Imperial Gazetteer of India, v. 1, p. 445.
vIII1 RELIGIONS 445
to missionary effort than the Buddhist population. It is only
since the annexation that missionaries have enjoyed free
opportunities in Upper Burma, and the full harvest of their
work is still to be reaped.
Throughout the Empire the progress of Christianity in the Progress of
period between 872 and I9go has been remarkable. It has Christian-
ity in the
about doubled its numbers in thirty years, rising from an Empire.
aggregate of one and a half to nearly three millions. Naturally
Native Christians are most largely recruited from the classes
outside the Hindu system. The missionary view lays stress on
the labours of the early missionaries, the efficiency of the
present body of workers, the dissemination of translations of
the Scriptures, the improved status of Christians won by their
own exertions, the spread of education, benevolence in seasons
of famine, and lastly, the impartiality and disinterestedness of
the British Government, which has conferred so many benefits
upon the people, and is known to be influenced by Christian
principles. The question of the large increase in Madras has
been discussed from another point of view by Mr. Francis,
who points to the improved social position enjoyed by the low-
caste man who embraces Christianity. He sums up by saying:
' The remarkable growth in the numbers of Native Christians
thus largely proceeds from the natural and laudable discontent
with their lot which possesses the lower classes of the Hindus;
and so well do the converts, as a class, use their opportunities,
that the community is earning for itself a constantly improving
position in the public estimation.'