Darkest India eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 142 pages of information about Darkest India.

I have sought to confine myself to a matter-of-fact description of this gloomy subject, and to avoid anything that could be construed into mere sensationalism.  And yet deaf must be the ears, and hard must be the hearts, that can be insensible to the cries of agony that yearly ascend from thousands and tens of thousands of homes.  In a recent Government report, I find that from cholera alone in one year there were reported no less than 300,000 deaths; and yet the year was not remarkable for any exceptional outbreak.  Still more terrible and regular are the ravages of the various malarial fevers, that sweep away millions yearly to a premature grave, often just in the prime of life, when they are most needed by the country.  That a very large percentage of these deaths are directly connected with destitution, and that pestilence frequently but finishes the work commenced by months and years of starvation, is too notorious to require proof.  It is a melancholy picture, and yet without it our review of Darkest India would be necessarily incomplete.

CHAPTER XI.

THE WHITE ANTS OF INDIAN SOCIETY.

Hitherto our description of the Submerged Tenth has concerned those who may be styled principally the children of misfortune, and who in their struggle for existence have resort to means which are indeed desperate in their nature, but against which no moral objection can be raised.

General Booth next calls attention to another great section of the Submerged Tenth who have found a temporary shelter or asylum in the temple of Vice,—­those who either trade upon the sins of society, or are the miserable victims of those sins.  The unlawful gratification of the natural appetites has ever been the snare by which millions have been deluded to damnation.  If it were possible to combat this tendency in human nature by mere legal enactments, it would have been done long ago.  But though much has been done in this way to hold vice in check, and to prevent it from openly parading itself in public as it otherwise would, yet it has chiefly been by the chains of religion that the monster has been bound, and even his legal shackles have mostly been manufactured at the anvils of the religious public.  Take for instance the wholesale prohibition of intoxicating liquor by the Mahommedan religion, or again the strong Temperance movement that has more lately been established among Christians.  The former has no doubt accomplished what would never have been done by means of legal enactments, while the latter has first educated the public on the Temperance question and has thus prepared the way for prohibitory legislation of a more stringent character.

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