« AnteriorContinuar »
effected, by simply abolishing those Regulations which require, that all the highest Offices which Natives can hold, shall be filled by Mahomedans and Hindoos *. It is not just, and, perhaps, is not intended by the East-India Company, that the profession of Christianity alone should exclude a Native from situations of the first respectability : but such is the operation of the Regulations to which I refer; and, so long as they continue in force, they must be regarded as an impediment to Missionary Exertion.
The Second point for consideration is, The Establishment of Schools throughout the Company's Dominions, for the Education of their Servants in the English and Native Languages..
By this means, attention could be paid to their morals, and right principles inculcated. The bribery of the Upper Servants, the cruelty and extortion often of even the Peons, are notorious. This must make an impression on the Native Mind, greatly to the prejudice of Government; which is, of course, considered responsible for the acts of its Servants. It
. * Extracts to this effect, from Regulations passed by the Governor in Council of Fort St. George, are given in Appendix B. of the “ Diary” of a Field-Officer of Cavalry.
answers little purpose to punish individual, offenders: the evil must be eradicated. While the Native Servants are left to pick. up their education as they can, what else is to be expected, but that they will make the most of their situations, without much scruple of conscience? But give them a proper education, and you fortify them, as much as lies in your power, against the temptations of office,
Sir John Malcolm recommends the encouragement of the Native Village Schools in Central India, as “the best means of commencing, if not completing, the introduction of knowledge amongst them, and thereby gradually ameliorating their condition.” I know not the character of those Schools; but, with the Native Schools in South India I have some acquaintance; and will venture to say, that it will answer no good purpose to encourage them, while their present system is continued. Their character cannot be better described, than in the words of the Superintendant of the Church Missionary Society's Schools at Tranquebar
“ Among the Schoolmasters of the common Native Schools, many are to be found who give themselves to some open vice. I may say, there is not one who does not, publickly or privately, encourage his Scholars
almost daily, to steal some trifle or other from their parents' homes. They are accustomed to bring betel-leaves every morning after breakfast, a piece of wood in the evening, and sometimes cash and areka-nuts : consequently, the Native Children are very early accustomed to the vice of stealing; and, when they are grown up, they continue the same practice; so that, when they are afterward employed in Public Duties, they doincalculable mischief to their Superiors and inferiors. These facts being well known to our English Superiors, and seriously lamented by many who have these Natives in their service, I need not dwell more on the subject. The vices of stealing and bribery in the country are beyond description; and thousands of poor people become objects of severe distress, by the dreadful corruption of the Native Public Servants*."
Nothing, humanly speaking, can remedy these evils, but the establishing of Free Schools, by Government, throughout their dominions. This “ will be one of the most successful means of correcting the children in their early vices, and of impressing on their minds the blessings and credit of ho- nesty t.” Unless such an expedient be
* Missionary Register, October 1823, p. 444. Idem.
adopted, this corruption, and these oppressions, will continue to grow; until, if any thing can provoke the Natives to resistance, they will be roused to throw off a yoke, under which, contrary to the intention or regulations of the Government, they are made to groan.,
It is true, the children are taught in these Schools to repeat Native Proverbs, some of which contain excellent morals; but none of them understand the poetic language in which they are written. I remember once reading over a string of them with a Learned Brahmin, who was, every now and then, at a stand for their signification. Some he carried home with him, talked over them with his friends, but, after all, could not give me a proper explanation of their meaning. A short time before I left Madras, I went into one of the Native Schools, and requested the Teacher to let me see what the Boys were reading. He shewed me some Ollas, on which were written the Sayings of Ouvyar. I desired him to explain them to me; when he took up another Olla, which contained the interpretation, and began to read. I stopped him, saying, that I wished him to tell me, from his own mind, what he supposed to be the sense of the Proverbs, or even of the written interpretation: upon this, he looked in my face, and confessed, with a smile, that he understood neither the one nor the other. Such is the ignorance of most of the Native Schoolmasters! and it is evident, that their Scholars can derive no moral benefit whatever from repeating Sentences, however sound the morality they contain, unless they are made to comprehend their meaning and application. But if Government would take up the subject of Education, the advantages that would result, from the measure, to the Natives, and ultimately to themselves, are too obvious to be named. : 3 - It would tend also to conciliate the minds of the people. Several of their favourite Authors speak of the establishment of Schools for the Education of the Young as one of the most laudable actions, and loudly celebrate the praises of those who have founded Seminaries for Learning. Few plans could be adopted that would more effectually convince them that their Rulers took a real interest in promoting their happiness. .