CHAPTER IX -- PROFESSOR OF SANSKRIT, BENGALI, AND MARATHI, 1801-1830
Reporting to Ryland, in August 1800, the publication of the Gospels and of "several small pieces" in Bengali, he excused his irregularity in keeping a journal, "for in the printing I have to look over the copy and correct the press, which is much more laborious than it would be in England, because spelling, writing, printing, etc., in Bengali is almost a new thing, and we have in a manner to fix the orthography." A little later, in a letter to Sutcliff, he used language regarding the sacred books of the Hindoos which finds a parallel more than eighty years after in Professor Max Müller's preface to his series of the sacred books of the East, the translation of which Carey was the first to plan and to begin from the highest of all motives. Mr. Max Müller calls attention to the "real mischief that has been and is still being done by the enthusiasm of those pioneers who have opened the first avenues through the bewildering forests of the sacred literature of the East." He declares that "Eastern nations themselves would not tolerate, in any of their classical literary compositions, such violations of the simplest rules of taste as they have accustomed themselves to tolerate, if not to admire, in their sacred books." And he is compelled to leave untranslated, while he apologises for them, the frequent allusions to the sexual aspects of nature, "particularly in religious books." The revelations of the Maharaj trial in Bombay are the practical fruit of all this.
"Calcutta, 17th March 1802.--I have been much astonished lately at the malignity of some of the infidel opposers of the Gospel, to see how ready they are to pick every flaw they can in the inspired writings, and even to distort the meaning, that they may make it appear inconsistent; while these very persons will labour to reconcile the grossest contradictions in the writings accounted sacred by the Hindoos, and will stoop to the meanest artifices in order to apologise for the numerous glaring falsehoods and horrid violations of all decency and decorum, which abound in almost every page. Any thing, it seems, will do with these men but the word of God. They ridicule the figurative language of Scripture, but will run allegory-mad in support of the most worthless productions that ever were published. I should think it time lost to translate any of them; and only a sense of duty excites me to read them.It was not surprising that the Governor-General, even if he had been less enlightened than Lord Wellesley, found in this missionary interloper, as the East India Company officially termed the class to which he belonged, the only man fit to be Professor of Bengali, Sanskrit, and Marathi in the College of Fort William, and also translator of the laws and regulations of the Government.
In a memoir read before the Berlin Academy of Sciences, which he had founded in the first year of the eighteenth century, Leibniz first sowed the seed of the twin sciences of comparative philology and ethnology, to which we owe the fruitful results of the historical and critical school. That century was passed in the necessary collection of facts, of data. Carey introduced the second period, so far as the learned and vernacular languages of North India are concerned--of developing from the body of facts which his industry enormously extended, the principles upon which these languages were constructed, besides applying these principles, in the shape of grammars, dictionaries, and translations, to the instruction and Christian civilisation alike of the learned and of the millions of the people. To the last, as at the first, he was undoubtedly only what he called himself, a pioneer to prepare the way for more successful civilisers and scholars. But his pioneering was acknowledged by contemporary/1/ and later Orientalists, like Colebrooke and H. H. Wilson, to be of unexampled value in the history of scientific research and industry, while the succeeding pages will show that in its practical results the pioneering came as nearly to victory as is possible, until native India lives its own national Christian life.
When India first became a united British Empire under one Governor-General and the Regulating Act of Parliament of 1773, Warren Hastings had at once carried out the provision he himself had suggested for using the moulavies and pundits in the administration of Mussulman and Hindoo law. Besides colleges in Calcutta and Benares to train such, he caused those codes of Mohammedan and Brahmanical law to be prepared which afterwards appeared as The Hedaya and The Code of Gentoo Laws. The last was compiled in Sanskrit by pundits summoned from all Bengal and maintained in Calcutta at the public cost, each at a rupee a day. It was translated through the Persian, the language of the courts, by the elder Halhed into English in 1776. That was the first step in English Orientalism.
The second was taken by Sir William Jones, a predecessor worthy of Carey, but cut off all too soon while still a young man of thirty-four, when he founded the Bengal Asiatic Society in 1784 on the model of Boyle's Royal Society. The code of Warren Hastings had to be arranged and supplemented into a reliable digest of the original texts, and the translation of this work, as done by pundit Jaganatha, was left, by the death of Jones, to Colebrooke, who completed it in 1797. Charles Wilkins had made the first direct translation from the Sanskrit into English in 1785, when he published in London The Bhagavat-Geeta or Dialogue of Krishna and Arjoon, and his is the imperishable honour thus chronicled by a contemporary poetaster:--
"But he performed a yet more noble part,In Bengali Halhed had printed at Hoogli in 1783, with types cut by Wilkins, the first grammar, but it had become obsolete and was imperfect. Such had been the tentative efforts of the civilians and officials of the Company when Carey began anew the work from the only secure foundation, the level of daily sympathetic intercourse with the people and their Brahmans, with the young as well as the old.
The Marquis Wellesley was of nearly the same age as Carey, whom he soon learned to appreciate and to use for the highest good of the empire. Of the same name and original English descent as John and Charles Wesley, the Governor-General was the eldest and not the least brilliant of the Irish family which, besides him, gave to the country the Duke of Wellington and Lord Cowley. While Carey was cobbling shoes in an unknown hamlet of the Midlands and was aspiring to convert the world, young Wellesley was at Eton and Christ Church, Oxford, acquiring the classical scholarship which, as we find its fruits in his Primiti et Reliqui, extorted the praise of De Quincey. When Carey was starving in Calcutta unknown the young lord was making his mark in the House of Commons by a speech against the Jacobins of France in the style of Burke. The friend of Pitt, he served his apprenticeship to Indian affairs in the Board of Control, where he learned to fight the directors of the East India Company, and he landed at Calcutta in 1798, just in time to save the nascent empire from ruin by the second Mysore war and the fall of Tipoo at Seringapatam.
Like that other marquis who most closely resembled him half a century after, the Scottish Dalhousie, his hands were no sooner freed from the uncongenial bonds of war than he became even more illustrious by his devotion to the progress which peace makes possible. He created the College of Fort William, dating the foundation of what was fitted and intended to be the greatest seat of learning in the East from the first anniversary of the victory of Seringapatam. So splendidly did he plan, so wisely did he organise, and with such lofty aims did he select the teachers of the college, that long after his death he won from De Quincey the impartial eulogy, that of his three services to his country and India this was the "first, to pave the way for the propagation of Christianity--mighty service, stretching to the clouds, and which in the hour of death must have given him consolation."
When Wellesley arrived at Calcutta he had been shocked by the sensual ignorance of the Company's servants. Sunday was universally given up to horse-racing and gambling. Boys of sixteen were removed from the English public schools where they had hardly mastered the rudiments of education to become the magistrates, judges, revenue collectors, and governors of millions of natives recently brought under British sway. At a time when the passions most need regulation and the conscience training, these lads found themselves in India with large incomes, flattered by native subordinates, encouraged by their superiors to lead lives of dissipation, and without the moral control even of the weakest public opinion.
The Eton boy and Oxford man was himself still young, and he knew the world, but he saw that all this meant ruin to both the civil and military services, and to the Company's system. The directors addressed in a public letter, dated 25th May 1798, "an objurgation on the character and conduct" of their servants. They re-echoed the words of the new Governor-General in their condemnation of a state of things, "highly discreditable to our Government, and totally incompatible with the religion we profess." Such a service as this, preceding the creation of the college, led Pitt's other friend, Wilberforce, in the discussions on the charter of 1813, to ascribe to Lord Wellesley, when summoning him to confirm and revise it, the system of diffusing useful knowledge of all sorts as the true foe not only of ignorance but of vice and of political and social decay.
Called upon to prevent the evils he had been the first to denounce officially, Lord Wellesley wrote his magnificent state paper of 1800, which he simply termed Notes on the necessity of a special collegiate training of Civil Servants. The Company's factories had grown into the Indian Empire of Great Britain. The tradesmen and clerks, whom the Company still called "writer," "factor," and "merchant," in their several grades, had, since Clive obtained a military commission in disgust at such duties, become the judges and rulers of millions, responsible to Parliament. They must be educated in India itself, and trained to be equal to the responsibilities and temptations of their position. If appointed by patronage at home when still at school, they must be tested after training in India so that promotion shall depend on degrees of merit. Lord Wellesley anticipated the modified system of competition which Macaulay offered to the Company in 1853, and the refusal of which led to the unrestricted system which has prevailed with varying results since that time.
Nor was the college only for the young civilians as they arrived. Those already at work were to be encouraged to study. Military officers were to he invited to take advantage of an institution which was intended to be "the university of Calcutta," "a light amid the darkness of Asia," and that at a time when in all England there was not a military college. Finally, the college was designed to be a centre of Western learning in an Eastern dress for the natives of India and Southern Asia, alike as students and teachers. A noble site was marked out for it on the stately sweep of Garden Reach, where every East Indiaman first dropped its anchor, and the building was to be worthy of the founder who erected Government House.
The curriculum of study included Arabic, Persian, and Sanskrit; Bengali, Marathi, Hindostani (Hindi), Telugoo, Tamil, and Kanarese; English, the Company's, Mohammedan and Hindoo law, civil jurisprudence, and the law of nations; ethics; political economy, history, geography, and mathematics; the Greek, Latin, and English classics, and the modern languages of Europe; the history and antiquities of India; natural history, botany, chemistry, and astronomy. The discipline was that of the English universities as they then were, under the Governor-General himself, his colleagues, and the appellate judges. The senior chaplain, the Rev. David Brown, was provost in charge of the discipline; and Dr. Claudius Buchanan was vice-provost in charge of the studies, as well as professor of Greek, Latin, and English. Dr. Gilchrist was professor of Hindostani, in teaching which he had already made a fortune; Lieutenant J. Baillie of Arabic; and Mr. H. B. Edmonstone of Persian. Sir George Barlow expounded the laws or regulations of the British Government in India. The Church of England constitution of the college at first, to which Buchanan had applied the English Test Act, and his own modesty, led Carey to accept of his appointment, which was thus gazetted:--"The Rev. William Carey, teacher of the Bengali and Sanskrit languages."
The first notice of the new college which we find in Carey's correspondence is this, in a letter to Sutcliff dated 27th November 1800:-- "There is a college erected at Fort William, of which the Rev. D. Brown is appointed provost, and C. Buchanan classical tutor: all the Eastern languages are to be taught in it." "All" the languages of India were to be taught, the vernacular as well as the classical and purely official. This was a reform not less radical and beneficial in its far-reaching influence, and not less honourable to the scholarly foresight of Lord Wellesley, than Lord William Bentinck's new era of the English language thirty-five years after. The rulers and administrators of the new empire were to begin their career by a three years' study of the mother tongue of the people, to whom justice was administered in a language foreign alike to them and their governors, and of the Persian language of their foreign Mohammedan conquerors.
That the peoples of India, "every man in his own language," might hear and read the story of what the one true and living God had done for us men and our salvation, Carey had nine years before given himself to acquire Bengali and the Sanskrit of which it is one of a numerous family of daughters, as the tongues of the Latin nations of Europe and South America are of the offspring of the speech of Caesar and Cicero. Now, following the missionary pioneer, as educational, scientific, and even political progress has ever since done in the India which would have kept him out, Lord Wellesley decreed that, like the missionary, the administrator and the military officer shall master the language of the people. The five great vernaculars of India were accordingly named, and the greatest of all, the Hindi, which was not scientifically elaborated till long after, was provided for under the mixed dialect or lingua franca known as Hindostani.
When Carey and his colleagues were congratulating themselves on a reform which has already proved as fruitful of results as the first century of the Renascence of Europe, he little thought, in his modesty, that he would be recognised as the only man who was fit to carry it out. Having guarded the college, as they thought, by a test, Brown and Buchanan urged Carey to take charge of the Bengali and Sanskrit classes as "teacher" on Rs. 500 a month or £700 a year. Such an office was entirely in the line of the constitution of the missionary brotherhood. But would the Government which had banished it to Serampore recognise the aggressively missionary character of Carey, who would not degrade his high calling by even the suspicion of a compromise? To be called and paid as a teacher rather than as the professor whose double work he was asked to do, was nothing to the modesty of the scholar who pleaded his sense of unfitness for the duties. His Master, not himself, was ever Carey's first thought, and the full professorship, rising to £1800 a year, was soon conferred on the man who proved himself to be almost as much the college in his own person as were the other professors put together. A month after his appointment he thus told the story to Dr. Ryland in the course of a long letter devoted chiefly to the first native converts:--
"SERAMPORE, 15th June 1801... We sent you some time ago a box full of gods and butterflies, etc., and another box containing a hundred copies of the New Testament in Bengali... Mr. Lang is studying Bengali, under me, in the college. What I have last mentioned requires some explanation, though you will probably hear of it before this reaches you. You must know, then, that a college was founded last year in Fort William, for the instruction of the junior civil servants of the Company, who are obliged to study in it three years after their arrival. I always highly approved of the institution, but never entertained a thought that I should be called to fill a station in it. To my great surprise I was asked to undertake the Bengali professorship.For seven years, since his first settlement in the Dinajpoor district, Carey had given one-third of his long working day to the study of Sanskrit. In 1796 he reported:-- "I am now learning the Sanskrit language, that I may be able to read their Shasters for myself; and I have acquired so much of the Hindi or Hindostani as to converse in it and speak for some time intelligibly... Even the language of Ceylon has so much affinity with that of Bengal that out of twelve words, with the little Sanskrit that I know, I can understand five or six." In 1798 he wrote:-- "I constantly employ the forenoon in temporal affairs; the afternoon in reading, writing, learning Sanskrit, etc.; and the evening by candle light in translating the Scriptures... Except I go out to preach, which is often the case, I never deviate from this rule."
Three years before that he had been able to confute the Brahmans from their own writings; in 1798 he quoted and translated the Rig Veda and the Purana in reply to a request for an account of the beliefs of the priesthood, apologising, however, with his usual self-depreciation:-- "I am just beginning to see for myself by reading the original Shasters." In 1799 we find him reading the Mahabharata epic with the hope of finding some allusion or fact which might enable him to equate Hindoo chronology with reliable history, as Dr. John Wilson of Bombay and James Prinsep did a generation later, by the discovery of the name of Antiochus the Great in two of the edicts of Asoka, written on the Girnar rock.
By September 1804 Carey had completed the first three years' course of collegiate training in Sanskrit. The Governor-General summoned a brilliant assembly to listen to the disputations and declamations of the students who were passing out, and of their professors, in the various Oriental languages. The new Government House, as it was still called, having been completed only the year before at a cost of £140,000, was the scene, in "the southern room on the marble floor," where, ever since, all through the century, the Sovereign's Viceroys have received the homage of the tributary kings of our Indian empire. There, from Dalhousie and Canning to Lawrence and Mayo, and their still surviving successors, we have seen pageants and durbars more splendid, and representing a wider extent of territory, from Yarkand to Bangkok, than even the Sultanised Englishman as Sir James Mackintosh called Wellesley, ever dreamed of in his most imperial aspirations. There councils have ever since been held, and laws have been passed affecting the weal of from two to three hundred millions of our fellow-subjects. There, too, we have stood with Duff and Cotton, Ritchie and Outram, representing the later University of Calcutta which Wellesley would have anticipated. But we question if, ever since, the marble hall of the Governor-General's palace has witnessed a sight more profoundly significant than that of William Carey addressing the Marquis Wellesley in Sanskrit, and in the presence of the future Duke of Wellington, in such words as follow.
The seventy students, their governors, officers, and professors, rose to their feet, when, at ten o'clock on Thursday the 20th of September 1804, His Excellency the Visitor entered the room, accompanied, as the official gazette duly chronicles, by "the Honourable the Chief Justice, the judges of the Supreme Court, the members of the Supreme Council, the members of the Council of the College, Major-General Cameron, Major-General the Honourable Arthur Wellesley, Major-General Dowdeswell, and Solyman Aga, the envoy from Baghdad. All the principal civil and military officers at the Presidency, and many of the British inhabitants, were present on this occasion; and also many learned natives."
After Romer had defended, in Hindostani, the thesis that the Sanskrit is the parent language in India, and Swinton, in Persian, that the poems of Hafiz are to be understood in a figurative or mystical sense, there came a Bengali declamation by Tod senior on the position that the translations of the best works extant in the Sanskrit with the popular languages of India would promote the extension of science and civilisation, opposed by Hayes; then Carey, as moderator, made an appropriate Bengali speech. A similar disputation in Arabic and a Sanskrit declamation followed, when Carey was called on to conclude with a speech in Sanskrit. Two days after, at a second assemblage of the same kind, followed by a state dinner, Lord Wellesley presented the best students with degrees of merit inscribed on vellum in Oriental characters, and delivered an oration, in which he specially complimented the Sanskrit classes, urged more general attention to the Bengali language, and expressed satisfaction that a successful beginning had been made in the study of Marathi.
It was considered a dangerous experiment for a missionary, speaking in Sanskrit, to avow himself such not only before the Governor-General in official state but before the Hindoo and Mohammedan nobles who surrounded him. We may be sure that Carey would not show less of his Master's charity and wisdom than he had always striven to do. But the necessity was the more laid on him that he should openly confess his great calling, for he had told Fuller on Lord Wellesley's arrival he would do so if it were possible. Buchanan, being quite as anxious to bring the mission forward on this occasion, added much to the English draft--"the whole of the flattery is his," wrote Carey to Fuller--and sent it on to Lord Wellesley with apprehension. This answer came back from the great Proconsul:--"I am much pleased with Mr. Carey's truly original and excellent speech. I would not wish to have a word altered. I esteem such a testimony from such a man a greater honour than the applause of Courts and Parliaments."
"MY LORD, it is just that the language which has been first cultivated under your auspices should primarily be employed in gratefully acknowledging the benefit, and in speaking your praise. This ancient language, which refused to disclose itself to the former Governors of India, unlocks its treasures at your command, and enriches the world with the history, learning, and science of a distant age. The rising importance of our collegiate institution has never been more clearly demonstrated than on the present occasion; and thousands of the learned in distant nations will exult in this triumph of literature.The Court of Directors had never liked Lord Wellesley, and he had, in common with Colebrooke, keenly wounded them by proposing a free trade movement against their monopoly. They ordered that his favourite college should be immediately abolished. He took good care so to protract the operation as to give him time to call in the aid of the Board of Control, which saved the institution, but confined it to the teaching of languages to the civilians of the Bengal Presidency only. The Directors, when thus overruled chiefly by Pitt, created a similar college at Haileybury, which continued till the open competitive system of 1854 swept that also away; and the Company itself soon followed, as the march of events had made it an anachronism.
The first law professor at Haileybury was James Mackintosh, an Aberdeen student who had leaped into the front rank of publicists and scholars by his answer to Burke, in the Vindici Gallic, and his famous defence of M. Peltier accused of a libel on Napoleon Buonaparte. Knighted and sent out to Bombay as its first recorder, Sir James Mackintosh became the centre of scholarly society in Western India, as Sir William Jones had been in Bengal. He was the friend of Robert Hall, the younger, who was filling Carey's pulpit in Leicester, and he soon became the admiring correspondent of Carey himself. His first act during his seven years' residence in Bombay was to establish the "Literary Society." He drew up a "Plan of a comparative vocabulary of Indian languages," to be filled up by the officials of every district, like that which Carey had long been elaborating for his own use as a philologist and Bible translator. In his first address to the Literary Society he thus eulogised the College of Fort William, though fresh from a chair in its English rival, Haileybury:-- "The original plan was the most magnificent attempt ever made for the promotion of learning in the East... Even in its present mutilated state we have seen, at the last public exhibition, Sanskrit declamation by English youth, a circumstance so extraordinary, that if it be followed by suitable advances it will mark an epoch in the history of learning."
Carey continued till 1831 to be the most notable figure in the College of Fort William. He was the centre of the learned natives whom it attracted, as pundits and moonshees, as inquirers and visitors. His own special pundit was the chief one, Mrityunjaya Vidyalankar, whom Home has immortalised in Carey's portrait. In the college for more than half the week, as in his study at Serampore, Carey exhausted three pundits daily. His college-room was the centre of incessant literary work, as his Serampore study was of Bible translation. When he declared that the college staff had sent forth one hundred original volumes in the Oriental languages and literature, he referred to the grammars and dictionaries, the reading-books, compilations, and editions prepared for the students by the professors and their native assistants. But he contributed the largest share, and of all his contributions the most laborious and valuable was this project of the Bibliotheca Asiatica.
"24th July, 1805.--By the enclosed Gazette you will see that the Asiatic Society and the College have agreed to allow us a yearly stipend for translating Sanskrit works: this will maintain three missionary stations, and we intend to apply it to that purpose. An augmentation of my salary has been warmly recommended by the College Council, but has not yet taken place, and as Lord Cornwallis is now arrived and Lord Wellesley going away, it may not take place. If it should, it will be a further assistance. The business of the translation of Sanskrit works is as follows: About two years ago I presented proposals (to the Council of the College) to print the Sanskrit books at a fixed price, with a certain indemnity for 100 copies.In 1807 Carey became one of the most active members of the Bengal Asiatic Society. His name at once appears as one of the Committee of Papers. In the ninth volume of the Asiatic Researches for that year, scholars were invited to communicate translations and descriptive accounts of Asiatic books. Carey's edition of The Ramayana of Valmeeki, in the original Sanskrit, with a prose translation and explanatory notes, appeared from the Serampore press in three successive quartos from 1806 to 1810. The translation was done by "Dr. Carey and Joshua Marshman." Until Gorresio published his edition and Italian translation of the whole poem this was the first and only attempt to open the seal of the second great Sankrit epic to the European world.
In 1802 Carey had encouraged the publication at his own press of translations of both the Mahabharata and the Ramayana into Bengali. Carey's Ramayana excited a keen interest not only among the learned of Europe, but among poetical students. Southey eagerly turned to it for materials for his Curse of Kehama, in the notes to which he makes long quotations from "the excellent and learned Baptist missionaries of Serampore." Dean Milman, when professor of poetry in Oxford, drew from the same storehouse many of the notes with which he enriched his verse translations from both epics. A. W. von Schlegel, the death of whose eldest brother at Madras early led him to Oriental studies, published two books with a Latin translation. Mr. Ralph T. H. Griffith most pleasantly opened the treasures of this epic to English readers in his verse translations published since 1868. Carey's translation has always been the more rare [in] that the edition despatched for sale in England was lost at sea, and only a few presentation copies are extant, one of which is in the British Museum.
Carey's contributions to Sanskrit scholarship were not confined to what he published or to what appeared under his own name. We are told by H. H. Wilson that he had prepared for the press translations of treatises on the metaphysical system called Sankhya. "It was not in Dr. Carey's nature to volunteer a display of his erudition, and the literary labours already adverted to arose in a great measure out of his connection with the college of Calcutta, or were suggested to him by those whose authority he respected, and to whose wishes he thought it incumbent upon him to attend. It may be added that Dr. Carey spoke Sanskrit with fluency and correctness."
He edited for the college the Sanskrit text of the Hitopadesa, from six MSS. recensions of this the first revelation to Europe of the fountain of Aryan folk-tales, of the original of Pilpay's Fables./2/ H. H. Wilson remarks that the errors are not more than might have been expected from the variations and defects of the manuscripts and the novelty of the task, for this was the first Sanskrit book ever printed in the Devanagari character. To this famous work Carey added an abridgment of the prose Adventures of Ten Princes (the Dasa Kumara Carita), and of Bhartri-hari's Apophthegms.
Colebrooke records his debt to Carey for carrying through the Serampore press the Sanskrit dictionary of Amara Sinha, the oldest native lexicographer, with an English interpretation and annotations. But the magnum opus of Carey was what in 1811 he described as A Universal Dictionary of the Oriental Languages, derived from the Sanskrit, of which that language is to be the groundwork. The object for which he had been long collecting the materials of this mighty work was the assisting of "Biblical students to correct the translation of the Bible in the Oriental languages after we are dead."
Through the College of Fort William during thirty long years Carey influenced the ablest men in the Bengal Civil Service, and not a few in Madras and Bombay. "The college must stand or the empire must fall," its founder had written to his friends in the Government, so convinced was he that only thus could proper men be trained for the public service and the welfare of our native subjects be secured. How right he was Carey's experience proved. The young civilians turned out after the first three years' course introduced that new era in the administration of India which has converted traders into statesmen and filibusters into soldier-politicals, so that the East Indian services stand alone in the history of the administration of imperial dependencies for spotless integrity and high average ability.
Contrast with the work of these men, from the days of Wellesley, the first Minto, and Dalhousie, from the time of Canning to Lawrence and the second Minto, the provincial administration of imperial Rome, of Spain and Portugal at their best, of even the Netherlands and France. For a whole generation of thirty years the civilians who studied Sanskrit, Bengali, and Marathi came daily under the gentle spell of Carey, who, though he had failed to keep the village school of Moulton in order, manifested the learning and the modesty, the efficiency and the geniality, which won the affectionate admiration of his students in Calcutta. A glance at the register of the college for its first five years reveals such men as these among his best students.
The first Bengali prizeman of Carey was W. Butterworth Bayley, whose long career of blameless uprightness and marked ability culminated in the temporary seat of Governor-General, and who was followed in the service by a son worthy of him. The second was that Brian H. Hodgson who, when Resident of Nepal, of all his contemporaries won for himself the greatest reputation as a scholar, who fought side by side with the Serampore brotherhood the battle of the vernaculars of the people. Charles, afterwards Lord Metcalfe, had been the first student to enter the college. He was on its Persian side, and he learned while still under its discipline that "humility, patience, and obedience to the divine will" which unostentatiously marked his brilliant life and soothed his spirit in the agonies of a fatal disease. He and Bayley were inseparable.
Of the first set, too, were Richard Jenkins, who was to leave his mark on history as Nagpoor Resident and author of the Report of 1826; and Romer, who rose to be Governor of Bombay for a time. In those early years the two Birds passed through the classes--Robert Mertins Bird, who was to found the great land revenue school of Hindostan; and Wilberforce Bird, who governed India while Lord Ellenborough played at soldiers, and to whom the legal suppression of slavery in Southern Asia is due. Names of men second to those, such as Elliot and Thackeray, Hamilton and Martin, the Shakespeares and Plowdens, the Moneys, the Rosses and Keenes, crowd the honour lists. One of the last to enjoy the advantages of the college before its abolition was John Lawrence, who used to confess that he was never good at languages, but whose vigorous Hindostani made many an ill-doing Raja tremble, while his homely conversation, interspersed with jokes, encouraged the toiling ryot.
These, and men like these, sat at the feet of Carey, where they learned not only to be scholars but to treat the natives kindly and--some of them--even as brethren in Christ. Then from teaching the future rulers of the East, the missionary-professor turned to his Bengali preaching and his Benevolent Institution, to his visits to the prisoners and his intercourse with the British soldiers in Fort William. And when the four days' work in Calcutta was over, the early tide bore him swiftly up the Hoogli to the study where, for the rest of the week, he gave himself to the translation of the Bible into the languages of the people and of their leaders.
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/1/ In a criticism of the three Sanskrit grammars of Carey, Wilkins, and Colebrooke, the first number of the Quarterly Review in 1809 pronounces the first "everywhere useful, laborious, and practical. Mr. Wilkins has also discussed these subjects, though not always so amply as the worthy and unwearied missionary. We have been much pleased with Dr. Carey's very sensible preface."
/2/ It was reserved for a young Orientalist, whom the career of Carey and Wilson of Bombay attracted to the life of a Christian missionary, to do full justice to this book and its literature. In 1885 the Hon. Ion Keith-Falconer, M.A., published, at the Cambridge University Press, his Kalilah and Dimnah, or The Fables of Bidpai: Being an Account of their Literary History, with an English Translation of the later Syriac Version of the Same, and Notes. The heroic scholar and humble follower of Christ, having given himself and his all to found a Mission to the Mohammedans of South Arabia, at Shaikh Othman, near Aden, died there, on 11th May 1887, a death which will bring life to Yemen, through his memory, and through the Mission which he founded, his family support, and the Free Church of Scotland carry on in his name.
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