23 MAY 1840, Page 14


NATURE, says Imlae, sets her gifts on the right hand and on the left ; as we approach one we recede from another. The same law which bars mankind from the full means of happiness, mili- tates against the perfection of art : the two requisites of' oppor- tunity and the power of using it are rarely it' ever combined. Whether it is that the faculty of' observation must originate in re- flection, which requires solitude—or whether the majority of men, however they may fall short of Julius Cram., resemble hint in disliking " great observers"—so it is. The player, the para- site, the face-painter, the parson, and the musician, constantly fre- quent company of all ranks ; and the only class which profits by it, beyond the moment, is the race of mimes, for they bring away the means of imitating their entertainers. The enforced medita- tion of a ship seems to have its effect upon the navy ; for several men who have been trained in nautical life have achieved eminence in literature, whilst soldiers, who have often a more various field of observation and much longer time to exercise it, are seldom dis- tinguished for deep penetration or enlarged views. The acuteness essential to the practice of law and physic, renders the members of these professions superior to the other classes we have mentioned; but, not to say that much of their opportunity originates in confi- dential communications, which forbids use, the constant operation of what BURKE calls " professional and faculty habits," narrows the mind and gives to it a tone of pedantry. A priori, missionaries should seem possessed of more knowledge of men than other pro- fessions ; fbr they live in intimate relations with a strange people, acquire their language, and mingle with them on all occasions, without eschewing any class—for the poorest have souls, and the greatest have money or influence : yet the paucity of real and racy knowledge which they convey has long been noted. Goi.nsmirit observes, that beyond the spiritual wonders they worked in the way of conversion, their staple information was " what methods they took to preserve Lent in a region where there was no fish, or the shifts made to celebrate the rites of religion in places where there was neither bread nor wine." Besides this overwhelming in- fluence of " professional and faculty habits," they are often wordy, and not unfiequently disfigure their verboseness with a species of technical cant,—two faults apt to grow upon men who have con- stantly to address people upon one subject, and can always interlard their discourse with an authority which is not to be gainsaid. Both these leading defects are visible in Mr. MAssuifs Conti- nental India. Ile has not made the most of' his opportunities of observation ; Ile has occupied a much larger space than his mate- rials would have justified had he made over such use of his oppor- tunities. Appointed a missionary to Aladras in 1822, be made the usual voyage to India; remained some time at his station ; took it tour in the Climatic, with a few minor excursions ; and his health failing, travelled Northwards, by land and water, as far as the Gulf of Cambay ; embarking from Bombay to England on his return. The narrative of his travels is contained in four or five chapters, and might have been comprised in less space ; the results of his observations, and of his inquiries upon such professional subjects as religion and education, occupy three chapters the rest is COIll• pilation, or mere paragraph-spinning—the latter being unluckily most prevalent at the opening of the book, and theretbre very liable to deter a reader from proceeding. The compiled subjects, as the title indicates, extend over a large field,—embracing Asiatic antiquity, and Eastern commerce in the earlier ages ; fragments of Mogul and Portuguese history, and a narrative of the rise and progress of the English power : butt the thing has often been done before, and done more completely,---an observation which applies to the Hindoo mythology. The parts derived from original observation have a much higher value than the rest ; though that value is somewhat diminished by the single point of view from which the writer looks at things, as well as from the verboseness of his style. Air. Massin is of course strongly in favour of the conversion of the Hindoos ; but he does not himself seem to have had much suc- cess in the task. A friend of' maple tbrtune, connected with the Civil service, who appliedlis wealth to the purposes of religion, col- lected a band of nominal devotees about his house ; but Mr. ntssin does not scruple to intimate what plainspoken acquaintances said, that the converts only hungered after the well-spread tables. In the few cases where many conversions have been made, they seem to have originated in tile extraordinary virtue and intelligence of the missionary, rather than in any belief of his creed. Yet the conversions made by these men are so few in comparison with the millions of India, that ages must elapse before any great effect would be produced upon the community. It seems, however, that Unitarianism had rather an active native disciple at Madras ; and it is, from its character, much more likely to spread among the specu- lative and intellectual IIindoos, than the more orthodox faith, whose mysteries oppose an insuperable bar to men who must begin by rejecting mysteries of their own.


William Roberts is a Hindoo of what is denominated the Vullarum caste, one of the most distinguished divisions of the Sudra tribe. He professes to have acquired a classical education, and to be thoroughly conversant in the leantr.enian: of his people; he affects refinement in reading and elegance in Ids diction. lie reads the English and speaks it with considerable fluency • his pronunciation, however, and his acquaintance with the precise import of tie: language, fective. So long ago as the latter end of the eighteenth century, he was en- gaged in the service of an Englidiman, an officer of the army, solicits Ile accom- panied to England on his return to that country. By suchi voyage he forfeited all title to the privileges of Isis caste; yet he returned. ogain to India, and en- tered the employment of a AIL 11. of the civil departnamt : wish him, about the beginning of this century, he returned to England, and resided some months ill the vicinity of London. The female relatives of Ids master, he acknow- ledges, interested themselves much in his improvement, and taught hint the Lord's Prayer, the Creed, and the Catechism. He stated to me that upon his being able to repeat those, and expressing a desire for baptism! diat rite was ad- ministered to hint by the Rector ot 1.5—; whereby he believed himself admitted into the Christian church, and entitled to its privilege, onsl blessings. He must have been always n shrewd man : his observation and judgment of worldly matters, I should estimate of ass acute and ready character. Head- mits he did not understand the things he professed; and perhaps the adoption of his master's creed had in it some connecting link ,s:,lizittellsittlitssbeceroouttiligtic•iiitupeiriodins,iiiseincncttsici as they had been for years. A subsequent visit to E

his return to India followed. soon after ; and his enga

contact with a class of religionists whose appeals to r, son, whose rejection of all mysteries, and confidence in themselves, have brought them to a full and Opel) renunciation of Christ's divinity, of the doctrine of the atonement, the existence of evil angels, and the inherent depravity of human nature. They bestowed some labour upon hies, and regarded him as tit to act as their apos- tle ; he imbibed their opinions, mid entered into their plans; and aceeptiug their commission, quietly and without display entered upon his work. Having returned to his native !stud, he settled himself in the vicinity of the Vcpery mission. It is finin among the nominalists of a Ch::Litian community that rosidyies to such a system will be found. Ile had erected a neat Pukkali chapel in the centre of his little hamlet : his proceedings show great good sense and tact, worthy of a better cause. Ile performs a public service every Sabbath, and occasionally during the week. He has organized a society which contains eighteen or twenty members besides their children ; and one of his people, under his superintendence, conhucts a school for the young. Ile em- ploys agents on a cheap but efficient plan. The Europeans in the service of the Company retain among their attendants a native as butler : some of these are nominal Christians. When the masters remove from one station to ano- ther, aml there are frequent ehauges and journies to the North, the South, and the West, over 0 surface of twelve or fifteen lanithed [Mks, the servants travel also. Into this circle Roberts insinuates himself; and, fr.on habits of early life, finds easy intercourse : he tarni,,lits thcni with t raset, susuls. yen larger putalica- thins, in several of the languages spOkell in the country : they have been traced at ',Mysore, Bellary, and at Tlyslerabad. When the se ag nt s are unlit to enter into discussion, they direct the inquirers to " the Unitarian Teacher at Madras."


It is an affecting consideration, that a man whose thraldom from idolatry has been broken, whose mind has evidently expanded under Om genial influ- ence of revealed truth, whose powers might be rendered eminently subservient to the diffusion of sound practical knowledge, should be ogain brought into bondage by a spirit seven tittles worse than heathenism itself; and made an instrument of bold and impious hostility to the glory of Christ aiming iierishing idolaters. We may imagine he has seen the vanity of idols and the grossness of Brahi-

iuciei cal and that he feels the dependence of man upon his Cod for

the of revelation ; but the pride of his heart offers a daring resistance to

the pri nci plea upon which alone an inspired standard can be perliaoly or in tally establiAsest and received. To presume to penetrate the dazzling brightness of the sun in In noontide splendour. and to deny, because they are uicosucis, the movements of that orb by which the diurnal and annual revolutions are ac- complishecl, comes far short of the folly which would rashly look through a Ie.. Velall011 to tile CilScarter of Cod and the higher prieciples of his operation,, and scorn hilly impugn their infinite, iticomprehensilile, mid mysterious nature. The being who would scan the limits and mysteries of a divine record by his osi n Conceptions, icucist be a god ; and the man who refuses or re- nounces it doehine of sacred Scripture because it is n'Il/r0 !ilS reason or com- prehension, has heroine a fool : so it fias been al1 who professed them- ss.lves to be wise among the I Undoes ; so it was with Itammelitio Roy, and so it is with Williont Roberts.

It was repeatedly in my power, while at the Pre:lab:nu, to afford Roberts

interviews and opportunities for inquiry, and, as I hoped, direct sin. It seemed to no: desirable to reel:tins him thorn his own errors, and at all times to evince a kindly freling of anxious interest for him, rather than a harsh or distaat treat- nu m!. On one ()evasion I introduced my friend Dr. S--- to him, when we Version " and Isis own copy of the Tamil Scriptures : the la t ;:,et

had n long and animated 1;

brolOtt with him Pore cvislc'nt marks of having been diligently compared. It laad maiginal rcil.rences, vith is Is tic I,e diseevmed a ready familiarity. lie strenuously urged tts c ,,nI'icc1ai1 objections to the doctrines of the Cross, and boldly denied t I net cisteace of the Devil is an intelligent being, or the reality of eternal punishment. 11c asserted that the expressions uscd in Scripture concerning *Man only meant the de- struction of evil. Dr. 8— urged some passoge: upon Ids 1m:science with peculiar force: he trembled under tlteir senteeee ; he acknowledged that they posseicil a power which he had not previously felt ; that he hail not yet studied them, hut would consider their import. Ile bowed with us in prayer, and seemed to XIII in the supplications. There was a lamentable display of the pride of hinvian nature and the hostility of the human heart to the doc- trines of evangelical godliness. But it would have betrayed is conscious weck- Hess in our ea use to have shrunk from the collision ; and it would have been an unphilosophical, not to say unchristian, thocli a .rivr.ibte argument, to horsculilp t lie poor tuna, or to Mint!" him is ithin the toibi of the civil power, as some ii uni sic usly suggested ought to be done.

In what way W11.1.1Am Itonmas was obnoxious to the inter- fcrence of' the civil power, is not clearly apparent ; but we suspect that had " Dr. S—" and Mr. Mvssin used the " forcible ' ar- gument of the " horse-whip," they would have been within its toils. The reasoning of Mr. MAsstE, it will have been gathered, is not always strictly logical; and the following extract furnishes another example. Denouncing the rite of Suttee, he thus paints the condition of a llindoo widow, which is the main thing to be improved.


When the eldest parent in the line is removed, the rule and consequence are entailed upon his son, who then becomes the superior; and the witimv of die deceased, if she survive, merges among the subordinate branches; and if she will brave the slays of widowhood, her lot is hard indeed. Natural affection rarely succeeds to make any abatement of the dreadful penalty; hers is a cup of bitter sorrow, of unmixed NVO; and her solitariness is unmitigated by any generous or hallowed associations. Every ten days must she submit her head, aged and bowed down though it be, to be shaved; in her ablutions, and they must be daily, during uncongenial weather or sickness, the water must be poured upon her head, and not over her shoulder; every night her task is to watch the burning lamp, and supply it with oil till the morning, and sad would the morrow be did she suffer it to be extinguished. This child of sorrow and bereavement i3 allowed to feed on only one meal each day ; and never must she recline upon a bed ; the lowly and hard ground is the pallet on which her wearied frame refuses. The recreations and pleasures of general society are denied her ; and the cloth which distinguishes widowed suffering, in which she must always appear, is deemed the coustant though silent accuser of her cold affections, her selfish mid profane love of life.

Whatever may be the spiritual prospects of the Ilindoos, there are great hopes that their temporal condition will advance rapidly. We see from indications in many quarters, thot national prejudices are giving way ; and that education, espeuially English education, is spreading throughout the upper classes. Mr. MAssin holds out a hope which we should be glad to see realized : it would be odd if the demand of rlindostan should reward the literature of Britain.

PROSPECTS rose LETTERS. The demo nd for English literature has rapidly strengthened, is increasing, and cannot be restrained. To each of the forty institutions in Bengal for pro- moting the culture of English and European learning, the Committee have found it rop:isite a good library. The appefite for reading we know gi.ows by m het it feeds on; and therefore of making books there is no end. This is no Call 50 of regret or complaint. Entertainbos and instructive books bare heen procured from America as well as Englan5 ; contracts have been entered into with booksellers for a regular supply; 2,000/., the donation of one native Fang', Rajah Bejrui GOVitia Sing, hove been appropriated in aid of such public libraries. The natives are cherishiag a taste fur libraries of English works. I have seen a Brahmin loom pleasol to display his literary treasures, than native women ever were to show their jowls. I have found in his private room, w here he Ns as gratified to entertain his Englislt friend, a select and well- bound lihrayv, (.11:1 ;luting works of hiatory, of travels, and of philosophy; Reid and fitewart'S works in company with Loelse and Bacon. My friend valued those writings not for their appearance; he Si the science of mind, and discussed metaphysical subjects with intelligence and research ; his pride con- sisted in knowisg the things which were the theme of his authors ; works on mythology nod antiquity allbrded him amusement, and occupied much of his time. This Milli 5)115 not a Christian, but an enlightened heathen ; he was not possessed of 111;:.! wealth—he might be reputed one of the middle classes. I

have also Ink t a\ lohammedan of quite as cultivated a taste fur letters and hooks though not so enlightened or philosophical in his studies : he hail more weithil, and expo nded it in employing secretaries, and furnishing an extensive libraty with splendid nod costly works. T1)010 are many Bocci natives in all parts of I mlii ; and let the preseat ,rowing t:iste prevail for only a few years, and the consequence will be that die largest market for Eunyean literature and the mest profitable field fur English bibliopoles will be found in British