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REMEMBRANCERS OF HOME.
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.
"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."
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 architecturethough 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 solidity, 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."
452 BISHOP HEBER- HIS CHARACTER OF THE NATIVES.
The following is a summary of his opinion of the people, which follows in the same letter:
"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 aptitude 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.
"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 and valuable information than many pretending volumes, by men who have been half their lives in the countries to which they relate:
"Of the people of this country, and the manner in which they are governed, I have, as yet, hardly seen enough to form an opinion. I have seen enough, however, to find that the customs, the habits, and prejudices of the former are much misunderstood in England. We have all heard, for instance, of the humanity of the Hindoos towards brute creatures, their horror of animal food, &c.; and you may be, perhaps, as much surprised as I was, to find that those who can afford it are hardly less carnivorous than ourselves; that even the purest Brahmins are allowed to eat mutton and venison; that fish is permitted to many castes, and pork to many others; and that, though they consider it a grievous crime to kill a cow or bullock for the purpose of eating, yet they treat their draft oxen, no less than their horses, with a degree of barbarous severity which would turn an English hackney coachman sick. Nor have their religious prejudices, and the unchangeableness of their habits, been less exaggerated. Some of the best informed of their nation, with whom I have conversed, assure me that half their most remarkable customs of civil and
THEIR HABITS BY NO MEANS INFLEXIBLE. 453
domestic life are borrowed from their Mohammedan conquerors; and at present there is an obvious and increasing disposition to imitate the English in every thing, which has already led to very remarkable changes, and will, probably, to still more important. The wealthy natives now all affect to have their houses decorated with Corinthian pillars, and filled with English furniture. They drive the best horses and the most dashing carriages in Calcutta. Many of them speak English fluently, and are tolerably read in English literature; and the children of one of our friends I saw one day dressed in jackets and trousers, with round hats, shoes and stockings. In the Bengalee newspapers, of which there are two or three, politics are canvassed, with a bias, as I am told, inclining to Whiggism; and one of their leading men gave a great dinner not long since in honour of the Spanish Revolution. Among the lower orders the same feeling shows itself more beneficially, in a growing neglect of caste- - in not merely a willingness, but an anxiety, to send their children to our schools, and a desire to learn and speak English, which, if properly encouraged, might, I verily believe, in fifty years' time, make our language what the Oordoo, or court and camp language of the country (the Hindoostanee), is at present. And though instances of actual conversion to Christianity are, as yet, very uncommon, yet the number of children, both male and female, who are now receiving a sort of Christian education, reading the New Testament, repeating the Lord's Prayer and Commandments, and all with the consent, or at least without the censure, of their parents or spiritual guides, have increased, during the last two years, to an amount which astonishes the old European residents, who were used to tremble at the name of a Missionary, and shrink from the common duties of Christianity, lest they should give offence to their heathen neighbours. So far from that being a consequence of the zeal which has been lately shown, many of the Brahmins themselves express admiration of the morality of the Gospel, and profess to entertain a better opinion of the English since they have found that they too have a religion and a Shaster. All that seems necessary for the best effects to follow is, to let things take their course; to make the Missionaries discreet; to keep the government as it now is, strictly neuter; and to place our confidence in a general diffusion of knowledge, and in making ourselves really useful to the temporal as well as spiritual interests of the people among whom we live.
In all these points there is, indeed, great room for improvement: But I do not by any means assent to the pictures of depravity and general worthlessness which some have drawn of the Hindoos. They are decidedly, by nature, a mild, pleasing, and intelligent race; sober, parsimonious, and, where an object is held out to them, most industrious and persevering. But the magistrates and lawyers all agree that in no country are lying and perjury so common, and so little regarded; and notwithstanding the apparent mildness of their manners, the criminal calendar is generally as full as in Ireland, with gang-robberies, setting fire to buildings, stacks, &c.; and the number of children who are decoyed aside and murdered, for the sake of their ornaments, Lord Amherst assures me, is dreadful."
454 HOSPITAL FOR LICE!—OUR SMALL POPULARITY.
We may add the following direct testimony on a point of some little curiosity, which has been alternately denied and exaggerated :—
"At Broach is one of those remarkable institutions which have made a good deal of noise in Europe, as instances of Hindoo benevolence to inferior animals. I mean hospitals for sick and infirm beasts, birds, and insects. I was not able to visit it; but Mr. Corsellis described it as a very dirty and neglected place, which, though it has considerable endowments in land, only serves to enrich the Brahmins who manage it. They have really animals of several different kinds there, not only those which are accounted sacred by the Hindoos, as monkeys, peacocks, &c., but horses, dogs, and cats; and they have also, in little boxes, an assortment of lice and fleas! It is not true, however, that they feed those pensioners on the flesh of beggars hired for the purpose. The Brahmins say that these insects, as well as the other inmates of their infirmary, are fed with vegetables only, such as rice, &c. How the insects thrive, I did not hear; but the old horses and dogs, nay the peacocks and apes, are allowed to starve; and the only creatures said to be in any tolerable plight are some milch cows, which may be kept from other motives than charity."
He adds afterwards,
"I have not been led to believe that our Government is generally popular, or advancing towards popularity. It is, perhaps, impossible that we should be so in any great degree; yet I really think there are some causes of discontent which it is in our own power, and which it is our duty to remove or diminish. One of these is the distance and haughtiness with which a very large proportion of the civil and military servants of the Company treat the upper and middling class of natives. Against their mixing much with us in society, there are certainly many hindrances; though even their objection to eating with us might, so far as the Mussulmans are concerned, I think, be conquered by any popular man in the upper provinces, who made the attempt in a right way. But there are some of our amusements, such as private theatrical entertainments and the sports of the field, in which they would be delighted to share, and invitations to which would be regarded by them as extremely flattering, if they were not, perhaps with some reason, voted bores, and treated accordingly. The French, under Perron and Des Boignes, who in more serious matters left a very bad name behind them, had, in this particular, a great advantage over us; and the easy and friendly intercourse in which they lived with natives of rank is still often regretted in Agra and the Dooab. This is not all, however. The foolish pride of the English absolutely leads them to set at nought the injunctions of their own Government. The Tussildars, for instance, or principal active officers of revenue, ought, by an order of council, to have chairs always offered them in the presence of their European superiors; and the same, by the standing orders of the army, should be done to the Soubahdars. Yet there are hardly six collectors in India who observe
STATE OF EDUCATION-RESPECT FOR CHRISTIANITY. 455
the former etiquette; and the latter, which was fifteen years ago never omitted in the army, is now completely in disuse. At the same time, the regulations of which I speak are known to every Tussildar and Soubahdar in India, and they feel themselves aggrieved every time these civilities are neglected."
Of the state of the Schools, and of Education in general, he speaks rather favourably; and is very desirous that, without any direct attempt at conversion, the youth should be generally exposed to the humanizing influence of the New Testament morality, by the general introduction of that holy book, as a lesson book in the schools; a matter to which he states positively that the natives, and even their Brahminical pastors, have no sort of objection. Talking of a female school, lately established at Calcutta, under the charge of a very pious and discreet lady, he observes, that "Rhadacant Deb, one of the wealthiest natives in Calcutta, and regarded as the most austere and orthodox of the worshippers of the Ganges, bade, some time since, her pupils go on and prosper; and added, that if they practised the Sermon on the Mount as well as they repeated it, he would choose all the handmaids for his daughters, and his wives, from the English school.""
He is far less satisfied with the administration of Justice; especially in the local or district courts, called Adawlut, which the costliness and intricacy of the proceedings, and the needless introduction of the Persian language, have made sources of great practical oppression, and objects of general execration throughout the country. At the Bombay Presidency Mr. Elphinstone has discarded the Persian, and appointed every thing to be done in the ordinary language of the place.
And here we are afraid we must take leave of this most instructive and delightful publication; which we confidently recommend to our readers, not only as more likely to amuse them than any book of travels with which we are acquainted, but as calculated to enlighten their understandings, and to touch their hearts with a purer flame than they generally catch from most professed works of philosophy or devotion. It sets before us, in every page, the most engaging example of devo