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practices of the Roman Catholic missionaries, the Romish church should have few, if any, heathen converts to boast of, as brilliant ornaments to the religion they have espoused. Nor will he marvel that many of them should act inconsistently with a profession of Christianity.
In the next place, the reader, of whatever denomination, will see the propriety of refusing credit to any representations or insinuations the author of the letters might make respecting converts in Bengal, because the great distance from that province at which he lived has of necessity precluded the possibility of his being a competent witness respecting them; and this one thing is plain, that the inconsistent conduct of Roman Catholic, or other professed Christians, dwelling in the south of India, cannot affect the reputation of converts obtained in other districts, at a distance from southern India of from five hundred to a thousand miles. Their character must stand or fall by the testimony of persons who have lived amongst them.
I humbly submit that, respecting missionary transactions in Bengal, my own statements are entitled to attention above that of the Abbé Dubois-for this plain reason, that I can speak of them as an eye-witness, and he cannot. My own testimony to the reality of Hindoo conver
sions in that district of India wherein I was appointed to labour, I have already given; and to that, for the sake of avoiding unnecessary repetition, my reader is referred.*
In connexion with this subject, I would quote one more paragraph from the letters of the Abbé. "In justice to truth I must add," says he, alluding to native converts, "that I am acquainted with many among them, who are in their morals, probity, and general behaviour, irreproachable men, enjoying the confidence even of the pagans, and into whose hands I should not hesitate to intrust my own interests." (p. 83.)
It is not plain whether the author is here referring to Catholic converts, or to those effected by the instrumentality of Protestant missionaries. But whichever it be, the inference is satisfactory. If to Protestants, the testimony from the pen a Roman Catholic will by some be deemed the more conclusive. If to Catholics, my Protestant reader will not have much difficulty in believing, that Protestant converts rise yet higher in the scale of morality and Christian excellence, than those of the opposite persuasion.
This testimony, coming from one seemingly under the influence of so much scepticism, and
* See Chapter VIII.
bent upon representing missions in the most unfavourable point of view, cannot, I think, but convince the most doubting and desponding, that the gospel has actually produced highly important effects amongst the natives of Hindostan.
Reply to the Abbé's Argument founded on the Native Converts being made from among Persons of low Caste and bad Character.
On this subject the Abbé thus expresses himself. "The very small number of proselytes who are still gained over from time to time, are found among the lowest tribes; so are individuals who, driven out from their castes, on account of their vices or scandalous transgressions of their usages, are shunned afterwards by every body as outlawed men, and have no other resource left than that of turning Christians, in order to form new connexions in society; and you will easily fancy, that such an assemblage of the offals and dregs of society only tends to increase the contempt and aversion entertained by the Hindoos against Christianity." (p. 13.)-And to the same effect in other parts of his book.
I would reply, that the Abbé's statement is
very incorrect. In the third volume of the periodical accounts relative to the Baptist Missionary Society, there is a list of persons baptized at Serampore, down to the year 1804.-From this it appears, that in the years 1800 to 1804 inclusive, the Missionaries baptized forty natives. Of these, thirty-four were Hindoos, and six Mahomedans. Of the Hindoos it is stated, that six were Brahmins, six more were Kaists (a very respectable denomination of Hindoos), thirteen were of inferior castes, and nine were women. Against seven of the thirty-four Hindoos there are notes put in one column of the Schedule, militating against their character; one Brahmin is spoken of as having been excluded from communion, at the Lord's Supper; another Brahmin is spoken of as of doubtful character; one Kaist and three Hindoo women have notes opposite their respective names, intimating that they had been suspended from communion; and one Hindoo of inferior caste is animadverted upon, as having excited fear that he was " gone back." Out of the six Mahomedans, one is reported as having been suspended from communion at the Lord's Table.-One of the thirty-four Hindoos is particularized as "a Hindoo who had lost caste ;" and of the six Mahomedans, one is distinguished from the rest as "a Mussulman having lost caste by marriage with a Feringu."