« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
these attempts, whether successful or not, has been demonstrated by recent events. After the adversaries of Christian Missions had circulated their pamphlets through British India, with the best intention no doubt, according to their judgment, announcing the intelligence that some of the English wanted to convert the inhabitants by force, and to blow Hindoostan into a flame; the natives seem to have considered the information as absurd or unintelligible, and to have treated it with contempt. For immediately afterwards, when, by the defection of the British troops, the foundations of our empire were shaken to their centre, both Mahomedans and Hindoos (who, if they wished to rebel, needed only to sound that trumpet which was first sounded by a Senior Merchant in Leadenhall-street, no doubt with the best intentions) evinced their accustomed loyalty, and crowded round the standard of the Supreme Government in the hour of danger. *
scism as orthodoxy, and of forming general conclusions from individual or partial information. But, in fact, there is no GENERAL ORTHODOXY AMONG HINDOOS. See the Hindoo Pantheon, p. 180, by Edward Moor, F. R. S. published in 1810.
* A worthy Clergyman belonging to the Presidency of Fort St. George, who witnessed the troops marching against each
There is one argument for the expediency of an Ecclesiastical Establishment, which the Author did not insist on strongly in the Memoirs, from motives of delicacy: but recent events have rendered the same reserve no longer necessary. He will proceed therefore to disclose a fact which will serve to place the motives for recommending such an establishment, in their just light. It is not the giving the Christian Religion to the natives which will endanger our Empire, but the want of religion among our own countrymen. After the disturbance among the British Officers in Bengal in 1794, which for a time had a most alarming aspect, being of the same character with that which took place lately at Madras, a Memorial was presented to the
other, and knew not for a time, what would be the fate of the Empire; after the danger was over, makes the following most just and striking reflection, in a letter to a friend.
" It cannot “ but have occurred to every reflecting mind, in looking back
on past scenes, if it had pleased God in his providence to have “dispossessed 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 born sway in this land! “ But now," (he adds exultingly, in allusion to the Translation of the Scriptures) “ the Word of God in the languages of all “ India, will be an enduring MONUMENT of British Piety and " Liberality, for which the sacrifice of Prayer and Thanksgir“ ing will ascend to the Most high, to the latest generations."
Marquis Wellesley, on his accession to the government, by persons who had been long in the service of the Company, and who were well acquainted with the circumstances of the Empire at large; representing the necessity of a “ suitable Religious Establishment for British India ;” and illustrating that necessity by the events which had recently taken place in the army. That Memorial referred to the almost total extinction of Christian worship, at the military stations, where the seventh day was only distinguished by the British Flag; and noticed the fatal consequences that might be expected from large bodies of men, far remote from the controlling power of the parent state, enjoying luxury and independence, and seeing nothing, from youth to age, of the religion of their country. It shewed further, that, of the whole number of English who go to India, not a tenth part return; and assigned this fact as a reason why their religion should follow them to the East; that it might be, in the first place, a solace to themselves, in the dreary prospect of dying in that land (for of a thousand soldiers in sickly India, there will be generally a hundred in declining health) and secondly, “ that it “ might be some security for their loyalty to
" their king, and their attachment to the princi“ ples of their country.”
It required not a Memorial to apprize Marquis Wellesley of the truth of these facts, or of the justness of the reasoning upon them. The necessity of a meliorated state of society for the English armies, was made evident to him by his own observation; and it cannot be doubted that, had that Nobleman remained in India, to complete the plans he meditated for the advarr tage of that country, and had his coadjutor, Mr. Pitt, lived, a suitable Religious Establishment would have been, by this time, proposed to the East-India Company, for their dominions in Hindoostan. But Marquis Wellesley had another and a more imperious service first to perform, and this was, to save THE BODY OF THE EMPIRE ITSELF. British Hindoostan was, at that moment, surrounded by strong and formidable enemies, who were putting themselves " in the attitude of the tiger," as a Vakeel of Tippoo expresed it, “ to leap upon the prey." And this service that great Statesman achieved under Divine Providence, first, by destroying the Mysorean Empire, under Tippoo Sultaun, and thereby extinguishing the Mahomedan power in Hindoostan; secondly, by overwhelming the
every part of
hitherto invincible Mahrattas; and lastly, by forming on the frontier a league of strength, which, like a wall of iron, has saved the country from native invasion ever since; notwithstanding its subsequent critical and exposed state, in consequence of frequent changes of the Supreme Government, and of dissensions in our army. The services which that Nobleman performed for our Empire in the East were very ill understood at the time : his views were so comprehensive, that few men could embrace them :
- They are more generally acknowledged now; but it is to be apprehended that some years must yet elapse, before all the beneficial consequences of his administration will be fully made known to his country.
It has been a subject of wonder to many in England, that our army should at any time betray symptoms of disaffection in India, when no instance of it. occurs elsewhere. But the surprise will cease,
when the circumstances before mentioned shall have been duly weighed. Of the individuals engaged in the late disturbances at Madras, there were perhaps some, who had not witnessed the service of Christian worship for twenty years; whose minds were impressed by the daily view of the rites of the Hindoo religion, and had lost almost all memory of their own. It is morally impossible to