Page images

Providence committed the destinies of that unhappy people. The ryots did not sow, for they could not expect to reap; the tanks that irrigated the fields were destroyed; and the scarcity rose to an appalling height. Thousands were dying of famine around Tanjore; but the provident sagacity of Swartz had foreseen the evil, and bad laid in supplies for the support of the mission, applying the surplus towards alleviating the general misery. His embassy had given him reason to apprehend the war, and induced him to buy 12,000 bushels of rice, whilst it was yet at a low price. As the war had driven the inhabitants to the walled towns, Tanjore was crowded to excess. Early in the morning, the dead were lying in heaps on the dunghill. At this juncture, there were no stores for the garrison, and the rajah, for want of a good understanding with the natives, could not procure bullocks for the carriage of provisions. In this dilemma, Swartz wrote to the inhabitants, desiring them to bring their cattle, and promising them payment on his own responsibility. The cattle were brought, the garrison supplied, and the natives paid. For seventeen months, Swartz fed about 800 of the poor, having received for this charitable purpose contributions from several Europeans. The events of the war are well known. The British army and the Company's possessions were rescued by the interposition of Mr. Hastings, who, having despatched Sir Eyre Coote with powers to assume the chief command at Madras, and with a large reinforcement of troops (the guilty and incapable Rumbold was suspended by the same vigorous act of authority), gave a different aspect to the state of things, both on the coast of Coromandel and the side of Malabar. Such was the universal respect inspired by Swartz at this perilous crisis, that even Hyder himself, in the hot career of bloodshed and desolation, gave orders to his officers “ to permit the Padre Swartz to pass unmolested, and to shew him respect and kindness, for he is a holy man, and means no harm.”. Thus, when the whole country was overrun by Hyder’s troops, the good father, so he was emphatically called, pursued his labours without the slightest hindrance.

After Hyder's death, the war was continued by T'ippoo, who styled himself Sultaun, his father having been content with the more modest title of Naick. When the negotiation for peace took place, Lord Macartney solieited Swartz to join the commissioners at Serigapatam, as their interpreter. . Having commenced the journey, he was stopped at Sattimungulum by Tippoo's officers. Of the policy and durability of this peace, scrupulously as he abstained from all political interference, Swartz had reason to doubt,—nor could he avoid some expressions of regret that Colonel Fullarton, in his victorious progress, should have received orders to abandon his conquests, before the negociation, instead of keeping possession of them as a motive to Tippoo to grant reasonable terms. Why Swartz was not per: mitted to proceed is a matter of conjecture. Colonel Wilks ascribes it to the system of studied insult practised by Tippoo upon the English Government and its agents. After a long, harassing journey, the commissioners -were conducted to Mangalore, where they patched up a treaty with Tippoo on the 11th March 1734.


Tanjore was still in a deplorable state from the calamities sustained by the rajah, first from the assumption of his country by the nabob, and subsequently from the invasion of Hyder. Regardless of the instructions of his friend and adviser, and rejecting the proffered consolations of the Christian faith, he buried himself in a sort of voluptuous oblivion within the inmost recesses of his palace. His character was changed; he became the rapacious oppressor and plunderer of his people, who abandoned the country, leaving whole districts waste and uncultivated. Not less than 70,000 inhabitants are computed by Colonel Wilks to have emigrated. Finding the rajah determined to confide the management of his affairs to the same oppressive duan (minister), who had brought them to ruin, the Madras government took the country into their own hands, having appointed a committee of inspection for its temporary superintendence, and Sir Archibald Campbell, the then governor, invited Swartz to an honorary seat in it, in which he was earnestly joined by the other members. Swartz expressed his readiness to give his best advice and to be aiding on all occasions that did not involve violent or coercive measures, which, however politically expedient, he deemed irreconcileable to his sacred functions. Overcome by the remonstrances of Swartz, the rajah intreated him to mediate with the people, and to assure them, in his own (Swartz's) name, of his highness's protection. Such was their confidence in Swartz, that 7,000 returned at once, and when he reminded them, that the best season for cultivating was nearly past, they replied, “ We will work night and day to shew our régard for you.” They did so, and in that year the harvest was more abundant than that of the former.

In 1787, the rajah, anxious for a successor to supply the failure of his ancient house, adopted a son with the attributed name of Serfogee Rajah, according to the Hindoo law in similar cases, and, pointing to the boy, thus emphatically addressed the missionary : “ This is not my son, but your's; into your hand I deliver him.” Swartz replied, “May this child become a child of God!" By his advice, the boy was confided to the rajah's brother, Ameer Sing,' as his guardian politically, the care of his person and education remaining with Swartz. Doubts having arisen, after the rajah's death, as to the legality of the adoption, and the question being referred to twelve pundits, they declared Serlogee's adoption invalid.The right of Ameer Sing, therefore, followed as a corollary, and Sir Archibald Campbell set aside the adopted son, and placed Ameer Sing on the musnud, who immediately assumed the government. Swartz gave the new rajah the same excellent advice he had given his predecessor, but with little success.

Some years afterwards, the adopted son of the late rajah was rescued from the control of Ameer Sing, but the jealousy of that personage towards the youth for two years proceeded to such a length, as to render the interference of the Madras government again necessary, in 1792. Attempts were made upon his life by the burning of a large quantity of chillies under the windows of his apartments, by which he was nearly suffocated. The poor prince complained of a series of persecutions and annoy

[ocr errors]

ances of the same kind in confidential letters to Swartz. “ He continues to torment us," complained the unhappy youth. “My servant le confines, so that hardly any one will stay with me. When a merchant comes to sell us cloth, he and his cloth are detained. But why should I trouble you with all my griefs? I entreat you to send this my letter to the honourable board,'; and beseech them either to call me to Madras, or to put a guard of Europeans near the gate, to protect me and my two mothers, or to give me a room out of the fort in your garden.”. Swartz forwarded this well-founded complaint to the Madras government, of which Sir Charles Oakley was then the president, assuring them that Serfogee and the ladies were in personal danger. Orders were accordingly transmitted to Tanjore, that Serfogee and the widows should be invited to Madras, where they might live unmolested, and Serfogee's education be completed. This was accomplished without any resistance by a detachment of the Company's troops, 1 and the whole party, accompanied by their faithful friend and protector, arrived at the presidency on the 10th January 1793.

Swartz was now full of years; but he was still watchfully trimming his lamp. Although he had now entered his 70th year, he preached every Sunday, catechised every day, in the evening visiting Christian families and instructing them in the duties of religion. There were twelve catechists maintained at Tanjore, Ramanadapuram, and Palamcottah, whose monthly salaries amounted to £60 per annum. Sattaniaden was paid by the society; the catechists by Swartz. The orphan-school, feeding, clothing, and teaching 15 native boys, required £40 a-year to maintain it.' But the Company having, up to that time (1796), allowed something to Swartz, this gene, rous being looked on it as a donation to the mission. About this time, the claims of Serfogee (whose adoption had been set aside by an unfair decision of the pundits, bribed and biassed by Ameer Sing) to the succession to the musnud were again laid before Lord Cornwallis by Swartz, on the , ground of the former decision being contrary to the Shasters, which Swartz had not then studied, and of the corruption of the twelve pundits. · One of them confessed that hope and fear had influenced him. “ It is money that made him rajah,” said he ; “ if you would have us confess publicly, you must protect us publicly.” Even the rajah himself, on one occasion, said, As If they press me too much, I will reveal all, and raise a storm all over : England. They have all got money from me, except Mr. Swartz." There was English as well as native intrigue in the business. The whole subject: was discussed; the legality of Serfogee's adoption clearly established; the rewards given to the pundits by Ameer Sing, with the death-bed declaration of one of them, that he had decided under undue influence, and the practices on the young prince's life, were adduced as proofs of Ameer Sing's conviction of the invalidity of his own title, in an elaborate despatch from Sir John Shore to Lord Hobart, the Madras governor. The final decision of the Court of Directors, which restored Serfogee to his rights, did not reach India till his venerable instructor had ceased to take any interest in the affairs of this earthly scene.


His last moments are recorded by his friend Mr. Gerické, a missionary scarcely inferior to himself in the talents and virtues requisite for that calling. Swartz died on the 11th February 1798, and“ on the day following, we committed,” says Mr. Gerické,“ his body to the grave. Serfogee, the Tanjore prince, saw him before the coffin was closed, bedewed him with his tears and followed him to the

grave. Very moving were the sobs and weeping of the people in the Christian villages on both sides of the garden, during the whole night. Their instructor, their friend, their guardian was no more. Every one lamented the loss of a parent in Swartz.”

The written sermons of Swartz, who generally preached extempore, or from slight heads, are few. His very reverend biographer has inserted three, and while they accord with the perfect simplicity of his character, they display a great vigour of thought and expression. The great doctrines of the atonement and.the efficacy of faith, that faith “working by love" to : God and man, demonstrated the cheering scriptural views which Swartz had habitually taken of Christianity. Nothing visionary, nothing enthusiastic, nothing inflated; the purest principles of faith and conduct are en- , forced. Such were the leading features of his teaching, confirmed and illustrated by his own eminent example.

· The character of this extraordinary man stands so beyond the ordinary reach of human virtue, as almost to impair its efficacy as an example. Such virtues, as Burke somewhere remarks, “are at a market. too high. for humanity." Seeing that the model is unattainable, weak minds will: relax their efforts to approach it, and find an apology for their indolence, in the impossibility of reaching it.

He rejected with high-minded indifference all worldly rewards—those even ; which were requisite. to personal comfort, in a climate, where nature must be soothed and caressed. He was equally careless as to what the world calls. fame and honour, and never sought what was so constantly kept in view by: Wesley, the maintenance of a personal dominion. Those who were associated with him in the great labours of the mission, however inferior in: talent or influence, he considered as his coadjutors, not his instruments. His undivided aim in every thing he said or did was to do good. Nothing could equal the sweetness of his discourse, unless it was the exterior grace : of bis manner and figure. . “ I well remember,” says Sir Alexander John-: ston, “ his peculiarly venerable and impressive appearance, the tall erect figure, the head white with years, the mingled dignity and amenity of his demeanour. To his pupils, he was more like a parent than a preceptor.”

For the length of this article, we cannot apologize. The amor suscepti negotii must of necessity incline any man, who takes up the pen upon such a theme, to hang over it with delight and fondness. The most churlish misanthropy might be reconciled to the species by such a model of what it is capable of attaining.

The entire conversion of Hindostan to the Christian faith, is, for the+ present, a faint and shadowy anticipation. It is not, however, to be rejected as the mere dream of enthusiasm. But if it is oply to be brought about

[ocr errors]

by the silent progress of opinion, and a change and improvement in the intellectual state of that country, the prospect is too distant to be encouraging. No such revolution has yet taken place amongst so vast a portion of mankind, unless it was quickened from without by one or more of those remarkable impulses, which forestall the tardy growth of moral and religious sentiment, and do in a few years the work of ages. Such was the Reformation, prepared, indeed, by a considerable but slow change of religious thinking, for which Wickliff and Huss had pioneered the road, leaving to Luther and Melancthon more effectual means of consummating it. But i this great change would not have been enough, if the fervour of theological controversy had not been fanned by the breath of political faction. The spirit of political resistance to the papal see and its abuses, placed Luther upon the vantage-ground he would not otherwise have commanded, in the siege he carried on against the old ecclesiastical system.

These causes cannot operate in India ; conversion, therefore, must con->, tinue to proceed reluctantly and slowly there, and much will depend on the character and conduct of the missionaries themselves, putting our Churchestablishment out of the question, for reasons it is not necessary to state. Their doctrines, too, form an important element in the consideration. At. present, many of them are not only incapable of being brought into a consistent theological system, but are in direct opposition to each other. Absolute election, and the doctrine of Christian perfection, have so strony a tendency to mysticism and antinomianism, as to revolt the Hindoos, whose ethical is totally separate from, and exempt from the absurdities of, their mythological system. With the meekness and flexibility of the Hindoo character, Christianity has ties of natural affinity ; but the Wesleyan doctrines, in many respects, have no sympathy whaterer with the Hindoo feeling and character. The general fault, moreover, of the missionaries is i a too indiscriminate use of "the terrors of our Lord,” which came softened. from the lips of Swartz, but which, we fear, his successors are apt to dwell upon, as wrathful denunciations which are not to be averted. They stimu-, late also the unconverted soul too much to a sense of its danger and misery, by a display of revolting and fearful imagery, which, if it affrights the sinner, does not attract the convert. A missionary, to succeed in that ; country, must be of a different school from that of Mr. Ellis, in the island of Tahiti.* He must not war with the festive recreations of the natives. There is as little reason why Christianity should wear the sour aspect of puritanism, as the mummery and masques of popery.

* Polynesian Researches in the South-sea Islands London, 1829.

CEREBRAL CHARACTER OF RAMMOHUN ROY. The Phrenological Journal for June contains a curious examination of the cerebral development of the head of the late Rammohun Roy, from a cast taken immediately after his death.* The dimensions of the cast and the cerebral development are as follows:

* The cast was taken when the body was still warm, and so carefully, 'that the gentleman who for." warded the hust to the Phrenological society (Mr. J. B. Estlin), and who was present at the operation,


« PreviousContinue »