ID: 22558
Pilgrim tax in India.

PEGGS, James,, Pilgrim tax in India. Facts and observations relative to the practice of taxing pilgrims in various parts of India, and of paying a premium to those who collect them for the worship of Juggernaut at the Great Temple in Orissa. London: Seely and Son; Wightman and Cramp; and Mason. n.d. [1827].

8vo., engraved frontispiece, (2) + ii + (3) + 8-65 + (1)pp., in a good mid-20th century binding of dark blue quarter calf over contrasting cloth boards, spine simply lettered in gilt. A very good copy.

First edition: rare. Not in Kress or Goldsmiths. Only a later edition in BL. COPAC & OCLC combined locate copies of this 1st ed. at 4 libraries in England + 3 elsewhere (via. Union Theological + Un. of Washington + Franckesche Stiftungen Hauptbibliot

James Peggs had been for some years on Anglican missionary at Cuttack in Orissa. As evidenced by his other publications (against suttee, infanticide, slavery, etc.), he was an energetic campaigner for justice for the Indian lower classes. He was at the same time convinced of the Missionary Society's view that "the subjection of India to Britain is doubtless, next to the introduction of the Gospel, the greatest blessing that country ever enjoyed". Peggs here describes in considerable detail the so-called "Pilgrim Tax" which was levied on Indian pilgrims visiting many of the major Hindu shrines. In his view, the system not only enhanced the status of "idolatry" but also resulted in the grossest abuse of the pilgrims themselves.