Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

example, on the great scale, may be added. The arbitrary and unjust conduct of Warren Hastings, and the violence which he offered to native prejudices, threw the great and populous province of Benares into a state of insurrection, which nothing could quell but a large army. This was the much-admired governor of the East India Company; a man of undoubted talent, versed in the languages, manners, and institutions of the natives of India, and who was brought up in 1813, before the House of Commons, to give evidence touching the impossibility of extending the commercial intercourse of Great Britain with India, the danger of violating native usages, the excellence of the existing order of things, and other matters equally true and edifying. Now, had the said Warren Hastings been a merchant, or an indigo planter, in all human probability he would not have touched a hair of the Rajah Cheti Singh's head ; certainly he would not have wantonly arrested his person, and, by this flagrant insult to the prejudices of his subjects, brought on a formidable insurrection. To be guilty of such indiscretion, it was necessary to be duly clothed with authority! .

'In the discussions of 1813, the East India Company was not satisfied with a mere denunciation of the general principle of the free settlement of Englishmen in India : they declared, that the bare circumstance of a partial opening of the trade, would produce such an inundation of true. born Englishmen as would sap the foundation, and, finally, overthrow the whole fabric of our Indian empire. The experience of the last thir. teen years has not verified this ominous prognostication. The whole number of European settlers in Bengal, unconnected with the public service, is about two thousand seven hundred ; and this, let it be observed, includes foreigners as well as British-born subjects: in 1813, it was one thousand six hundred. At the other Presidencies, the whole accession certainly has not amounted to two hundred persons. The inundation, therefore, which was immediately to sap the foundations, and then to overthrow the vast fabric of our empire, has amounted in thirteen years only to about one thousand three hundred persons, all employed in the peaceable pursuits of industry, without an hour's leisure for polie tics or squabbling !

These, no doubt, are weighty considerations. Looking only to the moral probabilities of the case, it is impossible to deny that offences of the kind referred to, are much more likely to be committed by a foolish ensign or ill-conditioned cornet, who has nothing to do with the natives but to command or to laugh at them, than by a speculator in cotton or sugar plantations, who must be aware that he cannot get on without their assistance. But it ought not, on the other hand, to be forgotten, that the military standard-bearers, however petulant and thoughtless they may be in their proper persons, are not only invested with authority, but subject to it; and act at all times under the control of a rigid military discipline, by which they are perpetually aware that their misconduct would be instantly detected, and most summarily chastised. This, too, is known as universally

most deche lowest impresses;

to the natives; who will both bear more from persons clothed with public authority, and rely more surely on getting redress for any outrages of which they may be guilty. Another very important element in the question, is the superior education of tbe official servants of the Company, and their consolidation, as it were, into one great associated body, which impresses its own character in a great degree upon the lowest and least experienced of its members-one most decided feature in their esprit du corps being a spirit of conciliation and deference to the religious prejudices of the natives. In all these respects, the situation of insulated mercantile adventurers would evidently be far less advantageous; while the nature of their relations with the natives must, on many occasions, be more likely to lead to heart-burnings and contentions. We will confess, however, that unless the actual number of such adventurers should suddenly become much greater than we think at all likely, we should not apprebend any great danger from their introduction; while, in all other respects, their gradual and quiet admixture with the people, and their habitual association with theni' in the pursuits of improved industry and independent intercourse, promise to effect, more rapidly than any thing else, that general amelioration in their morals, intellect, and worldly condition, which it is equally the duty and the interest of their European rulers to promote.

As to the other objections, of our Indian colonists throwing off their subjection to the mother country, or of the Hindus becoming, by our too liberal treatment of them, too wealthy and knowing to submit to a foreign yoke, they both evidently point to futurities so remote as scarcely to require consideration; and are judiciously disposed of by our author upon this principle, with a firm and manly annunciation of the undoubted truth, that whenever either of those events becomes possible, it will be just and reasonable that it should occur! The following statements will be new, we believe, to most of our readers, and are every way worthy of their attention.

Among the dangers which have been conjured up to alarm us for the stability of our Indian dominions, is the increase of the mixed race. A very few words will suffice for the refutation of this allegation. The greater number of the half-castes, or, as they have been recently called, Eurasians, are to be found in the Bengal provinces. Now the number of grown males of this description here, is just 215, and even among these there are included several of the most respectable of the class called Portuguese natire Christians. The genuine half-castes throughout India, men, women, and children, we are convinced, will be overrated at one thousand. This is the formidable body that is to wrest the dominion of eighty-three millions of people from us.

* So much for the genuine half-castes, or immediate descendants of an European parent with a native one. In Calcutta, the whole descendants of Europeans of every nation, including the nearest and remotest degrees, do not exceed five thousand persons. For all British India, they would certainly be overrated at three times this number : the natives converted to Christianity are numerous in the southern parts of the pen. insula, but are docile even beyond the Hindus themselves.

· However little danger, present or future, we have to apprehend from the Eurasians, it is our duty to treat them with fairness and justice. At present they are rigidly excluded from all offices of trust, civil or mis litary. From civil offices, indeed, their exclusion is complete; and their highest promotion in the military service is the dignity of a serjeant or drum-major. Their exclusion from trust, in the country of their birth, is unjust, ungenerous, and impolitic. They cannot, indeed, overthrow our dominion, however we may maltreat them; but the presence of a mass of discontented persons, as they must necessarily be, cannot but contribute more or less to its insecurity.

· The natives converted to Christianity are still more harshly treated than the immediate descendants of Europeans. Under a Christian Government, they are seldom or never employed in any part of India ; and under the Madras Government, are expressly excluded “ by law” from such humble employments as other natives are eligible to hold !

Upon the progress wbich has been recently made in the amalgamation of the two races, and the improvements which have in consequence resulted to the least instructed, the following testimony, confirmed as it is in every part by that of Bishop Heber, appears to us of great value.

• The great majority of British sojourners in India are in the Bengal provinces, and a vast majority of these within the comparatively narrow limits of the town of Calcutta : the whole number of such sojourners does not exceed three thousand persons, of which we compute that about twothirds are the inhabitants of Calcutta ; the remaining third, dispersed and powerless, is scattered over the nearly 600,000 square miles beyond its limits. It is, therefore, in the European towns alone, and especially in Calcutta, that there exists any thing like an opportunity for change and improvement ; and, considering the smallness of the means, change and improvement have, since the era of the free trade, the short com. pass of thirteen years, been great and remarkable.

' A few striking examples may be given. The native inhabitants of Calcutta having been last year admitted to sit as petty jurymen in cri. minal cases, an official list of qualified persons was duly published : the qualification, in respect to education, was such a knowledge of the English language as should enable the party to follow the judge in his charge ; and in point of property, an estate of the value of L.500 sterling, or payment of a house rent at L.5 per annum. Persons possessing estates of the value of L.20,000, were exempted from serving on common juries. The lists, admitted to be imperfect, showed eighty-four qualified Indians, of whom no less than fifty-seven were men possessing estates of L.20,000 or upwards.

From this statement several most interesting and important deduce tions may be drawn. Not many years ago even a miserable smattering of the English language was confined to a few profligate persons, whose interests brought them into immediate connexion with Europeans for no good purposes. We have here persons representing property worth, at the lowest estimate, L.1,140,000, possessing not only a knowledge of the English language, but sufficient European education to enable them to comprehend the charge of a British judge to a jury. Of the whole number of persons competent to serve on juries, more than sixty-seven in a hundred are of this wealthy class ; showing pretty clearly that it is the higher, and not the lower, or even middling orders, that are most disposed to receive European education. In the list of native jurors there is not to be found a single Mahomedan name, either of Hindustan, Persia, or Arabia ; the whole is composed of the alleged unchangeable Hindus. Further, the great majority of these wealthy persons are brahmins, and all of them men of high caste.

As to disinclination to European learning, this is wholly out of the question. On the contrary, both the interests and the practical good sense of the natives lead them to give it a decided preference, notwithstanding some foolish attempts made to restrain them, by diverting their principal attention to the barren field of their own language, literature, and philosophy! Even the Hindu religion seems to be giving way before the light of reason; and it is well it should; for, independent of its spiritual consequences, the influence which this degrading superstition exercises over civil society, is pernicious and demoralizing, far beyond that of any other known form of worship.

We shall close our extracts, and conclude this rambling article, with the following just and liberal observation.

"We repeat, that the only suitable and efficient means of improving our conquered subjects—the only means by which one people ever conferred lasting and solid improvement upon another-is a free and unshackled intercourse between the two parties. Will the stability of our dominion be impaired by the improvement of the Hindus ? Poor and ignorant nations are always most liable to delusion, and most subject to insurrection ; wealthy and intelligent ones the least so. In proportion, therefore, as the Hindus become instructed, and are rescued from their present poverty, they will only be the more easy of management. This easy management of course supposes the introduction of laws and institutions suitable to, and keeping pace with, their advancement in civilisation. They cannot always be governed as mere helots ; nor would a nation of helots be worth the governing. They must be gradually, and as they improve, admitted to a share in their own administration. If this principle be prudently and liberally acted upon, we may maintain our Indian dominions for many centuries.'

[merged small][ocr errors]

Art. III.-1. Gaii Institutionum Commentarii 4. e codice rescripto

bibliothecæ capitularis Veronensis, a Frid. Bluhmio iterum collato secundum edit. Jo. Frid. Lud. Goeschen. accedit Fragmentum veteris Jurisconsulti de Jure Fisci, ex aliis ejusdem bi

bliothecæ membranis transcriptum. 8vo. Berolini, 1824. 2. Institutes de Gaius récemment découvertes dans un Palimpseste de

la Bibliothèque du Chapitre de Verone ; et traduites pour la première fois en Français. Par J. B. E. Boulet, avocat à la cour

Royale de Paris ; avec des Notes. 8vo. Paris, 1827. 3. Jurisconsulti Ante-Justinianei reliquiæ inedite, ex codice rescripto

bibliothecæ Pontificiæ Vaticanæ, curante Angelo Maio, Biblioth. ejusd. Pref. 8vo. Romæ, 1823.

The excellence, in every kind of composition, of the Greek I and Roman writers during their best ages, and especially of the Greek, is so universally admitted, that it would be quite intolerable to enlarge on it: But the accidents by which our knowledge of them has been restrained or extended, may be allowed to form a subject less trite and familiar. Of some of these renowned authors, the principal works have been handed down to us in an imperfect state; of some, large and valuable portions have escaped destruction, whilst portions equally large and valuable bave been lost; of others, a few precious fragments alone remain ; minute specimens of the splendid materials and noble workmanship-insignificant scraps and fallen crumbs, that serve, however, to attest the magnificence of the banquet, from which unbappily we are debarred. Of others, and of some of the most distinguished, the entire works have wholly and utterly perished! and we are able to estimate our loss only by the praises which have been lavished on them by critics, who enjoyed the happiness which fortune has withheld from us. It is idle to mourn over the fatal shipwreck which has buried so many treasures. But it may yet be worth while to consider what hopes may be cherished of their recovery; and to ascertain whether any part of the vessel, or of her precious cargo, may be still in existence, although sunk in the depths of the sea, or buried beneath the overwhelming sands; and whether it be possible, by industry or artifice, by the accustomed methods or by new contrivances, to extricate from apparent destruction, and to restore to light, the hidden treasure, whereof the situation and position may have been thus discovered.

The sources from which the lost works of the classical authors

« AnteriorContinuar »