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18. Many circumstances concur to make it probable, that the light of Revelation is now dawning on the Asiatic world. How grateful must it be to the pious mind to contemplate, that while infidelity has been extending itself in the region of science and of learning, the divine dispensation should have ordered that the knowledge of the true God should flow into the heathen lands!
Under the auspices of the college of Fort-Wil: liam, the scriptures are in a course of translation into the languages of almost the “whole continent of Oriental India.". Could the royal patron of the Tamul Biyle who prayed “that the work might not fail in generations to come," have foreseen those streams of revealed truth; which are now issuing from this fountain, with what delight would he have hailed the arrival of the present era of Indian administration. In this view, the oriental college has been compared by one of our Hindoo poets, to a "flood of light shooting through a dark cloud on a benighted land.” Directed by it, the learned na.. tives from every quarter of India, and from the parts beyond, from Persia and Arabia, come to the source of knowledge; they mark our principles, pon-. der the volume of inspiration, and hear, every man in his own tongue, the wonderful works of God."
19. The importance of this Institution as the fountain of civilization to Asia, is happily displayed in a speech in the Shanscrit language, pronounced by the Shanscrit teacher, at our late public disputations. The translations of this discourse (being the first in that language) we are induced to give entire; not only from our difference to the authority of the venerable speaker, who describes with much precision, the present state, true object, and certain consequences of this Institution; but also, because the facts and reasoning contained in it bear the most auspicious reference to the various subjects which have been discussed in this Memoir.
As Moderator of the Disputation, he addresses the student,* who had pronounced a declamation in the Shanscrit language: : "SIR,
“It being a rule of our public disputations, that the moderator should express before the assembly, his opinion of the proficiency of the student in the language in which he has spoken, it becomes my duty to declare my perfect approbation of the manner in which you have acquitted yourself, and to communicate to you the satisfaction with which the learned Pundits, your auditors, have listened to your correct pronunciation of the Shanscrit tongue.
“Four years have now elapsed since the commencement of this Institution. During that period the popular languages of India have been sedulously cultivated; and are now fluently spoken. Last in order, because first in difficulty, appears the parent of all these dialects, the primitive Shanscrit; as if to acknowledge her legitimate offspring, to confirm their affinity and relation to each other, and thereby to complete our system of oriental study.
“Considered as the source of the colloquial tongues the utility of the Shanscrit language is evident; but as containing numerous treatises on the religion, ju. risprudence, arts and sciences of the Hindoos its importance is yet greater; espicially to those to whom is committed, by this government, the province of legislation for the natives; in order that being conyersant with the Hindoo writings, and capable of referring to the original authorities, they may propose from time to time, the requisite modifications and improvements, in just accordance with existing law and ancient institution.
"Shanscrit learning, say the Bramins, is like an extensive forest, abounding with a great variety of Inautiful foilage, slpendid blossoms, and delicious
Ste; but surrounded by a strong and thorny fence,
. . Clotworthy Gowan, Esq.
which prevents those who are desirous of plucking its friuts or flowers, from entering in. : “The learned Jones, Wilkins, and others, broke down this opposing fence in several places; but by the college of Fort William, a highway has been made into the midst of the wood; and you, sir, have entered thereby.
“The successful study of the Shanscrit tongue will distinguish this fourth year of our institution, and constitute an æra in the progress of eastern learning, and you, sir, have the honor of being the first to deliver a speech in that ancient and difficult language. The success that has attended you in the acquirement of other branches of oriental literature, will encourage you to prosecute the study of this, as far as it may be useful in qualifying you for the faithful discharge of your duties in the public service, or may be subservient to your own reputation, in advancing. the interests of useful learning.”
[Addressing his excellency Marquis Wellesley, gove
ernor general, founder and patron of the Institut tion.].
"MY LORD, “It is just, that the language which has been first cultivated under your auspices, should primarily be emploved in gratefully acknowledging the benefit; and in speaking your praise...
“This ancient language, which refused to disclose itself to the former governors of India, unlocks its treasures at your command, and enriches the world with the history, learning, and science of a distant age.
“The rising importance of our collegiate institus tion has never been more clearly demonstrated than on the present occasion; and thousands of the learned in distant nations will exult in this triumph of lita erature.
“What a singular exhibition has been this day presented to us! In presence of the supreme governor of India, and of its most learned and illustrious characters, Asiatic and European, an assembly is convened in which no word of our native tongue is spoken but public discourse is maintained on interesting subjects, in the language of Asia. The colloquial Hin. dostanee, the classic Persian, the commercial Bengalee, the learned Arabic, and the primæval Shanscrit, are spoken fluently, after having been studied grammatically, by English youth. Did ever any university in Europe, or any literary institution in any other age or country, exhibit a scene so interesting as this! And what are the circumstances of these youth! They are not students who prosecute a dead language with uncertain purpose, impelled only by natural genius or love of fame. But having been appointed to the important offices of administering the government of the country in which these langauges are spoken: they apply their acquisitions immediately to useful purposes; in distributing justice to the inhabitants; in transacting the business of the state, revenual and commercial; and in maintaining official intercourse with the people, in their own tongue, and not, as hitherto, by means of an interpreter.
“The acquisitions of our students may be appreciated by their affording to the suppliant native immediate access to his principal; and by their elucidating the spirit of the regulations of our government by oral communication, and by written explanations, varied according to the circumstances and capacities of the people...
The acquisition of our students are appreciated at this moment by those learned Asiatics, now present in this assembly, some of them strangers from distant provinces; who wonder every man to hear
in his own tongue, important subjects discussed, and · new and noble principles asserted, by the youth of a
“The literary proceedings of this day amply repay all the solicitude, labor, and expense that have been 'bestowed on this institution. If the expense had been a thousand times greater, it would not have equalled the immensity of the advantage, moral and political, that will ensue.
“I, now an old man, have lived for a long series of years among the Hindoos; I have been in the habit of preaching to multitudes daily, of discoursing with the Brahmins on every subject, and of superintending schools for the instruction of the Hindoo youth. Their language is nearly as familliar to me as my own. This close intercourse with the natives for so long a period, and in different parts of our empire, has afforded me opportunities of information not inferior to those which have hitherto been presented to any other person. I may say indeed that their manners, customs, habits, and sentiments, are as obvious to me, as if I was myself, a native. . And knowing them as I do, and hearing as I do, their daily observations on our government, character and principles, I am warranted to say, (and I deem it my duty to embrace the public opportunity now afforded me of saying it,) that the institution of this college was wanting to complete the happiness of the natives underour dominion; for this institution will break down that barrier (our ignorance of their language) which has ever opposed the influence of our laws and prina ciples, and has despoiled our administration of its energy and effect. ;
“Were, however, the institution to cease from this moment, its salutary effects would yet remain. Good has been done, which cannot be undone. Sources of useful knowledge, moral instruction and political utility, have been opened to the natives of India, which can never be closed: and their civil improvement, like the gradual civilization of our own country will advance in progression, for ages to come..