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ing their incessant labours, they are hardly capable of saving enough to purchase a coarse cloth of the value of five or six shillings, to cover themselves.” (pp. 205, 206.)
Will it be believed, that the writer of these sentences, not twenty pages before, endeavours to represent the Hindoo Females in the most amiable light*. His object then was, to confute the statements of the late Mr. Ward ; which, by the way, corresponds with his own character of Hindoo Women, given in his “ Description of the People of India.” I could confute, from my own experience, not from “ hearsay," and also from some copious Extracts from Hindoo Writers which I have in my possession, most of what he has asserted for the purpose of raising the Hindoo Females in our esteem. But it is enough for my present purpose, that he admits the prevalence of an " austerity of manners which has drawn so marked a line of separation between the two sexes, and denied Women in India a due share in the social intercourse, and a proper attention to the improvement of their intellectual faculties.” It is rather an aggravation, than a palliation (as M. Dubois seems to think it) of this evil, that it has ex: isted “from the earliest to the present times, among all Oriental Nations” (p. 181): and its existence in India is quite enough to rouse our sympathy in behaļf of the Hindoo Women, whom he represents as in so degraded a condition. Such a “ line of demarcation between the sexes,” and such “austerity of manners” on the part of the male towards the female, is contrary to all Christian principle and precept: and if it be our duty to attend to the moral, mental, and religious improvement of the former, we are bound to devote an equal share of attention to the latter. The Hindoo Women are much more superstitious than the men, of which I could give several instances, in the opposition which they have raised to the instruction of their · children in Mission Schools, and to the reading of Religious Books in their houses, when their Husbands have been anxious for both. This will be regarded as the natural result of their want of mental improvement; for Ignorance, it is generally admitted, is the mother of Superstition: and it will excite within the Christian bosom a still deeper commiseration for them, than for the men.
* I shall not break a lance with the Abbé, for asserting that the Hindoo Women vie with those European Ladies who “ dance Waltzes,” and in various ways “deliver their persons into the arms of another man :” (p. 188.) I cannot defend those of my Country women, who are so little “ aware of what they owe to their Husbands, and to the modesty of their sex," as “ to allow themselves such gross violations of decorum,” against the severe, though, it must be conceded, too-often-merited insinuations of the Abbé Dubois. If he enter into a comparison, between the Hindoo Women, and those Europeans Ladies who are Christians, not in name and external professions only, but upon principlewho love the Bible, and are attentive to their devotions and every religious, moral, and relative duty (of whom there are, happily, many in India !)-then I will meet him.
But the Abbé Dubois does not know the Liverpool, or indeed any British Ladies, if he thinks they will cease from the attempt to establish - Schools for Females in India," in consequence of any “almost insurmountable bar” that may oppose the execution of their plans. It may, indeed, cause them to halt in their benevolent career; but it will only be to attack this formidable “ almost;" 'nor will they desist, until it be levelled with the ground.
About two years before the Abbé Dubois hazarded these assertions on the impracticability of establishing Female Schools in India, the Baptist Missionaries in Calcutta, with their accustomed benevolence and activity, had actually succeeded in this important branch of Missionary Labour. Their success encouraged the British and Foreign School Society, in concert with some of the Members of the Calcutta School Society, then in England, to solicit from the Public, “ funds for the sending out a suitable Fe
male Teacher from England, who might devote herself exclusively to the education of Native Females in India.” Such a Lady (Miss Cooke) was procured; and she sailed to India, “recommended, in the first instance, by the British and Foreign School Society, to the Calcutta School Society ; but was subsequently transferred to the Church Missionary Society*.”
On the arrival of Miss Cooke in India, and the object of her mission being made known, many, both Europeans and Natives, thought, with the Abbé Dubois, that it was the most visionary scheme ever formed, and certain to end in disappointment. Her own Pundit, “ a high Brahmin,” Miss C. writes, " with a most profound contempt for the Bengalee Females,” “ used daily to assure her, that she would never succeed: their women were all BEASTS—quite stupid-never could or would learn; nor would the Brahmins ever allow their females to be taught,” &c. &c. To all this she answered ; “ Very well-we shall see.” She persevered, however, against every discouragement; and in a short time she had the satisfaction of witnessing the decline of the native prejudices, and an increasing
* Missionary Register, November 1822, p. 481.
desire, on the part of the Parents, to send their Children to School, and on the part of the Scholars to be instructed. This intelligence is fully detailed in the Missionary Register for 1823*. Suffice it to say here, that before the expiration of twelve months from the commencement of operations, there were nearly 400 Female Scholars in the Fifteen Schools which Miss Cooke had established, The subject of Female Education is becoming more popular than it was among the Natives, and no doubt the number of Schools is now greatly augmented. By the last arrivals, the account stands as follows :
Scholars. · Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 100. London Missionary Society ..... 80 Church Missionary Society... ...... 439 In Calcutta—by the Female Juvenile Society,
Baptist Missionaries, and others... 370 At and around Serampore, say . ... 200
Total ..... 1189 In stating the number of Native Female, Children now under instruction in India, I labour under the same disadvantage of imperfect information which I lamented in reporting the state of the Schools for Boys. By confining myself, however, as nearly as
* April, p. 194, 195; and August, p. 355—360.