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bounded confidence in themselves, take all these
matters so lightly, ignore them so placidly, dis-
cuss them so flippantly, that for them they cease
to exist. They come and stare at Benares like
children at a pantomime, then return to deal
justly and patiently with three hundred million
w^ards, as though the whole spiritual and intel-
lectual life of thousands of years and millions of
subjects did not exist.

This ignorance and confidence explain their
success, but these ignored problems are nonethe-
less the fundamental cause of most of their anx-
ieties. These people are so split up into factions,
racial, religious, social, and political, that they
cannot combine to free themselves from their
governors. Herein lies the safety of the Eng-
lish. But 1857, the year of the Mutiny, showed
that if once the religious prejudices can be
touched, then the fire will light and burn. Once
the Muhammadans were persuaded that the ab-


horred pig, and the Hindus that the sacred cow,
were used to make the grease for their cart-
ridges, and that the Russians were beating their
supposedly unbeatable conquerors in the Crimea,
they threw off all allegiance, they forsook friends,
they killed companions and broke the bonds of
years, to an extent that their own officers, who
had lived in the closest intercourse with them,
could not believe possible.

The seditionist of to-day knows full well the
strings to pull to produce another uprising. Not
many months ago it was going the rounds that
the bone-dust of animals was to be mixed with
the sugar, and the Japanese success over white
opponents has been used to the full to inflame
their warlike ambitions. It is only some such
attack upon their religious and racial sensibili-
ties and prejudices that can pervade the mass of
the people, and the Indian anarchist knows it,
and is nowadays again on the lookout for some
such materials to start the blaze.

It is to be remembered, too, as an important
factor in any discussion of caste, that peace has
been maintained in the past, in these thousands
of communities all over India, because the as-
sembly, such as it is, has been influenced by the
men entitled to influence it. When caste is
destroyed, into whose hands will this governing


power in all these small communities fall ? The
English thus far have left, to a large extent, these
smaller offices in the hands of those who have
always asserted their right to them by reason of
their blood or caste standing, a right, be it said,
universally and contentedly recognized. There
is no new influence, no new arrangement to sup-
plant this old system, and the old system of caste
is being, even though very slowly, corroded and
eaten away by the civilization of the West. When
it disappears, the governors of India will have an-
other difficult problem to face. They will have
reached the summit of one mountain of reform
only to see another peak beyond. Caste may
interfere with progress, but it undoubtedly helps
mightily to preserve the peace. Caste is a bet-
ter policeman even than the Englishman. Once
this system, which has permeated for thousands
of years and still does permeate all classes in
India, is weakened, or ridiculed out of exist-
ence, all sorts of other superstitions will follow
to create trouble.

There were actual riots in the streets of the
capital of Korea, some years ago, due to a wide-
spread report that the American missionaries
were boiling Korean babies to manufacture
chemicals for photographic processes. This was,
indeed, a tribute to Yankee ingenuity, but it is


also an illustration of what preposterous meth-
ods may be used successfully to breed trouble
among masses of ignorant people.

It is an interesting commentary upon the im-
partial attitude of the English, that while they
pay and protect missionaries in India and else-
where, they are at the same time large manu-
facturers and shippers of idols to these same

The ordained missionaries in India number
something over a thousand, with about the same
number of native pastors. They have made
practically no impression upon India, and the
best of them, both European and native, admit
as much themselves. The converts are almost
entirely from the lowest class of natives, and from
the Eurasians, that is, those of mixed European
and Indian parentage, a class, by the way,
for whom one has much sympathy, as they are
equally despised and rejected by the English
and the Indians. "In ninety-nine cases out of a
hundred (always excepting the Roman Catholic
Christians of the West Coast) to be a Christian
is to have been a pariah," writes Stanley Rice, a
recognized authority on the subject. Medical
assistance, teaching, and so on by the mission-
aries are valuable, but I doubt whether either
the civilian or the soldier would not willingly see


the whole band of missionaries sent home.
Their interest in the native sometimes gets to the
point of mawkishness, leading the native to over-
estimate his own importance, and weakening his
respect for authority. Upon the better-class
Indian mind, the necessary assumption of omni-
science which must underlie all foreign mission-
ary effort, particularly when many of the mission-
aries are distinctly of the social and intellectual
mediocrity, produces an invulnerable dislike. To
them the theological crazy-quilt, offered them as
a coverlet for their salvation, a patchwork of
Anglican, Presbyterian, Catholic, Baptist, Meth-
odist, Lutheran, and Universalist, must lack dig-
nity, subtlety, and beauty of outline.

The Sanskrit word for caste is color. A phi-
lologist might argue that this matter of caste prob-
ably dated from the time when the swarms of
white Aryans came to India, and wished to cut
themselves off and to keep themselves apart from
the darker races they found there. The mission-
ary finds himself balked in his endeavors by his
own logic. If the incarnation is true, then no
race which is Christian can remain ostracized
from and by other Christian races. The Euro-
pean Christians in India are a caste by them-
selves. They will not hear of much social inter-
course, or of intermarriage. Indian Christians


are even barred from the Transvaal by their
brother Christians there. White Christians re-
fuse to meet African Christians even at the sacra-
ment; much more strongly do they persist in os-
tracizing them socially.

Whatever the Indian may be physically and
morally, he is admittedly subtle mentally. To
preach brotherly love at the table of the holy
communion, and to be ready to slay the man who
should propose social intercourse, or marriage,
with your sisters or daughters, is a diflScult di-
lemma, a hornless dilemma, in fact, for the mis-
sionary. For the convert, belief in the incarna-
tion is indispensable, but for the white converter
to carry out the plain prescriptions of the incar-
nation is a crime against his race. It is safe to
say that there will be no great missionary prog-
ress among the colored races until this problem
is solved. It is not surprising that the rooted
beliefs of the East are sometimes puzzled into
ferocity. And, alas! I am bound to admit, as an
outsider, that I am not sure that one does not
see Buddha, Confucius, or Muhammad in the
streets of Rangoon, Peking, and Peshawar, quite
as often as one sees Jesus of Nazareth in the
streets of London, Paris, or New York.

A dozen unmarried women, singing and beat-
ing tambourines, accompanied and led by one


man, must necessarily daunt the credulity of the
Muhammadan or the Chinese Buddhist. The
only effective missionaries I have ever met, either
at home or abroad, are those few people, men
and women, who never preach, never pray in
public, and never by any chance argue, but who
make us humble and ashamed by being better
than we are. They convert us by their unvoiced
consistency of conduct. They are unsalaried,
unconscious, but none the less the saviours of the
world. There are, and always have been, a few
lay Englishmen of that stamp in India, and I
have seen some of their converts, and they are
the only converted ones in all India for whose
faith or courage I would give a fig, when put to
the test of the shadow of the cross, or the edge of
a sword. That stanch and fearless churchman.
Bishop Creighton, told less than the truth when
he said: "The conscious missionary is a bore."
He is often a menace to peace. It has been
suggested that one reason there are so many
heathen is that missionaries so often illustrate
in their own persons the unpleasant effects of

Praying to a congregation, or to any audi-
ence, any prayer, indeed, except it be inaudible
and in the closet, would seem to be a most
dangerous and daring form of spiritual exer-


cise, a sickening form of idolatry when it is the
mere stringing together of beatific phrases, and
when it is a frenzied tearing off of the spiritual
garments, an awful exposure, more curious than
helpful. All this phase of the matter is even more
apparent to the Oriental than to us, and to them
it is more disconcerting. The number and the
class of the Christian converts in India prove
this. They are practically all of the lowest class,
for whom the bait of food, in time of famine,
and protection, have been the main temptations
to conversion.

But besides the Hindus and the Christians,
and some one hundred thousand Parsis in India,
there are the Jains, a sect which exaggerates
some of the Buddhist doctrines, as, for example,
the extreme concern for animal life, bodily pen-
ance as a necessity for salvation, and so on.
These people maintain hospitals for useless ani-
mals who would otherwise be killed. I have
seen two of these compounds, crowded with
camels, bullocks, cows, water-buffaloes, dogs,
cats, chickens, pigeons, and so on, all kept
alive by this fanatical charity which holds it
wrong to kill a fly, or vermin, even when on the

There are the Sikhs, a sect of Hindus who
recognize no distinctions of caste, worship the


Granth, or holy book, have their own teachers
or gurus, and who were at one time, and even as
late as the middle of the eighteenth century, a
formidable military power.

There are the Marathas, who grew from a
military organization of local Hindu tribes in
southern India, into the most formidable mili-
tary and political power in India at the time of
the break-up of the Mughal empire, in the begin-
ning of the eighteenth century.

There are the Muhammadans (they, again,
divided into two sects of Shiahs and Sunnis),
who began their invasions of India about 1000
A. D., and who now number sixty-two mill-
ions, or about one-fifth of the total population.
There are, besides these, numerous tribes, some
of them almost extinct, who are practically sav-
age relics of the aborigines and their Animistic

The differences between these various sects
and tribes and religions before the British came,
were not merely the epicene pulpit quarrels, such
as mark our Western theological polemics, mat-
ters that do not interfere with inter-dining and
dancing, but matters of life and death. Mon-
tesquieu writes : "iVpres tout, c'est mettre ses con-
jectures a bien haut prix, que d'en faire cuire
un homme tout vif." But these people did not


hesitate to clothe their behefs with full sanction
to use both fire and sword. So far as one can see,
the vitality of these main beliefs is unimpaired,
and the pilgrimages to Mecca, to Rangoon, and
to Benares show no lessening of numbers nor of

If one is to see anything in Benares except
a diversely colored peripatetic laundry on an
enormous scale, one must have some such thread
of knowledge upon which to string one's impres-
sions. How can there be any such thing as na-
tional or patriotic feeling in India as a whole!
The people of Bombay, of Bengal, of Peshawar,
of Madras, of the Punjab can only slowly grow
to feel that they belong to one great Indian na-
tion. Their speech even is so different that the
man in Madras can no more understand the man
from the Punjab than the Spaniard can under-
stand the Russian.

Not only the differences are great, as between
a low-class Hindu propitiating demons and wor-
shipping trees, plants, stones, rivers, water-tanks,
cows, crocodiles, peacocks, all held to be sa-
cred in certain parts of India, and the high-class
members of the two reformed bodies, the Arya
Somaj and the Brahma Somaj, who reject all
idol-worship, and have refined the Hindu relig-
ious philosophy to the point of radical Unitarian-


ism ; but the numbers are enormous. There are
over 200,000,000 Hindus, more than 60,000,000
Muhammadans, more than 9,000,000 Buddhists,
nearly 9,000,000 Animists, besides Sikhs, Jains,
Parsis, and a sprinkling of Jews and Christians.

It is estimated that there are 1,544,510,000
people in the world. Of these 175,290,000 are
Muhammadans, 300,000,000 are Confucians,
214,000,000 are Brahmans, 121,000,000 Buddh-
ists, 534,940,000 are Christians, 10,860,000 are
Jews, and other bodies of lesser numbers. The
number of Christians given by the German
statistician I quote is, I believe, exaggerated.
Where can he count so many ?

More than half the people in the world live in
India and China, and these figures give one some
notion of the colossal loaf of paganism that it is
the ambition of the missionary to leaven. These
figures, too, tell the tale of the bathing, praying
thousands on the banks of the river Ganges at
Benares, but they give the reader, also, I hope,
some idea of the terrifying proportions of the
problem of the British ruler in India.

He is not only dealing in India with these un-
known, and almost incomprehensible, diversities
of creed, and custom, and ancient precedent, but
also with the problem common to all of us every-
where, of the political status of the individual.


of his rights, and of the quality and quantity of
his participation in legislation.

No Oriental nation will hear that women have
been given a vote, and thereby a voice in how
they shall be governed, without a vocal and phys-
ical protest such as no mutiny even can parallel.

Great Britain is being assaulted just now by
women demanding the suffrage. What will hap-
pen among Hindus and Muhammadans, with
their notions of the position of women, should
women be given the vote, is rather beyond or-
dinary imaginative powers. Orientals are all
born and bred aristocrats. It is the Indians
who visit England, and who discover how un-
Brahman are many of their rulers there, who
return to spread the seeds of discontent even now.
The Oriental, of all others, knows the folly of
the rights of man.

Rousseau begins his Contrat Social: "L'hom-
me ne libre, est partout dans les fers." The
profound error here, but one that has unduly ex-
cited the world, is that man is not born free, he
is, on the contrary, born in chains. He begins
life in chains, chains of parentage, of inheritance,
of environment, of capability, of disposition, of
looks, of strength, physical and moral. All dis-
cussions of liberty are founded upon this gross
error. Some men achieve a certain liberty, but


they are all, everywhere, born to slavery! No
political philosopher of the West knows as well
as does the Oriental that it is the weak who are
always screaming for liberty, while the strong
are forever asking for more strength and courage
to bear the responsibilities that liberty has put
upon them, not the least of which is the protect-
tion of the weak, by assuming the right to rule.
In these days, indeed, it is very much to be
doubted whether the weak are more burdened
by the chains of subordination than are the strong
by the chains of responsibility.

It is an enlightening commentary upon the dif-
ficulties to be met in the evolution of the free-
dom of the individual, to read the report of the
Society of Comparative Legislation upon the
legislation of the British Empire. For the ten
years ending in 1907 twenty-five thousand new
law^s were made by men for the restriction of
their owti liberties in the British Empire ! First,
men strike off the chains of the church, of feud-
alism, of autocracy which bind them, and then
with a new system, with self-government, in a
new era, they are finding that the new liberties
must have new masters, and they turn to laws
for their masters.

The variety of problems and peoples in the
British Empire is shown by the variety of sub-


jects dealt with by these laws. There are laws
piinishmg witchcraft and widow-burning; there
are laws about animals, and even about inani-
mate objects, as in Athens, where if a tree fell
on a man and killed him the tree was solemnly
tried and outlawed.

This glut of law-making is by no means con-
fined to the British Empire. We in America
have many and ludicrous examples of it. The
horse breaks his harness and is free, free to
cut himself to pieces running through the
crowded streets. The lion breaks out of his
cage and cowers in a corner, bewildered by his
freedom. Men break away from one tyranny,
only to harness themselves in a mesh of knots
and buckles more hampering than before.

The intelligence, the experience, and the wis-
dom of the world have no wish to enslave or to
hamper individual liberty. Certainly we Ameri-
cans have no such ambition, nor have the Brit-
ish, but just to take the harness off the horse does
not solve the problem. Germany and Japan are
ominous examples of how happy is the horse, and
how well he goes when harnessed, handled, and
housed by one coachman in supreme control.

We cannot be sure that we are not cutting
away at individual initiative, at independence, at
personal prowess and courage, by this weaving


a web of laws around the individual, even though
they be supposedly for his protection and well-
being. It may be that he is better off, after all,
with a master, rather than with all as masters.
This much, at least, must be said for those who
hesitate, and counsel delay rather than haste,
when dealing with India, and Egypt, and the
Philippines. Democracy's cocksureness may
land us all scrambling at the feet of a dictator.
Liberty is a far more complicated problem to deal
with than t}Tanny, and few there are who recog-
nize it. Those who read these scanty sketches of
the history, and of the domestic, religious, and
social problems of India, will, I hope, share with
me the feeling that a nation with such a gigantic
problem to solve, should be judged and criti-
cised with extreme care, and always with a lean-
ing toward leniency ; and that we Americans, with
our increasing responsibilities, both at home and
abroad, in the governing of the colored races,
should be the last to ciaticise ignorantly, or to
counsel others to walk, or to walk ourselves, un-



INDIA is governed by the British, but only
part of it is governed directly by them. Of
the 1,766,642 square miles of India, 690,000
square miles are under the rule of the native
princes, as are 66,000,000 out of the 300,000,000
inhabitants. There are some 6,000 native chiefs,
big and little, from the Nizam, the ruler of Hyder-
abad, with its population of 11,000,000, its terri-
tory of 82,698 square miles, and its revenues of
$12,000,000, down to a petty chief with a few
square miles of territory, and a few thousands a
year of revenue.

There is as much variety in their breeding, and
bearing, and ability as in their territories and reve-
nues. Some of them trace their ancestry straight
back to the first conquerors from the north ; oth-
ers are descended from Arab, Tartar, or Afghan
invaders; others are the descendants of court
favorites, and their ancestral right to rank is as
illegitimate as some of the proud names in Eng-
land and France ; while others are heirs of rough



soldiers who grabbed what they could and held
it when the Mughal Empire went to pieces. Some
are highly educated, others ignorant; some are
Anglicized, some Pariscized, devoting much time,
those to cricket, racing, polo; and these to such
European travel as they are permitted, and lazy
licentiousness both at home and abroad. There
are fine gentlemen among them, as chivalrous
and as proud as any noble in Europe, and there
are others who are mere naughty school-boys.
There are not a few who spend their money on
schools and colleges and museums, on irriga-
tion works and tramways, on roads and bridges
and model prisons, and who pride themselves
on the efl&ciency and smartness of their Imperial
Service troops; and others who throw thousands
about on motor-cars, jewels, dancing-girls, or
favorite wives, and hideous Brummagem fur-
niture and pictures. There are burly, heavy-
shouldered, big-hipped, gross-featured princes,
who look like brown caricatures of some of
Rubens's women; and there are lithe, muscular,
fine-featured fellows, who look fit for a tussle with
a tiger, and show their breeding even to their

"The control which the supreme government
exercises over the native states varies in degree;
but they are all governed by the native princes.


ministers, or councils with the help and under the
advice of a resident or agent, in political charge
either of a single state or a group of states. The
chiefs have no right to make war or peace, or to
send ambassadors to each other or to external
states; they are not permitted to maintain a mil-
itary force above a certain specified limit; no
European is allowed to reside at any of their
courts without special sanction ; and the supreme
government can exercise any degree of control
in case of misgovernment. Within these limits
the more important chiefs are autonomous in
their own territories. Some, but not all of them,
are required to pay an annual fixed tribute."

It can be no easy task to govern these semi-
independent princes ; not to hurt their pride ; not
to offend their sensibilities, for they are very
touchy people indeed ; not to restrict their liberty
too much and yet to keep the less self-respecting
among them within bounds; not to interfere in
social and religious matters, or between them and
their subjects and neighbors, and yet to exert a
constant influence for rational government; to
shoot and ride and play games with them, and
yet to keep well aloof from familiarity; to keep
constantly informed of their doings at home and
abroad, and yet not to appear to pry, or to be
suspicious; to be called upon for advice in the


most delicate family affairs, as well as in matters
of state, and to keep a detached mind and main-
tain a just neutrality; this calls for a very unu-
sual type of man.

I wish I were not debarred by my own rule
of not mentioning names, from giving here and
now a picture of one of my English hosts, who
is an ideal servant of his country, in a position of
this kind. He is the resident or political agent
w^ho has under his supervision a number of the
native princes, one or two of them of great im-
portance, and it was my good fortune to be his
guest, when, by reason of a meeting of the chiefs,
I saw him in personal contact with them. It
was a revelation of what one quiet man's influ-
ence can do, and of the control that can be won,
without apparent effort, by a man possessing the
rare qualities I have described as necessary to
cope with such a problem. I sometimes won-
der if England knows the value of some of her
servants out here.

Many Englishmen, whose fate and fortune
and empire, are dependent upon the success of
their rule in India, seem to be interested in
India as sympathetically and as intelligently as
the Irishman in the funeral procession. The
long line of carriages was obliged to halt at a
certain street-crossing. A passer-by near one of


the carriages asked an Irishman sitting inside
whose funeral it was. "Shure an' I dunno,"
was the reply, "I'm only in for the roide."

However, my host and others like him are not
looking for sympathy and not stopping to think
often whether their work is appreciated or not,
so long as the British Babus in Parliament do
not interfere with them. They probably real-

Online LibraryPrice CollierThe West in the East from an American point of view → online text (page 13 of 29)