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that the Vedas, the Aryan Scriptures, being written in a dialect more than 3000 years old, have become unintelligible to the Brahmans themselves, with a very few exceptions. So matters stand; but a new era is beginning. The arrival of the British in India seems destined by Providence to arouse the educated classes of the Hindoos from their lethargy, and to launch them on a new course of inquiry. Of late years, since British supremacy was established, and the upper classes of the natives have been forced to rely for estimation with their conquerors upon intrinsic worth, a movement has begun which may lead to important results. In their intercourse with the British, the better class of Brahmans have been galled to find themselves charged with the gross superstitions and idolatry of the masses; and, in consequence, they have been stirred up to reassert their own more spiritual doctrines, and, discarding the Puranas, to revert to their early standards of faith. The movement is as yet but a tendency, but it will gather strength. The publication of the pure text of the Vedas, with a translation, now being made at the expense of the Indian Government, and a more careful study of the Code of Manu, will by-and-by suffice to show the Brahmans that, as a body, they have grossly and shamefully declined from their old faith. Perhaps, too, they will come to see how, in the last two thousand years, they have been entrammelled by the usages and leavened by the spirit of a population distinct from and inferior to their own; and pride of nation will thus co-operate with other influences in producing a spiritual revival amongst the Brahmanical Aryans. And they are the hereditary leaders of India. Where they go, the rest of the population, to the extent of their faculties and opportunities, will be willing to follow. As the Brahmans, in ages long past, accommodated or toned down their religious beliefs to suit the non-Aryan population, so did the Roman Catholic missionaries, in their day, seek converts among the natives by making a compromise between Hindooism and Christianity. Had they been better versed in

the religions of the country, they probably would not have hesitated to preach Christ as another Budha to the Budhists of Ceylon, to the people of Southern India, as an incarnation of Vishnoo, and to the Brahmans as the holiest of all rishis or saints, and as the highest manifestation of the Supreme in this world. We Protestants, on the other hand, repudiate all such compromise as blasphemous and profane. We will not consent, by such means, to purchase the quick triumphs of the Romanists; but, content to wait, we look for a purer and nobler triumph in the end. But we must bear our souls in patience. One false step may do more to retard the work, than ten or twenty years of labour will do to advance it. Christianity must grow upon the Hindoos. Anything savouring of persecution would be as impolitic as it would be unrighteous. Persecution only hardens and makes fanatics. And under its pressure men go to the stake, glorying in their faith, who, if left to think over their opinions quietly, would in due time have abandoned them as unrighteous or absurd. Let missionary work go on as it is doing. But the best way to evangelise India is to promote the work of evangelisation at home. There is no preaching like that of personal example. We are the ruling class in Indiawe are looked up to by the natives, our officers are in every district, and every officer or judge or revenue-collector is a centre of influence. Let these men do their duty, and we shall have an agency far more powerful than any possible development which we can give to missions. Let them, to use the admirable words of Lord Stanley, ever “remember that for a European in India there is, strictly speaking, no private life: he is one of the ruling race—the few among the many—one of a population some 10,000 strong among more than one hundred millions. There are, little as he may know or care about it, quick eyes to watch his conduct, and envious tongues ready enough to disparage his nation and his race. This is not merely a personal matter. A single officer who forgets that he is an officer and a gentleman, does more harm to the moral influence of this country than ten men of blameless life can do good.”



May 1854.

THE country has lost another of its great literary celebrities. Having all but completed his threescore years and ten, the poet of the “Isle of Palms”—the author of the inextinguishable laughter of the “Noctes”—the brilliant and high-toned lecturer on man's Moral Being, has been gathered to his fathers. He was the last of the galaxy of poets which the past generation produced; and, as such, his death marks an era. Byron, Southey, Moore, Wordsworth, Campbell, Coleridge, Scott, and now Wilson, are all gone: and we are fairly entered on a new era, and a new school of poetry, which, though exhibiting abundant beauty of its own, is not likely to rival, either in popularity or in enduring fame, that of the generation now closed. On a level with none of the illustrious authors mentioned above would we place Wilson as a poet, but as a man he was greater than any of them : and we feel, while paying this just but feeble tribute to his memory, that it is no vain phrase to say that, “take him all in all, we ne'er shall look upon his like again.” It was a curious position, and one in many respects without a parallel, which Wilson occupied in the public eye. It was not merely as an author, but far more as a man, that he was remarkable. He had become almost personally familiar—to an extent which few authors ever attain, even although their works should have attracted a higher degree of celebrity than any one of his; and this personal celebrity was magnified, though in some measure also distorted, by the way in which the actual man was associated in the mind of the public with all the sayings and doings of that most successful of mythical personages—“Christopher North.” We need not dwell upon the story of his life; although, in competent hands, the biography of this most genial-hearted, exuberant, and highly-gifted man ought to make one of the most fascinating memoirs that ever issued from the press. The son of a wealthy cloth-manufacturer of Paisley, he was born in that town on the 19th of May 1785; and after being boarded for some years at the manse of Mearns—a parish lying midway between Paisley and Glasgow—he was transferred to the University of Glasgow, and subsequently to that of Oxford, where he entered Magdalen College as a gentleman-commoner. Here his natural genius began to show itself; and, among other honours, he carried off the Newdegate prize of fifty guineas for an English poem of as many lines, on the subject of Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture—a production which, doubtless justly, he afterwards regarded as a mere boyish effort. Upon quitting Oxford, he purchased the beautiful estate of Elleray, on the banks of Lake Windermere; and in the picturesque beauty of this now celebrated district, as well as in the company of his brother-poet Wordsworth, he found much to minister to his highly poetic temperament. Wordsworth and he became fast friends—although the sedate, unimpassioned (and, for paradox sake, we may say, prosaic) poet of the Lyrical Ballads and the “Excursion” was in character the very antipodes of the irrepressibly buoyant, enthusiastic, and idealising youth who so soon afterwards delighted the public, and shocked the old stagers of the literary world, by his brilliant sallies in the “Noctes.” At Windermere he was Admiral of the Lakes, and led the way in his yacht on occasion of the memorable visit of Scott and Canning to that romantic locality. Strange anec

dotes are told of his eccentricity and adventurous spirit during this period of his life; many of which, however, we must warn our readers, are nothing better than myths engendered in the heated mind of the public, by those fanciful and humorous exaggerations of his peculiarities which he delighted to dash off in the character of Christopher North. In this heyday of his life, Wilson was distinguished by that fine physical development and lion-like port, upon which, even until lately, years produced but little effect, and which among his college friends acquired for him a pre-eminence in the boating, pugilistic, and other athletic exercises in which the youth of England so much delight. What is true of many other eminent men, is said to have been true of Wilson—namely, that he was more his mother's son than his father's. Traditional remembrances of this lady's wit and beauty are still preserved; and if report can be believed, the resemblance was as marked in the physical as in the mental characteristics of her son. In the flush of early youth, he must have been a very model of manly beauty; and his magnificent face and head would have satisfied the most fastidious disciples of the school either of Spurzheim or Lavater. Having been obliged, in consequence of profuse expenditure and some reverses of fortune, to abandon his romantic retreat at the Lakes, Wilson returned to Scotland, and rejoined his widowed mother, then residing in Edinburgh. He adopted the law as his nominal profession, but probably with no fixed intention of practising it. In 1818 he became a candidate for the chair of Moral Philosophy in the University of Edinburgh; and although great opposition was made to him, on account of his sporting predilections and exuberant disregard of conventionalities, yet the influence of Scott, Wordsworth, and other men of eminence, sufficed to secure his election. It was in the previous year that Blackwood's Magazine was established—a periodical which, from its seventh number downwards (though latterly by intermitting fits), continued to draw more memor

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