Reading and Writing the Law: Macaulay in India

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

On 5 February 1835, Thomas Babington Macaulay prepared a memorandum or “minute” for the governor general of India, Lord William Bentinck, in which he interpreted aspects of 53 Geo. III c. 155 (1813), known as the East India Act or Charter Act. That Act was one of the series of statutes that at twenty-year intervals revised and renewed the charter of the East India Company, which administered British interests in India. Macaulay advised Bentinck that it would be within the meaning of the statute to stop subsidizing advanced instruction and scholarship in Arabic and Sanskrit and to subsidize advanced instruction in English literature instead. This chapter develops one ground for construing the statute so as to uphold the "Orientalist" position (as it was called) favoring Arabic and Sanskrit, against the "Anglicist" position that Macaulay advocated. That ground is the legislative history of the relevant sections of the East India Act, a history that has been slighted since the nineteenth century. The chapter then describes a contrasting strategy that Macaulay adopted when he drafted a penal code for India, calculated to secure for it "authentic interpretation."
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLaw and Language
EditorsMichael Freeman, Fiona Smith
Place of PublicationOxford, UK
PublisherOxford University Press
Pages187-200
Volume15
ISBN (Print)9780199673667
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2013

Publication series

NameCurrent Legal Issues
NameCurrent Legal Issues
Number12

Fingerprint

India
Statute
Sanskrit
Charter
History
Governor
English Literature
East India Company
Orientalist

Cite this

Hancher, M. (2013). Reading and Writing the Law: Macaulay in India. In M. Freeman, & F. Smith (Eds.), Law and Language (Vol. 15, pp. 187-200). (Current Legal Issues), (Current Legal Issues; No. 12). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199673667.003.0089

Reading and Writing the Law: Macaulay in India. / Hancher, Michael.

Law and Language. ed. / Michael Freeman; Fiona Smith. Vol. 15 Oxford, UK : Oxford University Press, 2013. p. 187-200 (Current Legal Issues), (Current Legal Issues; No. 12).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Hancher, M 2013, Reading and Writing the Law: Macaulay in India. in M Freeman & F Smith (eds), Law and Language. vol. 15, Current Legal Issues, Current Legal Issues, no. 12, Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK, pp. 187-200. https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199673667.003.0089
Hancher M. Reading and Writing the Law: Macaulay in India. In Freeman M, Smith F, editors, Law and Language. Vol. 15. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. 2013. p. 187-200. (Current Legal Issues). (Current Legal Issues; 12). https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199673667.003.0089
Hancher, Michael. / Reading and Writing the Law: Macaulay in India. Law and Language. editor / Michael Freeman ; Fiona Smith. Vol. 15 Oxford, UK : Oxford University Press, 2013. pp. 187-200 (Current Legal Issues). (Current Legal Issues; 12).
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