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What, then, is the expectation of intelligent minds on this subject, founded on the maxims of wisdom and experience? Is it to be expected that we shall continue to awe the minds of sixty millions of Hindoos and Mahometans for ages to come, by a force of thirty thousand men? Can we reasonably expect that this empire of opinion will never be dissolved? And even if we did, is it right (to anticipate a moral consideration) for a Christian nation to subjugate a people for no other purpose than to export their wealth ?
But, to return to the political consideration. We know that this empire of opinion is in danger of receiving a concussion from time to time. What is the cause of that anxiety about the fate of India, manifested on every arrival of tidings from that country? What occasions in our breasts that continual dread of conspiracy and massacre ? The cause of it is evident. It is owing to our want of confidence in the people. We are conscious that we do not understand their principles ; and we think it perfectly natural that Pagans should wish to liberate themselves from the yoke of Christians. Is, then, the nation to remain in this state of conscious alarm and trepidation for ever?
But, again : Is not this alarm heightened, in
some degree by an apprehension, That we have been deficient in duty to that people? Let the nation honestly examine itself on this point. And that we may do justice to the examination, let us suppose a possible case.
Let us suppose, that, in the course of events, we should be suddenly expelled from India. What then would be our reflections, on the occasion of such an event?
If we had faithfully performed our duty as a Christian people to the natives, and offered them, so far as circumstances would permit, that best blessing which Heaven hath conferred on mankind; we might be able to submit with some fortitude to the dispensation, and say, ” was pleased to employ Great Britain as his “ instrument to restore the Light of Truth to the “ Eastern World ; and that service being per
formed, he withdraws her from the scene.
But if, as is the case, we had done little or nothing for India, what would be our reflections on such an event as that we have supposed? How poignant would be the national remorse! And how opprobrious the fact, in the record of history, for ages to come! That great philosopher and statesman, Edmund Burke, made the following observation in Parliament nearly thirty years ago : “If the English should be suddenly “ driven from India by an angry and retributive “ Providence, no trace would be left that a “ civilized people had set their foot on it, ex
cept,” he indignantly adds, “ by the desola" tion of war,” This sentiment was repeated very lately in India, on an occasion which naturally called it forth, by a person who had better opportunities of knowing the actual state of the country than Mr. Burke could have possessed. After witnessing the troops marching against each other, and not knowing, for a time, what would be the fate of the Empire, he made the following remark when the danger was over :
“ It cannot but have occurred to every reflect'ing mind, in looking back on past scenes, if it “ had pleased God, in his Providence, to dis
possess us of our dominions, how little would “have remained to shew, That a people, blessed “ with the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ, “had once borne sway in this land! But now, " he adds, in allusion to the translation of the Scriptures, “ the Word of God, in all the lan
guages of India, will be an enduring Monu“ment of British Piety and Liberality, for which “ the sacrifice of prayer and thanksgiving will
ascend to the Most High to the latest gene" ration *."
# Christian Researches, p. 290, 4to.
It has long been the reproach of Great Britain, that she extends her Territories for her Commerce alone. Is this true, or is it not? If it be true in any degree, what better opportunity can offer than the present, for taking away the reproach for ever? Nothing exists, at this moment, to prevent her meditating measures of grand importance to the human race.
We would here repel an argument against the civilization of India, and particularly against giving it a religious establishment, deduced from the example of America. English India, it is alleged, if well taught, will, by and by, revolt and fall off, like America, from the parent state. Now we aver that the fate of America is the most powerful instance that can be adduced, of the expediency and necessity of establishing the Church of England in India.
What then was the case of America ? America, at the time of the Revolution, was peopled with Indians and Dissenters. Almost every religious sect had, in the progress of time, acquired a weight and celebrity in the country superior to that of the Church of England. That Church had not an authorised representative in the whole land. It had not the constituent privilege of the smallest sect. It was properly no visible Church. When, therefore, a commotion took place, there were but few persons to vote for the Church of England, or for the constitution to which she belonged. And she fell. Had a majority of the Americans been attached to the Church of England, and had that Church maintained its ostensible rank among the other denominations as at home, would the American Revolution have taken place? We have no warrant to believe that it would, judging from the ordinary events in the common course of human' affairs.
From the fate of America, then, do we derive, or not, an argument in favour of giving an Ecclesiastical Establishment to the West Indies, to Hindostan, to South Africa, and to New South Wales ? *
* The Remonstrance of Bishop Lowth, in 1771, in favour of giving an Ecclesiastical Establishment to America in time, seems almost to have been written as prospective of the state of our Church in India, and of the tardy attention to its claim:
“ The proper and only remedy hath long since been
pointed out;—the appointment of one or more resident “ Bishops, for the exercise of offices purely Episcopal in the “ American Church of England; for administring the so“ lemn and edifying Rite of CONFIRMATION; for ordain“ ing Ministers and sụperintending their conduct-offices to " which the members of the Church of England have an “ undeniable claim, and from which they cannot be pre« cluded without manifest injustice and oppression. The de
sign hath been laid before the public in the most unexceptionable form; and it hath been supported against