Raja Rammohun Roy arrived in England on this day, at Liverpool. His reputation had preceded him. He was the first Indian of stature to visit England.
Many came to meet Roy, the reformer, whose contributions towards society and religion, particularly the abolition of sati and the founding of Brahmo Sabha, and his works on Vedanta and the memorandum he had submitted to the Parliamentary Committee on Indian Affairs, were well-known in England.
William Roscoe, abolitionist and historian, who was severely ill then, sent his son to request Roy to visit him. William’s son Henry wrote memorably about the encounter between the two men. In London, Roy became a celebrity, especially in the city’s Unitarian circles. The British were charmed by his erudition and his progressive views. The philosopher Jeremy Bentham was among his admirers.
“The object of Rammohun’s visit to England was three-fold,” wrote Saumyendranath Tagore. “First, he wanted to submit a memorandum to the King of Great Britain on behalf of Akbar the Second, the then Emperor of Delhi. Secondly, to present a memorial to the House of Commons for the abolition of suttee, and, thirdly, to be present in England during the approaching discussion in the House of Commons on the renewal of the East India Company's Charter.” The Mughal emperor’s pension was raised significantly.
Roy passed away on September 27, 1833, at Bristol, where he had gone on medical advice. He was suffering from high fever.