Horace Hayman Wilson

British indologist (1786–1860)
(Redirected from H. H. Wilson)

Horace Hayman Wilson (26 September 1786 – 8 May 1860) was an English orientalist.

Watercolour by James Atkinson, 1821


  • These lectures were written to help candidates for a prize of Pound Sterling 200- given by John Muir, a well-known old Haileybury man and great Sanskrit scholar, for the best refutation of the Hindu Religious System.
    • On his book on 'The Religious and Philosophical System of the Hindus'. in Shourie, Arun (1994). Missionaries in India: Continuities, changes, dilemmas. New Delhi : Rupa & Co, 1994 [1]
  • The system of learning Bengalee among the natives .... their notion of learning Bengalee was by learning Sanscrit. If you make a man a good Sanscrit scholar he will be able to write Bengalee with perfect accuracy and elegance.... Bengalee is the language most akin to Sanscrit. I have taken pains to ascertain the proportion of Sanscrit in the first 500 words... they amount to 350.... Sanscrit forms the very body of most of the dialects, particularly of Upper India, and though it is not so essentially a part of the languages of Southern India, yet it enters so largely into the composition of even the language of Malabar, that four-fifths of the words are Sanscrit.
    • HH Wilson in in Shourie, Arun (1994). Missionaries in India: Continuities, changes, dilemmas. New Delhi : Rupa & Co, 1994
  • “By annihilating native literature, by sweeping away from all sources of pride and pleasure in their own mental efforts, by rendering a whole people dependent upon a remote and unknown country for all their ideas and the words in which to clothe them, we should degrade their character, depress their energies and render them incapable of aspiring to any intellectual distinction.”
    • Horace Wilson: “Education of the natives of India”, Asiatic Journal (1836), quoted p.26) quoted from Koenraad Elst, On Modi Time : Merits And Flaws of Hindu Activism In Its Day Of Incumbency – 2015 Ch 29
  • The Brahmans who compiled," says H. H. Wilson, "a code Hindu law, by command of Warren Hastings preface their performance by affirming the equal merit of every form of religious worship. Contrarities of belief, and diversities of religion, they say, are in fact part of the scheme of Providence; for as a painter gives beauty to a picture by a variety of colours, or as a gardener embellishes his garden with flowers of every hue, so God appointed to every tribe its own religion."
  • We must confess that we are disposed to look upon this limit |two hundred years for the Brahmanas] as much too brief for the establishment of an elaborate ritual, for the appropriation of all the spiritual authority by the Brahmans, for the distinctions of races or the institutions of caste, and for the mysticism and speculation of the Aranyakas or Upanishads: a period of five centuries would not seem to be too protracted for such a complete remodelling of the primitive system and its wide dissemination through all those parts of India where the Brahmans have spread.
    • H. H. Wilson (1860) objecting to Muller's methodology: in Bryant, E. F. (2001). The Quest for the Origins of Vedic Culture : the Indo-Aryan migration debate. Oxford University Press. chapter 12
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