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RELIGIOUS AND SOCIAL.
BY SIR ALFRED C. LYALL, K.C.B., C.I.E.
JOHN MURRAY, ALBEMARLE STREET.
[All Rights reserved.]
THIS book contains, in the form of chapters, eleven essays published by me during the past ten years; they were written in such intervals of leisure as could be spared by the constant and occasionally urgent preoccupations of official duties in India, and they have been thought to be worth the experiment of republication together. Ten of these essays relate to India, being mainly the outcome of personal observation in certain provinces and of intercourse with the people; one essay relates to China, with which country the writer has no direct acquaintance; and since they are all so far alike in their subject-matter that they deal with the actual character and complexion of religion and society in these countries at the present time, they may possibly be considered to have some useful bearing on the general study of Asiatic ideas and institutions. For throughout Asia, wherever the state of society has not been distinctly transformed by European influences, there is a fundamental resemblance in the social condition of the people, in their intellectual level, and in their habits of thought. And although India is in many respects a peculiar country, isolated and fenced off from the rest of the continent by broad belts of high and often impassable mountain country, so that it cannot be classed either with Eastern or Western Asia, yet it possesses by reason of its extraordinary variety of peoples, creeds, and