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support of its political despotism. When it occasionally happens that a writer appears in India, whose innate rectitude of feeling and energy of mind prompts and enables him to place in open daylight the scene which is passing before him, such a conduct, so truly characteristic of a British spirit, speedily draws down the full weight of government displeasure, which, unchecked by public opinion or the enactment of positive law, is enabled, without effort, to ruin the individual, and blast all his prospects of worldly advantage.
• The approaching termination of the Company's charter is pregnant with important consequences, for good or evil, to England and to Hindoostan : in proportion to this importance, it becomes us to embrace every opportunity, and use every means for the acquisition of general and correct knowledge of the subject, which so soon will be brought forward for discussion in Parliament. Associations for this purpose have existed, for some time, in many of our large towns, and are extending themselves gradually through the kingdom: a better means for furthering the purpose to be kept in view can hardly be devised ; the benefit of similar institutions, in keeping up a circulation and interchange of intelligence, in all other cases, has been felt and acknowledged. The question, far from being simply a commercial one, possesses great moral interest; we wish to ascertain, not only if the mercantile capabilities of the two countries have received the fullest possible development from the present restricted system, but, also, whether it be the best calculated to improve the character of the Natives of India, and to aid in diffusing Christianity throughout the eastern world. If inquiry and investigation should prove such to be the case, then every thinking man will readily exclaim, “Let the charter be renewed, and suffer the East India Company to perfect that which they have so worthily begun.” But, if the contrary be rendered evident,-if it be demonstratively shewn that monopolies, in general, are unfavourable to commerce, and that this one, in particular, by restraining the intercourse which would naturally have arisen, of the people of England with those of Hindoostan, has had a powerful influence in perpetuating and keeping alive the wretched superstitions of the latter country, some great change will be imperatively called for, and must necessarily take place for if, with our imperfect faculties, it be permitted us to attempt to scan the ways of Providence, we may be allowed to believe that, in placing a country like India under the guidanee and control of Great Britain, it was not merely intended that we should enrich ourselves from the productions of her fertile soil ; but the boon included also a higher condition, it has entailed upon us the obligation of becoming instrumental in improving the character of her inhabitants, and imparting to them the benefits of a purer and holier religion.'
PROTESTANT CHURCH ESTABLISHMENT IN Asia.
Dr. SHEPHERD, whom many of our readers may remember as one of the Presidency Chaplains at Calcutta, has recently published a pamphlet on the present condition of our Indian ecclesiastical establishment, and the means of increasing its influence and efficiency. This is a subject respecting which, we are sure, information from any quarter would be acceptable to a large majority of our readers ; but it is particularly valuable from the
pen whose opportunities of knowledge have been most extensive, and who is entitled, by his character and functions, to be heard with deference and attention. After the recent denunciation of lay interference in the concerns of the Church, we confess we would gladly have avoided the discussion of this question ; but our attention was pointedly directed to it by the reverend author; and having read his temperate but impressive statements, we know not on what plea to refuse his request to assist in their circulation. To say the truth, we take shame to ourselves for having so long neglected to inquire into matters of such serious importance. The Clergy, possibly, may have some pretence for remonstrating against a vexatious, meddling, vindictive inquest into the extent or employment of their wealth; they may not unreasonably resent a niggard apportionment of emolument and duty, which would rob them of those claims to respect and reverence, without which their sacred office would soon become the mockery of the depraved ; but he surely will not be deemed an enemy to the Church, who claims, on the part of English parents, some provision for the spiritual welfare of their children; who calls upon a Christian government to evince some solicitude for the cause of Christianity; who, for the sake of heathen millions, urges an effort to reclaim them from their present state of ignorance and superstition ; who implores, in the name of the gallant countrymen, to whose valour we are indebted for our stupendous Indian empire, that they be no longer treated as the beasts which perish, but as accountable beings, who have souls to save, and a higher object than earthly glory to attain.
To the prelates of the Church of England, we more particularly appeal ; we demand of them a reason for the unheard of indifference to the cause of religion, which is manifested by the destitute condition of the Indian Church. Of what use are the high privileges and exalted rank which they enjoy among the nobles of the land, if not employed in promoting the interests specially committed to their care. If our memory serves us right, one of the most strenuous opponents of the removal of religious disabilities in the House of Lords, the Archbishop of Canterbury, in deprecating the admission of Roman Catholics to political power, urged the extreme danger which might result to ecclesiastical establishments in the Colonies, from the influence of sectarian prejudices, or scruples in the breasts of the King's Ministers. His Grace is reported to have said, that he conceived it to be impossible for any person of a religious mind to look to this country without considering her to have long been a chosen instrument for carrying religion to the uttermost ends of the earth; and that, in his judgment, his Majesty could not be fitly represented by a Colonial Secretary who did not profess the doctrines of the Church of England. If after all these protestations of zeal for the propagation of religious truth, it should appear, on the authority of Dr. Shepherd, that the poor and depressed society of the Church of Rome,* in these countries, has done more in the extension of Christian knowledge throughout the East, than the wealthiest and most powerful hierarchy in the world; and that, in fact, the Right Reverend Bench have, with a full knowledge of the inefficiency of the provision for the religious wants of our Asiatic empire, exhibited the most culpable indifference to their increase,—we trust we may be pardoned for suggesting the propriety of some exertion on the part of those who are anxious to promote the welfare of the people of India, or have friends and relatives in the East, whose interest it is their duty to guard.
Let us not be supposed to insinuate that the dignitaries of the Church of England have been guilty of any studied or intentional discouragement of Christianity in the East. We willingly acquit them of lending the direct sanction of their approval to the toleration of the abominations which are practised by the permission of our Indian Government ; we do not say that they have misapplied any fund entrusted to them for the support of the Indian Church, or frustrated any scheme for promoting its prosperity, but we do accuse them of criminal neglect, of timid and unworthy silence, in the place and at the time when it was their duty to speak out; we reproach them with an unwarrantable connivance at the miserable parsimony of the East India Company, in a branch of their administration over wbich, by the special provision of the English Legislature, they are appointed to watch. We refrain at present from presenting the disgraceful contrast between the policy of Portugal in the days of her prosperity and the system now pursued by England, because we trust that the time is not far distant when some disposition will be evinced in Parliament to redeem our national character in this respect, and to efface the scandal with which the neglect of this imperious duty has long afflicted the Christian world. Before we proceed to the staternents of Dr. Shepherd, it may not
It appears, from Dr. Shepherd's pamphlet, that there exists a regular communication between the head of the Catholic Church at Goa, and the Roman Catholic hierarchy of Ireland, and that a gentleman, by name Slater, was lately removed from Croston, in Lancashire, where he officiated as Roman Catholic Priest, and appointed Bishop of the Mauritius.
he amiss to present to our readers a short notice of the Indian Church, and of the mode in which the wise and paternal Government of the East India Company have provided for the spiritual wants of their servants and subjects. Previously to the last renewal of the Company's privileges there was no specific legislative provision for the support of religion in the East. The Charter of King William had, indeed, required the Company to maintain ministers in India, but their number and emoluments were left to the discretion of the Directors, who acting on the belief of the invincible ignorance of the Hindoos, limited their religious establishment to the wants of the European service. The necessity of a license to reside, and the power of arbitrary deportation, vested in the Governors of the Presidencies, will suffice to account for the non-performance by others of a duty to which the Company had omitted to attend, and whatever opportunities of religious observance were enjoyed at the Presidencies before the year 1813, they are attributable to the zeal of the European inhabitants, and the patronage of the local Government.*
• Never,' says Dr. Shepherd, was there a period when the Church was better attended by the laity, nor the duty more zealously performed, nor the Clergy so independendently situated, as when the Marquis Wellesley was at the head of the Government of India. To advert to the labours of the Clergy, who were then officiating in Calcutta, is only an act of justice to the memory of those who have finished their course, and are no more; their names must be still remembered by many of the present directors, and their zeal cannot be forgotten. Surely then it is not equitable to represent the European Society at that period in India so totally neglectful of their religious duties as to be little better than Heathens; nor is it just to maintain that the saving truths of religion have been only within the last fifteen years preached, or with due attention regarded in the metropolis of the East. In an attendance on the public service of our Church, the Marquis Wellesley, when in Calcutta, set an example worthy of his exalted situation, and which was not lost on our countrymen there resident. To the Clergy his Lordship held out every encouragement; and by his munificence placed them in a situation no less independent than the gentlemen of the Civil Service. It was under the auspices of the Marquis Cornwallis that St. John's Church, now the Cathedral, was built ; and the interest his Lordship took in the observance of public worship, and it may be said in every thing connected with the good of the Church, is so fully recorded in the proceedings of the vestry, at which his Lordship on several occasions presided, as to satisfy the most credulous that the duties of religion were, even at that time, with due solicitude observed.'
* It deserves to be noted that the Cathedral of Calcutta stands on a piece of ground given by a Hindoo Rajah, for the specific purpose of building a Christian Church,
Before the termination of the Charter of 1793, petitions from various parts of the United Kingdom had been presented to Parliament, praying that provision might be made for the resort of Missionaries to India, to introduce religious and moral improvement among the Natives; and in compliance or perhaps evasion of their prayer, his Majesty was empowered by the 53 Geo. III., to erect à Bishoprick for the whole of the British territories in the East Indies, and three Archdeaconries, the appointments of which were to be paid out of the territorial revenues of India. Letters patent were accordingly issued on the 2d May, 1814, by which the See of Calcutta and the Archdeaconries of Fort William, Fort St. George, and Bombay, were established, the whole being declared subject and subordinate to the jurisdiction of the Archbishop of Canterbury. The salary of the Bishop was fixed at 5,000l., and that of the Archdeacon at 2,000l. per annum. This, with the addition of an Archdeacon in New South Wales, a few Chaplains, and Scotch Presbyterian Ministers at the Presidencies, the Mauritius, and the Cape, constitutes the whole of the Protestant Church establishment of Asia. The spirit in which the Directors of the East India Company and the Archbishop of Canterbury have executed the trust thus vested in them by the Legislature, may be best learnt from the following extracts, some portions of which will, we make no doubt, be extremely edifying to our readers :
'If it be, as the Bishop of Chester asserts it to be, “a duty incumbent on those who aim at promoting the substantial prosperity of Christ's Church, to make, in the first instance, a due provision for such of its branches as are without the appointed means of edification and grace; and are consequently in danger of a gradual dereliction, first, of the ordinances, then of the moral duties, and, lastly, of the belief of Christianity,” what will be said when it is affirmed, that since 1805-6 there has never been an officiating minister with the King's soldiery in India, when on active service in the field ?
* If we look to the formation of our armies, that have been employed in the Peninsula of Europe, we shall find that on every occasion a Chaplain was appointed to each brigade, in addition to the one at head quarters ; whereas, NOT EVEN ONE Chaplain has ever marched with the British troops on the Peninsula of India. What possible excuse can then be offered for such flagrant inattention to His Majesty's explicit and positive commands, relative to the religious instruction and comfort of the soldier, in whatever country, or on whatever duty he may be employed ?
• That such a gross neglect should have existed for so many years, and even during the period we have had a prelacy established in the East, must excite astonishment. Indeed, it must almost appear incredible, that while we have been labouring co convert others to our faith, we should have been so notoriously regardless of