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Vydyunath, the Mahratta Pundit, under the supere. intendance of Dr. William Carey,*
The college was founded on the 4th of May, 1800. After it had flourished for almost seven years, during which period it produced nearly one hundred volumes in Oriental literature,t the Court of Directors resolved on reducing its establishment within narrower limits on the 1st of January, 1807. . In consequence of this measure, the translations of the Scriptures and some other literary works were sus-, pended.
As this event had been long expected, the Superintendants of the college, who were sensible of the importance of restoring Sacred learning to the East, had begun, some time before, to consider of the means, by which that benefit might yet be secured. Much expense had already been incurred. Many learned natives had come from remote regions to Calcutta, whose services could not be easily replaced and who never could have been assembled, but by the influence of the supreme government, as exerted by the Marquis Wellesley. The court of Di. rectors were probably not fully aware of the importance of the works then carrying on, (although, indeed, their objection was not so much to the utility, as to the expense of the Institution) and it was believed that a time would come, when they would be happy to think that these works had not been permitted to fall to the ground. It was not, however, their causing the expense to cease which was the chief source of regret; but that the unity of the undertaking was now destroyed. The college of Fort-William had been identified with the Church of England; and, under that character, had extended a liberal patronage to all learned men who could promote the translation of the Scriptures. But now
• See “ First Four Years of the Collego of Fort-William:" p. 230, Cadell and Davies.
+ Ibid. 219.
these translations being no longer subject to its revision, its responsibility, would also cease. * "
Under these circumstances, the Superintendants of the college resolved to encourage individuals to proceed with their versions by sueh means as they could command; and to trust to the contributions of the public, and to the future sanction of the government, for the perpetuity of the design. They purposed at the same time, not to confine the undertaking to Bengal alone, or to the territories of the Company; but to extend it to every part of the East, where fit instruments for translation could be found. With this view, they aided the designs of the Baptist. Missionaries in Bengal, of the Lutheran Missionaries in Coromandel, belonging to the society for promoting Christian Knowledge,” and of the other missionaries in the East connected with societies in England and Scotland: and also patronized those Roman Catholic Missionaries in the South of India whom they found qualified for conducting
• It will be gratifying to the public to learn that the college of Fort-William is now in a flourishing state, and has received the final sanction and patronage of the East ladia Company. It owes much to the cultivated mind and liberal spirit of Lord Minto, the present Governor-General of India. His Lordship had not been many months in that country, before he perceived its importance to the interests of the British Empire in the East; and his annual Speeches at the public disputations, shew that he thinks the college of Fort-William deserves as much of his attention and support as any department under his Government, It will be yet more gratifying to many to hear that the college of Fort-William is likely to become, once more a fountain of Translation for the Sacred Scriptures. Dr. Leyden, Professor of the Hindostanee Language, bas come forward (dareh 1810) with a proposal to superintend the Translation of the Scriptures into seven Languages, hitherto little cultivated in India. This subject will be noticed hereafter.
It was expected that the East-India college at Hertford, would eventually supersede the College in Bengal; but it is obvious, than in order to give efficiency to the purposes of the college at home, there must be also a college abroad. Little more than the elements of the Oriental Languages can be conviently learnt in England. But this elementary labour at home is doubtless so much time saved in India. And thus far the Institution at Hertford, independently of its other objects, is highly useful, in subservieney to the college of Fort-William. The two Institutions combine the primary idea of Marquis Wellesley; and the expense is not less than that statesman had originally intended. There is this difference in the execution, that there are now two Institutions instead of one. His Lordship proposed that the two Institutions should be in India, combined in one; and his reasons were, that the organs of speech in youth are more flexibte at an early age for learning a new language: and that the constitution of young persons assimilate more easily to strange climates. There are various advantages however in having the elementary Institution at home which may counterbalance these reasons; and if it continue to be conducted with the same spirit and effect which have hitherto distinguished it, I think that the present plan is Preferable.
the eley to strasuage: speech;
useful works. About the same period they exerted themselves in circulating proposals for the translation of the Scriptures into the Oriental languages, by the Baptist Missionaries in Bengal, among the English settlements in Asia, and in promoting subscriptions for that object by all the means in their power; and when it was proposed to the Governor General (Lord Minto, then just arrived) to suppress this mission, a memorial was address to the Governe ment in its behalf. '.
In order to obtain a distinct view of the state of Christianity and of superstition in Asia, the superintendants of the college had, before this periód, entered into correspondence with intelligent persons in different countries; and, from every quarter, (even from the confines of China) they received encouragement to proceed. But, as contradictory accounts were given by different writers concerning the real state of the numerous tribe, in India, both of Christians and natives, the author conceived the design of devoting the last year or two of his residence in the East, to purposes of local examination and inquiry. With this view he travelled through the Peninsula of India by land, from Calcutta to Cape Comorin, a continent extending through fourteen degrees of latitude, and visited Ceylon thrice. And he soon discovered that a person may reside all his life in Bengal, and yet know almost as little of other countries in India, for instance, of Travancore, Ceylon, Goa, or Madura, of their manners, customs, habits, and religion, as if he had never left Eng. and.* The principal objects of this tour, were to investigate the state of superstition at the most celebrated temples of the Hindoos; to examine the churches and libraries of the Romish, Syrian, and Protestant Christians; to ascertain the present state and recent history of the Eastern Jews; and to discover what persons might be fit instruments for the promotion of learning in their respective countries, and for maintaining a future correspondence on the subject of disseminating the Scriptures in India. In pursuance of these objects the author visited Cuttack, Ganjam, Visagapatam, Samulcotta, Rajamundry, Ellore, Ongole, Nellore, Madras, Mialapoor, Pondicherry, Cudalore, Tranquebar, Tanjore, Tritchinopoly, Aughoor, Madura, Palamcotta, Ramnad, Jaffna-patam, Columbo, Manaar, Tutecorin, Augengo, Quilon, Cochin, Cranganor, Verapoli, Calicut, Tellicherry, Goa, and other places between Cape Comorin and Bombay; the interior of Travancore and the interior of Malabar; also seven principal Temples of the Hindoos, viz. Seemachalum in. the Telinga country, Chillumbrum, Seringham, Ma: dura, Ramisseram, Elephanta, and Juggernaut.
of the Books published in Britain on the discussion relating to Missions and the state of India, the most sensible and authentic are, in general, those written by learned men of the Universities who have never been in the East.
After this tour, the Author returned to Calcutta, where he remained about three quarters of a year longer: and then visited the Jews and the Syrian Christians in Malabar and Travancore, a second time before his return to England.
Those nations or communities for whom translations of the Scriptures have been commenced under the patronage or direction already alluded to, are the following: the Chinese, the Hindoos, the Cingalese or Ceylonest, the Malays, the Syrian Christians, the Romish Christians, the Persians, the Arabians, and the Jews. Of these it is proposed to give some account in their order.