Grant, Charles (1746-1823)
British evangelical layman, politician, businessman, philanthropist, and missionary advocate
Grant was born in Scotland and went to India in 1767, where, after some setbacks, he prospered financially, becoming a director of the East India Company. In 1787 he supported David Brown’s “A Proposal for Establishing a Protestant Mission in Bengal and Bahar.” The same year he purchased the Mission Church (or Old Church) in Calcutta, which had belonged to John Kiernander, a missionary of the Society for the Propagation of Christian Knowledge (SPCK). He also supported a mission at Gaumalti, staffed by John Thomas (1787-1789).
In 1790 Grant returned to England and attempted unsuccessfully to encourage the SPCK to take greater interest in India. He wrote Observations on the State of Society among Asiatic Subjects of Great Britain in 1792 (published by the House of Commons in 1813). This was a significant missiological apologia for integrating education and Christianity. He supported William Wilberfoce’s unsuccessful campaign in 1793 to make provision for missionary work in India. While he was often cautious, Grant used his influential position as a director of the East India Company to advance the evangelical chaplains and defended the Baptist Missionaries in India. A member of parliament from 1802 to 1818, Grant identified with the Clapham Sect’s campaigns to abolish the slave trade and to provide for missionary work in India in the 1813 East India Company charter. He was a founding director of the Sierra Leone Company, a vice-president of the Church Missionary Society and of the British and Foreign Bible Society, and a pioneer of Sunday schools in Scotland.
Allan K. Davidson, “Grant, Charles,” in Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions, ed. Gerald H. Anderson (New York: Macmillan Reference USA, 1998), 256.
This article is reprinted from Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions, Macmillan Reference USA, copyright © 1998 Gerald H. Anderson, by permission of Macmillan Reference USA, New York, NY. All rights reserved.
Digital Texts & More
Grant, Charles. “Observations on the State of Society among the Asiatic Subjects of Great Britain, particularly with respect to Morals; and on the means of improving it.— Written Chiefly in the Year 1792.” Includes Grant’s thought and effort in combining his evangelical identity with his political and social influences, especially in bringing together missionary and educational works.
Grant, Charles. (found on Google Books)“Observations of the State of Society among the Asiatic Subjects of Great Britain, particularly with response to Morals; and on the means of improving it.”
Embree, Ainslie Thomas. Charles Grant and British Rule in India.
Boyd, Hilton. “Grant, Charles.” In The Blackwell Dictionary of Evangelical Biography: 1730-1860, edited by Donald M. Lewis. Vol. I A-J. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 1995. Pp. 466-467.
Embree, Ainslie Thomas. Charles Grant and British Rule in India. London: George Allen and Unwin, 1962.
Fisher, D. R. The House of Commons 1790-1820, ed. R. G. Thorne, 5 vols. London: Published for the History of Parliament Trust by Secker & Warburg, 1986.
Hyam, Ronald. Britain’s Imperial Century, 1815-1814: A Study of Empire and Expansion. Lanham, MD: Barnes & Noble, 1993.
Grant’s role as East India Company chairman, director, statesman, and promoter of evangelicalism in the East.
“Charles Grant Image.” Courtesy, Center for Study of the Life and Work of William Carey, D.D. (1761-1834), William Carey University, Hattiesburg, Mississippi, 39401, USA. All rights reserved.