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probable that the demand for English in public affairs is on the increase, and it will, no doubt, create its own supply. All the Government need attempt is to provide teachers; and one or two seminaries, like the Hindu college, in which English is well taught, will answer this purpose. At the time I left Calcutta, there were, it was estimated, about six thousand youths studying English, of whom only between three and four hundred were in part educated at the expense of the Education Fund.
The Government of India, then, need not resort to measures of spoliation to provide funds for rearing clerks and copyists; there will be no want of them, as long as their services are in request. To produce any improve. ment in the notions and feelings of the natives, their education must extend to things as well as words ; they must be taught knowledge, not speech. They have already the means of communicating ideas; what they want is an additional and a better stock of ideas. To furnish this through the medium of English, they must be well grounded in our literature as well as in our language; they must receive a high English education ; but it is impossible to impart widely an English education of a high description, for, even if competent teachers in sufficient numbers could be salaried, their labours would be attended with a very inadequate result. The great body of those who are willing to engage in the study want the language and nothing more. Of the language, also, they want only as much as can be turned to profit, -as will enable them to earn a subsistence. They have not the inclination, nor, if they had the will, have they the leisure, to follow that protracted and persevering career, which alone can give them the mastery of that immense store of words, of those infinitely varied combinations and those unfamiliar and, to Asiatics, often incomprehensible allusions and imagery, which compose the unwieldy mass of the literature of England. It is, thercfore, as vain to seek to extend very widely a profound acquaintance with English literature, as it is needless to disseminate a superficial use of our language. Either attempt will be a mischievous waste of labour and money, diverting them from objects of greater practicability and advantage.
Although it is impossible so to extend the study of the English language, as by its instrumentality to change the whole colour and complexion of the native mind, yet it may be so cultivated as to form the basis upon
which great and important changes may be founded. The leading principle in this project is that which actuated the first committee,—the principle of concentration. Instead of reducing instruction to a thin insubstantial vapour, by spreading it over the largest possible surface, the object of the committee was to condense it, in a solid and permanent form, in a few bodies favourably circumstanced for its preservation, like the Hindu college of Calcutta. The scholars thus reared are the most ready, most economical, and most effectual means of acting upon the mass, not merely by becoming their instructors personally, but by assisting in what is of more value than oral instruction, the formation of an indigenous literature. It is not by the English language that we can enlighten the people of India; it can be effected only through the forms of speech which they already understand
These must be applied to the purpose, either by direct transla
tion or, which is preferable, by the representation of European facts, opinions, and sentiments, in an oris al native garb. In the early stages of improvement, the former mode is the only one that can be expected ; hereafter, the latter would take its place, and would give to the people of India a literature of their own, the legitimate progeny of that of England, the living resemblance, though not the servile copy, of its parent. Of this most desirable result, however, the only one to which rational expectation would look forward as the consummation to be wished, there can be no prospect as long as the available funds are frittered away upon vain and delusive speculation.
Indeed, already a fatal blow has been given to the institution of an improved national literature, by the suicidal act of discouraging translation. The Bengal Government, it appears, upon the recommendation, of course, of the Education Committee, has discontinued its disbursements on account of various useful translations in the course of printing. Such has been the precipitate impatience with which this mark of its disapprobation has been displayed, that works have been stopped which were on the eve of completion: thus throwing away, with very equivocal economy, all the labour and money that had been expended on their preparation. As matters of curiosity merely, a few thousand rupees,-a few hundred pounds,-might, it may be thought, have been spared by a great Government for the publication of translations of Euclid, Hooper's Anatomy, Bridge's Algebra, and Hutton's Mathematics, or for such a work as the Khazanat-al- Ilm, an original compendium of European mathematics by a native author,—by a Government, too, prosessing an anxious desire to diffuse useful knowledge amongst its native subjects. Such, however, is the mischievous consequence of acting upon a theory, and diverting the funds appropriated to education from purposes of practical utility, in order to apply them to the unnecessary and unprofitable scheme of teaching English to all the natives of India.
A no less mischievous measure is the suppression of the publication of original works in the classical languages of Asia, Arabic and Sanscrit. Whatever may be thought of their value to Europeans, their value to the natives of India is undeniable. I do not speak of the estimation which they enjoy as the repositories of the laws and religion of the Mohammedans and Hindus, but of their salutary influence in maintaining amongst the people a respect for science, a veneration for wisdom, a sense of morality, a feeling of beauty, a regard for social ties and domestic affections, an admiration of excellence and a love of country. It is prejudiced and ignorant criticism that looks only for blemishes in the literature of the East, and is insensible to its merits and its beauties. That it has defects, may be admitted, and what literature has them not ? A fair comparison between the writings of the East and West would, probably, shew that there are as many foul spots in the latter as in the former; but who could, therefore, conclude that the whole should be effaced ? It is much sounder policy to connect ourselves with the literature as it is, and, by assuming the guidance of native studies, direct them to a discriminating perception of what is faulty in morals and in taste. At any rate, by annihilating native literature, by sweeping away all sources of pride and pleasure in this own mental efforts, by rendering a whole people dependent upon a remote and unknown country for all their ideas and for the very words in which to clothe them, we should degrade their character, depress their energies, and render them incapable of aspiring to any intellectual distinction. But the thing is impossible; we may in time and by judicious interposition instil into the native mind of India very different notions of Government, of morality, and of religion ; but we shall never wean them, nor need it be attempted, from the congenial imagery and sentiments of their poetry · from the intelligible and amusing inventions of their dramatists and tale-writers—from the, to them, important facts of their history, and the interesting and not uninstructive legends of their tradition.
Independently of the beneficial tendency of their own literature, under judicious guidance, to maintain amongst the natives of India a high tone of civilization, there are other obvious advantages attending its cultivation. Amidst much that is erroneous in their works of pure science, there is much that is correct, and a meritorious member of the civil service, an intelligent and sincere promoter of native education, has well shewn how they might be made introductory and subservient to accurate information.* The logical and metaphysical studies of both Hindus and Mohammedans, amidst all their subtleties, promote a closeness and shrewdness of argument, which might be beneficially adopted by many who look upon their own reasoning powers with ill-grounded admiration. The laws of Manu and the Koran will scarcely be set aside altogether, it is to be presumed, by the luminaries of the new legislative council. The perusal of poetry and narration, in classical compositions, is necessary for the formation of a standard of style even for the vernacular dialects, and the study of Arabic and Sanscrit philology is no less indispensable for the acquirenent of those languages, than it is for the perfection of the current forms of speech and the formation of a national literature.
It is in this latter particular, their effect upon the vernacular languages, that the cultivation of those considered in India as classical, is of indispensable necessity. The project of importing English literature along with English cottons into Bengal, and bringing it into universal use, must at once be felt by every reasonable mind as chimerical and ridiculous. If the people are to have a literature, it must be their own. The stuff may be in a great degree European, but it must be freely interwoven with home-spun materials, and the fashion must be Asiatic. In their present state, however, the vernacular dialects are unfit for the combination ; they are utterly incapable of representing European ideas,-they have not words wherewith to express them. They must, therefore, either adopt English phraseology, which would be grotesque patch-work; or, they must have recourse, as they have been accustomed to do, for all except the most every-day terms, to the congenial, accessible, and inexhaustible stores of their classical languages. Every person acquainted with the spoken speech of India, knows perfectly
* Mr. Wilkinson on the Use of the Siddhantas in Native Education. Journal of Asiatic Society for
well that its elevation to the dignity and usefulness of written speech, has depended, and must still depend, upon its borrowing largely from its parent or kindred source; that no man who is ignorant of Arabic or Sanscrit can write Hindustani or Bengali with elegance, or purity, or precision; and that the condemnation of the classical languages to oblivion would consign the dialects to utter helplessness and irretrievable barbarism.
If, then, the intellectual, moral, and religious improvement of the people of India, not the indulgence of vain conceit, the realization of idle dreams, or the gratification of a malignant and destructive ambition, be the end proposed, there can be little doubt that it will be most readily and effec. tually attained by adherence to the same system which, in the eight years that followed the appointment of the Education Committee, was found to work so satisfactorily and so well. The best advice that could be given to those now charged with the superintendence of native education, would be, -follow the example set by your predecessors; cultivate English soundly and circumscribedly, cultivate native literature liberally and judiciously, and seek to bring them into an intimate association as the joint vehicles of useful knowledge; win the confidence and secure the acquiescence, or, if possible, the co-operation, of all classes, particularly of the learned classes; encourage and enable them to cultivate their classical literature, that they may derive from it all the benefit it can bestow, and that they may be fit and willing to extend and improve their acquirements and to assist in the labour of enlightening their countrymen ; abandon all theories of a universal language, and rear an indigenous literature upon the basis of westeru civilization. Then, and then only, will the improvement of the natives of India be achieved, and light and life be diffused throughout the East.
The injurious effect of the measures of the Government of Bengal, in discontinuing the printing of Arabic and Sanscrit works, as it relates to Oriental literature in general, is of less moment than the mischief it inflicts upon native education : I shall not think it necessary, therefore, to bestow much space upon its consideration. Neither is it necessary, after the just and able strictures which it has undergone by the members of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, which will be echoed, no doubt, by the Asiatic Societies of London and Paris, and by every Oriental scholar in Asia or in Europe. They can entertain but one sentiment upon the subject, and from their sentence there is no appeal. If I wished to learn the merits of a picture or a statue, I should consult a painter or a sculptor ; if I desired to know the contents and character of a book which I could not read, I should ask the opinion of a qualified judge by whom it had been perused. In like manner, the merits of Oriental literature must be most accurately appreciated by Oriental scholars, and it were a strange departure from all analogy and from common sense, to reject their testimony in favour of the evidence of those who are ignorant of the subject. When, then, we find such men as Mill, Macnaghten, and Prinsep, exerting their great talents, extraordinary acquirements, and matured judgment, in vindication of the claims of native literature on the patronage of the Government of Bengal, it would be the height of absurdity to listen to those, whose only title to pronounce an opinion is a vain boast that they might have been scholars. Had they made themselves what they pretend they might have been, their opinions would have been entitled to greater deference. On this subject, however, I am not disposed to dwell; the case may be left to its own merits and to abler advocates. It is in connexion with the education of the natives of India, that the discountenance of their native literature by their European rulers is chiefly to be deplored. Whatever
may be thought of my competence to form an accurate estimate of the comparative merits of different plans for the diffusion of useful education in Bengal, it will probably be conceded to me, that, during my residence in that part of the world, I was in habits of intimate intercourse with the natives, and enjoyed an influence with them rarely exercised by a European. It will, therefore, follow that I have some knowledge of the means by which their good-will may be won, and I may claim credit for having endeavoured, I trust not without success, to avail myself of their friendly disposition to promote their real welfare. It was my gratifying lot to receive, on the same day, and in the same place, the hall of the Sanscrit college, filled by hundreds of the pupils of that establishment and the pupils of the Hindu or Anglo-Indian college, addresses in Sanscrit and in English, and testimonials of acknowledgement from both classes, for the interest I had taken in promoting the studies of both institutions. Whoever had witnessed that scene, would have been convinced, that the right course had been pursued, the right principle had been adopted, by the Education Committee of that day; and that, with the feelings which sparkled in every countenance, which every tongue expressed, time alone was wanting thoroughly to amalgamate the approximating elements, and to unite the different orders of society, the different languages and thoughts of the East and West, into one race, one literature, and one religion. The altered system has clouded this bright prospect; the seeds of discord have been substituted for those of harmony; fear has succeeded to confidence, jealousy to cordiality, and hostility to affection. It is, however, to be hoped, that it is not yet too late to remedy, in some degree, the mischief that has been committed; to revert to the benevolent, prudent, and certain career which the highest talents in the Company's service, the most genuine promoters of the best interests of the people of India, originally devised-measures, too, which after trial were stamped with the sanction of the Hon. the Court of Directors, who, in a letter to the Bengal Government of the 29th September 1830, declared that the results of the Committee's operations had surpassed their most sanguine expectations, pronounced their warmest approbation of the general system on which all the institutions under the Committee's superintendence had been conducted, as well as of the particular improvements which they had successively introduced, and expressed their wish, that the establishments for native education should be conducted on the same principles, and receive the same support from Government, at all the presidencies. Oxford, 5th Dec. 1835.
H. H. Wilson.