« EdellinenJatka »
company's territories in Bengal, there was not a person, it was said, in the company's-service in India, who could read a common Chinese letter.
After a long inquiry they succeeded in procuring Mr. Joannes Lassar, an Armenian Christian, a native of China and a proficient in the Chinese language, who had been employed by the Portuguese at Macao, in conducting their official correspondence with the court of Pekin. He was willing to relinquish his commercial pursuits and to attach himself to the college, for a salary of £.450 a year. But as the order for reducing the establishment of the college was daily expected, this salary could not be given him. The object however was so important, and Mr Lassar appeared to be so well qualified to execute it, that they thought fit to retain him at the above stipend in a private character. He entered immediately on the translation of the Scriptures into the Chinese languge, and this work he has contine ued to carry on to the present time. But, as his services might be made otherwise useful, they resolved to establish a class of youths under his tuition; and as they could not obtain the young, civil servants of the company for this purpose, they proposed to the Baptist Missionaries that Mr Lassar should reside at Serampore, which is near Calcutta, on the following condition: that one of their elder Missionaries, and three at least of their youths; should immediately engage in the study of the Chinese Language. Dr. Carey, declined the offer, but Mr. Marshman accepted it, and was joined by two sons of his own, and a son of Dr. Carey, and they have prosecuted their studies with unremitted attention for about five years..
In the year 1807, a copy of the Gospel of St. Matthew, in the Chinese Language, translated by Mr. Lassar, and beautifully written by himself, was transmitted to his Grace the Archbiship of Canterbury for the Lambeth Library. Since that period a. considerable portion of the New Testament has been. printed off from blocks, after the Chinese manner.
The proficiency of the Chinese pupils has far surpassed the most sanguine hopes which we previously entertained, and has been already publicly noticed. His Excellency Lord Minto, Governor-General of India, in his first annual speech to the college of Fort-William, has recorded the following testimony of their progress in the language, and to the importance of their attainments.
“If I have not passed beyond the legitimate bounds of this discourse, in ranging to the extremity of those countries, and to the furthest island of that vast Archipelago in which the Malay language prevails, I shall scarcely seem to transgress them, by the short and easy transition thence to the language of China. I am, in truth, strongly inclined, whether regularly or not, to deal one encouraging word to the meritorious, and, I hope, not unsuccessful effort, making, I may say, at the door of our college, though not admitted to its portico, to force that hitherto -impregnable fortress, the Chinese language. Three young men, I ought indeed to say boys, have not only acquired a ready use of the Chinese language, for the purpose of oral communication (which I understand is neither difficult nor rare amongst Europeans connected with China) but they have achieved, in a degree worthy of admiration, that which has been deemed scarcely within the reach of European faculties or industry; I mean a very extensive and correct acquaintance with the written language of China. I will not detail the particulars of the Examination which took place on the tenth of this month (February 1808) at Serampore, in the Chinese Language, the report of which I have read, however, with great interest, and recommended to the liberal notice of those whom I have the honor to address. It is enough for my present purpose to say, that these young pupils read Chinese books and translate them; and they write compositions of their own in the Chinese language and character. A Chinese press too.
is established and in actual use. In a word, if the founders and supporters of this little college have not yet dispelled, they have at least sent and admitted a dawn of day through that thick impenetrable cloud; they have passed that Oceanum dissociabilem, which for so many ages has insulated that vast empire from the rest of mankind.”
“I must not omit to commend the zealous and persevering labors of Mr. Lassar, and of those learned and pious persons associated with him, who have accomplished, for the future benefit, we may hope, of that immense and populace region, Chinese Versions in the Chinese Character, of the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, throwing open that precious mine, with all its religious and moral treasure to the largest associated population in the world."*
When the Chinese Class was first established, it was directed that there should be regular public examinations and disputations, as at the college of
Fort-William. The examination in September in 1808, (a few months after the above speech of Lord
Minto was pronounced) was held in the presence of J. H. Harrington, esq. Vice-President of the Asiatic society, Dr. John Leyden, and other Oriental scholars; when the three youths, mentioned above, maintained a disputation in the Chinese language. On this occasion, the respondent defended the following position: To commit to memory the Chinese Classics is the best mode of acquiring the Chinese Language.”
One most valuable effect of these measures is a work just published by Mr. Joshua Marshman, the elder pupil of Mr. Lassar. It is the first volume of "the Works of Confucious, containing the Original Text, with a translation; to which is prefised, a Dissertation on the Chinese Language, pp. 877, 4to;" to be followed by four volumes more. This trans:
See College Report in 1808
lation will be received with gratitude by the learned, and will be considered as a singular monument of the indefatigable labour of an English Missionary in the acquisition of a new language.
While treating of the cultivation of the Chinese language, it will be proper to notice the endeavors of the London Missionary Society in the same department. While Mr. Lassar and Mr. Marshman are translating the Scriptures at Calcutta, Mr. Morrison is prosecuting a similar work at Canton, in China, with the aid of able native scholars. It is stated in the report of their society, that the principal difficulties have been surmounted, and that the period of his acquiring a complete knowledge of the language is by no means so distant as what he once expected. "It has proved of great advantage to him that he copied and carried out with him the Chinese translation of the Gospels preserved in the British Museum, which he now finds from his own increasing acquaintance with the language, and the opinion of the Chinese assistants, to be exceedingly valuable, and which must, from the excellency of the style, have been produced by Chinese natives.” He adds, that the manuscript of the New Testament is fit to be printed; and that he proposes to publish also a Dictionary and a Grammar of thelanguage, the last of which is already "prepared for the press.”* The expense to the London Missionary Society for the current year, in the Chinese department alone, is stated to be 5.500.
The foregoing notices of the progress of Chinese literature will, I doubt not, be acceptable to many; for the cultivation of the Chinese language, considered merely in a political point of view, must prove of the utmost advantage to this country, in her further transactisns with that ancient and ingenious, but jealous, incommunicative, aud partially civilized dation.
Report of London Mistiopary Society for 1810, p. 9.
It is admitted by all writers that the civilization of the Hindoos will be promoted by intercourse with the English. But this only applies to that small portion of the natives, who live in the vicinity of Europeans, and mix with them. As for the bulk of the population, they scarcely ever see an Englishman. It becomes then of importance "to ascertain whatkave been the actual effects of Christianity in those interior provinces of Hindostan, where it has been introduced by the Christian Missionaries;” and to compare them with such of their countrymen as remain in their pristine idolatry. It was a chief object of the author's tour through India, to mark the relative influence of Paganism and Christianity. In order then that the English nation may be able to form a judgment on this subject, he will proceed to give some account of the Hindoos of Juggernaut, and of the native Christians in Tanjore. The Hin . doos of Juggernaut have as yet had no advantages of Christian instruction: and continue to worship the idol called Juggernaut. The native Christians of Tanjore, until the light of Revelation visited them, worshipped an idol also, called the great Black Bull of Tanjore. And, as in this brief work the author proposes to state merely what he himself has seen, with little comment or observation, it will suffice to give a few extracts from the journal of his tour through these Provinces.
Extracts from the Author's Journal in his Tour to
the Temple of Juggernaut in Orissa, in the year 1806.
"Buddruck in Orissa, May 30th, 1806. We know that we are approaching Juggernauť (and yet we are more than fifty miles from it) by the