Obrazy na stronie

unfavourable as ever. We are happy to understand that he is, on the whole, tranquil.

The only material appointments which have taken place since our last, have been those of Viscount Sidmouth to the situation of President of the Council; the Earl of Buckinghamshire to that of President of the Board of Controul; and Colonel M'Mahon to that of Private Secretary to the Prince Regent. The last appointment gave rise to a warm discussion in the House of Commons; but those who wished to censure it were left in a minority of 100 to 176.

The arrival of a flag of truce from France, with a letter from the French Minister of External Relations to our Foreign Secretary of State, to which an answer has also been sent, has naturally given birth to much speculation as to the object of it. On that point we have no means of throwing any light.

The circumstance, in our domestic history, which we regard with the greatest pain, is the spirit of riot and turbulence that has manifested itself in our great manufacturing towns in Yorkshire, Cheshire, and Lancashire. The alleged cause of these commotions is the high price of bread and the want of employment. These are evils, however, which riot, instead of alleviating, cannot fail to aggravate. The destruction of machines and manufactories, and the waste of corn and potatoes, which seem to have been the immediate aim of the tumultuous assemblages that have taken place, if they were not to be utterly condemned as a violation of the peace and good order of society, would still be to be deplored as augmenting the pressure of scarcity, and producing an increased indisposition and inability in manufacturers to give employment to the fabouring poor. Out of regard, therefore, to the poor themselves, we trust that the most vigorous and energetic measures will be taken by the magistracy, in every part of the kingdom, to suppress and entirely put down every symptom of riot which may manifest itself. If the ordination of Providence has given us a scanty harvest, submission is the universal duty. We ought all to concur in judiciously hus

banding our resources; and those whom the Almighty has favoured with abundance should cheerfully make every requisite sacrifice to mitigate the sufferings of the poor. We should rejoice also to see some comprehensive plan adopted by Parliament, which should facilitate the enclosure and cultivation of our wastes and commons, and thus farnish additional means of subsistence to our rapidly increasing population.


In the Mediterranean our cruizers have been actively employed in assisting the Spaniards along the coast of Catalonia,— Near Lissa three of our frigates, under Capt. M. Maxwell, encountered three frigates of the enemy. Two were taken, viz. La Po mone of 44 guns and 322 men, and La Persanne, of 26 guns and 100 men, laden with ordnance stores for Trieste. La Pauline, of 44 guns, escaped.-Several French national ves sels have been captured in other parts of the Mediterranean.

A flotilla of twelve gun-brigs, attempting to get into Dieppe, was attacked on the 27th of March by two of our small armed vessels, which succeeded, though greatly annoyed by the batteries on shore, in gallantly capturing three and driving two on shore. Each was armed with three long 24-pounders, an 8-inch howitzer, and 50 men,

The French squadron, which escaped from L'Orient, has got into Brest, after capturing in its way five or six English merchantmen,

The Southampton frigate, Captain Yeo, has captured in the West Indies a 44-gun frigate, called the Amethyst, which had belonged to Christophe, but which, deserting his interest, had joined a French party (the remains, we suppose, of Rigaud's partizans) in the southern part of St. Domingo. She was commanded by a Frenchman, who was killed. The action lasted two hours, during which 350 men were killed or wounded on board the Amethyst, chiefly blacks. Twelve men were killed or wounded on board the Southampton.


W. H. C.; T. Y.; PARENS; Mr. STEINKOPFF'S Communication; and A COUNTRY VICAR will be inserted.

C. L.; A. H.; APIS; LITTLE; G. B.; IRENICUS; and PASTOR, are under consideration. We are desired, by a COUNTRY CURATE, to remind a Country Rector that the Ecclesiastical laws direct that the bells should not be rung but with the consent of the minister and churchwardens; and that in respect to enforcing the observance of fasts, if he com plain to the bench of justices, they have power to punish the neglect of it as a misde meanour, or offence contra bonos mores. Our Correspondent, however, recommends the use of persuasion in preference to an appeal to the law.



No. 125.]

MAY, 1812.

[No. 5. Vol. XI.



HE very great importance of the subject at the present moment induces us to give an immediate insertion, as well as a prominent place, to the following admirable Letter to a Friend ON THE DUTY OF GREAT BRITAIN TO DISSEMINATE CHRISTIANITY IN INDIA, OCcasioned by the proposed Renewal of the Charter of the East-India Company.” We will not think so ill of any of our correspondents, as to suppose that they will require the smallest apology for the postponement of their communications to a future number.

Dear Sir, London, April 20th, 1812. About two hundred years ago the Fast-India Company was constituted by Royal Charter, with a joint stock, and various rights and privileges, which were confirmed and altered from time to time by successive Acts of Parliament. For many years they possessed no territory in India, but merely factories and ports in the dominions of the several native princes; but about fifty or sixty years ago they began to acquire territory in India, and they soon be came the sovereign of a great empire. Their dominions have been gradually increasing ever since; and the present extent of their territorial rights may be best estimated by stating, that, although those vast regions are for the most part by no means well peopled, yet the EastIndian Empire is supposed to contain a population of sixty millions of souls. Of these about one eighth, or, according to others, one fourth are Mahomedans; the rest are of a great variety of different sects of idolaters, the most prevailing reliCHRIST. OBSERV. No. 125.

gion being the worshippers of Brahma, and his various associated deities.

The providence of God has thus brought under our sovereignty a vast portion of the globe, with an immense number of the human race, a number fourfold that of the whole population of Great Britain and Ireland. But it ought to be stated that the inhabitants of these countries are not merely our subjects; though, doubtless, as such it would be our bounden duty to watch over their interests, and promote their happiness; but the truth is, that they stand in a still closer relation to us: they are, in fact, our tenants. We, filling the place of the old sovereigns of the country, are still proprietors of the soil throughout India, though, much to our honour, about twenty years ago, Mr. Shore, now Lord Teignmouth, was authorised to commence his government by introducing a system which had been begun under his predecessor Lord Cornwallis; that of granting for the first time, to the great land-holders, hereditary property in their estates. The rent paid by them to government was equitably and unalterably settled; and it ought to be added, that care was taken at the same time to secure to the inferior occupants, no less than to the great chieftains, the secure possession of their rights and properties.

It is not, therefore, going too far to affirm, that the inhabitants of India are as much our subjects and are at least as nearly related to us, as the population of Yorkshire or Lancashire; we might even say, from being our tenants, more nearly re

2 M

lated than the inhabitants of those counties, Such then being the truth, every benevolent mind will inquire, what is the domestic and social state; what the moral and religious condition; what the character and circumstances of this prodigious number of our fellowcreatures? This inquiry will be made with still more solicitude, by all in this country who are duly impressed with a sense of moral responsibility to Almighty God; by all who remember that we are an>swerable for the opportunities we enjoy of doing good to others; nay more, for the use we make of the means afforded us by Providence of -learning how good is to be done. 'Doubtless, in the great day of final retribution, in giving an account of our stewardship, we shall be called on to answer for the misery we might have relieved, for the benefits we might have conferred, for the happiness we might have diffused, if we had not neglected the opportunities with which the providence of God had entrusted us; if we had not shut our eyes against, or turned them away from, the light by which we should have seen how the evil was to be removed, or the good to

be done.

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When this important truth is duly weighed, it becomes an awful consideration, that after a long course of deception and ignorance, the real state of India has been divulged to the world: more especially, that in this country, so much light has been lately thrown on the religious and moral condition, character, and circumstances of the great mass of the native population of India, that no one, be his means of information ever so scanty, needs now be ignorant of them. It is a melancholy fact, that the picture exhibited to us is of the most gloomy and afflicting kind. That probably for about two thousand years; certainly for many, many centuries; the people of India have been sunk, and, though governed justly by us, that they still continue bowed down

under one of the most cruel and depraving systems of idolatrous superstition that ever existed upon earth. Until of late years, also, they groaned under the most abject state of political despotism. The consequences cannot be doubtful. Their religious and moral condition, justly estimated, is, perhaps, lower than that of any other civilized people upon earth.

And as, by the general ordination of the moral government of the universe, vice is, even in this life, for the most part connected with suffering, and virtue, with comfort and enjoyment, we can scarcely doubt what is the state, especially in respect of domestic and social happiness, of the great body of the people. The above assertions are so strong, that, although to every considerate mind they might appear no more than natural inferences from what has been long universally known, of the political despotism, idolatrous worship, and social and domestic institutions prevalent in India; yet as contrary opinions have been industriously diffused, especially by some infidel writers, and have obtained too much credit, it may be useful to settle the point beyond dispute, by adducing the authority of various witnesses; some of them well known authors, others whose testimony claims still greater weight, persons who, during a who, during a long succession of years, held high stations in the East Indies, and who, from having lived many years among the natives, and having had much intercourse with them, must be supposed to have been best acquainted with their real character. Bernier, who travelled among them about one hundred and fifty years ago, places the character of the people in general, and more especially that of the Brahmins, in the most unfavourable light; but as he no where gives a summary view of it, I will only refer generally to his high authority.

The same unfavourable character of them, and more especially of the Brahmins, is also expressed by Mr.

Scrafton*, whose instructive work was published about fifty years ago; and Mr. Orme, the excellent historian of the Carnatic, leads us to form a still lower estimate of their moral qualities.

Governor Holwell gives a summary account of their character in such clear terms, that his own words shall be quoted. "A race of people who from their infancy are utter strangers to the idea of common faith and honesty. The Gentoos in general are as dangerous and wicked a people, as any race of people in the known world, if not eminently more so, especially the common run of Brahmins. We can truly aver, that during almost five years that we presided in the judicial Cutchery Court of Calcutta, never any murder or other atrocious crime came before us, but it was proved in the end a Brahmin was at the bottom of it."

Lord Clive's testimony is given in the same clear and compendious language. "The inhabitants of this country we know by long experience have no attachment to any obligation."

An equally unfavourable character of them is given by Governor Varelst, especially in respect of "avarice, treachery, and ingratitude."

Mr. Shore (now Lord Teignmouth) paints their character in still darker colours. "The natives are timid and servile. Individuals have little sense of honour, and the nation is wholly void of public virtue. They make not the least scruple of lying, where falsehood is attended with advantage.-To lie, steal, plunder, ravish or murder, are not deemed sufficient crimes to merit expulsion from society."

"With a Hindoo all is centered in himself; his own interest is his

• Reflections on the Government of Hin. dostan, by Luke Scrafton, Esq.

† See Bolt's Considerations, vol. iii.

+ See Varelst's View of the English Go

vernment in Bengal.

See the Parliamentary Proceedings against Mr. Hastings, Appendix to vol. ii.

guide."-With other particulars of a similar complexion.

Sir John Macpherson*, who was Governor General between twenty and thirty years ago, commenting on the foregoing description, thus confirms the accuracy of the delineation. "I am afraid that the picture which he (Mr. Shore) draws, and the low ebb at which he states the popular virtues of the Bengaleze, are not fictitious representations."

Lord Cornwallis proved by his conduct, that he considered the natives as unworthy of all confidence ; for, contrary to the general usage of men occupying such stations as he filled, he never reposed any trust in any one of them, nor placed a single individual, either Hindoo or Mahomedan, about his person, above the rank of a menial servant.

It is not perhaps unworthy of notice, that a character equally unfavourable of the natives of Hindostan was given four hundred years ago by their great conqueror Tamerlane. "The native of Hindostan," he says, "has no pretensions to humanity but the figure; whilst imposture, fraud, and deception are by him considered as meritorious accomplishments."

Such is the estimate we are led to form of the moral state and qualities of the Hindoo population. The mo ral condition and character of the Mahomedans is somewhat different in its colours, but not of more pleas-" ing hues. "With more knowledge, and more pretensions to integrity, they are as unprincipled as the Hindoos. Their perfidy, however, and licentiousness, are the pertidy and licentiousness of a bolder people."

You will now be prepared for the summary view of the character of the natives of India in general, which has been given by a most intelligent, well-informed, and unprejudiced person, who lived for a long period in a of India which was inhabited part

almost entirely by natives. "Upon

See the Parliamentary Proceedings against Mr. Hastings, Appendix to vol. ii,

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the whole, we cannot avoid recognizing in the people of Hindostan, a race of men lamentably degenerate and base; retaining but a feeble sense of moral obligation; obstinate in the disregard of what they know to be right; governed by malevoTent and licentious passions; strongly exemplifying the effects produced on society by great and general corruption of manners; sunk in misery by their vices, in a country peculiarly calculated by its natural advantages to promote the happiness of its inhabitants."

Such are the accounts of the natives of Hindostan which are given by a number of unprejudiced witnesses, unconnected with each other, and all having had the most ample means of judging of their real character. Nor will these accounts appear surprising to those who consider the laws by which for many centuries they have been governed, and still more the degrading effects of the political and religious vassalage in which they have been held. It is an established principle that the laws of every country are at the same time powerfully operative in producing and continuing the state of its morals and manners, and strongly indicative of that state. I should detain you too long were I to confirm my assertions concerning the Hindoo code by particular extracts. But in general I may safely affirm, that it is impossible to peruse the compilation of their laws without being extremely shocked by the despotic principles which they inculcate; by the partiality which they manifest for the superior castes or classes of society; by the sanction which they give to the grossest immoralities; by the spirit of injustice, oppression, and cruelty which generally pervades them.-Such, generally speaking, is the spirit of the laws of the Hindoos.

As to their political and civil state; it is well known, that for considerably above two thousand years, they have lived under the most ab

solute political despotism; nay more, under the most galling yoke of personal degradation.

But the religious system of the Hindoos is even still more detestable than the political. We might indeed anticipate its immoral nature and tendencies, merely by considering the character of the whole multitude of Hindoo deities, male and female. The legends and histories of their actions are innumerable, and in the highest degree extravagant, absurd, and incredible. The most enormous and strange impurities; the most villanous frauds and impostures; the most detestable cruelty and injustice; the most filthy and abominable conceits; every corruption and indulgence, are presented to us in their histories, varied in a thousand forins. Very many of them are perpetuated by images, temples, and ceremonies, and those of such a nature as it were pollution to describe, Representations which abandoned licentiousness durst hardly imagine within the most secret recesses of impurity, are there held up in the face of the sun to all mankind, in durable materials, in places dedicated to religion; nay, they are the objects of religious adoration, and miniatures are taken from them and worn by multitudes about the neck. Let those who think this statement overcharged, peruse Dr. Buchanan's account of his visit to the temple of Juggernant, at the time of the annual festival. Is it then conceivable, that the senses and imagination of the people, especially of the youth, should not be utterly depraved by such representations, or that all feelings and ideas of natural modesty should not be confounded and extinguished.

Nor is it only in these ways that the Hindoo mythology influences the manners of the people; the robber by profession has his titular deity, and he who wishes to glut his revenge does not want a divine patroness.

But even the universal prevalence

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