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Of the London Missionary Society

THIS work has been written, mainly, during a period of restriction, on account of weak health, from the more active duties of the ministry ; and the hope is indulged that it may prove quite as useful, in its own way, by treasuring and presenting for general reference information regarding Travancore, as, perhaps, more direct labours in travelling and lecturing on the subject might have been.

For the last twenty-five years, I have been studying that country with reference to the prosecution of missionary labour, culling facts of every kind, and accumulating notes respecting its people, history, and literature; collecting a library, English, Tamil, and Malayalam, with complete sets of Reports, some of which are now almost inaccessible to the public, and enjoying friendly intercourse with Europeans and natives of all classes. And at home, while engaged in the preparation of this book, free access has also been given, through the courtesy of the librarians, to the splendid library at the India House.

The valuable materials and knowledge thus acquired for personal use are now placed at the disposal of others ; arranged, digested, and condensed so as to give, if it were possible, a whole library in a single volume-providing re- liable matter for future investigation and practical application- throwing light especially on those points affecting the social and moral condition of the people on which the statesman or philanthropist would wish to be informed-furnishing materials for a true history of the countryand giving a photograph of strange manners and usages that are rapidly passing away under the influence of modern enlightenment and the spread of Christianity.

The history of the past increases our intellectual wealth in each generation, and should be handed on to the next.

No pains have been spared in the careful collation of facts and records; and much care has been taken to ensure accuracy, and avoid a mere surface view of things, as well as to simplify and elucidate every topic discussed, and give a true reflection of the present state of native society. Still, in such a mass of detail, minor errors may exist, arising from varying or incomplete accounts supplied by native helpers and friends. Any mistakes have only to be pointed out for rectification in a second edition, if called for.

I have still much material on hand which it was found impossible to include in this volume-further particulars of Castes and Ceremonies, and chapters on the more abstract and statistical topics of Legislation and Judicial Administration, Land Tenures, Taxation and Revenue, &c. On such a diversified population, an exhaustive work in a single volume is impracticable ; and a great and expensive book is not wanted. Only a few typical castes, therefore, have been selected for detailed description, and a few cardinal topics discussed.

In some sense it may be said that the same ground is gone over as in a former work- “The Land of Charity“ (Snow & Co., London). But while either book is complete in itself, the matter in each is quite distinct, as I have endeavoured to put nothing in this volume that is in the former one; and the two works should go together, each being the complement of the other. The one discusses chiefly the religious, the other the social and moral aspect of Travancore.

The former book was intended chiefly for the friends of missions in England ; the present one for readers in India, interested in the welfare of the native population, and desirous to have a correct view of their actual condition, and to use any influence they may possess for the furtherance of solid progress and reform. Though speaking plainly and frankly of the evils which prevail and of the need of a speedy remedy, I am conscious of having written throughout with the desire and aim to be fair to all parties, and with affection and sympathy for all classes in Travancore, whither I hope shortly to return to continue my labours as life and health may be afforded.

Brief quotations and sentences taken from innumerable books and papers which have been freely consulted, abstracted, or utilized for the advantage of the reader, have not been specially marked, as this appeared to be mere waste of labour, and an encumbrance of the printed page.

Special acknowledgments, however, are due to the Government of Travancore for copies of the Administration Reports and the Census Report as each was issued-and to my missionary brethren and other friends, both English and native, for reports and papers keeping me au cottrant with the state of affairs during my absence on leave in England.

Also to Rev. W. J. Richards for valuable notes on the Pulayars, &c., in North Travancore-to Rev. R. Collins, M.A., and Rev. R. H.Maddox, B.D., for the loan of photographs for engraving, mostly taken by the former gentleman-and to the Secretaries of the London Missionary Society for twelve illustrations ; the Church Missionary Society for five illustrations; the Wesleyan Missionary Society for engraving of Oil Mill ; and the Religious Tract Society for engraving of Krishna, kindly permitted by them to be used in this work. The other illustrations have been specially engraved for it.

Indian words and technical terms used in the Travancore official reports are mostly printed in italics, and the exact meaning will readily be found on reference to the Glossary at the end of the volume. The long a is pronounced like a in father, and the short a like u in drum; i like a in fate; i as it is pronounced in pique; and u generally like oo in food.

This work is sent forth now in humble reliance on God’s gracious guidance, and in the hope that it may prove really helpful to all who desire accurate and recent information on the subject of it, and may thus ultimately tend to raise the social condition and advance the moral and spiritual welfare of the native population of Travancore.

London, 9th August, 1883.


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