« ZurückWeiter »
the harbour of Trincomallée must alone stamp a value on the possession of Ceylon, and give to it a great political preponderance over all the islands of the east. It is the first and most important naval station in the Indian seas, and one of the finest harbours in the world, containing, within its winding shores, coves and minor harbours in which the whole navy of England might find accommodation. It is so situated that, in either monsoon, ships can arrive at or depart from it, and make their passage good from or to any part of the eastern world; and whole fleets may remain within it, at every season of the year, in perfect security. Its importance in this respect is greatly enhanced by the total want of harbours along the two extensive coasts of Coromandel and Malabar. Had Trincomallée been in our possession, when the dreadful famine ravaged Madras during Lord Macartney's government, and the fleet of Sir Edward Hughes was obliged to flee for shelter to Bombay, while the French frigates insulted the coast of Coromandel and obstructed the provision ships intended for its relief, Madrąs might have escaped the horrible evils to which its unhappy inhabitants were subjected. Measures, we understand, have been already taken for removing the naval station from Madras to Trincomallée; and Chinese husbandmen have been encouraged to settle in the neighbourhood, to clear away the jungle and bring the ground under cultivation. This is a wise proceeding; wherever this industrious people have met with proper encouragement, suecess has never failed to attend their efforts; but they inust be allowed to go to work after their own way, and for their own emolument; as hired servants, or day labourers, they will do little or nothing; but give them a waste to cultivate for their own advan-, tage, and they will very soon convert it into a garden. Their labour and skill have afforded ample proof of this in the vicinity of Columbo and Point de Galle.
Much, however, is required to be done before Ceylon can become an independent naval and military station. The first step will obviously be that of opening good roads of communication--from Columbo through Candy to Trincomallée--from Point de Galle through Candy to Jafnapatnam-and from place to place in every part of the island to establish military posts in healthy situations along all these roads of communication--to clear away the jungles and thickets, and to drain the marshes, the great sources of the disease and mortality which now prevail-to take an accurate survey of the island—to divide it into districts, and class the land according to its quality—to fix. an equitable rent on each class, payable either in money or produce, as may best suit the occupier--to abolish all forced service, forced deliveries, and vexatious imposts--and in short to'eradicate every vestige of that oppressive and impolitic
system of feudality and extortion pursued by the Dutch in all their settlements in the east.
Nor should we stop here: as the benefit we contemplate to the mother country from the colony of Ceylon rests not on the sordid basis of commercial profit, the moral improvement of the natives will necessarily become one of the principal objects of a liberal government. The establishment of national schools is the first step towards this state of improvement, from whence none of the numerous peoples, sects, or religions should be excluded. The universal adoption of the English language in the courts of judicature, in all legal instruments and official documents, and in all the transactions between the departments of government and individuals ; the appointment of all classes, and all religions, without distinction, to the inferior situations in the public service, would induce the natives the more readily (and there is no reluctance even now) to send their children to the schools; the reading of English books would give them new ideas and gradually wean them from those besotted and senseless prejudices which disgrace the doctrines of Budh and Brahma, and open their eyes to the more ra. tional doctrines of Christianity. The state of religion is here widely different from that on the peninsula of India; it has no pational establishment; it has no funds for the support of a priesthood; its ancient forms, from long neglect, are nearly forgot- ten and worn out; and the people, having wandered so long in total darkness, are glad, as Mr. Cordiner expresses himself,' to follow the least glimmering of light.' In fact the Portugueze and Dutch made both Singhalese and Malabars a sort of half Christians; the Dutch in particular had the merit of establishing and providing funds for the maintenance of public schools in every parish; - and they caused the New Testament and a great part of the Old to be translated and printed in the Singhalese and Malabar languages. In the several school-houses divine service was performed on Sundays, and always well attended. To every ten schools was a superintending master who made his monthly visitations. Nine established clergymen presided over as many districts and made their annual visitations of the schools.
These religious and scholastic establishments were neglected and fell into decay on the capture of the island by us in 1796. The clergymen, the catechists, and the schoolmasters, lost their pittance of salary; the duties of the one were feebly discharged, and the laborious employment of the other entirely ceased. Mr. North on his arrival re-established the schools and settled what he thought to be reasonable salaries on the clergy, the schoolmasters, and the catechists. • Christianity,' says Mr. Cordiner, ' once more began to wear a flourishing aspect. The inhabitants were fully sensible of
the the attention which the governor paid both to their spiritual and temporal interests, and every countenance denoted happiness and contentment. He further tells us that in 1801 the number of parish schools amounted to one hundred and twenty; that the number of Protestant Christians exceeded 342,000; and that those of the Church of Rome were supposed to be still more numerous. We should have doubted this statement if we did not consider it to be derived from official documents. It proves to us most clearly how very trifling would be the expense and exertion to bring the whole island within the pale of Christianity. That the temporal condition of those who have already embraced the truths of the gospel is much ameliorated, we have the testimony, among many others, of Mrs. Graham, whom we consider as no mean authority. When once initiated by baptism, and eligible to certain offices under the government, they become, she tells us, ambitious and industrious, build better houses, eat better food, and wear better clothes than their ancestors did, or those of the present race do who remain uneducated.
Unfortunately, however, the plans pursued by the colonial go. vernment did not seem to meet the views of the king's ministers at home. The system of economy which followed the peace of Amiens extended itself to the schools of Ceylon, the expense of which was to be limited to fifteen hundred pounds: the saving to the nation was about the price of a good elephant; and the schools once more fell into decay. We believe, however, that this mistake has been corrected, and that religion and education are again in a flourishing state. Missionaries too have, since that period, been sent to the island, from whom a people so tractable as the Singhalese may derive great benefit; but what we most strongly recommend is the extension, as far as possible, of schools, and schools in which the English language shall be principally taught. We are the more anxious on this head, not only for the advantages, which the rising generation would derive from an attention to religious principles and moral education, but also from the possibility of its becoming at some period or other, perhaps less remote than we may be aware, the central point of the British power in the east. In such an event the advantages are incalculable of having a population of probably a million and a half speaking the English lan guage, governed by English laws, and professing in its purity the Christian religion.
But what, after all, must the natives think of their English masters' regard for religion, when they observe such indifference to its concerns as to have no suitable temple dedicated to the service of the Divine Author of that which they profess? The Roman Cathos lics have a handsome church built by the Portugueze and kept in
good repair—the Dutch have a church; but the English church in the fort is without a roof and little more than a heap of ruins. The great hall in the government house is used for the performance of divine service, and certainly it will not increase the veneration of the natives for christianity on seeing the same room appropriated for its most solemn and serious duties, and for the most gay and festive amusements for prayers, levees, dinners, and dancing—all on the same day. There is scarcely a town on the coast that has not a Dutch church, and every village almost is ornamented with the remains of a Portugueze church or chapel ; no fewer than thirtytwo of which are still visible in Jaffnapatnam.
Some may think that it would be better to instruct the natives in the useful arts, and train them to habits of industry; because, being naturally of an idle turn and glad to find an excuse for indulging it by frequenting churches and schools, the latter would encourage that disposition. We do not know that knowledge leads to idleness, but rather the contrary; nor are we by any means convinced that the Singhalese are naturally of an indolent disposition. It is true Knox has said, and his account has been copied by later writers, that they are naturally a people given to sloth and laziness; that they abhor work; and that they would not work at all if it was not to get food and raiment.' But Knox was too sensible and observant a man not to perceive that their indolence was not without a cause, yet in this,' says he,' I must a little vindicate them; for whát indeed should they do with more than food and raiment, seeing as their estates increase, so do their taxes also? and although the people be generally covetous, spending but little, scraping together what they can, yet such is the government they are under, that they are afraid to be known to have any thing, lest it be taken away from them. Neither have they any encouragement to industry, having no vend by traffic and commerce for what they have got. Our conduct ought to be, and we dare say will be, just the reverse; we shall endeavour to fix the stability of our conquest on the affections of the natives, by instilling into the minds of the rising generation the true principles of morality and religion ; and to give to the natives at large that encouragement which has succeeded so well with the Javanese, and which, in the words of Governor Raffles, we would earnestly recommend to the government of Ceylon— to promote extensive industry and consequent improvement, by giving the people an interest in the soil, and by instituting amongst them an acknowledged claim to the possession of the lands, that they may be thus induced to labour for their own profit and advantage.'
Art. II. A Charge delivered to the Clergy of the Diocese of
London, at the primary Visitation of that Diocese, in the Year 1814. By William, Lord Bishop of London. London. Payne.
Rivington. 2. Letters addressed to the Right Rev. the Lord Bishop of Lon
don, in Vindication of the Unitarians, from the Allegations of his Lordship in the Charge delivered to the Clergy of the Diocese of London, at his Lordship's primary Visitation. By Thomas Belsham, Minister of the Chapel in Essex-street. London. 1815. Hunter: St. Paul's Church-yard. A VISITATION charge, being for the most part conversant
about matters of detail as to the duties and discipline of the Church, does not, under ordinary circumstances, come within critical notice: in the present instance, however, we feel ourselves induced, on many accounts, to claim for it a share of public attention. The character of the author, for erudition and judgment, as well as for many valuable qualities in private life, had some time ago placed him in the divinity chair of the University of Oxford; and has recently, by an advance in the Church, unprecedented in any late period, raised him to the Bishopric of London, a station distinguished no less by its rank, than by the high responsibility which attaches to it. The Charge before us, delivered at his primary visitation, whether we consider the merit of the composition, or the judicious manner in which the topics are selected and discussed, has not been often excelled by productions of this description: and we have an additional reason for noticing it in the necessity of bestowing some animadversions on the letters which Mr. Belsham, a well known Unitarian minister, has thought proper to address to the bishop' in vindication,' as he states, of the Unitarians from the allegations of his lordship.
The charge opens with a handsome tribute to the inerits and character of his lordship's predecessor in the offices both of Regius Professor, and of Bishop of London, the late Dr. John Randolph ; to his acquirements as a theologian and a scholar, and his practical habits of business. Respecting his own competence to the duties which his new station imposes upon him, Dr. Howley speaks in a way, which shews that his opinion of himself is widely different from that of the world.
« On a subject of greater delicacy I had almost determined to take refuge in silence from the danger of incurring, on one hand, the charge of presumption, and on the other, of affected humility. Thus far, however, I may venture, in speaking of myself to say, that profoundly conscious of my own unworthiness, I look up with humble reliance to