Imagens das páginas

-smoke and soot. These, however, are matters to which it is not difficult to become reconciled, and all the more serious points of warmth, sbade, cleanliness, air, and water, are at this season nowhere enjoyed better than in the spacious and well-contrived tents, the ample means of transport, the fine climate, and fertile regions of Northern Hindostan. Another time, by God's blessing, I will not be alone in this Eden ; yet I cona fess there are few people whom I greatly wish to have as associates in such a journey. It is only a wife, or a friend so intimate as to be quite another self, whom one is really anxious to be with one while travelling through a new country.'

Instead of wishing, as we should have expected a bishop to do, to move in the dignified and conspicuous circle at the seat of Government, it is interesting to find this exemplary person actually languishing for a more retired and obscure situation.

*Do you know, dearest, that I sometimes think we should be more useful, and happier, if Cawnpoor or Benares, not Calcutta, were our home ? My visitations would be made with far more convenience, the expense of house rent would be less to the Company, and our own expenses of living would be reduced very considerably. The air, even of Cawna poor, is, I apprehend, better than that of Bengal, and that of Benares decidedly so. The greater part of my business with government may be done as well by letters as personal interviews; and, if the Archdeacon of Calcutta were resident there, it seems more natural that the Bishop of India should remain in the centre of his diocese. The only objection is the great number of Christians in Calcutta, and the consequent probability that my preaching is more useful there than it would be anywhere else. We may talk these points over when we meet.

One of the most characteristic passages in the book, is the account of his interview with a learned and very liberal Brahmin in Guzerât, whom he understood to teach a far purer morality than is usually enjoined by his brethren, and also to discountenance the distinction of castes, and to inculcate a signal toleration,

About eleven o'clock I had the expected visit from Swaamee Narain, to my interview with whom I had looked forward with an anxiety and eagerness which, if he had known it, would perhaps have flattered him. He came in a somewhat different style from all which I expected, having with him nearly 200 horsemen, mostly well-armed with matchlocks and swords, and several of them with coats of mail and spears. Besides them he had a large rabble on foot, with bows and arrows; and when I considered that I had myself more than fifty horse, and fifty muskets and bayonets, I could not help smiling, though my sensations were in some degree painful and humiliating, at the idea of two religious teachers meeting at the head of little armies, and filling the city, which was the scene of their interview, with the rattling of quivers, the clash of shields, and the tramp of the war-horse. Had our troops been opposed to each other, mine, though less numerous, would have been doubtless far more effective, from the superiority of arms and discipline. But, in moral

grandeur, what a difference was there between his troop and mine! Mine. neither knew me, por cared for me; they escorted me faithfully, and would have defended me bravely, because they were ordered by their superiors to do so, and as they would have done for any other stranger of sufficient worldly rank, to make such attendance usual. The guards of Swaamee Narain were his own disciples and enthusiastic admirers, men who had voluntarily repaired to hear his lessons, who now took a pride in doing him honour, and who would cheerfully fight to the last drop of blood rather than suffer a fringe of his garment to be handled roughly. In the parish of Hodnet there were once perhaps a few honest countrymen who felt something like this for me; but how long a time must elapse before any Christian teacher in India can hope to be thus loved and honoured! After the usual mutual compliments, I said that I had heard much good of him, and the good doctrine which he preached among the poor people of Guzerât, and that I greatly desired his acquaintance; that I regretted that I knew Hindoostanee so imperfectly, but that I should be very glad, so far as my knowledge of the language allowed, and by the interpretation of friends, to learn what he believed on religious matters, and to tell him what I myself believed ; and that if he would come and see me at Kairah, where we should have more leisure, I would have a tent pitched for him and treat him like a brother. I said this, because I was very earnestly desirous of getting him a copy of the Scriptures, of which I had none with me, in the Nagree character, and persuading him to read them ; and because I had some further hopes of inducing him to go with me to Bombay, where I hoped that, by conciliatory treatment, and the conversations to which I might introduce him with the Church Missionary Society, established in that neighbourhood, I might do him more good than I could otherwise hope to do.

I saw that both he, and, still more, his disciples, were highly pleased by the invitation which I gave him; but he said, in reply, that his life was one of very little leisure, that he had 5000 disciples now attending on his preaching in the neighbouring villages, and nearly 50,000 in different parts of Guzerât ; that a great number of these were to assemble together in the course of next week, on occasion of his brother's son coming of age to receive the Brahminical string, but that if I staid long enough in the neighbourhood to allow him to get this engagement over, he would gladly come again to see me. “ In the meantime,” I said, “ have you any objection to communicate some part of your doctrine now?" It was evidently what he came to do; and his disciples very visibly exulted in the opportunity of his perhaps converting me.'

The conference is too long to extract, but it is very curious; though the result fell something short of what the worthy Bishop, in the zeal of his benevolence, bad anticipated. We should now leave the subject of the author's personal character, but it shines out so strongly in the account of the sudden death of one of his English friends and fellow-travellers, that we cannot refrain from gratifying our readers and ourselves with one other extract. Mr Stowe, the individual alluded to, died after

a short illness at Dacca, The day after his burial, the Bishop writes to his wife as follows:

Sincerely as I have mourned, and do mourn him continually, the moment perhaps at which I felt his loss most keenly was op my return to this house. I had always after airings, or other short absences, been accustomed to run up immediately to his room to ask about his medicines and his nourishment, to find if he had wanted any thing during my absence, and to tell him what I had seen and heard. And now, as I went up stairs, I felt most painfully that the object of my solicitude was gone, and that there was nobody now to derive comfort or help from my coming, or whose eyes would faintly sparkle as I opened the door. I felt my heart sick, and inclined to accuse myself, as usual, of not having valued my poor friend sufficiently while I had him, and of having paid during the voyage too little attention to the state of his health ; yet, from the hour I knew he was seriously ill, thank God! I can find nothing of wilful neglect to reproach myself with, though some things I might have done better, if I had not myself been in some respects unwell, and if I had not been constantly occupied with business and correspondence. But I hope I did what I could during the few last days; and when his danger was told me, I gave up every thing to him, and neither read nor wrote, por paid or received visits, nor even went out of his room for a moment, except for very short and hurried meals.

• It will be long before I forget the guilelessness of his nature, the interest which he felt and expressed in all the beautiful and sequestered scenery which we passed through, his anxiety to be useful to me in any way which I could point out to him, (he was indeed very useful,) and above all, the unaffected pleasure which he took in discussing religious subjects, his diligence in studying the Bible, and the fearless humanity with which he examined the case, and administered to the wants, of nine poor Hindoos, the crew of a salt-barge, whom, as I mentioned in my Journal, we found lying sick together of a jungle fever, unable to leave the place where they lay, and unaided by the neighbouring villagers. I then little thought how soon he in his turn would require the aid he gave so cheerfully.

On the day after, he writes in these terms to Miss Stowe, the sister of his departed friend.

• With a heavy heart, my dear Miss Stowe, I send you the enclosed keys. How to offer you consolation in your present grief, I know not ; for by my own deep sense of the loss of an excellent friend, I know how much heavier is your burden. Separation of one kind or another is, indeed, one of the most frequent trials to which affectionate hearts are exposed. And if you can only regard your brother as removed for his own advantage to a distant country, you will find, perhaps, some of that misery alleviated under which you are now suffering. Had you remained in England when he came out hither, you would have been, for a time, divided no less effectually than you are now. The difference of hearing from him is almost all, and though you now have not that comfort, yet even without hearing from him, you may be well persuaded

(which there you could not always have been) that he is well and happy ; and, above all, you may be persuaded, as your dear brother was most fully in his time of severest suffering, that God never smites his children in vain, or out of cruelty. His severest stripes are intended to heal, and he has doubtless some wise and gracious purpose both for your poor Martin and for you, in thus taking him from your side, and leaving you in this world, with Himself as your sole guardian. Meantime, in my wife and myself, you have friends, even in this remote land, who are anxious, as far as we have the power, to supply your brother's place, and whose best services you may command as freely as his whom you have lost.

So long as you choose to remain with us, we will be, to our power, a sister and a brother to you. And it may be worth your consideration, whether in your present state of health and spirits, a journey, in my wife's society, will not be better for you than a dreary voyage home. But this is a point on which you must decide for yourself; I would scarcely venture to advise, far less dictate, where I am only anxious to serve. In my dear Emily you will already have had a most affectionate and sensible counsellor. •

And now, farewell! God support, bless, and comfort you! Such as my prayers are, you have them fervently and sincerely offered. But you have better and holier prayers than mine. That the spirits in Paradise pray for those whom they have left behind, I cannot doubt, since I cannot suppose that they cease to love us there; and your dear brother is thus still employed in your service, and still recommending you to the Throne of Mercy, to the all-sufficient and promised help of that God who is the Father of the fatherless, and of that blessed Son who hath assured us, that “ they who mourn shall be comforted !"

We dare not venture on any part, either of the descriptions of scenery and antiquities, or of the persons and presentations at the several native courts. But we have no hesitation in recommending them as by far the best and most interesting, in both sorts, that we have ever met with. The account of his journeyings and adventures in the mountain region at the foot of the Himalaya is peculiarly striking, from the affecting resemblance the author is continually tracing to the scenery of his beloved England, his more beloved Wales, or his most beloved Hodnet. Of the natives, in all their orders, he is a most indulgent and liberal judge, as well as a very exact observer. He estimates their civilization higher, we think, than any other traveller who has given an account of them, and is very much struck with the magnificence of their architecture—though very sceptical as to the high antiquity to which some of its finest specimens pretend. We cannot afford to give any of the splendid and luminous descriptions in which the work abounds. In a private letter he says,

I had heard much of the airy and gaudy style of Oriental architecture, a notion, I apprehend, taken from that of China only, since soli.

dity, solemnity, and a richness of ornament, so well managed as not to interfere with solemnity, are the characteristics of all the ancient buildings which I have met with in this country. I recollect no corresponding parts of Windsor at all equal to the entrance of the castle of Delhi and its marble hall of audience, and even Delhi falls very short of Agra in situation, in majesty of outline, in size, and the costliness and beauty of its apartments.'

The following is a summary of his opinion of the people, in the same letter, which we think it right to give pretty fully in this place, though a part of it, we believe, was extracted in a former number.

' Of the people, so far as their natural character is concerned, I have been led to form, on the whole, a very favourable opinion. They have, unhappily, many of the vices arising from slavery, from an unsettled state of society, and immoral and erroneous systems of religion. But they are men of high and gallant courage, courteous, intelligent, and most eager after knowledge and improvement, with a remarkable apti. tude for the abstract sciences, geometry, astronomy, &c. and for the imitative arts, painting and sculpture. They are sober, industrious, dutiful to their parents, and affectionate to their children, of tempers almost uniformly gentle and patient, and more easily affected by kindness and attention to their wants and feelings than almost any men whom I have met with. Their faults seem to arise from the hateful superstitions to which they are subject, and the unfavourable state of society in which they are placed. But if it should please God to make any considerable portion of them Christians, they would, I can well believe, put the best of European Christians to shame.'

And afterwards,

' Their general character, however, has much which is extremely pleasing to me : they are brave, courteous, intelligent, and most eager after knowledge and improvement, with a remarkable talent for the science of geometry, astronomy, &c. as well as for the arts of painting and sculpture. In all these points they have had great difficulties to struggle with, both from the want of models, instruments, and elementary instruction ; the indisposition, or rather the horror, entertained, till lately, by many among their European masters for giving them iustruction of any kind ; and now, from the real difficulty which exists of translating works of science into languages which have no corresponding terms. More has been done, and more successfully, to obviate these evils in the Presidency of Bombay than in any part of India which I have yet visited, through the wise and liberal policy of Mr Elphinstone; to whom this side of the Peninsula is also indebted for some very important and efficient improvements in the administration of justice, and who, both in amiable temper and manners, extensive and various information, acute good sense, energy, and application to business, is one of the most extraordinary men, as he is quite the most popular governor, that I have fallen in with.' · The following is also very important; and gives more new

« AnteriorContinuar »