The Bishop of London
, on rising to move, pursuant to notice, for the production of certain papers relating to Idolatrous Worship in India, said, the question which he felt it his duty to bring under the attention and consideration of their Lordships was one of vital importance to this country, as affecting the Christian character of this country, and, as he firmly believed, of vital importance as regarded the permanency of British dominion in that vast country to which his motion had reference. He was aware that in this country there were persons who thought this question might affect the permanency of British dominion in India, but who did not entertain the same opinions as himself, because those persons thought, that the raising or mooting this question at all, was likely to bring the empire of Great Britain in the East into jeopardy. From that opinion, he entirely dissented, and, on the contrary, he thought, that nothing was so likely to shake the stability of our empire in India as the continuance of the existing most unsatisfactory state of things as to religion in that country; and, he could not believe, that a Government which not only tolerated, but sanctioned, the continuance of idolatry:—which not only sanctioned and encouraged it among the natives, but compelled a Christian people to 220 give an unwilling sanction to it—could look for the blessing of Providence on acts which were so strongly opposed to the dictates of religion. It might be said, that the question of idolatry was one in respect to which the Government ought to observe a strict neutrality, and he admitted that the most effectual way of impeding the progress of Christianity was to offer violence to the prejudices and feelings of those amongst whom it was sought and desired to plant it. But, he believed it was the clear and incontrovertible duty of this Government, as Christians, and members of a Christian state, to do nothing, that should encourage the continuance of idolatry and superstition, still less, to sanction by acts, those proceedings which they knew to be inconsistent with Christianity. He believed the country at large, and he might include many of their Lordships in the category, were but little aware of these idolatrous proceedings in India. About the year 1831, the subject began to occupy a considerable portion of public attention; and in consequence of the representations made by religious people and by some societies, the Court of Directors, in 1833, sent a despatch, which did them the highest honour, and which embodied directions that would, if carried out in practice, have spared him (the Bishop of London) the necessity of now addressing their Lordships. That despatch, it was now well known, was the production of a nobleman eminent for his benevolence and piety— he meant the noble Lord lately at the head of the Colonial department—who stated, in direct and distinct terms, the duty of the Government in India; and he could not understand why that Government had deviated from the principles there recommended. The despatch was signed by the chairman, and by 13 members of the Court of Directors, and he could not conceive that those individuals had not a bonâ fide intention that the instructions contained in it should be carried out. If, however, they had merely signed it in their official characters, and with their hearts in an opposite direction, he could only say, that they had trifled with their consciences, and deluded the Christian public. He, however, gave the directors full credit for entering into the spirit of the directions which emanated from the noble Lord to whom he had alluded. The despatch, so signed, went out: three 221 years elapsed, and it did not appear that any steps were taken during that time to carry the directions it contained into effect; and, in consequence, the attention of the proprietors of the East India Company had been called to the subject, and a motion was brought forward by a proprietor, to the effect, that the directors be instructed to carry out effectually the directions set forth in the despatch of the year 1833. That motion was, he believed, carried unanimously. After a further time, inquiries were again made as to what had been done in the matter, when it appeared that the directors had sent out to India for information as to the connexion which the government there had with the superstitions of the natives, in relation to the pilgrim-tax, as to the employing troops in religious processions and festivals, and as to the financial interests of the country, the political measures of the government, and on their public character. Now, these certainly were very proper inquiries to be made, but if the Court of Directors had been determined to carry into effect the directions of the despatch of 1833, they ought not to have suffered three years to elapse without requiring this important information. Their course of proceeding since the period to which be adverted, had been of a retrograde character, and he had, consequently, taken the liberty of calling the attention of their Lordships on two former occasions to the subject. On the last occasion, he had received from the noble Viscount at the head of the Government, the satisfactory assurance that a despatch, which should satisfy the public mind on this important subject, should go out to India. A despatch, it was true, had gone out, but, so far as he could understand, it was anything but satisfactory, and, in point of fact, it contradicted and contravened the despatch of Lord Glenelg, so far as it related to the compulsory attendance of troops in processions and at festivals. He thought it due to himself, after having spoken so strongly on these practices, to put their Lordships in possession of one or two features of the connexion of the Government with idolatrous practices, to which he objected. But, first, he would observe, that there could not be a greater mistake than to suppose, that, amongst the experienced public in India, there did not prevail anything like unanimity on the subject; he was quite sure, that,' even if the public voice in this 222 country had been silent, the opinions of people in India would have made themselves heard. The people of India were not aware of any such dangers as those held out by the Court of Directors and their friends, as likely to arise from carrying out the Christian directions of the despatch of the year 1833. One of the objections was, as to the connexion of the Government with the pagoda funds. There had been a misunderstanding between some priests, who had been thought heterodox by other orthodox Brahmins, and the Government had directly interfered, and had given a direct sanction to the idolatrous proceedings. Why not leave these pagoda priests to themselves? for it had not been even attempted to be shown that the slightest danger would arise from the Government divesting itself of the entire management of such matters. That had been done in one or two instances to the entire contentment of the parties concerned, leaving them to the civil courts of the country, if their rights were invaded. But why should he confine himself to the instances of one or two pagodas? for it had been done generally in the presidency of Bengal; there, things were as they should be; the connexion of the Government with idolatry had been got rid of without danger in that great province, which comprised a population of 50,000,000; and why could not the same thing be managed among 20,000,000 of people in Madras and Bombay? The next evil complained of was the sanction which the Government gave to religious processions and festivals, by the compulsory attendance upon them of Christian troops. He knew he might be told that this was done out of compliment to the native prince, when going to offer sacrifice in his temple. That was not the case. If a guard of honour was sent to accompany the Rajah in his progress, and to pause at the entrance to the temple, there would be not so much reason to complain; but it was not the Rajah atone that passed in procession; the idol came with him, and the idol was saluted by the troops. So far from the compliment being alone paid to the Rajah, he was sure, if a native was asked to whom the salute was offered, he would reply, "To the idol," and not to the Rajah. Such was the answer given by the Brahmins on these occasions. Was the course of proceeding consistent with the desire to bring the millions of be- 223 nighted people of that country to the pure faith? Was it consistent to make professions of that desire, while, in practice, the Government was ready to assist in paying homage to stock and stone? But why should Christian troops be compelled to assist in these ceremonies, so revolting to their consciences, when Mahomedan soldiers were not liable? That this was the case had been proved lately in the instance of a Subahdar of a Mahomedan regiment in the British service, who refused to join in the processions, and had been brought to a court-martial. He urged reasons which would not have availed a Christian officer, and had suffered no inconvenience from his refusal. And yet at that time, the officer whose name appeared in the papers for which he (the Bishop of London) was about to move, found nineteen Christian soldiers in confinement for having refused to perform a similar act, which was equally against their consciences. While India was under the government of Mahomedans, they never lent their troops in this way, neither did they interfere with the native religion, and he contended, that nothing short of that course by the British Government, would satisfy the public mind at home and abroad. What he wanted to see, was something like an advancement on the part of the directors towards that consummation so devoutly to be wished. But instead of this, they had retracted the orders they sent out in 1833; they first censured the practice, and then withdrew their censure. What conclusion could the people of England form from that circumstance, but that the Court of Directors did not feel disposed to fulfil the hopes of the public on this subject? There was another topic upon which he hardly knew how to speak in terms of moderation—he alluded to the offerings to idols made on the part of the Government. It was notorious, that such offerings were made by a Christian Government. He had lately heard of an instance which was of so gross a character, that he could scarcely believe it true, and therefore he would not relate it at present. But there was no doubt of this fact, that offerings were actually made to idols in the most solemn and formal manner, by the servants of the East India Company on certain days of the year. Was it to be supposed, that the Hindoos, who were not wanting in sagacity, indolent and ignorant though 224 they might be, and immersed in the most degrading superstitions and immoral practices as they were, would not take notice of this inconsistency? Why, they were in the habit of taunting our missionaries with these very things. He was persuaded, that if the known principles of the constitution of this country were regarded, we should more effectually advance and strengthen our influence with the heathen population, by something like a consistent and firm maintenance of them, coupled with moderation, than we could by a compromise of those principles. The kind of influence obtained by means of a compromise of principle, was such as their Lordships might be certain would not stand in the day of trial. At this period of the Session, he felt that he ought not to enlarge upon this subject, and, indeed, nothing but its great importance had induced him to press it upon their Lordships' attention. He would, however, just allude to the case of a distinguished individual who had been treated, in connexion with this important question, in a manner, he would not say unworthy of his character, but in a manner unworthy of a Christian Government, and in a manner which was calculated to impede the progress of Christianity. In consequence of the despatch to which he had alluded, Sir Robert O'Callaghan issued an order—and he was the more induced to do so, because of the unfortunate death of a sepoy at an idolatrous festival—that no troops should be so employed except as a guard of honour to the Rajah, thereby marking out the course of duty to be followed. When Sir Peregrine Maitland went out to take the command of the troops at Madras, having heard of the order of Sir Robert O'Callaghan—having considered with some attention, and viewed with some apprehension, the compulsory attendance of troops at idolatrous festivals, for it was no new subject either in this country or at Madras, and having received no new directions to depart from the instructions of the Court of 1833, he went out with the persuasion, that it was his duty to carry out those instructions according to their spirit. That distinguished individual also consulted one of the directors—the chairman, he believed, but certainly a leading person in the Court of Directors — on the principles which should govern his conduct of India. The gentleman whom he consulted, put into 225 his hands a book, in which he was informed he would find the principles laid down, upon which the directors wished their officers to act. There was only one paragraph in that book, which related to the subject now under discussion, which set forth, that while those who did not profess Christianity should not be exposed to persecution, but should be protected, Christians also ought not to be compelled to comply with practices which their consciences disapproved; and that the neutrality of the Government in religious questions should be perfect, for while, on the one hand, they should not force Christianity on the people, on the other hand, they should not evince any approbation of idolatry. Now, was it possible to suppose, when that distinguished person had this book placed in his hands, and when he found that Sir Robert O'Callaghan had issued the order already mentioned, that in carrying out the principles therein set forth, he was incurring; the displeasure of the Government? He believed, however, that the order was revoked by the Government, and Sir Peregrine Maitland, finding that he could not conscientiously proceed to discharge the duties of the post he occupied, placed at the disposal of the Court the command of the army at Madras, and his seat in the council. The reply which he received, was understood to be to the effect, that he had tendered his resignation under an erroneous impression — nevertheless his resignation was accepted. Amongst the papers for which he now moved, was the correspondence between the Court of Directors and Sir Peregrine Maitland. There might be objections to the production of that correspondence upon grounds with which he was not acquainted; but if those objections came from the Court of Directors, he must say, that it was due to the distinguished and gallant individual concerned, that they should produce those papers, because in them was to be found the justification of a step which no military chief should take, except upon strong grounds. He believed — but he spoke without any positive information—that the tendered resignation was not only accepted by the Court of Directors, but by another branch of the Government. He should be glad to hear what the noble Viscount at the head of Her Majesty's Government, would say before he determined whether he should 226 press for the production of these papers or not. He knew the arguments with which he should be met: he should be told that it would be unsafe to agitate this question in this country, and that persons here could not understand the bearing of it. But he saw nothing to awaken an apprehension, that by discussing this topic they would in the slightest degree endanger or impair the stability of the British empire in India. He had already pointed the attention of their Lordships to one conclusive fact, that the practices in Bombay and Madras were unknown in the other presidencies; and he could not understand why, since there was no difference in the habits or religion, or religious observances of the people, there should be a difference as to the interference of the British troops with their religious practices. What was safely done with 50,000,000 of people, might be safely done with 20,000,000. From the concurrent testimony of many wise and good men, who had lived in India, and well considered the subject, it was clear that hardly anything would more tend to cement the foundations, and secure the continuance, and increase the influence of the British Government in that country, than a firm, consistent determination on the part of the Government not to interfere with the superstitious practices of the people—not to thwart or hinder their wishes, nor to withdraw any means of protection to which, by treaty or law, they were entitled, but at the same time, to refrain from all interference, which could by possibility be construed into a sanction of idolatry. He was bound to say, that the Government had taken one step of which he approved: they had given directions for the discontinuance of the pilgrim-tax, that source whence the Government had drawn an immense amount of money, part of which went out again to the support of idolatry, and part remained an unholy addition to the gains of the company. The tax was abolished in the district of Allahabad, but there were many other cases in which revenues were drawn from idolatry; and was it not to be deplored, that a Christian Government should seek to derive profit from the superstitions of idolatry, while professing to be the worshippers of the true God? And let it be remembered, that he spoke not merely of the worship of idols in simple distinction from the 227 worship of the true God, but of a system which included obscenities, barbarities, and crimes which found no parallel in all the pages of classical mythology. Nothing could exceed the atrocities which were committed under the name of religion in India. The consequence was the entire degradation of the character of the natives, until they had become notoriously and proverbially regardless of truth and honour, so that no testimony given in a court of justice by a native Hindoo, could be relied upon. He did not wish the prejudices of these people to be interfered with in any improper manner; but he would have every means used to let them see that we felt that we were in possession of a holier and a happier religion, which, if they embraced it, would be the means of promoting their prosperity here, as well as their happiness hereafter. He would not have anything done, which would lead them to think it was a matter of indifference, whether they should embrace the true religion, or live in the practices of idolatry. That appeared to him to be so plain, so clear, and so faultless a course, that he could not anticipate what objections could be started against it, except those which were suggested by expediency. But if, indeed, we could secure our dominion of that vast territory—if we must be masters of that immense population, only at the expense of sacrificing the holiness of our own religion, he confessed he would rather give up all; nay, he believed, all attempts to retain it would be in vain, if we acted upon such a principle; for he never could suppose that a merciful Providence, which had entrusted us with that empire for the purpose of carrying out its benevolent designs towards mankind, would keep it in our possession that we should abuse our power and our privilege, and make that a dominion for Satan, which we ought to convert into a kingdom for God. He would now move forCopies of so much of any despatches sent by the court of Directors to India since the 8th of August, 1830, as relates to the abolition of taxes in India, connected with religious observances of the natives, or to the employment of Christian troops in the religious processions and festivals of the natives, Also, copy of the memorial sent to the Governor-general from the presidency of Madras on the subject of the attendance of Christian troops at the religious processions and festivals of the natives; together with the appendix to such 228 memorial. And also, copies of the despatch of the 18th of October, 1837, to the Governor-general in Council, No. 14, Revenue Department; and of Sir Peregrine Maitland's letter thereon to the Court of Directors, tendering his resignation of the command of the Madras army, and of his seat in council.Before he sat down, he would trouble their Lordships so far as to read to them the opinion of an individual who had resided long enough in India to take an accurate estimate of the question—one who was eminently distinguished by his services in the cause of religion—the Bishop of Calcutta. The extract was from a charge delivered by that right rev. prelate in July, 1838:—Before I quit the subject of missions, it may be proper for me to mention the great obstruction to the progress of the gospel, which has been directed to be renewed by that remarkable despatch of the Court of Directors of February, 1833, which did them so much honour, and which is, indeed, one of the most able and conclusive documents I ever read. What progress has been actually made in India itself, in carrying into effect the abolition of the pilgrim-tax, I am not informed. I observe that delay is creating feelings of sorrow and impatience in the generous hearts of British Christians. I can only say, rev. brethren, that everything we can properly do to direct and rouse public opinion, both here and at home, it is our duty to undertake. It is frightful to think, after all that Providence has done for us in India, that we should be still countenancing the most degrading and debased idolatries—should still be identifying ourselves with the blood-stained car of Juggernaut; and should still be enlisting the Christian virtues of prudence, sagacity, fortitude, and perseverance, in arranging the abominations, in preparing and decking out the pageants, of the grossest and most polluting idolatry. Thank God, we are exempt, on this side of India, from the personal and direct countenance, which at Madras and Bombay the authorities are understood to be called upon to give to heathenism and Mahometanism. I need not say that I honour Bishop Corrie, for the manly and, to his gentle nature, difficult part he took on this subject; and I beg to be understood to partake, as metropolitan, in all the sentiments of the memorial, which has brought down such unmerited calumny on his name, but which will ever be considered as amongst his highest eulogiums by all who estimate the duties of a Christian bishop.
§ Viscount Melbourne
hoped he felt as deeply impressed as any man, with a sense of the serious nature of the subject upon which the right rev. Prelate had descanted; he hoped he felt the importance 229 of the subject to this country, and to the great spiritual and future interests of the people concerned, as well as to the stability of that vast empire, which we now possessed in India. He did not in any respect disagree upon the general principles upon which that empire ought to be religiously governed. He agreed with the right rev. Prelate, that every respect should be shown to the religious prejudices of the country—that no disrespect or insult should be offered to the religious feelings of the inhabitants—and that at the same time no undue honour should be paid, no unnecessary respect should be shown, to their superstitions; and that all practices which could be construed to giving any sanction to them, should be carefully abstained from. He would not enter further into the general consideration of this question on this occasion; but he had hoped, and he still hoped, that on these general principles, there was no disagreement. The right rev. Prelate had given a history of the proceedings in connexion with this subject, from the time of the despatch of 1833, down to that period of the last year, when he did, unquestionably, in answer to an observation of that right rev. Prelate, inform him, that measures Were about to be taken by the Court of Directors of the East India Company, which he hoped would prove effectual in securing the object which the right rev. Prelate so much desired, and answer the expectations of those in whose names he spoke. It was with great concern that he learnt from the right rev. Prelate, that he considered that pledge as remaining unfulfilled; because, as far as he understood the objection taken on the present Occasion, and the reasons and principles laid down by the right rev. Prelate, it appeared that the despatch sent out instructing the Governor-general of India, which had been laid before the House, did proceed upon the very principles laid down by that right rev. Prelate. They all admitted the justice of those principles, and he believed it was the intention of the Government here and in India to carry it into effect. The right rev. Prelate had spoken of the pilgrim-tax; and what said the despatch?In the same spirit we have again to express our anxious desire, that you should accomplish, with as little delay as practicable, the arrangements already in progress for the abolition or the collection of the pilgrim-tax 230 and for discontinuing all connexion of the Government with the management of any funds for the support of any religious ceremonies of the people. It is our wish that you should leave them exclusively to the management of their own priests.That he understood to be the course which the Government wished to be taken. That was the course which the Government had pursued, and Government was still proceeding in the same course, in order to effect the total discontinuance of all sanction on the part of the authorities to the religious ceremonies of the natives. The right rev. Prelate had said, that they maintained all the. pagodas; that they managed the funds, and that they supported the temples; and he had asked, why the Government did not discontinue this connexion, and leave those matters to be settled by the native priests. Now, he would ask whether it was not fully shown by the despatch to which he had alluded, that the Government was anxious to adopt such a course and to leave the management of the temples and revenues to the natives themselves? That despatch contained the following passage, which showed clearly what the intentions of the Government were. It said:—We wish it to be distinctly understood, that the management of the temples ought to be resigned into the hands of the natives, and, that the intercourse of all the public authorities with the natives, in regard to those matters, ought to be regulated by the instructions contained in section 62 of the despatch of 1833.Those instructions prevented the soldiers from being called on to take a part in the religious ceremonies of the natives; but he thought no alteration should be made in the practice as regarded escorts to the princes of the country, as it was evident that those escorts were in honour of the individual, and not of the occasion. The right rev. Prelate had stated that those escorts took part in the religious ceremonies, and that the honour was considered by the natives as paid to the idol, and not to the prince. Unquestionably, it was his opinion that every means should be adopted, and every precaution taken, to show that this mark of respect was paid to the person, and not to the idol; but he must say at the same time, that in his opinion it would not be prudent at the present moment, to discontinue the paying of that mark of respect to the native princes, which had hitherto been paid. 231 It was his wish, certainly, to see those religious ceremonies discountenanced, and the Christian religion established; but at the same time it was necessary, in seeking the attainment of that object, that they should proceed according to the dictates of prudence; for if they did not attend to what prudence required, their measures might not only endanger the loss of the country, but prove injurious also to religion itself. He had certainly hoped that the despatch which had been sent out would have satisfied the right rev. Prelate, and he was sorry to find that it had not. He still, however, trusted that it would be found that there was no material difference in the course which the right rev. Prelate wished to be followed, and that which had actually been pursued by the Government. He hoped the differences might be reconciled, and that there would be found no great discrepancies of opinion, and that they might all labour by the same means for the attainment of that result which all, he was sure, were equally anxious to see accomplished. As regarded the papers which the right rev. Prelate had moved for, he had to state, that he had no objection to the production of the two first; they had already been laid before the other House of Parliament, and their production could not be attended with any inconvenience. As regarded the despatch of the 18th of October 1837, to the Governor-General in Council, it had not been yet produced, but he had no objection to its production. As regarded, however, the letter to the Court of Directors from Sir P. Maitland, considering that it was the letter of a general officer, and that it contained a statement of the reasons which had induced him to resign his command, he would put it to the House whether it was a document which ought to be produced? That general officer had thought proper to tender his resignation, but there was no charge against his character or conduct, and there was nothing in the proceedings which called for a vindication of his conduct; and he would, therefore, put it to their Lordships, without entering upon any further explanation of the transaction, whether this was a document of a nature or of a character which ought to be produced? There were other reasons against the production of this document, and he trusted the right rev. Prelate would opt press for its production.
said, their Lordships were all greatly obliged to the right rev. Prelate for the able, eloquent, and touching manner in which he had brought this important matter under their consideration. He quite agreed in much that had fallen from the right rev. Prelate, and thought that those religious ceremonies ought to receive no encouragement from the Government. He felt, however, that he should not be doing his duty if he did not say, that it was too unqualified a condemnation to state that the natives of India were not be believed upon their oath in a court of justice. There were many natives of India of high character, and in whom implicit confidence might be placed. From his attendance before the Privy Council, where cases relative to India were decided, he was able to speak from experience on this subject, and he should have been unjust to the natives of that country if he had not said this much in their defence.
The Bishop of London
said, that the noble and learned Lord must be aware that he had not included all the natives of India. There were many enlightened natives of India in whom perfect confidence might be placed, and his observations did not apply to those persons, nor did they include every one.
§ The Duke of Richmond
said, the noble Viscount at the head of the Government had not told them why, if it was safe to discontinue in one province all interference on the part of the authorities of India in the religious ceremonies of the natives, it was not equally safe to discontinue that interference in all. He held in his hand, a document in which the character of those ceremonies was described. It was said in that document, that the religious rites and ceremonies of the natives might be well termed scenes of folly, licentiousness, and cruelty, for they were of a character from which the most abandoned persons in Europe would revolt with horror. He confessed that he had never before imagined that such scenes could have been sanctioned by a Christian Government. It was certainly not his desire to employ force, and he only wished that the Government should afford facilities to the natives of becoming Christians, and that no encouragement should be given to their religious ceremonies. He must, however, say, that he could not understand the course which had been pursued by the 233 Government, or by the Court of Directors. After the despatch which had been sent out in 1833, it appeared to him rather strange that such a course should have been adopted as had been pursued towards an officer, who had resigned because he had been prevented from carrying the intentions of that despatch into execution. He, therefore, wished to see the letter of his gallant relative produced, because, as it appeared to him, they ought to know the grounds on which that officer's resignation had been accepted. His gallant relative did not object to his resignation having been accepted, but the Government had said that he had been mistaken, and he thought some explanation of this matter was necessary. Whatever might have been the grounds for having accepted the resignation of this gallant officer, he was persuaded that Sir P. Maitland had only done his duty as a soldier and a Christian, and he felt grateful to the right rev. Prelate for having brought this subject in so able a manner under the consideration of their Lordships because he felt that a remedy ought to be applied to prevent the continuance of those revolting ceremonies.
§ The Duke of Wellington
had served in India for a considerable length of time, but he had never seen, he had never heard of, anything so revolting in the religious ceremonies of the natives, as had been described by the noble Duke and by the right rev. Prelate. The whole army, while he was in India, except about 50,000 men, consisted of idolators, but they were as good soldiers as could be found any where. They performed in the best manner whatever service was required of them, and certainly at that time the object of the Government, and of every man in the service of the Government, was to avoid not only to interfere, but even to seem to interfere, in any manner in the idolatrous rites and ceremonies of the country. He had seen none of the despatches which had been alluded to, and he must say, that he had seen too much in his own experience to encourage the practice of producing documents of this description. He begged their Lordships to recollect, that, with the exception of about 20,000 of her Majesty's troops, and with the exception of the civil servants of the Government, and the few European residents, there was not a man in India who was not an idolater, to manage and to regulate the affairs of that most extensive and important em-, 234 pire. He would entreat their Lordships never to lose sight of that fact. He knew, too, from experience, for he had seen the missionaries at work, the little progress which they made, and he knew, at the same time, that they created a good deal of jealousy. He warned the Government not to go too far in their measures against the idolatry of India, for the Indian empire was one of great importance, and they must not expect to convert 100,000,000 of idolaters to our holy religion by the small means at their disposal. In regard to what had been stated by the noble Duke (Richmond) relative to Sir P. Maitland, he could have no doubt that that gallant officer had resigned his command, as every honourable man ought, because he had found himself unable to perform what was required from him. There could be no doubt on that point. He had not seen the paper which had been alluded to, but he could have, no doubt, from what he knew of Sir P. Maitland, that he had conducted himself as a man of honour and a soldier. In his opinion, however, the papers relative to those transactions were of such a peculiar nature, and of so delicate a character, that they ought not to be produced here, for, if they were produced in this country, they would certainly find their way to India. The noble Viscount had not done quite right, he thought, in consenting so readily to the production of those despatches.
The Bishop of London
said, his complaint was, that the scruples of the Mahometans were respected, while the Christian soldiers were forced to attend those religious ceremonies. He should not press for the letter from Sir P. Maitland.
§ The Duke of Wellington
said, there were Mahometans in all the armies, but he was not able to say the proportion to the Hindoos. He had no hesitation, however, in saying, that the Hindoos generally predominated, and particularly in the army of Fort St. George, and he never remembered any question on this subject having been raised.
§ The documents moved for were ordered, with exceptions.