Page images
PDF
EPUB

on an equally respectable footing with the Civil Service, so as to give to them that influential weight in society, which would have the effect of inducing the Natives to regard them with that deference they ever pay to the higher orders of the Civil servants in the Company's employ: and this would be effectually done by the corresponding rank proposed. Without such influential weight in a society like that of India, the Chaplains cannot command the respect of those among whom they move; and without that respect the Natives will never be induced to regard them as Ministers of a religion worthy their most serious attention. And if they be not imperceptibly led, or gradually persuaded to consider its precepts, and reflect upon its truths; and thus, step by step, allured to admire the economy of redemptiou ; how can we possibly expect them to become converts to its faith? It is, therefore, by an outward shew of respect on the part of the Government, and those in local authority, to the Clergy as a body, and also by themselves as a body being patterns of benevolence as well as teachers of religion-in fine, by their examples as well as by their exhortations that conversion, humanly speaking, is to be expected.'

The point on which we are most inclined to differ with Dr. Shepherd, is the extreme anxiety which he displays not to press inconveniently on the Company's treasury. With him the expediency of this or that scheme of church policy and government in the East, becomes a mere matter of pounds, shillings, and pence, as if the expenditure of thousands or tens of thousands would not be well repaid by the diffusion of the blessings of Christianity throughout Asia. That Dr. Shepherd should have become infected with this miserable economy in the service of the East India Company, is not at all surprising, for we are well aware that the inability to incur additional expence, has long been a conclusive argument against improvements of every description. Whether an increase in the number of judges, or of priests, be proposed, the answer is “we can't afford it ;” and to that plea, as things stand at present, there is to be sure no satisfactory reply. It would be in vain for the Archbishop of Canterbury, or the Board of Control, to urge an increase of the Indian Ecclesiastical Establishment, without either providing some means of its support other than the territorial revenues of India, or instituting a strict inquiry into the disposal of every rupee of surplus, drawn from that source, beyond the actual exigencies of the Indian Government. Mr. Rickards has long ago incontrovertibly proved, that the sums annually paid into the treasuries of India, are more than sufficient for all the just purposes of its public administration. The Archbishop of Canterbury and the Board of Control, and Dr. Shepherd too, are in fault, because, instead of resolutely probing evils of the present system, and denouncing to Parliament and the country the unprincipled dissipation of the wealth which is wrung from the industry of India; they content themselves with the suggestion of mere palliatives, and studiously abstain from the indication of any scheme of reform, which is likely to prove unpalatable to the sovereigns of Leadenhall Street. There, every principle of public duty to England and to India, is with shameless effrontery sacrificed at the shrine of patronage. To preserve that patronage, the cumbrous establishments of imperial power are maintained as charges on a trade, which without the artificial support of influence and revenue, were insufficient to employ a pedlar ; expensive factories are supported where none are wanted, and the expenditure of ambassadors defrayed, where there is not business for a travelling clerk. For this all the duties of government are neglected, the just claims of the army are unsatisfied, the administration of justice is abandoned to beardless boys, and the ministers of religion compelled to betray their trust, or be martyrs to its execution. To us it appears that the most expensive establishment suggested in the following extract, were, by no means, a provision too ample for the Church of Asia. It is not necessary that the proposed Bishopricks of Calcutta, Madras, Bombay, and the Cape, should be endowed with the opulence of Durham, or of Derry, but that sufficient provision be made for the due and orderly administration of the rites of religion to those who are already believers, and the succession of Christian ministers for the conversion of heathen nations, acknowledging the sovereignty of England, seems to us to be a duty, the performance of which, as long as the least unnecessary expence exists of any kind, no financial difficulty

The scheme of a navigating bishop, half priest, half sailor, and whose visitation is traced by Dr. Shepherd, were truly apostolical, but we very much fear that nolo episcopari,' would be returned to an offer of the new mitre from every parson in the United Kingdom, unless, indeed, it be the learned and pious divine to whose zeal in the conversion of souls, we are indebted for the work under review.

• Dr. Buchannan's zeal for an Episcopal establishment in the East, urged him to suggest the expediency of appointing a metropolitan Archbishop, and three suffragan Bishops, &c. &c. But near two years previously to such his suggestion, viz., 1805-6, a plan for Church Government in India had been proposed on a much more moderate and limited scale ; and under, at that time, a prevailing supposition, that all our foreign possessions were, in Church matters, controlled by the Bishop of London, as being attached to his Lordship’s diocese, the proposed measure was submitted to Bishop Porteus, who, expressing his own approval, advised its being submitted to his Grace of Canterbury for further consideration, and which was accordingly done.

• The measure proposed was, the appointment of a VicarGeneral, or Bishop, with three Archdeacons. The latter were to have been the three senior Chaplains at the three Presidencies, who, having risen from the junior situations, and served at the several stations of their respective Presidencies, would have been

can excuse.

enabled to assist the Bishop with every local information 'relative to the rules and regulations of the service,-the manner and customs of the country in regard to the Europeans,—the habits and prejudices of the Natives, the stations, as to their locality and importance, in respect to the number of Christians,--and indeed as to the various other matters of which a Bishop in India should necessarily be in possession. The Archdeacons were to receive 500l. per annum, in addition to their salary as senior Presidency Chaplains. Here, at the very outset, was a saving of 4,500l. per annum, as each Archdeacon now receives 2,000l. per annum :and thus there would already have been a saving of nearly 70,0001., whilst the establishment would have been much more efficient than that now formed.

The Bishop was not to have been considered as stationary or fixed to either Presidency; but to be a truly Asiatic Bishop, extending his visitation to the interior, as well as to the Presidencies. He was to have spent his first year in personally visiting each station on the Bengal establishment,-in consecrating such churches as might be built in the interior of the country,—in holding confirmations at the head stations of every district, &c.--and in issuing such regulations for the furtherance of religion as, from his own local knowledge he might deem expedient. (Considering the extent of country, and the number of stations where bis

presence

is actually required, together with the arrangements he would have to make, it would take him the year in a proper fulfilment of his duties.) He was afterwards to have proceeded to Madras, and to have spent the greater part of the second year on that establishment, in a similar performance of his episcopal functions. On the third year, after visiting Bombay and its interior, he was to have returned to Bengal; and thus was he to have made bis triennial visitations of stations as well as of Presidencics.

• It may be recollected, that when India was first erected into a see, the Island of Ceylon formed no part of the diocese of Calcutta. The expediency of making it a part of that diocese originated with the late Bishop Middleton, who, in his third visitation, deemed it expedient to include Penang. Thus, much of the valuable time which that prelate would have been enabled to have given to visiting the interior of his diocese, was engrossed by sea voyages. A similar encroachment on the time of the late Bishop Heber is to be lamented; and, consequently, how to prevent its recurrence merits consideration.

*The Bishop of Chester, in his discourse already adverted to, observed, that “the duty incumbent on a Christian Government, of providing for the religious instruction of its Christian subjects, is a duty which cannot be denied, however the acknowledgment of it may be evaded." The force, therefore, of his Lordship's observation must be acknowledged to be such as to warrant a suggestion on the expediency of appointing a second Bishop; should the object

use

which the societies for the propagation of the Gospel, at home and abroad, have in view, viz., the “establishment of three Bishopricks instead of one,” be for the present postponed. Indeed, such a measure may be opposed and rejected on the ground of increasing expence, without meeting other, and perhaps still stronger, claims to the beneficent consideration of the Board and the Government, than those within the limits of the three Presidencies ; for it may justly be advanced, that if our ecclesiastical establishment be of any

eif Episcopacy be necessary or essential any wbere, some such form of discipline, and such an order as that of Bishops, are surely wanted, to superintend the Protestant Church in our islands, no less than on the continent of India. And as we are assured, by the voice of truth, that whatever good we can do should be more especially done to the household of faith, the appointment of a second Bishop, to the eastward of the Cape, appears to be a measure so truly desirable as hardly to be resisted.

'By the appointment of a second Bishop, whose episcopal functions should be directed to the colonies and islands eastward of the Cape, the future Bishop of Calcutta would be empowered to confine his duties to the continent of India ; and not, like his regretted predecessors, for the favourable accomplishment of a sea voyage, have to hasten through the interior of his extensive diocese, in order to take advantage of the different monsoons which prevail in the Eastern seas.

• Under a supposition that a second Bishop should ultimately become appointed, and consequently his attention be directed to our colonies or possessions in that distant quarter, the following is the course, with the several places of stoppage, which he could, with advantage to the best interests of religion, most conveniently to himself, take in his visitation. And as his residence, if Bengal, Madras, and Bombay form the diocese of Calcutta, would be nominally or ostensibly at the Cape, his visitation is considered to commence from that point.

Leaving the Cape, it would be desirable for him first to visit the Mauritius, which may be considered, in point of distance, from twenty to thirty days' sail ; from thence he would go to Ceylon, a passage of about three weeks ; from Ceylon he would cross the Bay of Bengal, and reach Penang in about twelve or fifteen days. On quitting Penang, he would sail through the straits of Malacca, and touch at Singapore, in bis way to Canton, a voyage from sixteen to twenty days. On his departure from Canton he might visit Melville Island, another of our settlements, and from thence through Torre's Straits, to York Point, coasting New South Wales to Port Jackson; this voyage

would occupy about three weeks; from Port Jackson to Van Dieman's Land would be a passage of about ten days: and sailing from thence to St. Helena, which may be considered the best course in his return to the Cape, he would finish his visitation in about three weeks more,

But if the two Presidencies of Calcutta and Madras should, on deliberation, be deemed of sufficient magnitude for one diocese, Bombay might form a component part of the second Bishoprick. And, as the latter Presidency is the track of several China ships, as also the principal Port of the Company's marine, the Bishop from it would always have the best opportunities of making his visitations, and at the most moderate expense; and for which a fixed allowance might be made, in order to prevent any unreasonable charges.

If Bombay were a part of the second diocese, the Bishop could visit the interior of this Presidency every other year, and the only difference in the route of his more extended visitation by sea, would be in his sailing first to Ceylon, and returning by the Mauritius to Bombay, which in this case would be his Lordship's ostensible residence instead of the Cape. In the course thus pointed out, the Bishop would be enabled to take his passage in such ships as might, in their times of sailing, offer most convenient accommodation; and as in the order of ports already laid down, there are always ships to be met with, it would be unnecessary to take up or engage any particular vessel for the whole visitation; which cannot but be desirable, as saving a vast expense, and making the Bishop master of his own time.

* An objection to the foregoing measure may arise from an apparent incongruity in uniting the Government colonies and a par of the East India Company's possessions under one Bishop, and hence as to the mode of payment of his Lordship's salary and pension. But be it recollected, that at this moment two Government colonies, viz., Ceylon and New South Wales, are annexed to the see of Calcutta, and therefore there can be no reason for allowing such objection to have any weight; and as the Archdeaconries of Ceylon and New Sonth Wales would be transferred to the diocese of the second Bishop, the Government and the East India Company might readily adjust the payment of his Lordship's income, by a comparative relation to the different places he would have to visit, as being in his jurisdiction. That the duties of the two Bishops would, as to their own individual ease and comfort, bear no comparison; and that the performance of those, which would indispensably be required of the second Bishop, would be attended with danger, as well as many privations, must be evident; it follows then, that in point of income and retirement, the second Bishop should be placed on an equal footing with the Bishop of Calcutta.

We cannot conclude without expressing our acknowledgments to Dr. Shepherd, for the information which his pamphlet has been the means of communicating to the public, and we have great pleasure in recommending it to those who have the interests of religion and the honour of their country at heart.

« PreviousContinue »