Imagens das páginas

affect the Asiatic style of dress, and wear, long beards; elderly civilians have their clothes made by native dirzees, after the patterns which they brought out with them, and the most eccentric coverings for the head are adopted, hats of straw or of white cotton, and foraging-caps of every description : the newly-arrived dandy gazes with horror and surprise; but his gay apparel soon loses its gloss; he finds it convenient to change his cloth coat i for one made of shining China silk; the dresses of the visitors from the jungles are re-modelled, and thus an equilibrium is preserved, and people in remote districts become enlightened on the subject of modern inventions.



(From the Hindoostanee.)

[ocr errors]

. راه می

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

OBEIDAH! dear as light above, -
Lord of my heart ; my only love!

In vain I call, in vain I rave:
Thou dost but scorn thy frantic slave ;
Nor heed'st, alas! though far removed,
Thy favoured once,--thy best-beloved !
My king, my lord! oh, vainly, now,
The pearl of Ormuz decks my brow !
Oh, vainly, now, the diamond's rays
On this forsaken bosom blaze!
Can these relume the radiance flown,
The heart thy loved had deemed her own?
Yet, once again, the gem restore

jorgde gilt
To ber who first the treasure wore !....d}" ei 920102
Though Kashmeer's shawls thy gifts supply, JB being
And Iran's silks of deepening dye,”

Or Dbauk’s translucent web, where glows
The blooming blush of Kashgar's rose;
Those costly presents charm no more,
The love that gave them worth is o'er :
Then, cherished, worshipped, as thou art,

ndry 10t!
Beloved! give me back thy heart.
The baths, the bowers, my loved retreat,
Detain not now my restless feet;
No more the rich pomegranate's dye, fiuti
The mango's freshness, charms my eye;
No odours now the spices breathe,
No fragrance haunts the champa-wreath,

Nor can th'attendant train control,
i Nor music soothe, my drooping soul!

Bird of my bosom! turn again,
And every hour is rapture then :

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

! still that cherished heart restore To her who first the treasure wore.

B. E. P.




Dacca ?


܂ .' ܐܢ ,*ܢ A( , ; : . ;*

[ocr errors]

RAM MOHUN ROY. i jordt Betwixt Asiatics and the nations which belong to our system of civi

3 lization, there is a line of separation so broadly marked, that they seem superficially, in respect to moral as well as physical properties, almost to be of distinct species. When the Siamese ambassadors visited Paris, in the seventeenth century, La Bruyère tells us,* that the inhabitants of that city were as much surprised that their oriental guests could discourse rationally, and even sensibly, as if they had been monkies endowed with speech and human action : “ forgetting,” he observes, “ that reason is confined to no particular climate, and that correct thinking may be found in all the branches of the great family of man.” The surprise of the Parisians would have been more natural and excusable, had its object been a brahmin of Hindustan--a solitary example amongst many millions,—who, by his own proper energy, emancipated himself from the tenacious prejudices of his nation and sect, who deeply embued his mind with European as well as Eastern erudition, and whose intellectual pretensions were not limited to the common qualities of mind which are the property of mankind in the gross, but exalted him to a level with philosophers of the West.

Such was the individual who, after being domiciled amongst us for two years, has recently paid the extreme penalty of his visit to our uncongenial climate, which has unjustly avenged in his person the fate of multitudes of our countrymen who have been sacrificed to an Indian sun, seeing that their temerity was prompted by motives far less benevolent and philanthropical than his.

The sketch we are about to give of the history of this remarkable personage is supplied partly from personal knowledge, partly from memoranda published and unpublished. +

Ram Mohun Roy was descended, as he states, from a long line of brahmins of a high order, who from time immemorial were devoted to the religious duties of their race (that is, they were priests by profession as well as by birth +), down to his fifth progenitor, who, about one hundred and forty years back, in the reign of Aurungzebe, when the empire began to totter, and the hopes of the Hindus to germinate, "gave up spiritual exercises for worldly pursuits and aggrandizement.” He and his immediate descendants attached themselves to the Mogul Courts, acquired titles, were admitted to offices, and underwent the customary vicissitudes of the courtier's life; “ sometimes," he says, “ rising to honour, and sometimes falling ; sometimes rich and sometimes poor.'

The grandfather of Ram Mohun filled posts of importance at the Court of Moorshedabad, the capital of the Soubah of Bengal, then, probably, the scene of those transactions which ultimately led to the establishment of the British power in India.

• Tome II. Ch. 12. for the biographical accounts of Ram Mohun Roy hitherto published, the best and most authentic are the following: a memoir of considerable length, inserted in the Bristol Gazette of October 2, by the Rev. Dr. Lant Carpenter; one in the Athenæum, October 5, written by Mr. Sandford Arnot (who acted as his private secretary here), which contains a slight autobiographical sketch by the Rajah him self, in a letter to a friend; another in the Court Journal of the same date, by Mr. Montgomery Martin, who, as well as Mr. Arnot, knew him in India. 1 It is a vulgar error to suppose that all brahmins are priests.


Experiencing some ill-treatment at court, towards the close of his life, hix son, Ram Kanth Roy, took up his residence at Radhapagur, in the distriet of Burdwan, where he had landed property, the patrimony of the family. There the subject of this memoir was born, about the year 1780. His mother, a woman of rigid orthodoxy, was, he tells us, likewise of a brahmin family of high caste, by profession as well as by birth of the sacerdota} class, to the religious duties of which they have always adhered.

This diversity in the views and pursuits of Ram Mohun Roy's relatives was the cause of his early and careful initiation in Mahomedan as well as Hindoo languages and literature. After receiving the first elements of native education at home, he was, in conformity with the wish of his father and the policy of his paternal relations, sent to Patna, the great school of Mahomedan learning in Bengal, in order that he might acquire the Arabic and Persian languages, a qualification indispensable to all who looked for employment at the courts of the Mahomedan princes. On the other hand, agreeably to the usage of his maternal ancestors, he devoted himself to the study of Sanscrit and the body of Hindoo science contained in that classical tongue, which he pursued not at Benares but at Calcutta, * where he must have come in contact with Europeans, or, at all events, observed their character. All these accidents had, no doubt, a material influence upon his future opinions and conduct.

An understanding like Ram Mohun's, vigorous, active, inquisitive, which gave early indication of a predilection for the science of reasoning,-a characteristic of the Hindu mind in general —could scarcely fail to imbibe from his Moslem tutors at Patna some rational notions of religion, and to be invigorated and disciplined by the writings of Aristotle and Euclid, which he studied in Arabie.

in Young as he was, his clear. intellect soon discerned the folly of those superstitions, by which the pure dogma of the Hindu creed bas been clouded and concealed. . His learned relatives were unprovided with 'answers and arguments satisfactory to a mind trained to the discovery of truth by the process of logical induction and geometrical demonstration ; and at an age which we should deem premature for so important a decision, he cast off his allegiance to modern Brahminism, though recommended to him by prudential considerations of vast weight, namely, worldly interest, the certainty of provoking, by a secession, the deadly enmity of his relations, and of infringing the almost sacred obligations he owed to a father. “ When about the age of sixteen," he says, “ I composed 'a manuscript, calling in question the validity of the idolatrous system of the Hindus; this, together with my known sentiments on that subject, having produced a coolness between me and my immediate kindred, I proceeded on my travels."

Having rejected the popular creed of his nation, and having yet acquired no insight into the grand truths of the Christian religion, he had a faith to seek and choose. He proceeded into Tibet, where he resided two or three years, investigating the Bauddha creed, the atheistical doctrines of which

This is donbtful; he once said he had studied at Bonares.

[ocr errors]

could have possessed little attraction for him; and he appears to have been offensively free in his ridicule of the Lama form of Buddhism. He travelled into other parts, chiefly within, but sometimes beyond, the limits of Hindustan, till the age of twenty, when his father consented to recall him home, and restored him to favour: probably through the offices of the female part of his family, of whose soothing kindness, Dr. Carpenter says, he spoke lately, at the distance of forty years, with deep interest, and the sense of which appears to have infused in to his demeanour towards the sex, -always refined and delicate,--something which evinced a grateful sentiment.

Hitherto, Ram Mohun had entertained, he tells us, a feeling of great aversion to the establishment of the British power in India.” This feeling, we know, still secretly prevails in most of the families, Hindu and Mahomedan, who have lost the power, wealth, and influence they derived from their connexion with the native courts. Resuming his studies, on his return home, and beginning to assoeiate with Europeans, he acquired (self-taught) a knowledge of our language, made himself acquainted with our laws and government, and giving up his prejudices against the English, began to regard them with favour, “ feeling assured that their rule, though a foreign yoke, would lead most speedily and surely to the amelioration of his coun trymen."

His father, Ram Kanth Roy, died in the year 1210 of the Bengal era (A.D. 1803), leaving another son (Dr. Carpenter says, two other sons), besides Ram Mohun, named Jugmohun Roy. Onel account (that of Dr. Carpenter) states, that Ram Kanth divided his property amongst his sons two years before his death; another authority (Mr: 'Arnot) says that Ram Mohun “ was actually disinherited." The latter accords with a document of some value upon this point, namely, the answer of Ram Mobun Roy to a plaint in an action, instituted against him in the Caleatta Provincial Court, in 1823, by the Raja of Burdwan, Tej Chund, for a balance due from his father on a kistbundy bond, wherein Ram Mohun's defence was, that." so far from inheriting the property of his deceased father, he had, during his life-times separated himself from him 'and the rest of the family, in consequence of his altered habits of life and change of opinions ;” and that, inheriting nos part of his father's property, he was not legally responsible for his father's debts. In his autobiography he says, that, through the influence of his idolatrous relations, « his father was again obliged to withdraw his countenance openly, though his limited pecuniary support was still continued to him.” His brother, Jugmohun Roy, died in the year 1811, and as we find Ram Mohan, in 1823, admítting, in de fence to the suit, that he possessed“ property to a considerable amount in the collectorship of Burdwan," and that he had “ putnee talooks of high jumas within the rajah's own zemindaree, as well as in the town of Cal

Maharaja Tej Chund r. Ram Mohun Roy and Gobind Purshaud Roy, 16th June 1823: claim, amount of a Kistbundee bond, on account of arrears of land-revetnte, with interest, Rupees 15,002; verdict for the defendants. Appealed to Sudder Dewanny Adawlut, which affirmed the sentence, condemning the plaintiff in costs of both courts.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


eutta," we may be allowed to infer, that though the sacrifice of his patrimonial rights was tendered at the shrine of truth and conscience, it was not eventually exacted from him.

The state of his peeuniary circumstances, at this time, Jed him to seek official employment under the British government, and he entered (an anonymous writer* states, as a clerk) the office of the late Mr. John Digby, collector of Rungpore, in which he soon rose to the post of dewan, or head native superintendent," the highest a native can hold. Here he is said to have realized as much money as enabled him to become a zemindar, with an income of £1,000 a year, which is improbable. A better authorityt states, that his object in entering this office was to familiarize himself with the English language and sciences, and that a written agreement was signed by Mr. Digby, stipulating that Ram Mohun should not be kept standing in the presence of the Collector, or receive orders, as a mere Hindu functionary. We are well aware that a strict friendship subsisted between Mr. Digby and Ram Mohun, and that, till the return of the former to Europe, they cultivated Oriental and European literature in conjunction, mutually aiding each other.

Relieved from the restraint which the fear of wounding a father's feelings imposed upon the free avowal of his religious sentiments, he now, at the age of twenty-four, boldly proclaimed bis disbelief in Brahminism, and commenced his efforts to reform his national faith. He resided alternately in the zilahs of Ramgurh, Bhogulpore, and Rungpore, till the year 1814, when he took up his permanent residence at Caleutta, keeping a house at Hooghly in his zemindaree. 14. The modes in which he assailed the errors and superstitions of his countrymen were by oral controversies with the most learned amongst the bralmins, and by written works, which he was enabled to print at the Serampore press. The fruits of his success in colloquial disputations were evanescent; the results were confined to a small circle, and his føjled antagonists took every means of eloaking their mortification by misrepresenting them. But by availing himself of the European art of printing, Ram Mohun could set their malice at defiance, and the pure motive of his writings led him to disregardi pecuniary sacrifices, and to eireulate them amongst his country. meni gratuitously. His first published work was entitled " Against the Idolatry of all Nations," written in Persian, with an Arabic preface, designed, consequently, for the higher classes of Hindus and Musulmans. This was followed by other works, with the same, end, in the vernaoular languages, which, he says, "raised such a feeling against me, that I was at last deserted by every person, except two or three Scoteh friends, to whom, and the nation to which they belong, I always feel grateful." He was pubz. liely accused of “ rashness, self-conceit, arrogance, and impiety;", and In the Times.

..t Mr. R. M. Martin...X | His house at Calcutta was in the Circular Road, and built in the European style. $ " The greater part of the brahmins," he says, “ as well as of other sects of Hindus, are quite incapable of justifying that idolatry which they practise. When questioned on the subject, in place of adducing reasonable arguments, in support of their conduct, they conceive it fully sufficient to quote their ancestors as positive authority."-Introduction to the Translation of the Vedant


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »