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de Silva, K. M. (1961) Some Aspects of the Development of Social Policy in Ceylon, 1840-55, With Special Reference to the Influence of Missionary Organisations. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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Social policy in Ceylon in our period was dominated by religious issues, both because of the strength and importance of missionary activity, and the fact that the indigenous religions proved to be a formidable obstacle in the way of the missionaries. The First Chapter of this thesis deals with the new policy laid down by Lord Glenelg and continued by his successors, of active state support of missionary activity, and the acceptance of conversion as a responsibility of the state. As part of this policy, the Anglican Establishment in Ceylon was reformed, deprived of its many privileges, and it was accepted as a principle of state policy that the various missions working in Ceylon were equal in the eyes of the Government, Chapter Two deals with education policy. The most noteworthy developments in this sphere were Mackenzie's reform of the School Commission; and the gradual acceptance of the vernacular languages as media of instruction. Missionary influence on the Government's education policy was both strong and sustained, but the deep divisions among the missionary groups prevented it from being both stronger and more effective. Chapters Three and Pour deal with the most significant achievement of the missionaries - the severance of the connection of the state with Buddhism. The Third Chapter shows the importance of Sir James Stephen in the development of Colonial Office policy on Buddhism. An evangelical by conviction he strongly supported the missionaries on this issue. The Fourth Chapter deals with the compromise settlement on Buddhism imposed by Sir John Pakington and Sir George Anderson, after the retirement of Stephen and as a direct consequence of the disturbances of 1848. Social policy was not only a matter of religion: it was also a response to the social problems of the day. The Fifth Chapter deals with the response of the British Government and the missionaries to the problems of the traditional society, and the Sixth deals with the major social problem of the new capitalist society - the emmigration of Indian plantation labour to Ceylon. It shows the state responding to all these problems alike, while the missionaries concentrated on the social problems of the traditional society and showed little interest in the question of Indian emigration. They were interested in the Indians as potential converts, but they were not interested in the humanitarian aspects of this formidable problem.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2020 17:21

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