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there is a great deal of robbery, oppression, and even ferocity, I know no part of the population, except the mountain tribes already mentioned, who can with any propriety of language he called uncivilized. Of the unpropitious circumstances which I have mentioned, the former arises from a population continually pressing on the utmost limits of subsistence, and which is thus kept up, not by any dislike or indifference to a better diet, or more ample clothing, or more numerous ornaments, than now usually fall to the peasant's share, (for, on the contrary, if he has the means, he is fonder of external show and a respectable appearance, than those of his rank in many nations of Europe,) but by the foolish superstition, which Christianity only is likely to remove, which makes a parent regard it as unpropitious to allow his son to remain unmarried, and which couples together children of twelve or fourteen years of age. The second has its origin in the longcontinued misfortunes and intestine wars of India, which are as yet too recent (even where their causes have ceased to exist) for the agitation which they occasioned to have entirely sunk into a calm. But to say that the Hindoos or Mussulmans are deficient in any essential feature of a civilized people, is an assertion which I can scarcely suppose to be made by any who have lived with them. Their manners are at least as pleasing and courteous as those in the corresponding stations of life among ourselves; their houses are larger, and, according to their wants and climate, to the full as convenient as ours; their architecture is at least as elegant; and though the worthy Scotch divine may, doubtless, wish their labourers to be clad in hoddin grey, and their gentry and merchants to wear powder and mottled stockings, like worthy Mr. and the other elders of his kirk-session, I really do not think that they would gain either in cleanliness, elegance, or comfort, by exchanging a white cotton robe for the completest suit of dittos.
Nor is it true, that, in the mechanic arts, they are inferior to the general run of European nations. Where they fall short of us, (which is chiefly in agricultural implements and the mechanics of common life,) they are not, so far as I have understood of Italy and the South of France, surpassed in any great degree by the people of those countries. Their goldsmiths and weavers produce as beautiful fabrics as our own, and it is so far from true, that they are obstinately wedded to their old patterns, that they show an anxiety to imitate our models, and do imitate them very successfully. The ships built by native artists at Bombay are notoriously as good as any which sail from London or Liverpool. The carriages and gigs which they supply at Calcutta are as handsome, though not so durable, as those of Long Acre. In the little town of Monghyr, three hundred miles from Calcutta, I had pistols, double-barrelled guns, and different pieces of cabinet work brought down to my boat for sale, which in outward form, (for I know no further,) nobody but perhaps Mr. could detect to be of Hindoo origin; and at Delhi, in the shop of a wealthy native jeweller, I found brooches, ear-rings, snuff-boxes, &c. of the
latest models, (so far as I am a judge,) and ornamented with French devices and mottos.
'The fact is, that there is a degree of intercourse maintained between this country and Europe, and a degree of information existing among the people as to what passes there, which, considering how few of them speak or read English, implies other channels of communication besides those which we supply, and respecting which I have been able as yet to obtain very little information.
Among the presents sent last year to the supreme government by the little state of Ladeh, in Chinese Tartary, some large sheets of gilt leather, stamped with the Russian eagle, were the most conspicuous. A traveller, who calls himself a Transylvanian, but who is shrewdly suspected of being a Russian spy, was, when I was in Kumaoon, ar, rested by the commandant of one of our fortresses among the Himmalaya mountains; and, after all our pains to exclude foreigners from the service of the native princes, two Chevaliers of the Legion of Honour were found, about twelve months ago, and are still employed in, casting cannon, and drilling soldiers for the Seik Raja, Runjeet Singh. This, you will say, is no more than we should be prepared to expect; but you, probably, would not suppose, (what I believe is little, if at all, known in Russia itself,) that there is an ancient and still frequented place of Hindoo pilgrimage not many miles from Moscow ;*-or that the secretary of the Calcutta Bible Society received, ten months ago, an application (by whom translated I do not know, but in very tolerable English) from some priests on the shore of the Caspian sea, requesting a grant of Armenian bibles. After this, you will be the less surprised to learn that the leading events of the late wars in Europe (particularly Buonaparte's victories) were often known, or at least rumoured, among the native merchants of Calcutta, before government received any accounts from England; or that the suicide of an English minister (with the mistake, indeed, of its being Lord Liverpool instead of the Marquis of Londonderry) had become a topic of conversation in the "Burra Bazar," (the native exchange,) for a fortnight before the arrival of any intelligence by the usual channels.
'With subjects thus inquisitive, and with such opportunities of information, it is apparent how little sense there is in the doctrine that we must keep the natives of Hindoostan in ignorance if we would continue to govern them. The fact is, that they know enough already to do us a great deal of mischief, if they should find it their interest to make the trial. They are in a fair way, by degrees, to acquire still more knowledge for themselves; and the question is, whether it is not the part o wisdom, as well as duty, to superintend and promote their education while it is yet in our power, and supply them with such knowledge as will be at once most harmless to ourselves and most useful to them.
'In this work the most important part is to give them a better reli
This is probably rather loosely said; that is, if, as we suspect, Bishop Heber alludes to the same place of which we have a description in Dr. Henderson's 'Russian Travels.' (See the article on that book in our present Number, p. 363.)
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gion. Knowing how strongly I feel on this subject, you will not be surprised at my placing it foremost. But even if Christianity were out of the question, and if, when I had wheeled away the rubbish of the old pagodas, I had nothing better than simple deism to erect in their stead, I should still feel some of the anxiety which now urges me. It is necessary to see idolatry, to be fully sensible of its mischievous effects on the human mind. But of all idolatries which I have ever read or heard of, the religion of the Hindoos, in which I have taken some pains to inform myself, really appears to me the worst, both in the degrading notions which it gives of the Deity; in the endless round of its burdensome ceremonies, which occupy the time and distract the thoughts, without either instructing or interesting its votaries; in the filthy acts of uncleanness and cruelty not only permitted but enjoined, and inseparably interwoven with those ceremonies; in the system of castes, a system which tends, more than anything else the Devil has yet invented, to destroy the feelings of general benevolence, and to make nine-tenths of mankind the hopeless slaves of the remainder; and in the total absence of any popular system of morals, or any single lesson, which the people at large ever hear, to live virtuously and do good to each other. I do not say, indeed, that there are not some scattered lessons of this kind to be found in their ancient books; but those books are neither accessible to the people at large, nor are these last permitted to read them; and, in general, all the sins which a Sudra is taught to fear, are, killing a cow, offending a Brahmin, or neglecting one of the many frivolous rites by which their deities are supposed to be conciliated. Accordingly, though the general sobriety of the Hindoos (a virtue which they possess in common with most inhabitants of warm climates) affords a very great facility to the maintenance of public order and decorum, I really never have met with a race of men whose standard of morality is so low, who feel so little apparent shame in being detected in a falsehood, or so little interest in the sufferings of a neighbour not being of their own caste or family; whose ordinary and familiar conversation is so licentious; or, in the wilder and more lawless districts, who shed blood with so little repugnance. The good qualities which there are among them (and, thank God! there is a great deal of good among them still) are, in no instance that I am aware of, connected with, or arising out of, their religion, since it is in no instance to good deeds or virtuous habits of life that the future rewards in which they believe are promised. Their bravery, their fidelity to their employers, their temperance, and (wherever these are found) their humanity and gentleness of disposition, appear to arise exclusively from a natural happy temperament; from an honourable pride in their own renown, and the renown of their ancestors; and from the goodness of God, who seems unwilling that his image should be entirely defaced even in the midst of the grossest error. The Mussulmans have a far better creed; and though they seldom either like the English or are liked by them, I am inclined to think are, on the whole, a better people. Yet, even with them, the forms of their worship have a natural tendency to make
men hypocrites, and the overweening contempt with which they are inspired for all the world beside, the degradation of their women by the system of polygamy, and the detestable crimes, which, owing to this degradation, are almost universal, are such as, even if I had no ulterior hope, would make me anxious to attract them to a better or more harmless system. In this work, thank God, in those parts of India which I have visited, a beginning has been made, and a degree of success obtained, at least commensurate to the few years during which our missionaries have laboured; and it is still going on, in the best and safest way, as the work of private persons alone, and although not forbidden, in no degree encouraged, by government.
"In the meantime, and as an useful auxiliary to the missionaries, the establishment of elementary schools for the lower classes and for females is going on to a very great extent, and might be carried to any conceivable extent to which our pecuniary means would carry us. Nor is there any measure from which I anticipate more speedy benefit than the elevation of the rising generation of females to their natural rank in society, and giving them (which is all that, in any of our schools, we as yet venture to give) the lessons of general morality extracted from the Gospel, without any direct religious instruction. These schools, such of them at least as I have any concern with, are carried on without any help from government. Government has, however, been very liberal in its grants both to a Society for National Education, and in the institution and support of two colleges of Hindoo students of riper age, the one at Benares, the other at Calcutta. But I do not think any of these institutions, in the way after which they are at present conducted, likely to do much good. In the elementary schools supported by the former, through a very causeless and ridiculous fear of giving offence to the natives, they have forbidden the use of the Scriptures, or any extracts from them, though the moral lessons of the gospel are read by all Hindoos who can get hold of them, without scruple and with much attention; and though their exclusion is tantamount to excluding all moral instruction from their schools, the Hindoo sacred writings having nothing of the kind, and, if they had, being shut up from the majority of the people by the double fence of a dead language and an actual prohibition to read them, as too holy for common eyes or ears. The defects of the latter will appear when I have told you that the actual state of Hindoo and Mussulman literature, mutatis mutandis, very nearly resembles what the literature of Europe was before the time of Galileo, Copernicus, and Bacon. The Mussulmans take their Logic from Aristotle, filtered through many successive translations and commentaries, and their metaphysical system is professedly derived from Plato (" Filatoun.") The Hindoos have systems not very dissimilar from these, though, I am told, of greater length and more intricacy; but the studies in which they spend most time are the acquisition of the Sanscrit, and the endless. refinements of its Grammar, Prosody and Poetry. Both have the same Natural Philosophy, which is also that of Aristotle in Zoology and Botany, and Ptolemy in Astronomy, for which the Hindoos have forsaken
their most ancient notions of the seven seas, the six earths, and the flat base of Padalon, supported on the back of a tortoise. By the science. which they now possess, they are, some of them, able to foretel an eclipse or compose an almanac; and many of them derive some little pecuniary advantage from pretensions to judicial astrology. In Medicine and Chemistry, they are just sufficiently advanced to talk of substances being moist, dry, hot, &c. in the third or fourth degree; to dissuade from letting blood or physicking on a Tuesday, or under a particular aspect of the heavens; and to be eager in their pursuit of the Philosopher's Stone and the Elixir of Immortality.
'The task of enlightening the studious youth of such a nation would seem to be a tolerably straightforward one. But though, for the college in Calcutta, (not Bishop's College remember, but the Vidhalya, or Hindoo College,) an expensive set of instruments has been sent out, and it seems intended that the natural sciences should be studied there, the Managers of the present institution take care that their boys should have as little time as possible for such pursuits, by requiring from them all without exception a laborious study of Sanscrit, and all the useless and worse than useless literature of their ancestors. A good deal of this has been charged (and in some little degree charged with justice) against the exclusive attention paid to Greek and Logic till lately in Oxford. But in Oxford we have never been guilty (since a better system was known in the world at large) of teaching the Physics of Aristotle, however we may have paid an excessive attention to his Metaphysics and Dialectics.-In Benares, however, I found, in the institution supported by Government, a professor lecturing on astronomy after the system of Ptolemy and Albumazar, while one of the most forward boys was at the pains of casting my horoscope; and the majority of the school were toiling at Shanscreet grammar. And yet, the day before, in the same holy city, I had visited another college, founded lately by a wealthy Hindoo banker, and intrusted by him to the management of the Church Missionary Society, in which, besides a grammatical knowledge of the Hindoostanee language, as well as Persian and Arabic, the senior boys could pass a good examination in English grammar, in Hume's History of England, Joyce's Scientific Dialogues, the use of the globes, and the principal facts and moral precepts of the Gospel, most of them writing beautifully in the Persian, and very tolerably in the English, character, and excelling most boys I have met with in the accuracy and readiness of their arithmetic. The English officer who is now in charge of the Benares Vidhalya is a clever and candid young man, and under him I look forward to much improvement. . . . . RamMohun-Roy, a learned native, who has sometimes been called, though I fear without reason, a Christian, remonstrated against this system last year, in a paper which he sent to me to put into Lord Amherst's hands, and which, for its good English, good sense, and forcible argument, is a real curiosity, as coming from an Asiatic.'
In another part of the same letter, the Bishop treats incidentally of a topic with their inattention to which both Professor Von