HC Deb 16 June 1845 vol 81 c600
Sir R. Inglis

wished to ask a question of the Under Secretary for the Colonies with reference to a report which he had read, as to certain proceedings on the part of the British authorities in Ceylon, which if true were a violation of the resolutions which had been come to on the part of Her Majesty's Government and the East India Company for the suppression of idolatrous worship in India and Ceylon. It was reported that homage had been paid by the English authorities to some object of idolatrous worship in Ceylon. He wished to ask whether there was any truth in that report?

Mr. G. W. Hope

said, that the statement to which his hon. Friend had alluded was to the effect that the Government Agent in one of the provinces of Ceylon had been a party to the exhibition of the tooth of Buddha, which the House would understand was a relic of great sanctity in Ceylon. At the time we took the island, it was believed by the natives that whoever held the tooth could also hold the government, and, accordingly, means were taken to secure it from other parties. Nothing, however, was done from veneration; there was merely a sentry placed over it, and it was not allowed to be exhibited except in the presence of a public officer. Subsequently the Agent having had a representation made to him that placing a sentry over the tooth had an appearance of veneration, the practice was discontinued, the relic was given up to the native priests, and all ceremonies were prohibited.

Sir R. H. Inglis

was understood to say (but he was very imperfectly heard), that the answer of his hon. Friend was perfectly satisfactory.

Forward to