« EdellinenJatka »
the crime. Besides, in the above discussion, it was taken for granted that the court of directors have done nothing towards the suppression of this enormity: and that the court of proprietors have looked on, without concern at this omission of duty. But this, perhaps, may not be the case. The question then remains to be asked. Have the court of directors at any time sent instructions to their government in India to report on the means by which the frequency of the female sacrifice might be diminished, and the practice itself eventually abolished? Or have the proprietors of India stock at any time instructed the court of directors to attend to a point of so much consequence to the character of the company, and the honor of the nation?
That the abolition is practicable has been demon-strated: and that too by the most rational and lenient measures; and these means have been pointed out by the Brahinins themselves*
Had Marquis Wellesley remained in India, and been permitted to complete his salutary plans for the improvement of that distant empire (for he did not finish one half of the civil and political regulations which he had in view, and had actually commenced) 'the female sacrifice would probably have been by this time nearly abolished.t The humanity and intrepid spirit of that nobleman abolished a yet more criminal practice which was considered by the Hindoos as a religious rite, and consecrated by custom, I mean the sacrifice of children. His lordship had been informed that it had been a custom of the Hindoos to sacrifice children in consequence of vows, by drowning them, or exposing them to sharks and crocodiles; and that twenty-three persons had perished at Saugor in one month (January 1801) many of whom were sacrificed in this manner. He immediately instituted an inquiry into the principle
* See them detailed in Memoir, P, 49.
of this ancient atrocity, heard what natives and Europeans had to say on the subject ; and then passed a law,“ declaring
the practise to be murder punishable by death." The law is entided " A regulation for preventing the sacrifice of children at Saugor and other places ; passed by the governor-general in council, on the 20th of August 1802.” The-purpose of this regulation was completely effected, not a murmur was heard on the subject: nor has any attempt of the kind come to our knowledge since. It is impossible to calculate the number of human lives that have been saved, during the last eight years, by this humane law of Marquis Wellesley. Now it is well known that it is as easy to prevent the sacrifice of women as the sacrifice of children. Has this fact ever been denied by any man who is competent to offer a judgment on the subject? Until the supreme goverment in Bengal shall declare that it is utterly impracticable to lessen the frequency of the immolation of females by any means, the author will not cease to call the attention of the English nation to this subject.
The Letters of King George the first to the Mis sionaries in India, will form a proper introduction to the account which is now intended to be given of the Christian Hindoos of Tanjore. The first Protestant Mission in India was founded by Bartholomew Ziegenbalg, a man of erudition and piety, educated at the university of Halle in Germany. He was ordained by the learned Burmannus, bishop of Zealand in his twenty-third year, and sailed for India in 1705. In the second year of his ministry, he founded a christian church among the Hindoos, which has been extending its limits to the present time. In 1714 he returned to Europe for a short time, and on that oC”.
casion was honored with an audience by his majesty George the first, who took much interest in the success of the mission. He was also patronized by "the society for promoting christian knowledge, which was superintended by men of distinguished learning and piety. The king and the society, encouraged the Oriental Missionary to proceed in his translation of the scriptures into the Tamul tongue, which they designated the grand work." This was indeed the grand
work; for wherever the scriptures are translated into the vernacular tongue, and are open and common to all, inviting inquiry and causing discussion, they cannot remain "a dead letter.” When the scriptures speak to a heathen in his own tongue, his conscience responds, “This is the word of God.” How little is the importance of a version of the Bible in a new language understood by some! The man who produces a translation of the Bible into a new language (like Wickliffe, and Luther, and Ziegenbalg, and Carey) is a greater benefactor to mankind then the prince who founds an empire. For the "incorruptible seed of the word of God” can never die. After ages have revolved, it is still producing new accessions to truth and human happiness.
In the year 1719, Ziegenbalg finished the Bible in the Tamul tongue, having devoted fourteen years to the work. The peculiar interest taken by the king in this primary endeavor to evangelize the Hindoos will appear from the following letters, addressed to the Missionaries by his Majesty. "George, by the grace of God, king of Great Bri
tain, France, and Ireland, defender of the faith, &c. to the reverend and learned Bartholomew Ziegenbalgius and John Ernest Grundlerus, missionaries at Tranquebar in the East Indies.
"Reverend and Beloved, “Your letters dated the 20th of January of the present year, were most welcome to us; not only be..
cause the work undertaken by you of converting the heathen to the christian faith, doth, by the grace of God, prosper, but also because that, in this our kingdom, such a laudable zeal for the promotion of the gospel prevails.
“We pray you may be endued with health and strength of body, that you may long continue to fulfil your ministry with good success; of which, as we shall be rejoiced to hear, so you will always find us ready to succour you in whatever may tend to promote your work, and to excite your zeal. sure you of the continuance of our royal favor.
“GEORGE R." “Given at our Palace of Hampton
Court, the 23d of August, A. D. 1717, in the 4th year of our Reign." The king continued to cherish, with much solici. tude, the interest of the mission, after the death of Ziegenbalgius; and in ten years from the date of the foregoing letter, a second was addressed to the members of the mission, by his Majesty.
“Reverend and Beloved, "From your letters dated Tranquebar, the 12th of September, 1725, which some time since came to hand, we received much pleasure; since by them we are informed, not only of your zealous exertions in the prosecution of the work committed to you, but also of the happy suscess which hath hitherto at. tended it, and which hath been graciously given of God.
“We return you thanks for these accounts, and it will be acceptable to us, if you continue to communicate whatever shall occur in the progress of your mission.
“In the mean time, we pray you may enjoy strength of body and mind for the long continuance of your labours in this good work, to the glory of God, and the promotion of christianity among the
heathens; that its perpetuity may not fail in gene rations to come. *
“GEORGE R." “Given at our Palace at St. James's,
the 23d of February, 1727, in the
13th year of our Reign." But these royal epistles are not the only evangelie documents, of high authority, in the hands of the Hindoos. They are in possession of letters written by the archbishop of Canterbury, of the same reignt who supported the interests of the mission with unexampled liberality, affection and zeal. These letters, which are many in number, are all written in the Latin language. The following is a translation of his Grace's first letter; which appears to have been written by him as president of the "Society for promoting Christian Knowledge.”
“To Bartholomew Ziegenbalgius, and John Ernest
Grundlerus, Preachers of the christian faith,
on the coast of Coromandel. "As often as I behold your letters, reverend brethren, addressed to the venerable society instituted for the promotion of the gospel, whose chief honor and ornament ye are; and as often as I contemplate the light of the gospel, either now first rising on the Indian nations, or after the intermission of some ages again revived, and as it were restored to its inheritance; I am constrained to magnify that singular goodness of God in visiting nations so ree mote; and to account you, my brethren, highly honoured, whose ministry it hath pleased him to employ in this pious work, to the glory of his name and the salvation of so many millions of souls.
“Let others indulge in a ministry, if not idle, certainly less laborious, among christians at home. Let them enjoy in the bosom of the church, titles
Niecampius, Hist, Miss. + Ascäbishop Wake,