Page images
PDF
EPUB

lations being no longer subject to its revision, its responsibility would also cease. *

* It will be gratifying to the public to learn, that the College of Fort-William is now in a flourishing state, and has received the final sanction and patronage of the East-India Company: It owes much to the cultivated mind and liberal spirit of Lord Minto, the present Governor-General of India. His Lordship had not been many months in that country, before he perceived its importance in relation to the interests of the British empire in the East; and his annual Speeches, at the public Disputations, shew, that he thinks the College of Fort-William deserves as much attention and support as any department under his Government. It will be yot more gratifying to many to hear, that this Institution is likely to become once wore a fountain of translation for the Sacred Scriptures. Dr. LEYDEN, Professor of the Hindostanee Language, has come forward (March 1810) with a proposal to superintend the translation of the Scriptures into seven languages, hitherto little cultivated in India. This subject will be noticed hereafter.

It was .expected that the East-India College at Hertford, would eventually supersede the College at Bengal ; but it has been proved, that in order to give efficiency to the purposes of a College at home, there must be also a College abroad. Little more than the elements of the Oriental Languages can be conveniently learnt in England. But this elementary labour at home is doubtless so much time saved in India. And thus far the Institution at Hertford, independently of its other objects, is highly useful, in subserviency to the College at Fort William. The two institutions combine the primary idea of Marquis Wellesley; and the expence is not less than that Statesman had originally intended. There is this difference in the execution, that there are now two institutions instead of one. His Lord. ship proposed that the two institutions should be in India com

Under these circumstances, the Superintendents of the college resolved to encourage individuals to proceed with their versions by such means as they could command; and to trust to the contributions of the public, and to the future sanction of the Government, for the perpetuity of the design. They proposed, at the same time, not to confine the undertaking to Bengal alone, or to the terri. tories of the Company; but to extend it to every part of the East, where fit instruments for translation could be found. With this view, they aided the designs of the Baptist Missionaries in Bengal, of the Lutheran Missionaries in Coromandel, belonging to “the Society for promoting Christian Knowledge,” and of the other Missionaries in the East, connected with Societies in England and Scotland : and also patronised those Roman Catholic Missionaries in the South of India, whom they found qualified for conducting useful works. About the same period, they ex

bined in one; and his reasons were, that the organs of speech in youth are more flexible at an early age for learning a new language; and the constitution of young persons assimilates more easily to a strange climate. There are various advantages, however, in having the elementary Institution at home, which may counterbalance these reasons ; and if it continue to be conducted with the same spirit and effect which have hitherto distinguished it, perhaps the present plan is preferable.

erted themselves in circulating proposals for the translation of the Scriptures into the Oriental Languages, by the Baptist Missionaries in Bengal, and in promoting subscriptions for that object by all the means in their power; and when it was proposed to the Governor-General (Lord Minto, then just arrived) to suppress

this Mission, a memorial was addressed to the Government in its behalf.

In order to obtain a distinct view of the state of Christianity and of Superstition in Asia, the Superintendants of the College had, before this period, entered into correspondence with intelligent persons in different countries; and from every quarter (even from the confines of China,) they received encouragement to proceed. But as contradictory accounts were given by different writers, concerning the real state of the numerous tribes in India, both of Christians and Natives, the Author conceived the design of devoting the last year or two of his residence in the East, to purposes of local examination and inquiry. With this view, he travelled through the Peninsula and India by land, from Calcutta to Cape Comorin, a continent extending through fourteen degrees of latitude, and visited Ceylon thrice. And he soon discovered, that a person may reside all his life at Bengal, and yet know almost as little of other countries in India, for instance, of Travancore, Ceylon, Goa, or Madura, of their manners, customs, habits, and religion, as if he had never left England.* The principal objects of this tour, were to investigate the state of Superstition at the most celebrated Temples of the Hindoos; to examine the churches and libraries of the Romish, Syrian, and Protestant Christians; to ascertain the present state and recent History of the Jews in the East; and to discover what persons might be fit instruments for the promotion of learning in their respective countries, and for maintaining a future correspondence on the subject of disseminating the Scriptures in India. In pursuance of these objects, the Author visited Cuttack, Ganjam, Visagapatam, Samulcotta, Rajamundry, Ellore, Ongole, Nellore, Madras, Mailapoor, Pondicherry, Cudalore, Tranquebar, Tanjore, Trichinopoly, Aughoor, Madura, Palamcotta, Ramnad, Jafnapatam, Columbo, Manaar, Tutecorin, Angengo, Quilon, Cochin, Cranganor, Verapoli, Calicut, Tellichery, Goa, the Pirate Coast, and other

* Of the Books published in Britain on the discussion relating to Missions and the state of India, the most sensible and authentic are, in general, those written by learned men of the Universities, who have never been in the East.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

places between Cape Comorin and Bombay ; the interior of Travancore, and the interior of Malabar; also seven principal Temples of the Hindoos, viz. Seemachalum in the Telinga country, Chillumbrum, Seringham, Madura, Ramisseram, Elephanta, and Juggernaut.

After this tour, the Author returned to Calcutta, where he remained about three quarters of a year longer; and then visited the Jews and the Syrian Christians, in Malabar and Travancore, a second time before his return to England.

Those nations or communities for whom translations of the Scriptures have been commenced, under the patronage or direction already alluded to, are the following: the Chinese, the Hindoos, the Cingalese or Ceylonese, the Malays, the Syrian Christians, the Romish Christians, the Persians, the Arabians, and the Jews. Of these it is proposed to give some account in their order.

« PreviousContinue »