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, Innocence! no prayer, no sigh,
Recalls chee from the early tomb.
A voice of sighing from each echo speaks :
Shame and remorse have bleach'd these cheeks.
The household circle knows my place no more ;
E’en friendship blushes for the love she bore.
You on whose brows the virgin's chaplet stays ;
And let the seraph Virtue guide your.ways.
He'll cast you off with heedless heartless sneers,
Will spurn you into Misery's gulf of tears.
That hope could promise or my fate controul;
And the more precious blessing of my soul !
Must chill mistrust o’er every accent lour?
That words of praise and tones of passion pour?
Still the thought vibrates in my quiv'ring breast,
This mould'ring frame amid the turf shall rest.
And rid me soon of this internal strife :
Thy dimmer torch, and quench this spark of life. In this poem, and especially in the third stanza, pathetic touches of real beauty are interspersed ; and the persevering reader will elsewhere find many other passages equally attaching, though animated by opposite emotions. Some of the poems profess to be translated from the English: it would have been well to accompany them with the original text: the task of version and reversion is not to be recommended merely to the linguist, but also to the poet, since it bestows not only a command of idiom, but a command of phrase. - When will the printing presses of Vienna offer to the British muses a similar hospitality ? When the business of nations shall be conducted more by men of letters, and when the natural representatives of the European mind shall be the avowed agents of European intercourse.
to be in a
hristianity in Cut off from
Art. XI. Christianity in India. Letters between Laicus and ar
East India Proprietor, as they appeared in the Times Newspaper, in the Months of August, September, and October, 1813. 8vo.
pp. 102. 35. 6d. Rivingtons, &ç. It is said that Christianity is wanted in India ; and this is I very true, if by the proposition be meant that it is desirable, in an abstract moral and religious view, that the faith of the Gospel should supplant the absurd, cruel, and in some respects im. moral superstitions of the Hindoos. To secure this object, however, which is so devoutly to be wished, we must take care to secure our station in India ; for if, by a Quixotic adventure of humanity, we should lose our vast Asiatic empire, which is admitted by Mr. Wilberforce to be in a precarious situation, we shall be cut off from the very possibility of preaching Christianity in any degree or mode. "Let us, therefore, look in the first place to the stability of our eastern possessions, and to their amelioration in the second. To invert this order is to hazard every thing, with the probability of effecting nothing. The benevolence of the object is divine: but, if it be injudiciously pursued, the catastrophe may be melancholy and even ruinous; and this is a case in which generous zeal must submit to be curbed by interested, or, as some will call it, low-calculating prudence. We are confirmed in the opinion of the necessity of caution, when we hear such language used as that we ought to despise ' a reptile policy;' - that we ought to go for, wards, and “ let Heaven answer for the rest." ;
Since, however, the experiment has many powerful advocates, let us see how stand the pros and the cons in the field of argument.
Laicus begins in behalf of the measure; and he reasons with great energy, under an evident religious impression of our being bound in duty, as the governors of India, vigorously to attempt its conversion. From the practices of infanticide, of the burning of women with their deceased husbands, and of the sacrifice of human life at the shrine of idols, he argues that a cloud of darkness exists in India which requires to be dissipated by the light of the Gospel. - He replies to the objections which have been urged against the modern project for christianizing the East, and then enumerates the reasons which incline him to be friendly to it, viz. ist, that the state of the British residents, and, 2dly, that the state of the half-casts, furnish claims to our attention; and, 3dly, that a moral obligation compels us to diffuse the light which we enjoy.
To the statements and arguments of Laicus, a gentleman replies who signs himself an East India Proprietor ; and that plan, which Laicus views with so much satisfaction, appears to this opponent to be pregnant with danger. His opinion is that we cannot be too careful on so delicate a subject as that of religion *, and that the project is perilous and impracticable. « A friend, a patron, a promoter of missionaries, confessed in his examination, before the House of Commons, that of his own knowledge he did not know one, not even one, respectable Hindoo who had been converted.' It is also contended by the Proprietor that · India is not yet ripe for the proposed measure;' that, ' by increasing the number of missionaries there, we shall occasion increased alarms among the natives; and that this may lead to a dreadful explosion, by which our present vast empire will be shattered into pieces. In a political point of view, he thus contemplates the subject; and we ought not to lose, sight of the question in this very aspect of it: because, if we instruct the Hindoos in the policy of Christian states, we shall furnish them with weapons by which we must infallibly be expelled from the peninsula.
- It is a moral and political phenomenon, for a parallel to which we shall in vain search into the pages of history, and respecting which it would, therefore, be unsafe to pronounce any positive opinion. It seems, however, reasonable to expect, that the best chance for the security of the present system of Government, is the continuance of the present state of opinions, and particularly on the subject of religion. The religion of the Hindoos is intimately connected with their civil habits and customs: they are knit together, and, as it were, bound up in each other. These united constitute their weakness, and our strength. If, therefore, we discard these opinions, --if we strike off the fetters of superstition which chain them to the earth, they will spring up with an elasticity proportioned to the pressure they have sustained, and drive us from our seat.'
No two persons can differ more widely than these two writers; and Laicus, returning to the charge, contests every inch of ground with his adversary. So far is he from supposing that the present religious system of the Hindoos operates to our security, that he pleads for leading them to a knowledge of the Gospel, under an idea, that this gift will attach them in heart to the British, and thus be instrumental to the security of India.' A nation invaded and conquered, however, is not so easily Attached in heart to its conquerors; and it is in the highest de. gree improbable that we should attach the Hindoos in heart to us, by discovering a settled plan of invading their religious prejudices and superstitions. When a nation has become Christian, and generally sensible of the value of the Gospel, it
* We ought to advert, on this occasion, to the extraordinary case in point which is furnished by the Japanese. See p. 283. of this Review, and their persevering exclusion of the Russians, in the preceding pages.
may may look back with gratitude on those who introduced it to this knowlege: but, in the first shock and collision of opinions, no gratitude of this kind is ever felt. In the next age, Spain may thank Great Britain for the generous wish to free her from the curse of the Inquisition : but as yet she looks on us as officious heretics, and has restored the Inquisition; and so it may be in India.
The · East India Proprietor,' in a fourth letter, reconsiders the arguments of his opponent, and minutely examines the question at issue, in all its principal bearings ; concluding with asserting that " we should abstain from attempting to tamper with the religion of the Hindoos.'
In a fifth, sixth, and seventh letter, the controversy is maintained between these gentlemen; and Laicus bas the last word; but we are not sure that it is the word which will last longest. On the moral character of the Hindoos, the arguers are completely east and west; which will excite no surprize when Laicus takes the worst and the Proprietor chuses the best specimens which he can find. A similar opposition of sentiment exists on the practicability of their conversion, Laicus contends that we possess the means; while his correspondent asserts that those means are wanting. On a review of the controversy, the Proprietor thus sums up his argument:
• It is proposed to establish an Episcopal Government in India; and to grant additional facilities to Missionaries to proceed to India. I object to both these measures: - to the first, because it appears to me to be both unnecessary and dangerous. Unnecessary, because the affording religious instruction to the Protestant Christians, which is its professed object, may be easily accomplished by other means equally effectual, and free from the objections to which this is liable, Dangerous ; first, because it may have a tendency to create alarm in the minds of the natives of India upon the subject of their religion. Secondly, because it may be employed as an instrument for the pur. pose of conversion, I object to the second measure, viz. the facilities to be granted to Missionaries; because I disapprove of attempting to convert the Hindoos to Christianity. I disapprove of such attempts, because I consider them to be dangerous, and not likely to meet with success. That they are dangerous, I conclude from the evidences of experience, - from the character of the people, and from the concurring testimony of those best qualified to form an opinion on the subject : that they will be unsuccessful, I conclude from the same considerations.
. Out of the agitation of this question a collateral discussion has arisen ; highly important in itself, but not necessarily connected with the main points in dispute. It is contended by the advocates for con, version, that the Hindoos are suffering under the most dreadful state of moral depravity, addicted to every vice which can degrade our naa
ture ; that these vices are attributable to their religion, and that, therefore, it is our bounden duty to convert them to Christianity. ;
• In reply to these arguments, I contend, first, that the moral character of the Hindoos is not deserving of the severity with which it is censured : and I support that opinion by a variety of important evi. dence, drawn from unquestionable authorities. I contend, secondly, that their vices are not attributable to their religion; and I endeavour to establish that point, first, by a reference to its internal evidences ; and, secondly, by the authority of competent judges. Having shewn that their vices (of course speaking generally throughout) are not ata tributable to their religion, I conclude, that their moral character may be improved without their conversion; and in proof of this, I refer to the success which has attended the efforts already made with a view to this great object.'
Notwithstanding the sound judgment of the East India Proprietor,' it makes not the smallest impression on Laicus; who seems to be more eager for setting forwards the experiment of converting 60,000,000 of Hindoos, in proportion to the opposition which it receives. He will cherish the belief that i we shall be more likely to strengthen than to weaken their good opinion of us, by offering them the best gift in our power to bestow :' but he seems not to be aware that, at the season in which this gift is offered, very different estimates will be formed of it by us and by them; and that, by indiscreetly obtruding this best gift on them, we may be the means of alienating instead of conciliating their affections:- thus retarding rather than advancing the march of Divine truth, which proceeds surely, but never with a rapidity sufficient to satisfy the enthusiast.
For JULY, 1814.
POETRY. Art. 12. Ode on the Arrival of the Potentates in Oxford; and Judi
cium Regale, an Ode. 8vo. 28. Murray. ., Occupying, at this moment of general exultation, à most triumphant eminence among the states of Europe, we naturally feel rather proud and elated; and, after having most materially contributed to help our neighbours out of the tyranny in which the victories of one man had involved them, we must be allowed to boast that we alone pe'er crouched, nor “bated jot of heart or hope." • But Britain from the world and the world's shame
Sate sever'd, like her kindred Ocean free,