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have despaired of their safety; but we should have been more anxious concerning them, than if a pamphlet had been written against them by every man in England of the intellectual pitch of Messrs. Twining and Scott Waring. Talents of that very commanding order, are probably not in the possessión of any of the infidels of our country; but there occurred to us the names of two or three individuals, whose power of acute, or brilliant writing, could have saved a bad cause from appearing with that squalid vileness of aspect, with which it has been forced into view by its unfortunate abettors.
Thus far this bad cause has been left very nearly in such hands, as are adapted to neutralize its malignity. Nor can such a forlorn state of its hopes, and such a very humble share of talents, be likely now to attract the cordial co-operation of any man, however much inclined to insult Christianity, who can feel in the smallest degree nice as to adopting a partnership in literary fame. It must be a most desperate affection for irreligion and absurdity, indeed, that should conjoin a man of talents with the party of the unfortunate Major, after he should have read the pamphlet at present before us.
It is universally considered as coming from Lord Teignmouth, who of course takes up the question with the very eminent advantage of an extensive and intimate acquaintance with the people and institutions of India; and also with what, in this enlightened and Christian country, as it is sometimes described, we are ashamed to call the eminent advantage of being acquainted with the nature of the Christian religion; a part of knowledge, however, which has not fallen to the lot of any of the individuals who have opposed the design of introducing that religion among the people of the East, though we give all due credit to the Major's declaration, that he has been hard at the study of theology the last twenty years, and was capital at reading prayers even when an officer in India.
Another most prominent and singular distinction of the noble author, from contemporary writers on Indian policy, is, that he actually believes in a Providence, if indeed the distinction does not rather consist in his believing the existence of a God. He is fanatical enough to maintain, and even to quote scripture for the opinion, that under the government of a righteous and all-powerful Being, a nation would not be very likely to suffer in its temporal interests, for a zealous endeavour, by pure instruction and persuasion, to diffuse among its heathen subjects the knowledge and love of that Being, even though a mere political calculation did give some surmise of danger in such an attempt. He also presumes to suggest, that while we may be very wisely and self-complacently
labouring to make every thing safe in Asia by means of a policy which expressly establishes the inviolable sacredness of idolatry, by commanding the true religion to be silent, that awful Being may choose to deem it a proper time to blast our plans; and that if he should so deem it, he will not want for means. All this is utterly unintelligible to the persons whom our author is opposing. To hear him talk at this rate, reduces them to the pure blank simplicity of astonishment. They cannot conceive what is come to him, at the latter end of a performance in which he has displayed so much knowledge and good writing; and even their belonging to our venerable religious establishment does not prompt their recollection, nor aid their comprehension, of this strange and uncouth doctrine of a providence.
Nothing in this controversy has struck us more forcibly, thán the total insensibility of those who oppose the designs for instructing the heathens, to the consideration of the superintendence of a Deity. This is indeed very generally apparent in schemes of policy, whether devised by statesmen, or prescribed by such worthy instructors of statesmen as those by whom the government and the India Company have lately enjoyed the privilege of being lectured; but in the present case there is an odious prominence of irreligion. Schemes of policy are generally formed on an assumed principle of independence, merely, of the Deity; the means are to be sufficient without his assistance; and therefore the plans are not to be adjusted with any anxious or peculiar reference to his approbation. But in the present instance the very basis of the prescribed policy is a piece of direct bostility against the Divinity, in the refusal to permit the truth, which he has revealed by his Messiah, to attempt to oppose itself to a hideous superstition. Without this refusal, given in the most positive form, these persons say that India is lost to the merchants and government of England; that is to say, (if we were to put it in the language of religion) unless we take formal measures to perpetuate an infernal idolatry, Providence will give us no protection; but those measures being solemnly adopted, we may then assure ourselves the power of Heaven will defend our interests in the East. If these miserable and besotted creatures really have any notion of the existence of a God, this is precisely the amount of what they have been maintaining in relation to his conduct. We fear there is no exorcism, that will ever, on earth, reach the case of these unhappy mortals.
The author of this pamphlet was in India, and in the highest station there, long since Major S. W. left that country and he has shown how contemptible it is, for a man to make and repeat coufident assertions on subjects on which he is completely
ignorant, as the Major is proved to be of several important points in the actual economy of our government in Hindostan.
A cool and dignified language is maintained throughout, with very great propriety, for the author had a much higher office to fulfil than that of inflicting literary castigation In the train of statement and argument, nothing can exceed the clearness with which the facts are brought out, or the candour and sound thinking displayed in the comments and inferences. We shall with great pleasure occupy our remaining space with several interesting extracts.
He notices the malicious fictions about "universal alarm” prevailing in Hindostan.
I take it for granted, that if such apprehensions had generally pre vailed among the natives of Bengal, the governor general of India would have omitted to point them out, with their causes, and to have made a very serious representation on the subject to the Court of Directors. That such a representation has not been made, I am authorised to affirm, by private assurance from authentic sources and I have this further reason to conclude that it has not, because the public have never heard of it; and more especially because Major S. W., who would naturally have availed himself of such strong evidence if it had existed, has not ventured E to mention it, nor refer to it.
This reasoning will be deemed sufficiently presumptive against the universality of Major S. W.'s assertion; but for the limitations, under which it ought to be received, I will appeal to his own evidence: for he tells us, broadly," the jealousy and alarm which have pervaded. the whole of the Carnatic and Mysore, have been but partially felt in Bengal, because the efforts of the English missionaries have hitherto not extended beyond a few inconsiderable villages, and the populous city of Dacca."
The country subject to the East India Company on the Gangetic side of India, forms an area of about 200,000 square miles; and we may safely, then, on the authority of Major S. W., with the exception of " a few inconsiderable villages and the city of Dacca," exclude this immense extent of territory from the impression of that alarm and apprehension which, 1no undoubted authority," are asser ted to pervade every quarter of Hindostan. p. 20.
The following representation is made in answer to the asssertion, that a permission of the efforts to impart Christianity to the people of Hindostan, would. give them the impression that they were intended to be made Christians by force. 3. The natives of India, whether Hindoos or Mahometans, have the clearest possible demonstration that no such idea as their forcible conver2sion can be entertained by the British government. They enjoy the most complete, religious toleration and the performance of the rites and ceremonies of their respective religions, is unmolested, land without restriction, even in Calcutta, under the very eye of the ruling power. They see this principle, avowed in the laws by which the country is governed; their experience tells them that it is practically observed by all the officers of government, whether civil or military, by judges, collectors, and com
mercial agents, and by the officers of the army; they are sensible that if any violation of it were attempted, redress for the injury might be obtained.
The regulations for the administration of civil justice, which are published in the languages of the country, and now familiar to the natives, not only exhibit a standing document of the tolerating spirit of the British government, but of its attention to the laws and usages of the people. All suits regarding succession, inheritance, marriage, cast, and other religious usages and institutions, are decided by the laws of the parties concerned in them, whether Mahomedans or Hindoos; and native officers, for the special purpose of expounding the Hindoo and Mahosmedan law, under the denomination of pundits and muftis or moluvees, are attached to every court.
In all the capital cities, principal towns, and districts, Mahomedan officers, known in this country by the title of Cadis, are stationed for the purpose of performing the religious duties and ceremonies prescribed by the Mahomedan law, and various other functions, at the public expence, and their appointments are so far independent, that they are only remova ble for misconduct. The criminal justice of the country is still regulated by the Mahomedan code, although with some specific modifications, which even the bigotry of the followers of Mahomet cannot disapprove.
Learning, and reputed sanctity among the natives, are not only admitted as recommendations to official employment, but entitle the possessors of them to respect and distinction. At Calcutta a college, founded by Mr. Hastings, at the expence of the Company, still exists, for the education of the Mahomedan youth in the knowledge of their laws; and there are various Hindoo seminaries, as well as religious endowments, established in different parts of the country, upon old foundations which have not been
In the civil intercourse between the natives and Europeans, the prejudices and customs of the former are respected; and they are flattered and pleased by the attention of Europeans to their literature.
All these facts come home to the feelings and daily experience, both of Hindoos and Mahomedans. Is it possible then to conceive, that the circulation of the Scriptures, and the toleration of missionaries, will so preponderate against this weight of evidence, as to induce the natives to believe that we mean to force them into Christianity? If the natives were compelled to receive the Scriptures when offered to them, or to listen to the discourses of the missionaries, the supposition might have some plau sibility; but while the option remains with them to receive the Bible, and hear those who teach its doctrines; as long as the system which I have described continues; the natives must see and feel that they have no ground for apprehension that the British government can adopt the posterous idea of forcing them to become Christians.' pp. 61. 63. The Major had constantly asserted or assumed, that all the customs and laws of the natives have been preserved inviolate by our government. He is here shown, to his full satisfaction, that he is very much y much a stranger to the proceedings of the British government in India; and that while the substance of the Mahometan and Hindoo laws and customs has been preserved, very many important alterations have been gradually
introduced, tending much to prove, that the institutions of the natives may be greatly modified without exciting any -permanent disaffection..
A concise estimate of the probable number of Hindoos who have during a few past ages been converted to Mahometanism, to Christianity, and to a kind of simple deism, evinces the absurdity of asserting their "invincible" attachment to their superstitions.
The author takes a short view of the religion, as it is called, of the Hindoos, which he easily proves to be, in substance and practice, absolute idolatry, in the strictest sense; he then displays the detestable state of their moral principles and
In discussing the policy of introducing Christianity, our author makes some most interesting observations on the foundation of the British power in India, and ou the feelings and reflections of the Hindoos, while beholding themselves subjected to a foreign people so strongly contrasted to them in all their opinions and customs; and he then proceeds,
That such a state of things admits a wide scope for the operation of discontent and disaffection, whenever other causes may tend to excite them, will not be disputed: the public feeling, under such impressions, is prepared to receive any inciting impulse, and may be set in action by causes of no extraordinary irritation. With every precaution on our part, such causes will occur, and may derive an additional impulse from the arts of the disaffected.
What then is our obvious policy under such circumstances?—to implant in the mind of the natives principles, that, if they reason at all, they may reason to some beneficial consequence-such as will connect attachment with allegiance, and give them an interest in the prosperity of our European government: in other words the principles of the Christian religion.
Major S. W. asks, if it can be supposed possible" that thirty thousand British subjects could retain an empire containing fifty millions of people, if the Christian religion was universal in India?" The question will not at this time be deemed to require a solution, and on his principles the case will never occur. But it is more pertinent to ask, whether the British dominion in India would not acquire additional solidity by the accession of a body of natives united to us by the bond of a common faith? Major S. W. foresees no danger in the operation of bigotry, superstition, and prejudice, which, whilst they exist in their present force, must oppose a bar to a cordial union between the natives of India and their European rulers. I see the subject in a different light; and, without wishing to circumscribe the limits of that toleration which has been hitherto adopted, feel the necessity of introducing a principle of counteraction and melioration, by implanting amongst them the doctrines of Christianity.'
After this most able and conclusive performance, we do not see that Indian missions can need any further defence.