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tended; they become, by the influence of the latter, sullen, and cold, and torpid, and dead.
The remaining opinion on this subject, which is worthy of notice, is the following: "The conversion of the Hindoos to christianity is indeed a solemn obligation, if practicable; but the attempt may possibly displease the Hindoos and endanger our empire.” This fear is grounded solely on an ignorance of facts, and on the remoteness of the scene. Christianity began to be preached to Hindoos by Euro-, peans, three hundred years ago, and whole provinces are now covered with Christians. In the
present endeavors of Protestant Missionaries, the chief difficulty which they generally experience is to awak'en the mind of the torpid Hindoos to the subject. They know that every man may choose the religion he likes best, and profess it with impunity; that he may lose his cast and buy a cast again, as he buys an article of merchandize. There are a hundred casts of religion in Hindostan; and there is no common interest about a particular religion. When one native meets another on the road, he seldom expects to find that he is of the same cast with himself. They are a divided a people. Hindostan is like the great world in miniature; when you pass à great river or lofty mountain, you generally find a new variety. Some persons in Europe, think it must be a novelty to the Hindoos to see a missionary. There have been for ages past, numerous casts of missionaries in Hindostan, Pagan, Makomedan, and Christian all seeking to proselyte individuals to a new religion, or to some new sect of an old one. The dif. ficulty, as the author has already observed, in regard to the Protestant teachers, is, to awaken attention to their doctrine.
The general indifference of the natives to these attempts, whether successful or not, has been demonstrated by recent events. After the adversaries of Christian missions had circulated their pamphlets
through British India, with the best intention no doubt, according to their judgment, announcing the intelligence that some of the English wanted to convert the inhabitants by force, and set Hindostan in fames; the natives seem to have considered the in. formation as absurd or unintelligible, and to have treated it with contempt. For immediately afterwards, when, by the defection of the British troops, the foundations of our empire were shaken to the centre, both Mahomedans and Hindoos (who, if they wished to rebel, needed only to sound that trumpet which was first sounded by a senior merchant in Leadenhall street, no doubt with the best intentions) evinced their accustomed loyalty, and crowded round the standard of the supreme government in the hour of danger. *
There is one argument for the expediency of an ecclesiastical establishment, which the author did not insist on strongly in the Memoir, from motives of delicacy: but recent events have rendered the same reserve no longer necessary.
He will proceed therefore to disclose a fact which will serve to place the motives for recommending such an establishment, in their just light. It is not the giving the Christian religion to the natives which will endanger our empire, but the want of religion among our own countrymen. After the disturbance among the British officers in Bengal, in seventeen hundred and ninety-four, which for a time had a most alarming aspect, being of the same character with that which took place lately at' Madras, a memorial was presented to the Marquis Wellesley, on his acces
A worthy cleroynan belonging to the presidenry of Fort St. George, who witnessed the troops marching against each other, and knew not for a time, what would be the fate of the empire; after the danger was over, makes the following most just and striking reflection, in a letter to a friend. have occurred to every reflecting mind, in looking back on past seenes, if it bad pleased God in his providence to have dispossessed us of our dominions, how little would have remained to shew, that a people blessed with the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, had unice borne sway in this land: But now," he adds exuluingly, in allusion to the translation of the scriptures, "the Word of God in the languages of all India, will be an enduring monument of British piety and liberality, for which the sacrifice of prayer and thanksgiving will en oend to the Most High, to the latest generations,"
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sion to the government, by persons who had been long in the service of the company, and who were well acquainted with the circumstances of the empire at large; representing the necessity of a suitable “Religious estalishment for British India;” and illustrating that necessity by the events which had recently taken place in the army. That memorial referred to the almost total extinction of Christian worship, at the military stations, where the seventh day was only distinguished by the British flag; and noticed the fatal consequences that might be expect- . ed from large bodies of men, far remote from the controlling power of the parent state, enjoying luxury and independence, and seeing nothing, from youth to age, of the religion of their country. It shewed further, that, of the whole number of English who go to India, not a tenth part return; and assigned this fact as a reason why their religion should follow them to the east; that it might be, in the first place, a solace to themselves, in the dreary prospect of dying in that land (for of a thousand soldiers in sickly India, there will be generally a hundred in declining health,) and secondly, “that it might be some security for their loyalty to their king, and their attachment to the principles of their country.”
It required not a memorial to apprize marquis Wellesley of the truth of these facts, or of the justness of the reasoning upon them. The necessity of a meliorated state of society for the English armies, was made evident to him by his own observation; and it cannot be doubted that, had that nobleman remained in India, to complete the plans he meditated for the adyantage of that country, and had his coadjutor, Mr. Pitt, lived, a suitable religious establishment would have been, by this time, proposed to the East-India company, for every part of their dominions in Hindostan. But marquis Wellesley had another and a more imperious service first to perform, and this was, to save the body of the empire itself.
British Hindostan was, at that moment, surrounded by strong and formidable enemies, who where putting themselves in the attitude of the tiger," as a Vakeel of Tippoo expressed it, “to leap upon the prey.” And this service that great statesman achieve ed under Divine Providence, first, by destroying the Mysorean empire, under Tippoo Sultaun, and thereby distinguishing the Mahomedan power in Hindostan; secondly, by overwhelming the hitherto invincible Maharattas; and lastly, by forming on the frontier a league of strength, which like a wall of iron, has saved the country from native invasion ever since; notwithstanding its subsequent critical and exposed state, in consequence of frequent changes of the supreme government, and of dissentions in our army. The services which that nobleman performed for our empire in the east were very ill understood at the time: his views were so comprehensive, that few men could embrace them: They are more generally acknowledged now: but it is to be apprehended that some years must yet elapse before all the beneficial consequences of his administration, will be fully inade known to his country,
It has been a subject of wonder to many in Eng. land, that our army should at any time betray symptoms of disaffection in India, when no instance of it occurs elsewhere. But the surprise will cease, when the circumstances before mentioned shall have been duly weighed. Of the individuals engaged in the late chisturbances at Madras, there were perhaps some who had not witnessed the service of Christian worship for twenty years; whose minds were impressed by the daily view of the rites of the Hindoo religion, and had lost almost all memory of their own. morally impossible to live long in such circumstances without being in some degree affected by them. That loyalty is but little to be depended on, whether abroad or at home, which has lost the basis of religion.
The true spring of the irregular, proceeding, contemptuous remonstance and ultimate disaffection of the military in India, is this: large bodies of troops at a great distance from Britian, which they never expect to see again, begin, after a long absence, to feel more sensibly their own independence, while their affection for their native country gradually diminishes. And if, under such circumstance, they have not the restraints of religion, (for what is obedience to the powers that be" but the restrain of religion?) and if they have not the frequent view of Christian worship to recal their minds, by associations of ideas, to the sacred ordinances and principles of their country, it is impossible to foresee to what degrees of rebellion or infatuation they may proceed. It is unjust to ascribe these proceedings to the casual acts of the governor for the time being. Indiscreet measures on his part may form the pretext: but the true cause lies much deeper. The company's officers in India are as honorable a body of military men as are to be found in the world, the author knows them, but they are in peculiar circumstances; and if any other description of troops were in their stead, passing a whole life in such unchristianizing service, the same causes would still produce the same effects.
The most alarming consideration, while things remain in their present state, is this, that, in proportion as our empire encreases, and our force in India grows stronger, the danger arising from the foregoing causes, becomes the greater. These are obvious truths, on which it is not necessary to dilate, But there is another subject allied to this, which the author thinks it a solemn duty to bring before the public.
Not only are our troops denied suitable religious instruction, when they arrive in India, but they are destitute of it, during their long voyage to that countryThe voyage is, on an average, six months.