« EdellinenJatka »
any other nation in our peculiar circumstances; that India was remote from national observation; and that-seducements were powerful and numerous... All this was true. And yet we are the only nation in Europe having dominions in the east, which being aware of these evils, declined to adopt any religious precaution to prevent them. What then was to be looked for in a remote and extensive empire, administered in all its parts by men, who came out boys, without the plenitude of instruction of English youth in learning, morals, or religion; and who were let loose on their arrival amidst native licentiousness, and educated amidst conflicting superstitions ?
3. Since that period the honor of the nation has been redeemed, and its principles have been asserted in a dignified manner. An amelioration in the service, equally acknowledged in the character and prosperity of our empire, has auspiciously commenced, and is rapidly progressive.
4. But perhaps an objection will be founded on this acknowledged improvement. If so much, it will be said, can be done by wise administration and by civil institution, without a church, may we not expect that the empire will for the future be propisiously administered, and flourish in progression, without the aid of a religious institution?
In answer to such an observation, we might ask, what it would avail the English nation that it were swayed by the ablest policy for the next ten years, if during that period, youth were denied the advanta.' ges of religious instruction, and the national church were abolished ? Peculiar as is the administration of India as subject to Britain, no comparison can be instituted between its present consolidated empire, and its former factorial state; or between what was tolerable a few years ago, and what is expedient now.
* 5. It cannot be justly objected to an ecclesiastical establisment in India, that it will promote coloniza.. tion. It will probably have a contrary effect.
It is to be hoped indeed that the clergy themselves will remain in the country to an old age, in order that they may acquire the reverence of fathers, and that their pious services may not be withdrawn, when those services shall have become the most valuable and endearing to their people. But it may be expected that the effect of their christian counsel, will accelerate the return of others; by saving young persons from that course of life, which is so often de- , structive to health and fortune.
6. What is it which confines so many in this re.' mote country, to so late a period of life? The want of faithful instructors in their youth. What is it which induces that despeladent and indolent habit of mind, which contemplates home without affection, and yet expects here no happiness? It is the want of counsellors in situations of authority, to save them from debt, on their arrival in the country:
and to guard them against that illicit native connex1 ion (not less injurious, it has been said, to the un
derstanding than to the affections, which the long absence of religion from this service has almost rendered not disreputable.
7. Of what infinite importance it is to the state, that the Christian Sabbath should be observed by our countrymen here; and that this prime safeguard of loyal, as well as of religious principles, should be maintained in this remote empire. But how shall the Sabbath be observed, if there be no ministers of religion? For want of divine service, Europeans in general; instead of keeping the Sabbath holy, profane it openly. The Hindoo works on that day, and the Englishman works with him. The only days on which the Englishman workts not, are the Hindoo holidays: for on these days, the Hindoo will not work with him. The annual invest.
ment sent to England, particularly that belonging to individuals, has this peculiar to it, considered as being under the law of Christian commerce; that it is, in part, the produce of Sunday labour by Christian hands.
8. Does it not appear a proper thing to wise and good men in England, (for after a long residence in India, we sometimes lose sight of what is accounted proper at home, does it not seem proper, when a thousand British soldiers are assembled at a remote station in the heart of Asia, that the Sabbath of their country should be noticed? That, at least, it should not become what it is, and ever must be, where there is no religious restraint, a day of peculiar profligacy! To us it would appear not only a politic, but a humane act, in respect of these our countrymen, to hallow the seventh day. Of a thousand soldiers in sickly India, there will generally be a hundred, who are in a declining state of health; who, after a long struggle with the climate and with intemperance, have fallen into a dejected and hopeless state of mind, and pass their time in painful reflection on their distant homes, their absent families, and on the indiscretions of past life; but whose hearts would revive within them on their entering once more the house of God, and hearing the absolution of the gospel to the returning sinner. ; .
The oblivion of the Sabbath in India, is that which properly constitutes banishment from our country. The chief evil of our exile is found here; for this extinction of the sacred day tends, more than any thing else, to eradicate from our minds respect for the religion and affection for the manners and institutions, and even for the local scenes of early life.
9. Happy indeed would it be, were it possible to induce a learned and pious clergy to colonize in English India. They would be a blessing to the country. But let us rightly understand what this colona
zation is; for the term seems to have been often used of late without a precise meaning. If to colonize in India, be to pass the whole of ones life in it, then, do ninety out of the hundred colonize; for of them whole number of Europeans who come out to India, a tenth part do not return...
10. At what future period will a better opportunity offer for meliorating the circumstances of life in this country? Shall our Christian nation wait till centuries elapse, before she consider India otherwise that a fountain of luxury for the mother country; while her sons, in successive multitudes, sink under the inhospitable climate, or perish in defence of the empire, denied the means of religious instruction and consolation, common to every other Christian people? .. .
11. The slightest investigation, before a competent tribunal, of the state of our church, and circumstances of our countrymen in India, will confirm fully the statement in the preceding pages; and will amplify the necessity of the measure proposed in the ** mind of every man who is a friend to his country's honour or prosperity.
12. It will be remembered that nothing which has been observed is intended to imply that any peculiar provision should be made immediately for the instruction of the natives. Any extensive establishment of this kind, however becoming our national character, or obligatory on our principles, cannot possibly be organized to efficient purpose, without the aid of a local church.
13. Let us first establish our own religion among ourselves, and our Asiatic subjects will soon benefit by it. When once our national church shall have been confirmed in India, the members of that church will be the best qualified to advise the state as to the means by which, from time to time, the civilization of the natives may be promoted.
On the practicability of Civilizing the Natives. 1. Supposing an ecclesiastical establishment to have been given to India, we shall now consider the result, in regard to the civilization of the natives.* No immediate benefit is to be expected from it in the way of revolution; but it may be demonstrated by a deduction from facts, that the most beneficial consequences will follow, in the way of ordinary ef. fect, from an adequate cause.
2. The expediency of increasing our church es. tablishment in India, and of communicating Christian instruction to our Asiatic subjects, was debated in parliament in the year 1793. The resulutions which recognize the general principle of "civilizing the natives of India,' were carried, and now stand on record in the journals of the house of commons. It was considered, however, as an inauspicious moment (at the commencement of a perilous war) to organize the necessary establishment for India, and the bill was referred to future consideration.
3. Since that period the situation and circumstances of both countries are materially changed. The French revolution has imposed upon us the duty of using new means for extending and establishing Christian principles. Our territorial possessions in the east have been nearly doubled in extent; and thence arises the duty of cherishing the religion and
• Bee Appendix G.