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'In order to render a writer capable of usefully advocating the interests of the Natives, Sir John Malcolm requires a list of qualifications, which, he declares, can never meet in an English editor. "It is sufficiently obvious," he says, "that such benefits [i. e. giving utterance to complaints, and checking the abuse of power] could alone result, where those that conducted the press had complete information and perfect knowledge of the languages, the manners, the character, and concerns of the people; where, in short, all their feelings were congenial with those of the society of which they were the advocates." Besides that an editor is not the sole author of all the paragraphs and letters that appear in his paper, it may be observed, that such rare qualities as are held to be indispensable in one who undertakes to narrate passing events, and to record and comment on public affairs, have never been united in those who have been charged with the highest functions of Government. It is needless to say-it is indeed "obvious"-that there are means of ameliorating the moral and physical condition of the Natives, and modes of deteriorating it, and of injuring individuals, which a man may well comprehend without being a ripe Hindoostanee scholar, and thoroughly grounded in Arabic roots. It is no less true that English indigo planters, merchants, and tradesmen, have much more favourable opportunities of acquiring an intimate knowledge of the character and concerns of the Natives than is possessed by the servants of Government. But it is not so easy to understand how their fitness would be improved, if "all their feelings were congenial with those of the society of which they were the advocates ;" for that would imply a participation in all the prejudices and ignorances of which it would be their special duty to promote the correction and removal.
"With regard to Native editors," he says, we cannot expect them to exercise such a privilege within limits that could be tolerated by a Government whose power is at variance with those principles of national independence and freedom which it would be their duty, if worthy of the task they undertook, to disseminate "among their countrymen." If really worthy to be guides and instructors to their countrymen, if acquainted with their true interests, and with the history of their own country, they would never disseminate principles which might not be safely tolerated by the British Government, whose power is not at variance with, but will gain strength from, the gradual communication of every attributeof freedom of which the Natives shall appear susceptible. The grant of a free press would not suddenly impart the desire and power of asserting pretensions inconsistent with the foundations of British
many chiefs and men of rank who held situations under the old Government, who cannot be expected to remain contented under any European Government by which they are themselves excluded from all high situations.'
ascendancy; it would only promote, accompany, and manifest the development of pretensions, which it would be the duty and interest of Government to satisfy, by equitable modifications of its laws and institutions. The advancement of the Native press would exhibit those indications of modesty and imbecility by which they are now characterised.* According to Sir John Malcolm himself, "a very long period must elapse before freedom of discussion and action is naturalised in a land to which its very name is hitherto unknown." A long time it might be under the concurrence of the most favourable circumstances: but does he intend the sun should ever that morrow see? Under the "improvement" which, he thinks, we may" and ought to impart" to them, does he contemplate the acquisition of a capacity for free discussion by the latest generation? No; " we may change the character of the Natives of India in the course of time; but we never can change the character of our Government over that country." He is lavish in professions of seeking "the accomplishment of just and liberal views by the institution and maintenance of well-regulated colleges and schools, and the circulation of good and useful compositions;" but by justice and liberality, he means the denial of all effectual means of improving the character of the Natives, their everlasting retention in a state of incapacity and exclusion from all offices of power, honour, and emolument, and our perpetual exposure to the dangers with which so unnatural a system is pregnant.
'The non-existence of Englishmen in India, not in the service of Government, except those "who reside there for a period by license," liable to be cancelled at the pleasure of Government, is strangely assumed as an insuperable bar to the concession of a free press. It is said to be incompatible with "a society so constituted," where" there is not an individual" whose reflections on public measures may not be confuted by his instant transmission to England. But the alleged ground of incompatibility would be at once removed by the repeal of the prerogative on which the power of coercing the press by censorship, license, or deportation, entirely depends. That prerogative is the only sign, as far as British subjects are concerned, of the supposed "absolute power," by which some pretend that India is, and ought to be, governed, at the same time that they magnify the multitude and excellence of the checks, under which power is there exercised. The efficiency of the checks which do exist is of no avail to the protection of Englishmen, if they are left mortally vulnerable in a single point. But the very
*For the indifference with which the Natives would regard the privilege, we have the authority of Mr. Elphinstone :-"At present, nobody would take a part or an interest in political discussions, but the Europeans, of whom more than nine-tenths compose the strength of the arm y."-Letter, dated August 14th, 1823.
existence of so many checks, and the narrow field that is left to the wantonness of arbitrary power, prove that the Government is not absolute, but that there is a higher authority which sets bounds to its discretion, and which will not long permit the continuance of a power in the highest degree injurious to the public interests, and derogatory to the national honour.
On the Conversion of the Natives of India to Christianity.
The extreme jealousy of the inhabitants of India respecting the interference with their religious sentiments and usages, and their readiness to resent affronts offered to them as attacks on their point of honour, constitute a source of danger to our power against which we cannot always find security in the most careful abstinence from every cause of offence. To excite the spirit of bigotry, and array multitudes under the standards and emblems of their faith, it is not necessary that any particular offence should have been intended on our part, or imagined on theirs: it is sufficient that the moment for revolt should appear favourable, and that adverse circumstances should give a beginning to sedition. Whatever may have originated the impulse, an appeal to religious feelings would never fail to animate their zeal and unite their efforts.
Under the present anti-colonial system the means of diluting the quality, and reducing the quantity, of this explosive combination, by the intermixture of a due proportion of Native Christians, are not only insufficient; but the timidity of Government leads it so carefully to avoid whatever could be construed into disapprobation of the superstitious rites of the Hindoos, and encouragement of their conversion to Christianity, that the idea may naturally occur to them that they are virtually excluded from the religion, as well as from the other advantages appropriated to Europeans; and even that the British Government, holding with them (whatever Missionaries may say) that a man's religion should be determined by his birth, considers Native converts as apostates, unworthy of admission into the inferior offices to which other Natives are eligible. The practical exclusion of Native Christians from all situations of trust or responsibility is adduced, by Sir John Malcolm, in the first edition of his Political History,' as one of a few facts which evince that the British Government have, and, as he thinks, wisely, "discouraged" and "opposed a systematic discouragement to the conversion of its Native subjects." In the second edition of his book, though his opinions on this subject remain unchanged, and though Government have withdrawn none of their support from Native religious establishments, nor bestowed any token of patronage on a single Native convert, yet, in deference to the voice of public opinion in England, and to the establishment of the Bishopric of Calcutta, which has compelled the local Governments to give some countenance and encouragement to measures for facilitating the diffusion
of knowledge, he has thought it prudent to suppress all mention of discouragement, and of the grounds on which it was imputed. He continues, however, to recommend that the Bishop, and all his clergy, and all professors of colleges, should be " prohibited from using their endeavours to make converts :" a recommendation which, ever since it was first promulgated, (in 1811,) there has been, fortunately, less and less disposition to adopt.
If the French" allowed the most sacred usages of both Mohammedans and Hindoos to be frequently violated," we may surely avoid such palpable errors without running into the opposite extreme. On the other hand, if " the Native inhabitants of their settlements, and the servants in whom the principal officers of Government reposed trusts, were almost all Christians," the inference is that public encouragement to the work of conversion may be successfully and safely afforded; while, in the moral and intellectual qualifications required from converts to Protestantism, and in the sources of instruction opened to them, we should possess additional securities for the prevalence of virtue and the diminution of crime, perjury, and litigation.
Among the instances of support given to Hindooism, by the British Government, the most prominent is the public sanction afforded to the inhuman rite of burning widows, notwithstanding the opinion of numerous Judges, and especially those of the Bengal Court of Sudder Dewanny, that there would be no danger in abolishing it; and that it prevails chiefly in a province where our authority has been established for the longest time, namely, in Bengal Proper.
"In another instance, the support given to the economy and machinery to the Temple of Jagannath amounts to participation. We are not, indeed, permitted to "bow in the House of Rimmon;" but we assist in maintaining its decorations, and profit by the afflux of pilgrims to its idol. The most learned and graphic description which we have of the procession of Jagannath, his brother, and sister, is from the pen of Mr. Andrew Stirling :-" Their raths, or cars," says he, "have an imposing air from their size and loftiness ;* but every part of the ornament is of the most mean and paltry description, save only the covering of striped and spangled broad cloth, furnished from the import warehouse of the British Government, the splendour or gorgeous effect of which compensates, in a great measure, for other deficiencies of decoration." After mentioning the decaying and soon-tired enthusiasm of the people, and the indispensable assistance of a multitude of the inhabitants of the vicinity, who hold their lands rent-free, on condition of performing the service of dragging the three cars at the annual ceremonies, he ob
The largest is 434 feet high, and has a platform 34 feet square.Asiatic Researches, vol. xv. pp. 322, 324.
serves: "Even the god's own proper servants will not labour zealously and effectually without the interposition of authority; [i. e. of the British magistrate !] and I imagine the ceremony would soon cease to be conducted on its present scale and footing, if the institution were left entirely to its fate and to its own resources, by the British Government.'
'The gross amount collected from pilgrims to Jagannath, in 181516, was rs. 86,027; the expenses of the temple and other charges were rs. 74,880, leaving, as net produce of the tax, rs. 11,147. Among the charges is one item of "cloth, issued from the import warehouse, rs. 1365." The Court of Directors, in the Revenue General Letter, of October 28, 1814, intimated that they "do not consider the tax on pilgrims as a source of revenue, but merely as a fund for keeping the temple in repair!" The Vice President in Council directed, June 24, 1815, that the net collections should be appropriated,—1. to the repairs of the temple, and other local purposes; 2. to the construction and repair of a road from Calcutta to Jagannath, which was commenced on a donation for that purpose by the late Rajah Sookmoy Roy; 3. to any other purpose connected with the temple of Jagannath. Upon this Mr. Harrington remarks: "But it is evidently indecorous, if not inconsistent, that the Government of a nation, professing Christianity, should participate in the offerings of heathen superstition and idolatry; and the appropriation of the pilgrim tax (as judiciously ordered with respect to the surplus collections at the temple of Jagannath, after providing for the repairs of the temple and other local purposes) to the construction and repairs of public roads leading to each place of pilgrimage, or to other purposes connected therewith, such as bridges and places of accommodation for travellers, whilst it is manifestly a legitimate use of the tax as conducing to the convenience of those from whom it is levied, must also prove beneficial and acceptable to the community. If all the money thus strictly exacted were expended in maintaining the pomp of the idol, and facilitating access to his temple, the transaction would be indecent and impolitic; but we are without even that excuse at other places to which pilgrims resort. At Jagannath, the net produce of the tax is a trifle; but, at Gva and Allahabad together, it is two lacs and a half of rupees.* They cannot be expended on roads leading to Gya and Allahabad, nor have the Court of Directors ordered any such appropriation. At Allahabad, the object of attraction is not an idol, lodged in an extensive temple requiring annual repairs and a numerous establishment, but merely the confluence of the Ganges and Jumma, where a barrier is erected which none are permitted to pass who have not purchased a license for that purpose.
'The British Government does not disdain to collect a pittance of about rs. 6500 from pilgrims, to three places in the Moradabad district, and Etawah.'