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version.* On the publication in India of the discussions that occurred in England, on the renewal of the last charter, and of the purport of the nume rous petitions presented to parliament, urging the legislature to adopt measures for promoting the moral and religious improvement of the natives, the leading members of the Hindoo, Mahomedan, and Parsee sects waited upon me, as chief secretary, to know what was the object of those proceedings. I informed them, that there were people in England who considered it an obligation of duty to diffuse a knowledge of Christianity throughout the world ; that we translated, read, and studied the religious books of all sects, and had no object in view than to circulate as widely works on Christianity. That they might rest perfectly assured that the governments at home, and more especially in India, would not interfere with the religious tenets of their native subjects, but would continue to allow the most universal toleration, and protect the natives in the undisturbed enjoyment of their respective religions; and that the ultimate predominance of the one or the other would be left to the course of events and the progress of knowledge, uncontrolled by the exercise of any arbitrary act of power. They expressed themselves perfectly satisfied.
Whilst, however, no particular institution has been established for the promotion of education, on the ground of those representations, the most laudable exertions have been made since the formation of the episcopal establishment in British India, by Archdeacon Barnes, by the English and Scotch clergy, and by the labours of missionaries, to extend the benefits of education, by the establishment of schools at the presidency and in the provinces, towards the support of which, in Western India, the Company have contributed, on the average, about £4,000 annually.
In 1814, the American missionaries established native free schools in Bombay and its vicinity. În 1824, they had 26 schools, at which 1,454 children, of whom 136 were of the Jewish persuasion, were in a course of instruction, in reading, writing, arithmetic, grammar, geography, some of the simple parts of astronomy, and other scientific and general knowledge, in the Mahratta language, which was alone taught. The Scriptures are a principal class-book in all their schools; but the children are not required to yield their assent to their doctrines, and such other ethical compositions as are commonly used in English schools. They have also successfully established a female school, at which fifty-four girls attended, of whom seventeen were Jewesses. The expense, about £30 a month, is entirely defrayed from America; five of the schools being supported by small associations, mostly females, in that country.
The Bombay school committee, after having provided for the education of the European and Christian children of both sexes, turned their attention, in 1819, to the means best calculated for extending that blessing to the native children of India. The plan met with the entire approbation of the assemblies or punchayets of two classes of the native inhabitants of the island. In 1820, the number of children, including the regimental schools under the control of the society, exceeded 800. The annual expense is £2,500, chiefly contributed by private individuals. The most decisive and beneficial spirit, however, which
In 1804, Lord Wellesley yielded to a remonstrance addressed to the Governor-general, by a nnmber of respectable Mahomedans, against the subject proposed for a public disputation at the college of Forte William, " The advantages which the natives of India might derive from translations in the vernacular tongues, of the books containing the principles of their respective religions and those of the Christian faith,” under a belief that the discussion would involve topics offensive to their religious prejudices. The question was withdrawn, and an official document was circulated, declaring that is the discussion. of any subject connected with religion, or which was degrading to the religion of India, was quite foreign to the principles of the institution of the college.”-Malcolm's Pol. History of India, Vol. ii. p. 270.
has been infused into the natives, and which has produced in the higher and middle classes an eager desire to promote in their families the highest attainments in literature, arts, and sciences, under an improved system of instruction, was created by the policy of Mr. Elphinstone, which displayed itself in the munificent example set by the natives of Western India, in the establishment of the Elphinstone professorships.
The anxiety of the natives to extend the knowledge of the English language has not yet received any corresponding degree of encouragement. A sum, equal at least to what they have thengselves raised for the purpose, would be a donation not unworthy the liberality of the government. Something more is, however, necessary. Without in any manner interfering with the native village schools, bad as they are, seminaries should be established in each zillah, for instructing the children of the higher and middling classes in the English language, reading, writing, arithmetic, geography, jurisprudence, political economy, and medicine,* by schoolmasters to be sent from England; qualified assistants to teach the elementary parts of the English language may be found in India. “ The natives of the city of Surat have shown a strong desire to have their children taught the English language. Their proficiency, however, cannot reach beyond the moderate education which an European soldier can bestow, the only means at present available. Nothing permanently useful can be done without extraneous aid. The natives have no public spirit;t and, although perfectly aware of the advantage to their children of a good education and a knowledge of the English language, they will never hold out hopes of advantage to a single individual properly qualified for the important task of instruction.”
As a further proof of the desire of the natives to acquire the English language, it may be stated, that the Bombay government proposed to the professors of à Mahomedan college at Surat, and of the Hindoo college at Poona, to introduce the study of English as a branch of education in those establishments, and offered, with that view, to be at the expense of training at Bombay a number of Mahomedan and Hindoo youths as schoolmasters, and to furnish those colleges with a select supply of English books, expecting that the Mahomedans would accept the offer, and that the Hindoos would reject it. The reverse proved to be the case, The Hindoo professors unhesitatingly accepted the proposal, and a number of Hindoo boys was sent to be educated at Bombay, 4o each of whom a monthly allowance was made by the government. I have not met with any information of the effects of that measure.
I doubt whether any great advantage has resulted from the instruction given to the natives in their own language. It appears to me, that ultimately, and in a very
few years, greater benefit will be bestowed on the country, and at less ļabour and expense, by circumscribing our efforts and funds to the diffusion of the English language, and the circulation of English books, than in instructing natives in their own languages, printing and circulating their own works, translations of English tracts, and of English works on arts and sciences in all the languages of India. A laborious undertaking. With all our philological knowledge of the languages, our vigilance and our anxiety, we shall, I am afraid, diffuse in our translations a great many serious errors.
Colonel Briggs states, in his evidence before the Committee of the House of # A medical school was established at Bombay in 1824, for educating native doctors for the Company's service. The object ought to be extended.
The public spirit recently displayed by the natives in the promotion of education, disproves the just ness of this remark. # Sutherland, Ist August 1820.
Lords, that “he met two Brahmins one day sitting on their horses, reading on their journey books which had been printed in the College at Bombay. He asked them where they had got them, and if they had bought them very cheap ? They said they bought them very cheap at Poona. They were some of their own stories." An inference might be drawn from that anecdote, that those tracts were sought after and read by the natives. The reverse is the fact; piles of them are mouldering away at the different stations under the Presidency of Bombay. By a recent report from the Sudder Dewanny Adawlut, it appears, that in a period of three years, 234 tracts only of all kinds were disposed of in the Surat division; of which nine were purchased by the village schoolmasters, and the remainder were bought in the city, principally by those officially connected with the gentlemen at the station; and that they are not much sought after by the natives. Few were disposed of at two other stations in Guzeratte. In the Northern Conkan, a few were given away, but not one purchased. No tracts had been sent to the Southern Conkan. Some copies of a work on Hindoo law had been furnished, of which not a copy had been sold. No mention is made of a demand for these tracts in the Deccan, except in the Kandeish division, where very few had been sold, and none for the use of the schools. The character in which the Mahratta books are printed, is not in general taught in schools. Instructive books, promotive of moral improvement, are little sought after, unless they can be obtained as a free gift, or for the most trifling consideration. Books of arithmetic were most in demand, but not to the extent that might be expected. The people, it is said, are too poor to purchase ; their neglecting to do so was, however, attributed to a disinclination to lay out money in that, the utility of which was not apparent.
It further appears by that report, that in the British territories, dependent on Bombay, containing a population of 4,681,735 souls, there are 1,705 schools, at which 35,153 scholars were receiving education ; 25 schools, having 1,315 scholars, being maintained by the government; and 1,680 are village schools, having 33,838 scholars. The proportion of the population attending a course of education being one in 133. In England one in 16 is educated; in France one in 30; and in Prussia one in 954. The village system of education is represented as of the lowest description, and the same as handed down from time immemorial ; and the little improvement attempted by the government, has been attended but with indifferent success. The most cumbersome mode of learning to read and obtain the simple rules of arithmetic is practised. The books read are some silly stories, and the writing acquired goes little beyond the ability of signing one's name. The exceptions are in those whose occupation in life is that of employment as accountants, clerks, or holding goyernment offices; and what is learnt by those classes is not acquired at school, but at home or in some house of business. The ignorance of the village schoolmasters is lamentable. The government schools are favourably spoken of. The Sudder Adawlut suggests the extension of the means of acquiring the first and best rudiments of learning, and the reading to be such, as shall improve
the understanding, and enlighten the mind; and that a higher range of education on the European system be afforded at the chief cities at Surat, Poona, and Ahmedabad.*
That report, though it has disappointed the expectations I had formed of the rapid progress of education in India, has only tended to confirm the opinions I have ever entertained and expressed, in favour of the plan of
* Report, dated 16th October 1829.
limiting the resources and the efforts of the government to the education of the natives in the English language. Their sagacity has given a decided preference to that object, which, when once mastered, the whole store of knowledge is laid open to the natives at the least possible labour and expense. Why should we diverge a single step beyond the plain and easy track of improvement which they are themselves desirous of pursuing ? I do not contemplate the education of a population of eighty millions of souls in the English language; but I do contemplate, and at no distant period, its general use in all our proceedings, and its ultimate foundation, as the language of the educated classes of British India. I feel persuaded that, a more familiar acquaintance with the English language would, to the natives, be the surest source of intel. lectual improvement, and might become the most durable tie between Britain and India. In any plan, therefore, for the public education of the natives, the complete knowledge of our language ought to form so prominent an object, as to lay the ground for its gradually becoming at least the established vehicle of legal and official business. The English language would thus in India, as in America, be the lasting monument of our dominion; and it is not too much to hope that it might also be the medium through which the inhabitants of those vast regions might hereafter rival the rest of the civilized world, in the expression of all that most exercises and distinguishes human intellect."*
An improved system of education, and more correct and enlarged views, cannot fail of impressing on the natives, a conviction of the absurdities, the fallacies, and errors of their religion; and must gradually lead to the advancement and ultimate triumph of true revelation. No visible progress has been made in the conversion of the natives to Christianity, as far as my observation has extended. At the Presidency, I have no doubt that the confidence of many respectable natives in the purity of their faith has been weakened ; and that an example only is wanting to encourage them to declare their conversion.
Although a residence in England, or a more general intercourse with other nations, must tend to enlighten the natives, it does not yet appear necessary that any particular encouragement should be held out to them to visit England: it would prove unavailing. I have repeatedly represented to the higher classes of Hindoos and Parsees the advantages of sending their sons to England to complete their education. They admitted it; but the deprivations which they would experience in the observances of their religious and caste ceremonies, and of funeral obsequies in the event of their death, and above all the obstinate objections which the females of the family entertain to the measure, constitute stubborn obstacles to a gratification of their wishes in that respect. Mr. Ward, in his History of the Hindoos, states," that the caste converts a desire to visit foreign realms into a crime. That a Brahmin, about forty years ago, went from Bengal to England, and lost his rank. Another Brahmin went to Madras, and was renounced by his relations ; but after incurring some expense in feasting Brahmins, he regained his caste. In 1808, a blacksmith of Serampore returned from Madras, and was disowned by his friends; but after expending 2,000 rupees among the Brahmins, he was restored to his family."
* Quarterly Review.
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ANECDOTES FROM ARABIAN HISTORY.
Yācūti-ben-Laith. YACUTI-BEN-Laith was the most cruel man of his race. He had an officer, called Giafar, who relates the following story of him :: We had encamped, one day, at the foot of a mountain; and when dinner was over, all of us, who were in attendance upon the prince, rose up to take our leave; but he beckoned me to stay, and made a sign that I should sit down again. After this he remained a long time. lost in thought ; when, suddenly looking up, he told his armour-bearer to go to the gate of a certain town, and there he would find a garden kept by an old man called Isaac; seize the man,' said he, ‘and bring him here.'
“ The armour-bearer shortly returned, leading in a decrepid old man, trembling from head to foot; and the tyrant, with a furious look, instantly ordered him to be cut in two. The order was obeyed; the consternation of all, at this sudden execution of such a miserable and helpless creature, was, however, extreme.
“ Yacūti, after a little thought, turned to us and said: 'I see you are astonished at the sentence I have passed on an old man, who was not charged with any crime. Attend and you shall hear the reason. In my youth, and long before I came to my present dignity, I was in poverty, and then earned my bread as a common watchman on the road. My distress was once so great, that I had not eaten for two days; when, finding the door of a garden open, I went in and plucked some fruit. After walking about, I came to the edge of a fountain and saw a cloth laid, with eight loaves of bread and two bowls of butter-milk. My hunger was so violent that I devoured the whole, and again walked about picking the fruit; when this old man, who was the gardener, met me and snatched the fruit out of my hand : and a few minutes after, discovering that I made free with his dinner, he overtook me with half a dozen workmen armed with great sticks; and, as I was not in a state to make any resistance, they beat me so severely, that I could scarcely drag myself to the steps of a neighbouring mosque, where I fell down exhausted. In this wretched state I was found by a young butcher, who had pity on me, and took me to his house, and treated me kindly till I recovered ; and when I was able to work, he made me his shepherd, and gave me wages, but I soon left him, and rose, as you know, to the power I now possess.'
“ I thanked the prince for his condescension, and acknowledged that the unfeeling conduct of the gardener had justly deserved his anger, incautiously adding : 'you will now, I suppose, send for the butcher, and promote him to great wealth and honour.'
“ At these words, his rage became terrible, and loading me with abuse, he said: 'do you think I am a fool, to expose myself to contempt ?. It would be a pretty thing, indeed, to have such a fellow go about the camp, boasting that the king had been his shepherd. I wonder what discipline we should have then.'
“ This was enough to convince me that he would never forgive me for knowing the secret : so I fled that night from his camp, and came to Bagdad; and then went to Syria; nor did I venture to go back to Khorāsān till after his death."