Imagini ale paginilor

two Hindoos. It is a fact worthy of record, that the erection of the chief Christian church in British India, was aided by the Hindoos themselves. The Hindoo merchant, Omichund, contributed about 3000l.; and the Rajah, Nobkissen, gave a parcel of ground on which the church stands, valued at a much larger sum*.

3. In the letter from the Chairman and Deputy Chairman of the Court of Directors, to Lord Melville, dated 4th of March, 1812, they state, "That the disbursements of the Company for commerce, for stores, and for sums expended "in the acquirement of territory, with forts, &c. "has amounted to 51,182, 1277."-It would have been satisfactory in this retrospect, if we could have seen that a small portion of these fifty-one millions had been laid out in building a church.

But there is, perhaps, less room for crimination here, than may by some be apprehended. Any other commercial body of men from England, would have probably observed the same conduct in the same circumstances. But did not the Dutch and Portuguese promote Christianity, and organize religious establishments in the East? They did, in a liberal and princely manner. But

[ocr errors]

* Hawkesworth's Sketches, p. 10.

it was properly the State which acted; and not a private Company. When the English East-India Company were first incorporated, they intended merely to exist in a private character, and to extend commerce. They did not intend to become Sovereigns of an Empire. If they had, they would no doubt have given their royal pledge, that Christianity should flourish in their dominions in India, like the native palm tree. But they are now Sovereigns of an Empire; and it is only expected that, in accordance with the circumstances in which Providence has placed them, they will concur with his Majesty's Government in doing what his Majesty would do in their place.

4. The Honourable Company are not themselves insensible to the want of churches in their settlements abroad. They signified their wish, some years since, to the Bengal Government, that churches should be built. But we have not yet heard that the foundations have been laid*.

* Small but commodious churches may be erected, of durable construction, in India, for 20007., 3000l., and 4000!. each. Agreeably to the usage of Christian nations, they ought to have spires, pointing to the skies, that the natives may know their sacred purpose, and that the English sol

To the natives of India, we appear like a people who do not mean to stay long in the country. We fail to erect monuments to our religion. We furnish no evidence that we are proud of our acquisitions, of the country, or of the people. It has been justly said, that if, by any sudden revolution, we were to lose our Empire in the East, there would not, in a few years, remain a trace of our having existed in the country.

5. If the Honourable Company be desirous to retain the government of the Indian Empire, (we consider it an awful responsibility), it will be proper to shew that this may be done without prejudice to Christianity. It is of more consequence to the honour of our country, that the character of the Christian Religion be maintained inviolate in India, than that the trade be opened or shut. It is unquestionably true, "That the opening of the trade, and the permission of colonization, would be more favourable to the extension of Christianity, and of European civilization, than a system of exclusion." He, who shall deny this position, must be able to maintain propositions (as has been already shewn) repugnant to the dispensations of Providence, and to the Revelation of

dier (after a long absence from his Christian country) may recognise a Church.

God. The rulers of the country will, therefore, keep this undeniable fact in mind; and endeavour to prevent the effects of this peculiar inconvenience of their government, by founding liberal institutions for Christianity.

The tenure of the Indian Empire, we repeat it, involves an awful responsibility. If the Company be willing to keep in their permanent service 30,000 Englishmen, of whom but an inconsiderable part return to their native country; if they would continue to preside over the numerous and increasing race of Half-cast Protestants, and over a population of 60,000,000 natives; it will be satisfactory to the nation to know, that these, our brethren and fellow-subjects, are likely to enjoy moral advantages, under the government of the East-India Company, at least equal to what they would have had, if they were under the national care *.

* APPEAL of the Bishop of Lincoln, Dr. Thurlow, to the East-India Company in 1786.


"The large tracts of country now added to the British Empire in Asia, have opened a fair prospect before The opulence, the fertility, the population of these distant provinces, give them an increasing weight in the scale of British property, and justly entitle the inhabitants to all the privileges of fellow-subjects. As such, they already enjoy, in some measure, the blessing of our free constitution. We have placed them under the protection of


The circumstance of his Majesty's Government having lately appointed Chaplains to ships

our LAWS, and guarded their most valuable rights by the establishment of an English tribunal.

"After thus communicating the choicest temporal blessings, on which we justly stamp so inestimable a value, can we consistently decline to impart the spiritual blessings whereof we are partakers in the Gospel of Christ? Can we withhold from so many millions of rational beings, unhappily deluded by error, or degraded by superstition, the pri vilege of an EMANCIPATION from their chains of darkness, and an admission into the glorious liberty of the children of God?'

"It is to be hoped the interesting subject will merit the attention of Government, and influence the determinations of a GREAT COMMERCIAL BODY, to take the lead in so glorious a cause:-that they will shew themselves to be disciples of Jesus, by granting every encouragement to the public profession of Christianity in the provinces under their jurisdiction, by expending some part of their princely revenues in the service of their Creator, by erecting CHURCHES in the capitals of those provinces, and by giving a permanent establishment to the too long neglected religion of their country. The happy return of the public tranquillity, which has secured to the British nation the quiet possession of these Oriental acquisitions, yields a fair opportunity for the commencement of so godlike an employment.

« ÎnapoiContinuați »