The War of Pamphlets (1807-1809) : a significant crisis within the missionary challenge to the East India Company's religious policy of non-interference

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1998
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Leighton, C. D. A.
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Bilkent University
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English
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Abstract

The War of Pamphlets fought between 1807 and 1809 was a significant crisis that occurred in Britain after the imposition of restrictions by the East India Company on the free-movement of the missionaries in India. The East India Company while enlarging the territories under its control adopted a non-interference policy on the religions and social manners of India to secure the continuity of its presence on the Indian soil, and maintained it carefully, though those customs were completely incongruous from its point of view. However, this policy of the Company came under threat in the second half of the 18th century as a consequence of the Evangelical Revival which created a missionary enthusiasm for the Christianisation of millions of heathen living in India. The missionaries demanded with zeal the right to move freely in the sub-continent to preach the message of the Gospel. The East India Company began to feel the weight of this pressure when the missionaries gained strength and increased their thrust at the turn of the century. In 1807 a pamphlet written by Thomas Twining against the missionaries turned this dispute to a real crisis. More than twenty people wrote more than thirty pamphlets trying to impress the public opinion and the political establishment This incident continued for two years and was called the War of Pamphlets. It played an important part in directing the attention of the British public from domestic affairs to the realities in the far away places.

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