« PreviousContinue »
“In a discussion which this event has produced in Calcutta, the following question has been asked, Who was GUIlty of THE BLooD OF THE OLD LADY 2 for it was manifest that she could not destroy herself? She was carried to be burned. It was also alleged that the Brahmin who fired the pile was not guilty, because he was never informed by the English government, that there was any immorality in the action. On the contrary, he might argue that the English, witnessing this scene daily, as they do, without remonstrance, acquiesced in its propriety. The Government in India was exculpated, on the ground that the Government at home never sent any instructions on the subject ; and the Court of Directors were exculpated, because they were the agents of others. It remained that the Proprietors of India Stock, who originate and sanction all proceed ings of the Court of Directors, were REMOTEly AceESSARY TO THE DEED.’
The best vindication of the great body of JProprietors, is this, that some of them never heard of the Female Sacrifice at all; and that few of them are acquainted with the full extent and frequency of the crime.—Besides, in the above discussion, it was taken for granted that the Court of Directors have done nothing towards the suppression of this enormity; and that the Court of Proprietors have looked on, without concern, at this omission of duty.--But this, perhaps,
may not be the case. The question then remains to be asked.- Have the Court of Directors at any time sent instructions to their Government in India, to report on the means by which the frequency of the female sacrifice might be diminished, and the practice itself eventually abolished? Or have the Proprietors of India Stock at any time instructed the Court of Directors to attend to a point of so much consequence to the character of the Company, and the honour of the nation?
That the abolition is practicable has been demonstrated : and that too by the most rational and lenient measures; and these means have been pointed out by the Brahmins themselves. *
Had Marquis Wellesley remained in India, and been permitted to complete his salutary plans for the improvement of that distant Empire (for he did not finish one half of the civil and political regulations which he had in view, and had actually commenced) the Female Sacrifice would probably have been by this time nearly abolished.The humanity and intrepid spirit of that nobleman abolished a yet more criminal practice which was
* See them detailed in Memoir, p. 49. + Ibid. p. 47.
considered by the Hindoos as a religious rite, and consecrated by custom, I mean the SAcRIFIce of CHILDREN. His Lordship had been informed that it had been a custom of the Hindoos to sacrifice children in consequence of vows, by drowning them, or exposing them to Sharks and Crocodiles; and that twenty-three persons had perished at Saugor in one month (January 1801,) many of whom where sacrificed in this manner. He in mediately instituted an inquiry into the principle of this ancient atrocity, heard what Natives and Europeans had to say on the subject; and then passed a law, “declaring the practice “to be murder punishable by death.”—The law is entitled “A Regulation for preventing the “Sacrifice of Children at Saugor and other “places; passed by the Governor-General in “Council on the 20th of August, 1802.”—The purposeof this regulation was completely effected. Not a murmur was heard on the subject: nor has any attempt of the kind come to our knowledge since. It is impossible to calculate the number of human lives that have been saved, during the last eight years, by this humane law of Marquis Wellesley.—Now it is well known that it is as easy to prevent the sacrifice of women as the sacrifice of children. Has this fact ever been denied by any man who is competent to fier a judgment on the subject? Until the supreme Government in Bengal shall declare that it is utterly impracticable to lessen the frequency of the Immolation of Females by any means, THE AUTHOR WILL NoT CEASE To CALL THE ATTEN
THE Letters of KING GEORGE the FIRST to the Missionaries in India, will form a proper introduction to the account which it is now intended to give of the Christian Hindoos of Tanjore. The first Protestant Mission in India was founded by Bartholomew Ziegenbalg, a man of erudition and piety, educated at the University of Halle, in Germany. He was ordained by the learned Burmannus, bishop of Zealand, in his twenty-third year, and sailed for India in 1705. In the second year of his ministry he founded a Christian Church among the Hindoos, which has been extending its limits to the present time. In 1714, he returned to Europe for a short time, and on that occasion was honoured with an audience by His Majesty George the First, who took much interest in the success of the Mission, He was also patronized by “the Society for “ promoting Christian Knowledge,” which was superintended by men of distinguished learning and piety. The King and the Society, encouraged the Oriental Missionary to proceed in his translation of the Scriptures into the Tamul tongue which they designated “the grand work.” This was indeed THE GRAND work; for wherever the Scriptures are translated into the vernacular tongue, and are open and common to all, inviting inquiry and causing discussion, they cannot remain “a dead letter.” When the Scriptures speak to a heathen in his own tongue, his conscience responds, “This is the word of God.” How little is the importance of a version of the Bible in a new language understood by some. The man who produces a translation of the Lible into a new language, (like Wickliffe, and Luther, and Ziegenbalg, and Carey) is a greater benefactor to mankind than the Prince who founds an Empire. For the “incorruptible seed of the word “of God” can never die. After ages have revolved, it is still producing new accessions to truth and human happiness. In the year 1719, Ziegenbalg finished the Bible in the Tamul tongue, having devoted fourteen years to the work. The peculiar interest taken by the King in this primary endea