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sure to hear that a man has walked a thousand miles with peas in his shoes, unless we know why and wherefore, and to what good purpose he has done it.
But these men, it is urged, foolish and extravagant as they are, may be very useful precursors of the established clergy. This is much as if a regular phy. sician should send a quack doctor before him, and say, Do you go and look after this disease for a day or two, and ply the patient well with your nose trums, and then I will step in and complete the cure;-a more notable expedient we have seldom heard of. Its patrons forget that these self-ordained ministers, with Mr. John Styles at their head, abominate the established clergy ten thousand times more than they do Pagans, who cut themselves with cruel kimes. The efforts of these precursors would be directed with infinitely more zeal to make Hindoos disbelieve in Bishops, than to make them believe in Christ. The darling passion in the soul of every missionary is, not to teach the great leading truths of the Christian faith, but to enforce the little paltry modification and distinction which he first taught from his own tub. “And then what a way of teaching Christianity is this! There are five sects, if not six, now employed as missionaries, every one instructing the Hindoos in their own particular method of interpreting the Scriptures; and, when these have completely succeeded, the Church of England is to step in, and convert them all over again to its own doctrines. There is, indeed, a very fine varnish of probability over this ingenious and plausible scheme. Mr. John Styles, however, would much rather see a kime in the flesh of a Hindoo than the hand of a Bishop on his head.
The missionaries complain of intolerance. A weasel might as well complain of intolerance when he is throttled for sucking eggs. Toleration for their own opinions-toleration for their domestic worship, for their private groans and convulsions—they possess in the fullest extent; but who ever heard of toleration for intolerance? Who ever before heard men cry out that they were persecuted because they might not insult the religion, shock the feelings, irritate the passions of their fellow-creatures, and throw a whole colony into bloodshed and confusion? We did not say that a man was not an object of pity who tormented himself from a sense of duty, but that he was not so great an object of pity as one equally tormented by the tyranny of another, and without any sense of duty to support him. Let' Mr. Styles first inflict forty lashes upon himself, then let him allow an Edinburgh Reviewer to give him forty more-he will find no comparison between the two flagel. lations.
These men talk of the loss of our possessions in India as if it made the argument against them only more or less strong; whereas, in our estimation, it makes the argument against them conclusive, and shuts up the case. Two ! men possess a cow, and they quarrel violently how they shall manage this cow. They will surely both of them (if they have a particle of common sense) agree that there is an absolute necessity for preventing the cow from running away. It is not only the loss of India that is in question-but how will it be lost? By the massacre of ten or twenty thousand English, by the blood of our sons and brothers, who have been toiling so many years to return to their native country. But what is all this to a ferocious Methodist? What care brothers Barrel and Ringletub for us and our colonies? If it were possible to invent a method by which a few men sent from a distant country could hold such masses of people as the Hindoos in subjection, that method would be the institution of castes. There is no institution which can so effectually curb the ambition of genius, reconcile the individual more completely to his station, and reduce the varieties of human character to such a state of insipid and monotonous tameness; and yet the religion which destroys castes is said to
render our empire in India more certain! It may be our duty to make the Hindoos Christians—that is another argument : but that we shall by so doing strengthen our empire, we utterly deny. What signifies identity of religion to a question of this kind ? Diversity of bodily colour and of language would soon overpower this consideration. Make the Hindoos enterprising, active, and reasonable as yourselves-destroy the eternal track in which they have moved for ages-and, in a moment, they would sweep you off the face of the earth. Let us ask, too, if the Bible is universally diffused in Hindostan, what must be the astonishment of the natives to find that we are forbidden to rob, murder, and steal ! we wlio, in fifty years, have extended our empire from a few acres about Madras over the whole peninsula, and sixty millions of people, and exemplified in our public conduct every crime of which human nature is capable. What matchless impudence to follow up such practice with such precepts! If we have common prudence, let us keep the gospel at home, and tell them that Machiavel is our prophet, and the god of the Manicheans our god.
There is nothing which disgusts us more than the familiarity which these impious coxcombs affect with the ways and designs of Providence. Every man, nowadays, is an Amos or a Malachi. One rushes out of his chambers, and tells us we are beaten by the French because we do not abolish the slave trade. Another assures us that we have no chance of victory till India is evangelised. The new Christians are now come to speak of the ways of their Creator with as much confidence as they would of the plans of an earthly ruler. We remember when the ways of God to man were gazed upon with trembling humility—when they were called inscrutable—when piety looked to another scene of existence for the true explanation of this ambiguous ard distressing world. We were taught in our childhood that this was true religion; but it turns out now to be nothing but atheism and infidelity. If anything could surprise us from the pen of a Methodist, we should be truly surprised at the very irreligious and presumptuous answers which Mr. Styles makes to some of our arguments. Our title to one of the anecdotes from the Methodist Magazine is as follows: “A sinner punished-a Bee the instrument;" to which Mr. Styles replies, that we might as well ridicule the Scriptures, by relating their contents in the same ludicrous manner. An interference with respect to a travelling Jew; blindness the consequence. Acts, the ninth chapter, and first nine verses. The account of Paul's conversion, &c. &c. &c., page 38. But does Mr. Styles forget that the one is a shameless falsehood, introduced to sell a twopenny book, and the other a miracle recorded by inspired writers ? In the same manner, when we express our surprise that sixty millions of Hin. doos should be converted by four men and sixteen guineas, he asks what would have become of Christianity if the twelve apostles had argued in the same way? It is impossible to make this infatuated gentleman understand that the lies of the Evangelical Magazine are not the miracles of Scripture; and that the Baptist Missionaries are not the Apostles. He seriously expects that we should speak of Brother Carey as we would speak of St. Paul, and treat with an equal respect the miracles of the Magazine and the Gospel.
Mr. Styles knows very well that we have never said, because a nation has present happiness, that it can therefore dispense with immortal happiness; but we have said that, where of two nations both cannot be made Christians, it is more the duty of a missionary to convert the one which is exposed to every evil of barbarism than the other possessing every blessing of civilisation. Our argument is merely comparative : Mr. Styles must have known it to be so :--but who does not love the Tabernacle better than truth? When the tenacity of the Hindoos on the subject of their religion is adduced as a reason against the success of the missions, the friends of this undertaking are always fond of reminding us how patiently the Hindoos submitted to the religious persecution and butchery of Tippoo. The inference from such citations is truly alarming. It is the imperious duty of Government to watch some of these men most narrowly. There is nothing of which they are not capable. And what, after all, did Tippoo effect in the way of conversion ? How many Mahometans did he make? There was all the carnage of Medea's Kettle, and none of the transformation. He deprived multitudes of Hindoos of their caste, indeed ; and cut them off from all the benefits of their religion. That he did, and we may do, by violence; but did he make Mahometans ? or shall we make Christians? This, however, it seems, is a matter of pleasantry. To make a poor Hindoo hateful to himself and his kindred, and to fix a curse upon him to the end of his days !-we have no doubt but that this is very entertaining; and particularly to the friends of toleration. But our ideas of comedy have been formed in another school. We are dull enough to think, too, that it is more innocent to exile pigs, than to offend conscience, and destroy human happiness. The scheme of baptizing with beef-broth is about as brutal and preposterous as the assertion that you may vilify the gods and priests of the Hindoos with safety, provided you do not meddle with their turbans and toupees (which are cherished solely on a principle of religion), is silly and contemptible. After all, if the Mahometan did persecute the Hindoo with impunity, is that any precedent of safety to a government that offends every feeling both of Mahometan and Hindoo at the same time? You have a tiger and a buffalo in the same inclosure; and the tiger drives the buffalo before him ;-is it therefore prudent in you to do that which will irritate them both, and bring their united strength upon you ?
In answer to all the low malignity of this author, we have only to reply that we are, as we always have been, sincere friends to the conversion of the Hindoos. We admit the Hindoo religion to be full of follies, and full of enormities ;-we think conversion a great duty; and should think it, if it could be effected, a great blessing ; but our opinion of the missionaries and of their employer is such, that we most firmly believe, in less than twenty years, for the conversion of a few degraded wretches, who would be neither Methodists nor Hindoos, they would infallibly produce the massacre of every European in India ;* the loss of our settlements; and, consequently, of the chance of that slow, solid, and temperate introduction of Christianity, which the superiority of the European character may ultimately effect in the Eastern world. The Board of Control (all Atheists, and disciples of Voltaire, of course) are so entirely of our way of thinking, that the most peremptory orders have been issued to send all the missionaries home upon the slightest appearance of disturbance. Those who have sons and brothers in India may now sleep in peace. Upon the transmission of this order, Mr. Styles is said to have destroyed himself with a kime.
CELEBS IN SEARCH OF A WIFE. (E. REVIEW, April, 1809.) Cælebs in Search of a Wife ; comprehending Observations on Domestic Habits and Manners,
Religion and Morals. 2 Vols. London. 1809. This book is written, or supposed to be written (for we would speak timidly of the mysteries of superior beings), by the celebrated Mrs. Hannah More! We shall probably give great offence by such indiscretion ; but still we must be excused for treating it as a book merely human-an uninspired production -the result of mortality left to itself, and depending on its own limited resources. In taking up the subject in this point of view we solemnly disclaim the slightest intention of indulging in any indecorous levity, or of wounding the religious feelings of a large class of very respectable persons. It is the only method in which we can possibly make this work a proper obiect of criticism. We have the strongest possible doubts of the attributes usually ascribed to this authoress; and we think it more simple and manly to say so at once than to admit nominally superlunary claims which, in the progress of our remarks, we should virtually deny. ° Celebs wants a wife; and, after the death of his father, quits his estate in Northumberland to see the world, and to seek for one of its best productions, a woman, who may add materially to the happiness of his future life. His first journey is to London, where, in the midst of the gay society of the metrópolis, of course, he does not find a wife ; and his next journey is to the family of Mr. Stanley, the head of the Methodists, a serious people, where, of course, he does not find a wife. The exaltation, therefore, of what the authoress deems to be the religious, and the depreciation of what she considers to be the worldly character, and the influence of both upon matrimonial happiness, form the subject of this novel-rather of this dramatic sermon.
* Every opponent says, of Major Scott's book, “What a dangerous book! the arrival of it at Calcutta may throw the whole Indian Empire into confusion ;” and yet these are the people whose religious prejudices may be insulted with impunity.
The machinery upon which the discourse is suspended is of the slightest and most inartificial texture, bearing every mark of haste, and possessing not the slightest claim to merit. Events there are none; and scarcely a character of any interest. The book is intended to convey religious advice; and no more labour appears to have been bestowed upon the story than was merely sufficient to throw it out of the dry didactic form. Lucilla is totally uninteresting ; so is Mr. Stanley ; Dr. Barlow still worse ; and Celebs a mere clod or dolt. Sir John and Lady Belfield are rather more interesting-and for a very obvious reason: they have some faults ;-they put us in mind of men and women ;--they seem to belong to one common nature with ourselves. As we read. we seem to think we might act as such people act, and therefore we attend: whereas imitation is hopeless in the more perfect characters which Mrs. More has set before us; and therefore they inspire us with very little interest.
There are books, however, of all kinds; and those may not be unwisely planned which set before us very pure models. They are less probable, and therefore less amusing, than ordinary stories ; but they are more amusing than plain unfabled precept. Sir Charles Grandison is less agreeable than Tom fones; but it is more agreeable than Sherlock and Tillotson, and teaches religion and morality to many who would not seek it in the productions of these professional writers.
But, making every allowance for the difficulty of the task which Mrs. More has prescribed to herself, the book abounds with marks of negligence and want of skill; with representations of life and manners which are either false or trite.
Temples to friendship and virtue must be totally laid aside, for many years to come, in novels. Mr. Lane, of the Minerva Press, has given them up long since; and we were quite surprised to find such a writer as Mrs. More busied in moral brick and mortar. "Such an idea, at first, was merely juvenile; the second time a little nauseous; but the ten-thousandth time it is quite intolerable. Celebs, upon his first arrival in London, dines out -meets with a bad dinner-supposes the cause of that bad dinner to be the
erudition of the ladies of the house—talks to them upon learned subjects, and finds them as dull and ignorant as if they hac piqued themselves upon all the mysteries of housewifery. We humbly submit to Mrs. More that this is not humorous, but strained and unnatural. Philippics against frugi. vorous children after dinner are too common. Lady Melbury has been introduced into every novel for these four years last past. Peace to her ashes!
The characters in this novel which evince the greatest skill are unques. tionably those of Mrs. Ranby and her daughters. There are some scenes in this part of the book extremely well painted, and which evince that Mrs. More could amuse, in no common degree, if amusement was her object.
“At tea, I found the young ladies took no more interest in the conversation than they had done at dinner, but sat whispering and laughing, and netting white silk gloves, till they were summoned to the harpsichord. Despairing of getting on with them in company, I proposed a walk in the garden. I now found them as willing to talk as destitute of anything to say. Their conversation was vapid and frivolous. They laid gre seemed to have no shades in their understanding, but used the strongest terms for the commonest occasions; and admiration was excited by things hardly worthy to command attention. They were extremely glad and extremely sorry on subjects not calculated to excite affections of any kind. They were animated about trifles, and indifferent on things of importance. They were, I must confess, frank and good-natured ; but it was evident that, as they were too open to have anything to conceal, so they were too uninformed to have anything to produce ; and I was resolved not to risk my happiness with a woman who could not contribute her full share towards spending a wet winter cheerfully in the country." (I. 54, 55.)
This trait of character appears to us to be very good. The following passage is still better.
"In the evening, Mrs. Ranby was lamenting in general, in rather customary terms, her own exceeding sinfulness. Mr. Ranby said, "You accuse yourself rather too heavily, my dear; you have sins to be sure.' 'And pray what sins have I, Mr. Ranby?' said she, turning upon him with so much quickness that the poor man started. 'Nay,' said he, meekly, 'I did not mean to offend you; so far from it, that, hearing you condemn yourself so grievously, I intended to comfort you, and to say that, except a few faults- ' 'And pray what faults?' interrupted she, continuing to speak, however lest he should catch an interval to tell them. I defy you, Mr. Ranby, to produce one.' 'My dear,' replied he, ‘as you charged yourself with all, I thought it would be letting you off cheaply, by naming only two or three, such as- Here, fearing matters would go too far, I interposed, and, softening things as much as I could for the lady, said, 'I conceive that Mr. Ranby meant that, though she partook of the general corruption . Here Ranby, interrupting me with more spirit than I thought he possessed, said, 'General corruption, Sir, must be the source of particular corruption. I did not mean that my wife was worse than other women.'
Worse, Mr. Ranby, worse?' cried she. Ranby, for the first time in his life, not minding her, went on, 'As she is always insisting that the whole species is corrupt, she cannot help allowing that she herself has not quite escaped the infection. Now, to be a sinner in the gross, and a saint in the detail-that is, to have all sins, and no faults—is a thing I do not quite comprehend.'
“After he had left the room, which he did as the shortest way of allaying the storm, she, apologising for him, said he was a well-meaning man, and acted up to the little light he had;' but added, 'that he was unacquainted with religious feelings, and knew little of the nature of conversion.'
“Mrs. Ranby, I found, seems to consider Christianity as a kind of freemasonry; and, therefore, thinks it superfluous to speak on serious subjects to any but the initiated. - If they do not return the sign, she gives them up as blind and dead. She thinks she can only make herself intelligible to those to whom certain peculiar phrases are familiar: and though her friends may be correct, devout, and both doctrinally and practically pious; yet. if they cannot catch a certain mystic meaning-if there is not a sympathy of intelligence between her and them if they do not fully conceive of impressions, and cannot respond to mysterious communications, she holds them unworthy of intercourse with her. She does not so much insist on high and moral excellence as the criterion of their worth, as on their own account of their internal feelings.”—(I. 60-63.)
The great object kept in view, throughout the whole of this introduction, is the enforcement of religious principle, and the condemnation of a life