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morals of the increased number of our countrymen, who occupy these possessions, as well as of promoting the civilization of our native subjects by every rational means.
4. To civilize the Hindoos will be considered by most men, our duty: but is it practicable? and if practicable, would it be consistent with a wise policy? It has been alledged by some, that no direct means ought to be used for the moral improvement of the natives; and it is not considered liberal or politic to disturb their superstitions.
Whether we use direct means or not, their superstitions will be disturbed under the influence of British civilization. But we ought first to observe that there are multitudes who have no faith at all. Neither Hindoos nor Mussulmans, out-casts from every faith; they are of themselves fit objects for the beneficence of the British parliament. Subjects of the British empire, they seek a cast and a religion, and claim from a just government the franchise of a human creature.
5. And as to those who have a faith, that faith, never will be disturbed, whether we wish it or not under the influence of British principles: this is a truth confirmed by experience. Their prejudices weaken daily in every European settlement. Their sanguinary rites cannot now bear the noonday of English observation: and the intelligent among them are ashamed to confess the absurd principles of their own casts. As for extreme delicacy toward the superstitions of the Hindoos, they understand it not. Their ignorance and apathy are so extreme, that no means of instruction will give them serious offence, except positive violence.*
The Christian missionary is always followed by crowds of the common people who listen with great pleasure to the disputation between him and the Bramins; and are not a little amused when the Brabmins de part, and appoint another day for the discussion. The people sometimes bring back the Brahmias by constraint, and urge them to the contest again.
6. It is necessary to be explicit on this point; for it seems that, independently of its supposed policy, it has been accounted a virtue at home, not to remove the prejudices of the ignorant natives; not to reprove their idolatry; not to touch their bloody superstition; and that this sentiment has been emblazoned by much eloquence and rendered very popular; just as if we were performing an act of charity by so doing; just as if it were so considered by the natives. It is not an act of charity on our parts, nor is it so considered by them. They themselves tell us plainly why we do not mind their religion; "not because we fear to disturb their "tranquility, but because we have no religion of our own.”
7. A Hindoo may live with his English master for twenty years, and never once hear him mention his religion. He gives then his master no credit for his delicacy in not proselyting him. But he gives him credit for this, that he is a humane man, just in his conduct, of good faith in his promises, and inindifferent about his(the Hindoo's) prejudices. They very reverse of all which, was his predecessor the Mahometan.
8. Not to harass the natives unnecessarily on any subject is doubtless good policy: but in this case it is a cheap policy, for it is perfectly natural to us, and therefore has ever been maintained. Did we consider their moral improvement equal in importance to tribute or revenue, we should long ago have attempted it. We can claim no merit then for this forbearance, for it arises from our own unconcern about the Christian religion.
9. But so great is the truth and divine excellence of our religion, that even the principles which flow from it remotely, lead the heathens to inquire into its doctrine, the fountais. Natives of all ranks in Hindostan, at their courts and in their bazars, behold an awful contrast between their base and illiberal max. ims, and our just and generous principles. Of this
they discourse to each other, and inquire about the cause but we will not tell them. We are ashamed to confess that these principles flow from our religion. We would indeed rather acknowledge any other
10. The action of our principles upon them is nevertheless constant; and some aid of religious consideration, on our part, would make it effective.They are a divided people. They have no common interest. There is no such thing as a hierarchy of Brahminical faith in Hindostan, fixed by certain tenets, and guided by an infallible head. They have no ecclesiastical polity, church government, synods, or assemblies. Some Brahmins are supported by hereditary lands granted to a family or attached to a temple, and pass their time in passive ignorance without concern about public affairs. Brahmins having no endowment, engage in lay offices, as shopkeepers money-lenders, clerks and writers; or in other interior and servile occupations. Others seek a religious character, and prosecute study at some of the Hindoo schools, of which there are a great number in Hindostan. These are, in general, supported by the contributions of their students, or by public alms. The chief of these schools are Benares, Nuddeea, aud Ougein. Benares, has acquired a higher celebrity for general learning than the other schools. But a Bralunin of Nuddcea or of Calcutta, acknowledges no jurisdiction of a Brahmin at Benares; or of any other Brahmin in Hindostan. The Brahmin, ical system, from Cape Comorin to Tibet, is purely republican, or rather anarchical* The Brahmins of one province often differ in their creed and customs from those in another. Of the chief Bramins in the college of Fort William, there are few (not being of the same district) who will give the same account of their faith, or refer to the same sacred books. So much do the opinions of some of those now in the
# Sea Appendix H,
college differ, that they will not so much as worship or eat with each other. The Brahmins in general cannot read their sacred books. Their ignorance of writing and of the geogarphy of the country is such that there is no general communication among them, political or religious.
11. The natives of Hindostan are a divided people. They have no common interest. To disseminate new principles among them is not difficult. They are no less tenacious of opinion than of custom. In no other country has there been such a va. riety of opinions on religious subjects, for many ages past, as in Hindostan. The aborigines of the country, denominated Hindoos or Gentoos, were not all followers of Brahma. Some were worshippers of the deity Boodh. The numerous nation of the Sieks, which is a secession of Hinduism, forms another great class. The inhabitants of the hills to the south and north of the peninsula, (according to some, the oldest race,) are again different from the former, and from each other. All these different sects have their respective subdivisions, schisms, and contrarieties in opinion and in practice. And from all of them the Mahomedans, who are now spread over all Hindostan, are entirely distinct; and from these again, differ the various ramifications of the Christian faith. The sea coasts, for several centuties past, have been peopled by Portuguese, Armenian, Greek or Nestorian Christians, and now the protestant religion flourishes wherever it is taught. In no other country is there such a variety of reiigions, or so little concern about what true religion is, as in British India. A man may worship any thing or nothing. When one native meets another on the road, he seldom expects to find that he is of the same cast with himself. It has been calculated that there are an hundred casts of religion in India. Hence the Hindoo maxim, so grateful to the philosophers, that the Deity is pleased with the variety, and that every religion, or no religion, is right.
To disseminate the principles of the Christian religion and morals throughout the provinces under our dominion, is certainly very practicable.*
On the policy of civilizing the natives. 1. In governing conquered kingdoms, a Christian policy may be exercised, or a Roman policy.
A Roman policy sacrifices religion to every other consideration in the administration of the new empire, The religion of the native is considered as an accident or peculiarity, like that of his colour or form of body, and as being natural rather than acquired; and therefore no attempt is made to change it. And this is correct reasoning, on the principle that all religions are human and equal. The policy therefore founded on this principle, professes to cultivate the intellectual powers of the native in every branch of knowledge, except religion. It is evident that
the administration of India during the last forty years, has been conducted on the principles of the Roman policy. The religion of the natives continuing the same, they have been properly governed by their own laws.
2. A Christiary policy embraces all the just principles of the Roman policy, but extends its aims of utility further by endeavoring to improve the mind of the native in religious knowledge, as soon as the practicability of the attempt shall appear obvious. The practicability will of course be retarded in some conquered heathen states, by particular circumstances. But a Christian policy ever looks to the Christian religion for the perpetuity of empire; and con
See Appendix T.