« EdellinenJatka »
THE ORIENTAL HERALD.
No. 55.-JULY, 1828.-VOL. 18.
NEW WORKS RELATIVE TO INDIA AND THE EASTERN WORLD.
We remember well, that, at the period when The Oriental Herald' was first published, in 1824, it was a matter of extreme difficulty to find one good or interesting wok published on India, in a quarter and our principal labour then was to search for materials, and make the utmost of those within our reach. Since that period, a very great and beneficial change has taken place in this particular. Now, new and important works on India and the Eastern World appear almost every month; and sometimes, as in the present case, in such rapidity of succession, that we find it impossible to notice them all as they are issued from the press; and are compelled to make a selection, for the purpose of confining our earliest and most lengthened reviews, to those we deem most important, reserving the others for subsequent examination and less extended notice.
Among the works now before us, of each of which we desire to give some account to our readers, of the Second Part of Mr. Rickards's India,'-' Colonel Briggs's Letters addressed to a Young Friend in India,'' Mr. Crawfurd's Journal of a Mission to Siam,'and A Further Inquiry into the Expediency of applying the Principles of Colonial Policy to the Government of India, and of effecting an essential change in its Landed Tenures, and in the character of its Inhabitants.'-If we attempted a regular review of each, in one Number of our Publication, we should not only exclude all other topics, which we know would be highly injurious to its general interest; but we should find ourselves so restricted in space as to be able to do justice to neither. We prefer, therefore, giving a very brief character of the first three of these works, reserving our full review of them to a future period, and confining our lengthened strictures and extracts to the last of the four enumerated; deeming it, as we do, of the greatest political importance, and Oriental Herald, Vol. 18.
especially most desirable to be well before the public before the Parliament separates, that it may furnish materials for thinking, during the recess, to those who will be called on in the next session to go into the inquiry which Sir James Mackintosh has pledged himself to institute into the general state of India, and the changes to be effected in its system of Government when the present charter of the East India Company expires. The other works can be better reserved than this: we shall, therefore, return to them again. But we shall still offer a few words on each, before we pass them by even till then. And first, of Mr. Rickards's: The object of this Second Part of his work on India, is to give an Historical Sketch of the State and Condition of Native Indians under former Governments,' and to show that in the defects of these alone are to be found sufficient reasons for the present state of ignorance and wretchedness in which the population of India are found, and from which nothing but a better government can raise them. In this Mr. Rickards has completely succeeded, and adduced such a body of unquestionable evidence, as must satisfy the most sceptical. We cannot resist giving the conclusion of his summing-up; where, after the evidence produced to show that misgovernment invariably produces poverty and misery, he says:
'If, then, the causes here assigned produce universally the same effects, why seek for others in India, where the rule of tyrants, justly called the scourge of the human race, has, from the beginning of history to the present hour, had its fullest sway?
'But if the reader can doubt the facts above detailed, or the conclusions thence deduced, because they have occurred in a far distant clime, whose history he may not have familiarly contemplated; let me implore him to turn his eyes to the existing state of Turkey, or the Governments of northern Africa; under his more immediate observation. Let him contemplate the ferocious spirit with which war has, of late years, been carried on against Infidels, as they are termed, in the Morea. Let him consider the total absence of justice in the provinces; the insecurity of person and property; the avowed practice of piracy, and slavery of prisoners; the plea sant exercise of the bowstring; the happy method of settling differences, and dissatisfactions, by assassination,-sometimes of the reigning prince-sometimes of viziers, pashas, hospodars, and other troublesome officers, and often by the wholesale butchery of unresisting subjects; whose heads are exposed on the gates of the royal palace, for the edification of the people, and the amusement of their sovereign. Let him, I say, consider these simple facts, and then ask his own reason, whether such a scourge, in the shape of human government, does not stand forth to the world, like the upas of the forest, breathing destruction around, and blighting every germ of improvement within the influence of its poison.
Yet this is but a fac-simile of the despotisms of the East; to
which the character and condition of the inhabitants have for ages been compelled to bow.
Of the real character of the Natives of India, I have already recorded my opinion, "that they are capable of every virtue, and of every acquirement, that can adorn the human mind;" and I here confidently re-assert the same belief. For proof, I appeal to all those who have held much intercourse with the Natives, during their services in India-whether they have not met with numerous instances of great natural sagacity, quickness of apprehension, sound intellect, a peculiar aptitude for patient investigation, and, I venture to add, honesty, gratitude, and attachment to those who use them well?
There are other sects, at the head of which, for energy and talent, I should place the Parsees of the western side of India. Add to these, Armenians, native Portuguese, and Anglo-Indians, and we have a mass of native population whose capacity for moral improvement no man can reasonably doubt; and whose progressgive them but the same advantages-would be as certain, and as rapid, as that of any, even the most civilized and enlightened nations of the earth.'
Colonel Briggs's Letters' are professedly intended for the instruction of young men going out to India, as cadets, or civil servants, and for the regulation of their intercourse with the Natives of that country. They are evidently dictated by a very benevolent mind, and contain proofs of much local knowledge and experience, and may, therefore, be read with advantage by the class for whom they are intended. The volume is dedicated to Sir John Malcolm, whose Instructions' to his assistants, when diplomatically employed in Central India, are bound up at the end of the Letters. The author is an advocate for the extension of freedom to the Natives, instead of that levelling system which reduces them all to the condition of serfs of the soil, and excludes them from all participation in power; and so far we entirely agree with him. But, when we see the Directors of the East India Company opposing themselves in Parliament to all inquiry into the state of India, and to all propositions for opening it to European talent, enterprise, and capital, as well as to the admission of the Natives to the distinguishing privileges of free men; we cannot comprehend on what grounds Colonel Briggs can indulge such a hope as that which he expresses in the closing paragraph of his Preface.
A brighter era for India, it is to be hoped, is at hand. More information on the subject of her condition, her institutions, her learning, and her people, is daily pouring in upon us; and there is little doubt that the enlightened rulers of that vast empire will every day more and more see the justice, the policy, and I may add the absolute necessity, of permitting the Native Community to participate more largely in the administration of the Government.'
That information is daily pouring in, there can be no doubt; but this is in spite of the Directors, who have done all they possibly could do to stifle it in the quarter from whence it is most valuable— India itself. If Colonel Briggs is himself enlightened, then the rulers of India are not; for they act on principles the most opposite to those he espouses, and which do his head and his heart honour to maintain. But that any thing but fear will induce these rulers to yield to the wish so benevolently breathed by the author of this work, we doubt exceedingly; though we hope the emancipation of India is not to depend on the virtue of its rulers, either in that country or in this, but on the superior force of public opinion, which will soon, we trust, compel an improved system, in spite of all the influence that can be brought to bear against it.
Mr. Crawfurd's Journal of a Mission to Siam,' is an elaborate and able performance. There is no man, in all India, perhaps, so well qualified for the production of such a work as Mr. Crawfurd. His previous researches in the Eastern Archipelago had not only made him intimately acquainted with all that was known of those countries, but had also unveiled to him how much more was yet to learn, and, thus, by enabling him to direct his inquiries into hitherto untouched sources, has added largely to his previously extensive stock of accurate information. The work is 'got up,' as the technical phrase is, in a very superior manner, forming a handsome quarto volume, of about six hundred pages, embellished with several interesting plates, including views, maps, plans, and costumes, as well as with many illustrative vignettes on wood, which add greatly to its value. It can hardly fail, we conceive, to be generally popular; and we purpose, if not prevented by any unforeseen obstacle, drawing largely from it in our next.
We now pass to the last work enumerated in our list. This is an octavo volume of about 300 pages, and is avowedly from the pen of an author who five years ago produced a very excellent work, entitled An Inquiry into the expediency of extending the Principles of Colonial Policy to the Government of India,' &c. &c., from the same publisher, Mr. J. M. Richardson, of Cornhill. Of the original work, we have frequently spoken in previous Numbers of
The Oriental Herald,' and always in terms of praise and this 'Further Inquiry,' which is in truth an extension of the first, is not at all inferior in merit or interest to its predecessor. It is divided into seven chapters, from each of which we shall extract such portions as may give the general reader a foretaste of the work, referring him, for more complete satisfaction on all the topics treated of, to the volume itself, a careful and entire perusal of which will well reward the labour, and which we, therefore, strongly recommend. The manner in which we shall present these extracts, will render any analysis of the work superfluous; and we have only to express our hope that they will carry to the minds of others