territories of the Hon. Company ; and 
we accordingly directed that the terms of the proclamation 
might be modified, so as to correspond with the enactment 
contained in Regulation X. of 1811. The consultation of the 
annexed date contains the Resident s reply to the instructions. 
He stated that a general opinion prevailed, among the natives, 
that the total abolition of the Slave Trade had taken effect in 
the ceded and conquered Provinces ; that he had not found 
the prohibition of the sale of slaves had occasioned any 
surprise at Delhi; and that the people were not aware, that 
by the proclamation which he had issued, greater restrictions 
were in force in the assigned territory than in any other part 
of the country ; and that should it be published, that stares 
of a certain description miyht continue to be sold, it u on/d 
nice a more formal sanction to the sale of slaves, than llial 
traffic teas ever believed to possess. The effect of this erro 
neous belief, on the part of the natives, appeared to the Resi 
dent to be attended with salutary consequences ; and he 
submitted, that it was not desirable the delusion should be 
removed, by t lie publication of a formal sanction for the sale 
of any description of slaves. We signified to the Resident, 
our concurrence in the grounds on which he had suspended 
the execution of our instructions, and, that the proclamation 
issued, should continue in full force and effect."* 

But, though the sale of slaves was thus prohibited in tin- 
Province of Delhi, slavery is still continued. This is evident 
from the Resident s communication to Government: "In 
issuing a proclamation for the abolition of the future importa 
tion and sale of slaves, 1 had no idea of infringing on the 

* Par Papers, pp. 101, lo-.>. Sec al.v p. i:ii. 

330 SLAVF.KY. 

rights of the actual proprietors of slaves. The proprietors of 
slaves in this territory, notwithstanding that proclamation, 
retain all their rights over their slaves, except (hat of selling 
them or making them the property of another. This is per 
fectly understood, in consequence of the decisions given in 
the court of judicature in trials between owners and slaves. 
I have more than once embraced the opportunity afforded by 
such trials, to explain publicly, that slaves are still the pro 
perty of their owners, though not disposable property."* 

The Magistrate of Bareillyin 1812, referring to the efficacy 
of the provisions of Regulation X. 1811, for preventing the 
importation of slaves from foreign countries, remarks ; " This 
traffic, I believe, has suffered a very material check since the 
promulgation of the Regulation, inasmuch as children are no 
longer brought down from the hills, and publicly exposed for 
sale, as formerly, within this district ; but, children are still 
sold within the Company s provinces, by subjects of the British 
government, nor docs the Regulation contain any prohibition 
of such sale. Parents, prevented by poverty from rearing a 
large family, will dispose of their children to an advantage, 
when offered, rather than allow them to starve ; the feelings 
of nature will confine this traffic to cases of necessity only, 
and \vill act more forcibly than any legal prohibition in pre 
venting abuses ; it may be much doubted, indeed, whether 
the condition of children imported from the hills was not, in 
most cases, much ameliorated by such importation. "f 

A Mr. Browne, the proprietor of an estate at Anjarakandy, 
in Malabar, claimed the right of a master over some slaws, 
as a part of the Mahomedan law, under which he considered 
the Provinces of the Madras Presidency to be governed. " 1 
cannot (says the Chief Secretary of the Government in 1813) 
agree to the proposition, that these Provinces are, so far as 
relates to British subjects, governed by the Mahomedan law. 
Tn questions of civil right, they are governed by the laws of 
the different nations to whom justice is to be dispensed. In 
criminal prosecutions, the Mahomeden law is, for what reason 
I do not know, established over all the natives in the Provinces, 
but not over the British. They retain the rights of their 
birth, and ought also to retain all the relations connected with 
the British character, to which it is equally abhorrent to be 
the master of slaves, as to endure slavery. It is expressly 
provided, in the several statutes, that our law shall not inter 
fere with the authority exercised by the heads of families 

* Par. Papers on Slavery in India, p in/|. f p. Ml. 


amongst the natives ; who, from local residence at the Presi 
dencies, are made subject in general to the British laws, but 
no such provision is made for British subjects fix lite musters 
of slaves. 11 The Advocate General expressed the same 
opinion ; and this important position, that a Briton in India 
cannot be a slave-holder, was thus definitely determined by 
a letter from the Chief Secretary to the Government, Fort 
William, in 1813, to the Secretary of the Madras Government: 
"The Advocate General, having stated it as his opinion 
that it is (mite impracticable, as the law at present stands, for 
any British subject, to support a claim to the person or scr- 
rices of any one residing within the limits of the /iritis/t ter 
ritories as a slave ; and that opinion corresponding entirely 
with the sentiments entertained by the Right Honourable the 
Governor General in Council on the subject, his Lordship in 
Council thinks that every case of that nature, which may be 
brought before the Governor in Council of Fort St. George, 
should be regarded as an illegal and unauthorized assumption 
of power; and that legal measures should be resorted to, 
should circumstances appear to require it, against any British 
subject so acting in violation of the law."* The difference 
between the state of public opinion, feeling, and, we mav add, 
law, in the East and in the West Indies, cannot fail to strike 
the attention of every reader. It is very justly observed, " the 
habitual exercise of the authority of a master over slaves, is 
peculiarly destructive to the national honour and character."*! 
When shall these just sentiments pervade the breast of every 
British subject! 

Of Slavery in Dacca the Magistrate, in 1810, observes: 
"I have to state in reply, for the information of the Court of 
Circuit, that I have found in this court several prosecutions 
for inveigling away children and other persons with various 
intents, and they are generally females : such cases, how 
ever, in this city and district, are not very numerous. The 
unfortunate persons who are sold for slaves, are generally 
little children (females), or grown up girls that are enticed 
away from their parents or other relations in the Mofussil. 
Persons already in a state of slavery are seldom, as far as I 
can discover from the records of the court, or from other in 
formation, inveigled away with a view of being sold; bul 
female slaves are often enticed away for other purposes, some 
times by men, and sometimes by women keeping houses of 
ill-fame. Both descriptions of offence are, 1 believe, rery 

Par. Tapers on Slavery in India, p. 14. I p. 147. 


prevalent, especially the former, though few of them compara 
tively come officially to the knowledge of the magistrate."* 

The registration of slaves was proposed by the Bengal 
Government to the Nizamut Adawlut in 1816, which inti 
mates that the prevalence of slavery is considerable. " In 
preparing the draft of the proposed regulation regarding 
slavery, the Governor General in Council requests that the 
court will take into their consideration, the expediency of re 
quiring, that the future purchase or transfer of slaves shall 
be regularly registered, and that any breach of the rules which 
may IDC framed for that purpose shall entitle the slave to de 
mand and obtain his freedom."f 

Inquiry was made from Bombay, of the Supreme Govern 
ment in Calcutta, in 1817, respecting the application of the 
51st Geo. III. c. 23, relative to " the abolition of the slave 
trade, to domestic slaves, and the property of individuals in 
them ; such slavery being known and legalized under the laws 
of both the Hindoos and Mussulmans, according to whose 
codes the courts are bound to administer justice? To which 
it was replied ; 

" On this point the Vice President in council observes, that none of the 
provisions of the Acts of Parliament passed for the abolition of the slave trade 
in any manner affect, or profess to affect, the relation between master and slai-e, 
wherever that relation mat/ exist bt/ law. Whatever therefore was the law, 
according to the Mahometan and "Hindoo codes (for those over whom they 
extend), on the subject of domestic slavery, before the passing of the Act of 
the 51st Geo. III. c. 23, continues to be the law still ; more especially as 
those codes have been distinctly recognised and ordered to be observed by 
Parliament. At the same time it is not credible, that any intention existed 
to abrogate those codes, without reference to the established laws and usages 
of this country, and without repealing the Acts of Parliament, by which the 
observance of them is guaranteed to the natives. The native subjects of the 
British Government, residing in the territories subordinate to the several 
Presidencies have, in fact, the same authority over their slaves, and the 
same property in them, that they would have had if the Act in question had 
never been passed; and the several zillah and provincial courts are bound 
to receive and determine all cases of that nature, which are respectively cog- 
nizable by them, under the existing regulations. 

" The other points adverted to, in the documents now under consideration, 
relate to the conduct which should be observed, on the occasion of applica 
tions being made by the subjects or governments of neighbouring states, 
with whom we are in amity, for the restoration of slaves who have taken 
refuge within the Company s territories. On this point it may be remarked, 
that the construction which has been uniformly given by the Supreme 
Government to the Act of the 51st Geo. III. c. 23, viz. that it was only in 
tended to apply to the importation or removal of slaves by sea, would not 
involve any alteration in the course of proceedings hitherto adopted in similar 
cases. A .slave, bt/ entering the Company s territories, does not become free ; 

* Par. Papers on Slavery in India, p. 248. f p. 24i>. 


nor can /-, icho HVW lawfully a s/aiv, emancipate himself by runnimj au-ay 
front one country where slurry is lawful, to another where it is equally lawful- 
The property in the slave still continues in the master ; and the master has 
the same right to have it restored to him that any native subjects of our 
territories could have, supposing that riijht to be established in the mode 
prescribed by the local laws and regulations."* 

J%e permission of the sale of slaves in the Deccan, appears 
from a letter in 1ft U), addressed by the Political Agent in 
Candeish, to M. Elphinstone, Esq., the Commissioner. "Ap 
plication having been lately made to me for permission to pur 
chase some slaves, I took the opportunity of investigating the 
circumstances, which I have the honour to report for your 
information. It appears that the slaves were young women 
and girls, in the possession of some Mahratta Wunjarries, 
who, upon being questioned, state that they purchased them 
in Bcrar, from the Tandas of the Rajpoot Brimjarrias, who 
said they had got them during a late scarcity, which took 
place in the Nirmut district. Upon further investigation, I 
understand that the practice of carrying off children from one 
part of the country, to sell in another part, is not it n usual 
with these people. The women appear unwilling to be sold, 
though they complain of their scanty food, and of the treat 
ment they experience from their present masters. Although 
your letter, in answer to a former application on this subject, 
informed me that no variation whatever was to be made in 
the existing laws regarding slaves, yet it appears to me possi 
ble, that may be intended to be applied merely to the propri 
etary right over slaves in actual possession, and of recovering 
such as may desert ; I request to be informed, if the prac 
tice of carrying shires about for sale, of which several instances 
have lately been brought to my notice, is still to be permitted. 
In the mean time I have prohibited the sale of the young 
women in question, till I hear from you." To which it was 
replied by the Commissioner : " The sale of slaves, as de 
scribed in the above mentioned letter, is to be permitted; but all 
attempts to carry off young people by force, will be punished 
in tin; severest manner."f 

"The mitigated kind of domestic slavery which prevails in 
the Deccan," says W. Chaplin, Esq., "and has prevailed 
from time immemorial in most parts of India, appears to be 
of a description entirely different from the foreign trade in 
slaves, which is proscribed by recent Acts of Parliament, 
passed since the abolition of this traffic ; and, although it 
may perhaps, at a future period, be necessary to introduce 

* Par. Papers on Slavery in India, pp. 333, 334. | p. :*39. 


some regulations to prevent the stealing or kidnapping of 
children, / conceive that any restrictive measure, that should 
at once put a slop to the sale of slaves, would be an innovation, 
which would trench materially, not only on long established 
customs, but on the riyhls of private properly. Whether 
this species of servitude, or rather of mild bondage, is even 
tually to be continued under certain modifications, or to be 
abolished entirely, is a question which is probably now under 
consideration; but as the importation of slaves from the 
Nizam s frontier, in consequence of the scarcity which pre 
vails there, has of late greatly increased, the subject of your 
letter will be referred for the decision of the Honourable the 
Governor in Council. Whatever evil may result from the 
continuance of the traffic, it is certainly, 1 think, the means 
at the present moment of much actual good, inasmuch as it 
has the effect of preserving the lives of numbers of parents 
and children, who would otherwise perish from famine."* 
Poona, Dec. 1819. 

The difference of opinion and procedure of some of the 
Indian Magistrates, manifests the difficulty of legislation 
where slavery exists. This appears by some slave cases, 
stated by W. Leycester, Esq., Second Judge of the Bareilly 
Court of Circuit in 1815. 

" In one case, Enayt Khaun is taken up by the police darogah, of Bhu- 
dyke, and sent as a prisoner to the magistrate of Cawnpore, for importing 
two female slaves, and the magistrate discharges him, and (jives him the slaves. 

" In a second case, Ooda is taken up for importing a woman named 
Mauncooer, by a police sowar, and delivered over to the police darogah of 
Bindrabun. Ooda says he bought her for twenty-one rupees in the Raima s 
country, and she admits it, and adds, she understands he means to resell 
her. The acting magistrate liberates the woman. 

"In a third case, Sabet Khawn is taken up by a jemmedar,and delivered 
over to the darogah of Koria Gunje. It woulcl seem he had been sent by 
Assud Alee Cauzee of Jelaneh, to purchase a slave in the vicinity of Casse- 
pore and Roderpoore (the market for slaves imported from the hills); but on 
coming to Bareilly he falls in with BesharutKhan, a slave-dealer, who from 
his stock in hand sells to him a woman named Zuhorun, twenty years of age ; 
but the Cauzee, thinking her too old, leaves her on Sabet Khaun s hands. 
The assistant magistrate liberates the woman. 

" In a fourth case, Nurotum is taken up by the darogah of Nudjeebabad. 
It would seem that he had purchased a woman named Anundee, for twenty 
rupees, of an inhabitant of the hills. The assistant magistrate does not lib 
erate the woman, but takes a recognizance from Nurotum to produce her, 
if any other claimant should appear. 

" In a fifth case, Choonee, the head of a set of dancing girls, prosecutes 
Hyatt Alee Cutwaul of Amrooa, for detaining forcibly Munnuvur Jaun, one 
of her female slaves. Munnuvur Jaun says, she is not satisfied to remain 

* Par. Papers on Slavery in India, pp. 341, 342. 


with Choonee, and die magistrate liberates her. CLoonee appeals, and pro 
duces a deed of sale for (he slave, executed liy Shumsherc, an inhabitant of 
thi bills. The opinion of the law officer of the Court of Circuit is taken, 
who declares, the sale of a resident of this country illegal? and the order 
of the magistrate was confirmed. 

"The iirst case was submitted by me to the Nizamut Adawlut, with a 
recommendation that the said Enayt Kliaun should be punished, and the 
slaves discharged, or sent back, as required by the 10th Regulation of 1S1 1 ; 
and the court in reply adjudge that, under the construction given to the 
provisions of the I Oth Regulation, I HI I, the case in question does not full 
irithin the operation of that Regulation; and, having referred to the court s 
orders, it would seem, that on a representation from Mr. Blunt, the court 
had decided that the regulation in question was applicable only to the im 
portation of slaves for the purpose of being sold, given away, or otherwise 
disposed of. "* 

It appears, that when slaves have been imported, their 
owners have endeavoured to evade the law against the Slave 
Trade, by not immediately disposing of them ; on which it is 
very justly remarked, "Is not keeping a person imported as 
a slave, to be a slave, a disposal of him ? and what is to be 
said to the notorious fact of females, so imported as slaves, 
being let out in retail for the purposes of prostitution, and 
any offspring they may have being sold, agreeably to the 
da Hi/ practice regarding the indigenous slaves of the count ry, 
for the leuejit of the slave master ? This surely is a disposal 
of them and of their issue/ f Is not this species of slavery 
equal in atrocity to the slavery of the West Indies? 

"Slavery in Malwa," says Sir John Malcolm, "is chiefly 
limited to females; but there is perhaps no province in India 
where there are so many slaves of this sex. The dancing 
girls are all purchased when young by the nakins, or heads 
of the different sects, who often lay out large sums in these 
purchases ; female children and grown up young women, are 
bought by all ranks. Among the Rajpoot chiefs these slaves 
are very numerous, as also in the houses of the principal 
Bralmiuns; the usage descends to the lowest ranks, and few 
merchants or cnltirators with any property are without mis 
tresses or servants of this description. Male slaves are rare, 
and never seen but with men of some rank and property, with 
whom they are usually the confidential servants. There are 
a variety of ways in which slaves are procured in Malwa ; 
numbers date their condition from a famine or scarcity, when 
men sold their children to those who were able to support 
them. A great number of the slaves of Malwa are from Kaj- 
pootana, where the excesses of the Mahrattas drove the inlia- 

Par. Papers on Slavery in India, pp. 342, 313. I P- 


bitants to exile, and to sucli distress as to be compelled to 
part with their children. But, besides these sources of slavery, 
there are others of a more criminal nature. There are many 
instances of Rajpoots, and men of other tribes, particularly 
Soandees, selling the children whom they have by their slaves, 
and who are deemed to be born in a state of bondage. This 
takes place when the father is in distress, or when he is 
tempted by a large price. The sale of the offspring of these 
women by other fathers than their masters is more common. 
These slaves are not numerous ; but the further demand is 
supplied by the Binjarries, who import females into and from 
Guzerat and other countries, whom they usually pretend 
to have bought; and by the tribe of Gvvarriah, professed 
stealers of female children. When these slaves are bought, 
an inquiry is made as to their tribe, and the general answer 
(particularly from the Gwarriahs) is, that they are Rajpoots. 
The children are taught to make pretensions to high birth, and 
daily instances occur of whole families losing cast in conse 
quence of their being too hastily credited. Females in Malwa, 
except in times of scarcity or general distress from any cause, are 
sold from 40 to 50, to 100 and 150 rupees ; the price is accordant 
with their appearance. They have been, at times, an article 
of considerable commerce, many being annually sent to the 
southward, particularly to the Poonah territories, where they 
sold high. This trade, which has of late years decreased, 
was principally earned on by the Mahratta Brahmuns, some 
of whom amassed great sums by this shameless traffic."* 

The Par. Papers contain more minute information, respect 
ing the state of slavery under the Madras Presidency, than of 
the other Presidencies in India. " In Malabar and Canara, 
where the land is very generally divided, and occupied as 
separate and distinct properties, Ike labourer is the personal 
slave of the proprietor, and is sold and mortgaged by him, 
independent] ij of his lands. In the Tamil country, where 
land is of less value, and belongs more frequently to a com 
munity than to an individual, the labourer is understood to 
be the slave rather of the soil than of its owner, and is seldom 
sold or mortgaged, except along with the land to which he is 
attached; but in Telingana, where it is difficult now to trace 
the remains of private property in the land, this class of peo 
ple is considered free. It has been stated by very competent 
authority, Mr. F. W. Ellis, the Collector of Madras, that in 
the Tamil country, faeparriyars and pullers, most of whom are 

* Par. Papers as above, Report on Malwa, 1821, pp. 414, 415. 


slaves attached to the lands of the rnllah>r, as well as the 
pul/ij who are generally serfs on the lands of the Brahmun 
meerassidars, sometimes claim meras, or hereditary private 
property, in the incidents of their villainage ; and that it is 
generally allowed to them and their descendants, on proving 
their former residence in the village, however long they may 
have been absent from it. On the other hand, the late Ma 
gistrate in Malabar, in addressing Government respecting the 
sale of men, women, and children of the Pollar, Cherumakul, 
I anian, Kanakan, Kallady, Vocallan, and Nacady tribes, 
submits that, if the general question of slavery, as recognised 
by the local usages of Malabar, or by the Hindoo and Ma- 
homedan law, is not affected by the laws made to abolish the 
Slave Trade adverting to tlie irretcltedness ami diminutive 
appearance of this description of natives it still appears to 
be a subject well worthy the humane consideration of the 
itight Hon. the Governor in Council, to enact such legisla 
tive provisions as will tend to ameliorate their condition, and 
prevent their being sold out of the talook, or, indeed, of the 
estate, the place of their nativity; and above all, from being 
exposed to sale; by public auction, in execution of decrees, or 
in satisfaction of revenue demands."* 

It appears to have been common, to dispose of the shirrs on 
ait estate as <i part of tin- real pro/writ/. " The Hindoo law 
(savs the Collector of Malabar), on the subject of transfers of 
propertv, speaks of land and slaves employed in the cultiva 
tion of it, and evidently contemplates those; two species of 
property as one and the same, and as not properly separable 
from each other; and we find that not onlv in this, but in 
other countries, it has been usual to transfer the slaves who 
were a descripfi yleba;* with the land itself. Indeed the at 
tachment of the Hindoos to the lands which they have alwavs 
occupied, and to the village where they have always resided, 
is proverbial ; and to separate them from their native soil, 
might, under such circumstances, be considered an additional 
act of cruelty. A certain portion of the produce of the soil 
which they cultivate, is, in the Tamil country, allowed by the 
master for the maintenance of his slaves, whose duty it is to 
till the ground ; and, unless they were transferred with the 
land, the new proprietor, when he obtained possession, might 
experience difficulty in carrying <>n the cultivation, and the 
former master might be deprived of the means of enabling 
him to afford subsistence to his slaves. The probability of 

* Par. Papers on Slavery in India, p. Hi 7. 


being transferred with the land, gives them on this coast a 
sort of property in their huts and little spots of ground, which 
they can thus occupy without any great fear of being turned 
out, or transferred, contrary to their interests, feeling, and com 
fort. It must, however, be observed, that on the other coast 
universally, and even generally on this coast, slaves are not 
necessarily sold with the land, although the convenience of 
all parts seems to have rendered the practice common." 

The apathy manifested by the Collector of Calicut in 1819, 
respecting the sale of slaves for default of revenue, shews the 
influence of the slave system upon the most respectable of the 
European functionaries of Government. " In attempting to 
ameliorate the condition of these slaves, care must be taken 
that we do not increase them. The partial measure, of de 
claring them not liable to be sold for arrears of revenue, will 
be a drop of water in the ocean; though, u Jn/ Government 
should give up a right, which every proprietor enjoys, is a 
question worthy of consideration"* 

An extract of one of the Rejected Police Regulations, re 
fused Registration by the Supreme Court of Bombay, in 1 826, 
affords some idea of the state of slavery in that part of India, 
at the period referred to. 

Of the Slave Trade and Slaivry. 

" All importation of slaves into this Island for sale is prohibited. 

" The petty sessions shall in such cases emancipate the slave and send 
him or her back to the family, or to the place to which he or she was brought 
at the expense of the importer. When the slave is desirous of remaining, 
the importer shall pay him the money which would otherwise have been 
employed in defraying the expense of his return. The petty sessions may 
inflict further punishments in aggravated cases, not exceeding the fine of 
500 rupees, and imprisonment for six months in default of payment. 

" All children born of parents in a state of slavery in this Island, after the 
first day of January 1812, shall be free. 

"The said court of petty sessions shall have power of summary conviction 
in all cases of persons enticing or conveying away any married females, or 
unmarried females under the age of thirteen years, out of the protection and 
against the will of the husband or father, or other person having the lawful 
protection and governance of any such female ; for the purpose of her prosti 
tution in any way, or for her disposal in marriage against the will of the 
person having such lawful protection or government as aforesaid; such of 
fenders to be punishable by fine not exceeding 500 rupees; or in lieu there 
of, as the case may seem to require, or in default of payment, imprisonment, 
with or without hard labour, as the case may seem to require, for any time 
not exceeding six months."f 

The following copious extracts from the reports of eleven 
Collectors, to whom the Madras Government had addressed 

* Par. Papers on Slavery in India, p. 84(5. See p. 435. 
t See On. Herald, vol. xiv. pp. 515 533. 


queries respecting the state of slavery in their respective dis 
tricts, appear peculiarly interesting. The whole letter, from 
the Secretary of Government in the revenue department, con 
tains fourteen folio pages, and bears date, April, 1819. 

" In SALEM slavery does not appear to exist. The Collector observes, I 
can safely state that, in the manner referred to in these communications, 
there is no vestige whatever of slavery in this collectorate, nor has any such prac 
tice obtained from the time the country came into possession of the Honourable 
Company. During the Mussulman government, there were a few slaves be 
longing to certain Xiinjah lands in the vicinity of the Cauvery, and there 
are now some descendants of these people; but they are as free as any other 
inhabitants. I have heard of one or two instances of a child being sold for 
die purpose of domestic slavery; but this is uncommonly rare, and such a 
circumstance as a person being sold as a slave has never transpired. 

" In MADURA and DINDIOUL slavery existed during the Mahomedan go 
vernment. The slaves were sold at the pleasure of their masters, but they 
were not adscript i gltelxe ; not necessarily sold whenever the land was sold. 

The Collector s words are, When a puller or parriah was unable to gain 
a livelihood, he was accustomed to offer himself or his relatives as slaves to 
the cultivating inhabitants, for a sum of money, varying from one to ten 
cully chuckrums, when a bond of slavery was drawn out and signed. If 
they married, their children were considered the property of the turners; they 
were employed in the cultivation of land, and were maintained by the 
owners, who frequently, for their services, would grant them a soluntnmi, 
or allowance in grain, in addition to other allowances. If the proprietor of 
land was obliged to dispose of the whole of his lands, he still retained pos 
session of his slaves, and disposed of them as he pleased, as they were not 
considered attached to the land thus sold. If an owner was unable to 
maintain his slave, he could let him out to others, by which means he fre 
quently derived a maintenance both for himself and his slave; but the slave 
was obliged to return to his master whenever he required him, who could 
mortgage or sell him at pleasure. Since the assumption of the country, 
some slaves continued with their masters; others have left them, and have 
even enlisted as sepoys. I cannot discover that any puller has sold himself 
as a slave of late veal s. Indeed, slavery seems gradually disappearing ; which 
inay be attributed to the knowledge, that it is not encouraged in the different 
courts of justice. Some pullers cultivate their own lands, and have their 
own puttiams. Those who cultivate the lauds of others, and who are not 
slaves, receive a regulated hire. 

" In COIMBATORE slavery is reported to exist, but in a very few villages. 
The Collector observes, From all that I can learn, it appears certain thaf, 
the on*ner ha* a right to sell his slam without the land; but that it /.v a right 
very seldom, if crer, exercised. The highest price for a good slave is fifty 
rupees; the price, however, is seldom so high. The children of slaves are 
born slaves. On the birth of a child, the master presents the parents 
with cloths, and one or two rupees. The master is supposed to he vested 
with despotic authority over their slaves, and with power to punish them. 
An apprehension, however, that the exercise of such authority is not per 
mitted !>y the British government appears generally prevalent, and rather 
operates to prevent the merchandise of slaves, AS they are considered to be less 
valuable, when free from the fear of punishment. There appears reason for 
thinking that tlic slaves are, on the whole, belter treated by their masters 
than the common class of free labourers. Hie master possesses a power, 
not uuli/ over the j>ersvn, but over thf projx-rtij of his slave ; and he may make 

7. 2 


use of the cattle reared by the slave for agricultural purposes! The slaves 
are gold with the land ; but, if they should object to serve another master, 
they are not forced to do so. This I take to he an indulgence of the master, 
not a right of the slave. The slaves have a share of the produce allotted for 
their subsistence, about AN KIGHTH. Jn some instances, land has been made 
over to the pullers, which they cultivate for their support. In many places, 
where slavery does not exist, a species of bondage is introduced, by the 
ryots undertaking to bear the expense of their puller s marriage, upon con 
dition of the latter binding themselves to serve the ryots exclusively for life. 
Slavery may almost be considered as extinct in Coimbatore. 

" In TANJOKE slavery exists ; but, as in Madura and Dindigul, it is found 
ed, in the first instance, upon voluntary contract. The slaves are never 
seized <;r sold for arrears of revenue. The slaves here are of t\\o casts only, 
the Puller and Pariah ; the origin of their bondage arises in a voluntary 
agreement, on their part, to become the slave of some other man more 
powerful than themselves, upon \vhom they thus impose a more strict obli 
gation to protect and maintain them and their families, than if merely serv 
ing them as labouring servants. The Brahmuns, in consideration of their 
cast, do not receive bonds of slavery directly in their own name, but have 
them generally drawn out in that of some of their soodra dependents. When 
a bond of slavery has been given, it ceases not with the life of the party, but 
is binding upon the descendants of the original giver, who continue bound 
by the conditions of it. In return, the owner is obliged to find subsistence 
at all times, and under all circumstances, for the family of his bondsman ; 
whom he can employ in any manner he pleases, although it is generally as 
a labourer in the fields. The bondsman does not reside in his master s 
house, nor form any part of his family, but has a house provided for him 
along with the others of his east, to which a back yard of eighty goontahs 
rent-free is attached, the same as other labourers. The master has the power 
of selling the slave, but he cannot sell him to any one u ho uill carry him to a 
distant part of the country, without his own consent. If the master, through 

{poverty or other cause, fails or becomes unable to subsist his bondsman and 
iis family, he is at liberty to seek employment as a free labourer, but is 
liable to be reclaimed at any time by his master, when he may be in a con 
dition to fulfil his part of the agreement. When lands are sold, in any way, 
it is always independent of the bondsmen, if any, upon it. If they are like 
wise to be sold, separate deeds of transfer are passed. If not, they continue at 
tached to their former masters. No persons of this description have ever yet 
been considered as seizable property, or sold for an arrear of revenue ; nor 
do I believe ever by a judicial decree in any civil cause; nor have I ever 
known this species of property recognised by the oflicers of government, 
although it is by the natives themselves, in their transactions with each other. 
On the part of the bondsman, his rights are subsistence and protection 
for himself and family from his master, with liberty to seek it elsewhere, as 
a free agent, if not found him ; and the right of not being removed by sale 
to a distant country from the place of his birth. With regard to himself, 
personally, his treatment from his master is the same as that of his other la 
bourers, which is, in general, of a mild nature ; but he is not more liable to 
personal punishment than others, in consequence of his state of bondage; 
and any cruelty or abuse of authority on the part of the master, towards his 
bondsman, would be complained against, and punished with equal strict 
ness, as if committed upon a fiee man. The Board will perceive that the 
condition of these people differs very little from that of the common labourers. 
The disadvantage to the bondsman is, the power of being sold or transferred 
to other masters; and this is not very frequent, as it is the last property, ge- 


ncrally, which is disposed of by a person in distressed circumstances. The 
advantages are, tlie more effectually securing subsistence and protection to 
themselves and families, particularly in times of trouble or difficulty, than it is 
binding on masters in general to bestow upon common labourers ; and this 
\\ithout rendering their condition in any degree intolerable, towards the ame 
lioration of which, the equity and mildness of the British Government 
have greatly operated, in respect to rendering the conduct of masters to their 
servants indulgent. I do not find that the system of slaves attached to the 
soil, and transferrable by purchase as appendages to the land, obtains here. 

"TiNNEVELLY. From all the information I have been able to collect, I 
understand, it tv urua/, in this dutrict, for slaves to be sold or mort(/a</ed 
cither irith the land or separately, as the proprietor pleases, or his mints re 
quire ; and that there is no particular rule, or general custom, by which the 
conduct l>etween the master and slave, and between slave and master, is 
governed, further than that the master has, at all times, the command of 
his slave s labour, and that the slave cannot work for any other person with 
out the permission of his master. 

In regard to the treatment of masters towards their slaves, it does not 
appear to be incumbent on them to afford a subsistence except when em 
ployed in their business ; and then it is on the lowest scale of allowance, he- 
ing generally no more than two measures of paddy per day. At other times 
their slaves are obliged to seek a livelihood at the hands of others, being 
bound only to return to their masters when the season of cultivation com 
mences. Besides this allowance, whicli the slaves receive from their mas 
ters on working days, they are entitled, when the crops are reaped, to a 
small deduction from the gross produce, called here, ParooJ which varies 
in different villages, but amounts generally to about 23-8 percent. It is 
usual, when deaths occur among them, for their masters to assist them in 
the necessary funeral expenses; and on marriages, births, and festival days, 
to grant them presents, according as their circumstances will admit; but 
these acts are quite voluntary on the part of the masters, and the slave can 
claim nothing more than a bare subsistence while he works, and his solun- 
tnun, as above described, at the time of harvest. 

4 All punishment of the slave by the master, if tin s power ever existed, 
and was recognised in former times, seems to be at an end ; and there is no in 
stance, within my experience in this district, of a slave complaining of ill-treat 
ment from his master. The fact, indeed, appears to be, that the slave is so 
necessary to the cultivation, and labourers are so scarce, that the proprietors 
find it their interest to treat them well ; and the slaves, in time, become so 
attached to the village in which they are settled, that they seem not to con 
sider their situation, nor shew any desire to be free. In calling upon the 
tehsildars for an account of a person s pioperty, to know whether he is a fit 
security for another, it is usual, if he possess slaves, to include them, a male 
slave being estimated in value from 3 to 15 C. Chuckrums (R (5 j -g to 31 
|1$), and a female from 3 to 5 C. Chuckrums (<J .^ to 10 ^), but I have 
always rejected them in the account as unavailable property by the Sircar, 
and none have ever been sold in this district for an arrear of revenue. * 

* "The jemn wtlue of a ;/ood Paricr, as well as a good Addian (slave), is 
thirty rupees; Ottv, twenty-seven and a half rupees ; Kanom, fifteen rupees ; 
and the jemn value of a less able one of either tribe, is twenty rupees ; ( )tty, 
seventeen and a half rupees; Kanom, ten rupees; and Paueyain, eight ru 
pees. The jemn value of children (male) of those sects is twelve rupees. 
The jemn value of a female slave, of any of the two tribes above mention- d, 


" SOUTH ARCOT. The slaves in this collectorate are mostly of the Pully 
and Pariar casts, and the majority of them are chiefly devoted to the pursuit 
of agriculture. The number of slaves in this district, of both sexes, includ 
ing children, amounts to upwards of 17,000; and they appear to have been 
generally born in a state of servitude, through some contract of their fore- 
lathers. The Hindoo code of laws, religious and civil, seems to declare 
that the Soodra tribes are naturally born in a state of servitude ; and, 
although some of the superiors of the sub-divisions of that tribe in modern 
days, have emancipated themselves from this degrading thraldom, yet the 
lower casts are always looked upon as natural slaves, the property of any 
person, who contributes to defray their marriage expenses, which is the ordi 
nary way, at present, of constituting hereditary slarery. Previously to the 
assumption of the Carnatic, the owners of slaves were empowered to punish 
them, either by castigation or confinement, at their discretion ; but that 
power, subsequently to the British administration, has ceased to be exercised. 
The possessions and acquisitions of slaves, are generally considered the pro 
perty of their masters, who, however, usually relinquish them to the family 
of the slave. Slaves cannot enter into any matrimonial connexion without 
the consent of their owners, who, as they defray the expenses of the mar 
riage, virtually revive the contract of hereditary bondage ; for ihe offspring 
of slaves are always regarded as the property of thc r father s otcncr. 

It is stated that the slaves of this district can be sold by their owners to 
any person, and to an alien village, and that no slaves are attached to any 
particular soil or village ; but I am induced to believe that such a practice 
is at variance with the rights annexed to the state of real bondage ; 
for in some Meerassi villages it is known that the Meerassidars have 
advanced pretensions to possess an equal proportion of the slaves with 
their share of the villages, and I also believe that such a practice is 
hardly ever resorted to. The price of a male slave and family, when sold 
by their owner to another person, varies considerably, and ranges from ten 
to fifty pagodas. The owners of slaves are required to provide them with 
food and clothing, to defray their wedding expenses, and to assist them on 
the births of children, and in their funeral charges. The food differs ac 
cording to the opulence of the owner, but is always sufficient for subsistence, 
or the owner permits the slave to serve elsewhere during his poverty. The 
clothing is very scanty, except when the slaves are chiefly employed for do 
mestic purposes ; and \ cannot discover that the apparel is designedly cal 
culated to portray the class of the wearers. The duties of slaves are to 
attend the cattle and agriculture, and to assist in domestic services, con 
nected with the house or person of their owners. 

as well as of their female children, is three rupees and eighty reas. The 
pattom of a good cherman of any of the two sects above mentioned, is three 
paddies of paddy ; that of a less able one, two paddies ; that of a boy, one 
paddy; and that of a female of those sects is also one paddy. Thejemn 
value of a good slave of the Moopan and Naiken tribe, is sixty-four silver 
fanams; Otty, fifty-two; Kanom, thirty; and Verroom Pattan, four silver 
fanams, but the females of those tribes are not given on Pattom or by sale. 
The jemn value of a good Poolean slave is twelve rupees ; Otty, ten rupees ; 
and Kanom, six rupees; and the jemn value of a less able one, eight rupees ; 
Otty, six rupees ; Kanom, four rupees; and Verrom Pattom, one paddy of 
paddy. The value of a good Panian or Addian (slave), might be said to 
have increased, by five rupees, above the old price, but that of the Naiken, 
Moorpan, and Poliar, continues still the same." (Par. Papers, pp. 852,853.) 


4 It does not appear that enfranchisemfnt of slaws ever takes place; yet as 
some owners have l>eeu reduced to indigence, and are unable to employ or 
subsist their hereditary slaves, those persons are ostensibly free, and labour 
for any person who will employ them. Cases of emancipation occur in the 
extinction of the owners families; and from this description of Soodras, 
who still sacrifice their liberties, modern slaves are constituted; for they are 
mostly very needy, and consent to perpetual and hereditary bondage for 
about twenty or thirty pagodas, which the cultivator advances for the cele 
bration of the marriage ceremony. In i.o instance, I believe, do engage 
ments exist, where a labourer discharges such a loan by his manual labour. 

"CuiNGLEPUT. The slaves employed in the cultivation of the lands, 
and to which this report principally refers, have, for the most part, their 
allowances regularly rendered ; so much grain being granted to each 
labourer, and a proportionate subsistence to each of his children or others 
of the family. They are housed and clothed ; and, during the principal 
lesti\als, certain allowances are made them both in money and articles re 
quired for their ceremonies. Their marriages are also performed at the 
charge of their masters; and, when reduced by infirmity, they are also sup 
ported by their proprietors. The condition of this description of people, 
composing the chief part of the Pariahs of the district, has, of late years, 
considerably changed. This may, in a great measure, arise from the vicinity 
of their situation to Madras, where this system is knoicn to be abrogated. 
Many of them there obtain employment, and their proprietors would find it 
difficult to reclaim them ; and the regulations have so far circumscribed the 
authority formerly exercised by the proprietors, that they cannot keep them 
under control, when the power was vested in them of inflicting on them 
very severe corporeal punishment, or confining them for the neglect of the 
duties assigned them : in former times the discipline exercised by the pro 
prietors over their slaves was of a very .severe description. The proprietors 
finding themselves very incapable of employing their sen-ices, or rather con 
trolling them a.s arbitrarily as before, complain less of the loss of this descrip 
tion of property. The slaves arc also possessed by many of the Vellairs, 
&c., who have long since established themselves in the cultivation of par 
ticular villages; but their situation, in such cases, is similar to those in the 
service of other soodras. The sale of adami (slaves) has been t I beliece, of 
latr yetrs, discontinued, or of very rare occurrence; and in these parts no 
attachment of such property has ever been made on account of the dues of 

"TRICHINOPOLV. In the wet districts of Trichinopolv, the number of 
pullers may be stated at 10,000, including those employed for the purpose 
of watching and feeding the cattle. In the dry districts, there are about 
fiOO ; but pullers are only to be found in those villages where there in paddy 
cultivation. The pullers of the dry districts appear to be liable to the same 
rules, and to possess the same rights, as those of the wet districts. Tlic 
services they perform are chiefly confined to the irrigation of the land in its 
several stages of cultivation ; but their services are also occasionally re 
quired by their masters, in the menial ofiices of their household establish 
ment If a wall <>r pundall is required, the nutters are obliged to erect //, 
without am/ further recompense than their established emoluments. The pul 
lers are usually sold with the land ; but there are many cases in which they 
may be purchased independent of it. The price of a puller varies from //t<r 
to tm payodax, according to his age and qualifications. Their sen-ices are 
also occasionally mortgaged ; a pullee, or female slave, is neer sold ; while 
it would appear that, in Malabar^ men, innnen, and children, arc sold indis 


The pullers are supposed to be entirely supported by their masters, in 
sickness and in health. Their marriages are made at the expense of the 
meerassidars, as well as the expense of their funerals. They enjoy some 
little gratuity at every birth, and reeeive a certain established sum at the 
principal Hindoo festivals. I have noted a list of the yearly emoluments a 
puller is properly entitled to receive; and these emoluments, though small, 
I have every reason to believe, are scarcely ever withheld.* 

* I have examined the pullers themselves, on the subject of their being 
well or ill treated, and asked them what course they would pursue if ill 
used. They replied, they would seek other masters at a distance, that would 
treat them more kindly. In corroboration of this fact I have never received 
a complaint, either in my fiscal or magisterial capacity, since my appoint 
ment to this district, from a puller against his master. The right of the 
puller is so distinctly defined by custom, and the interest of the meerassidar 
so substantially affected by the good conduct and health of the puller, that 
it is hardly possible to suppose the meerassidars would be so blind to their 
own interest as to cause their pullers to abscond, or by harsh treatment re 
duce them to sickness. From what has been already stated, it will be found, 
that agricultural slavery has existed in this district from time immemorial. 

"CANARA. The origin of slavery in Canara is to be traced from extracts 
in an ancient book, called Sheehadry Pooranum, but by no means an au 
thentic record. This treatise is stated to contain a fabulous narrative, which, 
when divested of its oriental imagery and metaphors, will be found to at 
tribute the origin of slavery in Canara to the right of conquest. 

" The extent of cultivation to be made by a puller and by a pullee, is 
150 cullums of paddy. 

Annual Emoluments. ru. an. 

VVarum of a puller culs 8 5| 

Do. of a pullee 6 (> 


Batta at the commencement of each fusly for ploughing . 2 4 

Soluntrums for sowing . . . . . . 6 

Reaping share a 5 per cent 7 (> 

Thrashing do. ......... 1 

Pongal feast 10 

Duparaly do 

Gramadava do. . OH 

Total annual . . 26 l 5ffs. 

Proposed addition of \varum a 2 per cent 300 

29 H 5f fs. 
Contingencies estimated : 

For a marriage . . . . . . . . . 4 rs. S 

For a birth . 2 fs. 2 

For a death . 2 fs. 2 

4 4 rs. 8 4 

Total 33 5f rs. t) fs. 1 " 


/ii 1 rii/ht of sale was, and is still, the matter** exdurive privilege^ cither 
r without t/tc land. The price varies, and is settled amongst the pur- 

rs and sellers. The usual rules arc ;LS follow: 

* For a strong young man, from tweln 1 to twenty-six rupees. 

Do. a strong young woman, twelve to twenty-four rujnt-s. 

Dt. a child, never under f<mr rupees. 

4 It is customary to pass a bill of sale, on a bargain being made, or a 
mortgage bond. The transfer, by purchase or gift, (in charity, or to the 
pagoda), is attended with a short ceremony, between the seller or giver, and 
receiver, and the slave. The slave drinks some water from his brass basin, and 
calls out, I am now your slave for ever. The /illah court, has guaranteed this 
right by decrees, both on transfer of landed property, and on sale in exe 
cution of decrees. The master can lend his slaves out on hire. He can sell 
the husband to one person, and the irife to another! This is not often done, 
because neither of the purchasers can be sure of keeping his purchase. Care 
is always taken in purchasing not to carry the slave to any distant estate. 
The nuister can sell the children; but this is seldom done from the foregoing 
cause, the fear of desertion. The master, according to his means, feeds and 
clothes his slaves. He never pays them wages in money, but presents them 
on their marriages, or particular ceremonies, with a small sum. The quan 
tity of food and clothing to a slave varies in every talook. It does not seem 
to be reyulated by any rule, although it would appear that some original 
quantum obtained. The average may be thus estimated : 


A man 

A woman 
A child , 

T Canara seer coarse rice, 
two rupees weight salt, 
a little bcetel nut and 

1 seer. 


Two pieces of cautlu 

si \ 

x cubits. In some ta- 

looks, a coombly and 

roomal given. 
1 do. seven cubits long. 
1 do. four do. 

The salt, beetel, Hcc., is optional. It is also customary to give them con 
jee from the master s house. I cannot learn that any want or cruelty is ex 
perienced by the slaves, the master being well aware that, on any ill-treat 
ment, they will desert him; and that the trouble and expense attending 
their recovery would perhaps amount to the value of the deserters. Slavery 
seems to be iticimsistent with rights and privileges. On these points I can only 
generally state, that the dhers of Canara possess none. The number of slaves 
of all descriptions, in Canara, has never been correctly ascertained ; they 
may be estimated at H 2,000. 

"MALABAR. In Malabar (exclusive of Wynaud*) the number of slaves is 
estimated by the Collector at 100,000. They are, says the Collector, slaves 
of the soil, and are generally attached to the land of the proprietors of the 

* "The landed proprietors of Wynaud are torpid to a degree ; all the 
field work is done by slaves called I aniers, who are held in higher estimation 
than the slaves of the lower districts. They are admitted to the threshold <>/ 
their masters houses, and they are even employed in grinding rice for the ii.te 
of the temples /" (I ar. Papers, p. JK21.) Hamilton thus describes the cere- 
monies of respect in Malabar:-" A nair, (soldier) may approach, but not 
touch a Hrahmim. A tair, (cultivator) remains M yards off. A puliar, 
(slave) !>fi steps off. A tair is to remain \ 2 steps from a nair; a mcliar , J or 
4 steps farther, a poliar 9<> steps. A meliar may approach, but not touch a 
tair. A policr is not to come near a malear or other cast. If he wish to 
speak to a Hrahmun or other, he must stund at the above proscribed distances 
and cry aloud. Formerly a iiair was expected instantly to cut down a tair, 


ground on which they were born ; but this is by no means considered an 
essential point, being frequently transferred by sale, mortgage, or hire. In 
Malabar, as in the West Indies, a man s wealth is as much appreciated by the 
number of his slaves, as by any other property he may possets ! In one sect they 
observe what is termed makkatye; in another they observe the marramakka- 
tye ; the former, being the common laws of kindred, the lattersimilar to the cus 
toms among the Nairs, in which inheritance goes to the sister s son, and this 
constitutes the value of a female of one cast over that of the male, and vice 
versa, a male being more valuable where (he progeny goes with hitn. The 
marriage contract is made entirely among the parents of the parties, without 
my interference on the part of the proprietor; to whom, however, it is 
necessary to make the proposed connexion. 

No valuable consideration is given to the owner by the male for the pos 
session of the female. The contract may be dissolved at the pleasure of the 
parties connected; in which event the husband takes off the marriage neck 
lace (commonly composed of shells or brass ornaments), which makes the dis 
solution complete, and each is at liberty to form new connexions; but whilst the 
contract lasts I have had opportunities in my magisterial capacity, when an as 
sistant in the courts,of observing a wonderful degree of jealousy and tenacious- 
ness of family honour, when contrasted with the general appearance, habits, 
and apparently brutish stupidity of these casts. The measure of subsistence 
to be given by the proprietor is Jixed, and he is bound by the prescribed cus 
toms of the country to see it served daily. A frequent failure on the part of 
the master to perform this duty, is sure to be attended with desertion to 
another, from whom they expect kinder usage; and, when this takes place, 
the recovery of them is attended with difficulties that are not easily overcome ; 
for, independent of being obliged to have recourse to courts of justice, 
months and years perhaps elapse before they can discover to what place the 
slave has absconded. The proprietor feels it his interest to see them well 
treated, through apprehensions of the consequence of an opposite conduct. 

4 1 do not recollect any instance of a churma having appealed to a court 
of justice for protection from the ill usage of his master; but instances are 
not wanting of persons having been brought to justice and to a severe ac 
count for the murder or wounding of a slave; and as it is universally known 
throughout Malabar that British justice considers the life of the lowest in 
dividual as valuable as the highest character in the country, and that as 
severe a retribution would fall on the head of the murderer of a slave as of 
a rajah, we may consider them as well protected by the laws as any other 
race of beings. In some respects, churmas may be considered in more com. 
fortable circumstances than any of the lo\ver and poorer class of Natives. 
An instance of a churma being a beggar is unheard of: they and their 
families are sure of having the means of subsistence, for if the owner should 
be unable to afford this, he will sell, mortgage, or hire his churma to another, 
on whom would devolve the duty, as well as interest, of affording him such 
subsistence, as to enable him to go through the labours of the day."* f 

or musna, (fisherman) who denied him by touching him ; and the same fate 
awaited the poliar or pariar who did not turn out of the road for the nair." 
(Ham. Hind., vol. ii. pp. 278, 280.) 

* Par. Tapers on Slavery in India, pp. 887896. 

f "The churmas in Malabar are absolute property; they are part of the. 
live stock on an estate. In selling and buying land it is not necessary that 
they should follow the soil ; both kinds of property are equally disposable, 
and may fall into different hands. The churmas may be sold, leased, and 
mortgaged, like the land itself, or like any cattle or thing. The feumokar 

SLAVKUY. . 347 

To the above may be added the Report of the Collector of the NORTHERN 
DIVISION or ARCOT. "The slaves in the district are not numerous; ex 
hibiting a total of <>8H, inclusive of men, women, and children. The practice 
of keeping them maybe said to be confined to the five talooks of Areot, 
Trevultoof, Cauvareeput, Poloor, and Suttawaid; for in Sholungar and 
Wondawash (the two other talooks in \vhich, according to the statement, 
slavery prevails) their numbers are very small indeed. They are ostensibly 
employed in agriculture, and the pasturing of cattle, although they may oc 
casionally do house work ; and the persons in whose service they are prin 
cipally engaged, are the Rajah, Brahmun, and Vellumwar casts. Children, 
born when their parents are in a state of slavery, become slaves also. It 
does not appear to be accurately settled to whom the child of a slait belongs t 
in one talook, it was said to the master of the male, in another to the master 
of the female slave; the question, perhaps, has never been agitated ; for the 
people who keep slaves, most likelv find it cheaper to bm/ than to rear them ! 
and the offspring, when left to their parents charge, who have barely suf 
ficient to snp])rt themselres, die of absolute u*ant ! They have not any par 
ticular marks whereby they may be distinguished, except it is their wretched 
appearance ; they are fed and clothed and subsisted entirely by their masters ; 
their food consists of rayyy, the coarsest kind of grain, and their clothing is 
a common cumly. I cannot discover, though I was very particular in my 
inquiries on the point, that thei/ have any riyhts or privileges, and ifiey are 
not possessed of any property, neither can they inherit any."* 

The latter part of the Par. Papers refers to the practice of 
stealing children, which appears " very prevalent at Madras." 
"1 beg (says the Magistrate at Tinnevelly in Dec. 18-25) to 
bring officially to notice a custom which is, I believe, more 
or less prevalent throughout the Madras territories, and, as 
far as my observation has gone, is very frequent in the district 
of Tinnevelly. The practice I allude to, is the sale and pur 
chase of female children by dancing women, for the avowed 
purpose of bringing them up to alife of immorality. The custom 
is so notorious, and its tendency so evident, that no comment 
can be necessary ; but I am apprehensive that, unless it be 
specially excepted from those purchases of children which are 

may hire them for pattom or rent independently of the land, or he may sell 
them altogether with his estate. The pattom on a churma is four fanams a 
year; if they are disposed of on otty, their price is thirty two fanams; if on 
the attipit ola or jenmon, forty-eight lanams. The jenmokar, by the ancient 
laws of Malabar, is accountable, to no person for the life of his oirn chunna, 
but is the legal judge of his offences, ami muv punish them by death, if 
thev should appear to deserve it. The kolloonaven can neither put to death 
a churma nor sell him, but he may chastise him. In the same manner ;us 
the soil the possession of chunuas was originally confined to a particular 
class. They were then employed entirely in the labours of agriculture; 
but, although they were the first and sole cultivators in Malabar, it is not U> 
be imagined that this is the case at present, since there are many kuddiuus 
of all casts, who cultivate their own lands." (Walker s Hep. on Malabar. 
Par. Papers, p. KM.) 

* Par. Papers on Slavery in India, pp. 873, 7-l. 


now (under some circumstances) legal, an opinion may be en 
tertained that such dealings are countenanced by law. A pro 
hibition of such transactions could not be complained of as 
an infringement of any acknowledged rights ; it would serve 
as a check upon child-stealing, which is occasionally practised 
under the pretence of purchase, and the public expression of 
the will of the Government could not but have a beneficial 
tendency to promote morality."* 

The reply to this communication, by the Secretary of 
Government at Madras, it is presumed, cannot be read without 
feelings of strong disapprobation. "It is understood, from your 
letter, that in the opinion of the judges of the Foujdaree 
Adawlut, no new enactment is required upon this subject, 
because the selling or purchasing of children, for the avowed 
purpose of prostitution, may be punished under the law as it 
at present stands. The Governor in Council entirely concurs 
with the judges in deeming any enactment unnecessary ; and 
is further of opinion, adverting to the nature of the institution 
of dancing women, and to its connexion with the ceremonies 
and observances, both religious and civil, of the great bulk of 
the people, that if it is at all expedient for the officers of Go 
vernment to interfere, for the purpose of preventing parents 
or guardians from assigning children in the customary modes 
to be brought up to this profession, the interference requires 
to be conducted with the greatest caution. The remarks, to 
which reference is made, relate to the practice of selling 
children to be made slaves, and generally to the usages of the 
country with respect to slavery ; and, it was observed, that 
that subject was one of much difficulty and delicacy. The 
subject now under consideration is of no less delicacy, and it 
seems to afford less inducement to interfere ; for it is to be 
considered, that loss of personal freedom is not among the con 
sequences of being brought up to be a dancing woman, and 
that the species of immorality which the interference would 
propose to redress prevails, is generally tolerated, in the 
most enlightened and most highly civili/ed nations of Europe, 
and is much more closely connected with general depravity 
and with misery in England than it is in India."f 

The )>ri