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Tag very recent death of this remarkable Jesus Christ.* Of importance, second only person—known by his good works, and dis- to these holy influences, were the noble exertinguished by his labours of love-induces tions of Rammohun Roy in the sacred cause us to condense from accredited sources the of civil liberty. His visit to England excited following particulars of his well-regulated considerable interest ; not only from his relicareer. They are recommended to the reader's
* Of the ready conversion of the Hindus
to Chris. notice by the interesting circumstances of tianity, Bishop Heber says: “ many of the Brahmins their subject having been the first Hindu, of themselves express admiration of the morality of the
Gospel, and profess to putertain a better opinion of any consequence, who not only became converted from Brahmanism to the Christian a religion and a Shaster."— Narrative of a Journey
the English since they have found that they too have faith, but wrote in support of the religion of in India, vol. iii. p. 252. VOL. XXII.
gious conversion, but from the patriotic inte- devotion, prefering peace ana tranquillity of rest which he took in the affairs of his native mind to the excitements of ambition and all country. Previously to the commencement the allurements of worldly grandeur. of the inquiries preparatory to the renewal of “ In conformity with the usage of my pa. the East India Charter, the Rajah success- ternal race, and the wish of my father, I fully advocated a more liberal intercourse studied the Persian and Arabic languages; with India ; for, it is understood that, in the these being accomplishments indispensable course of these inquiries, his advice on this to those who attached themselves to the Courts subject was of extensive effect.
of the Mohammedan Princes; and, agreeably Rammohun Roy was a native of the pro- to the usage of my maternal relations, I devince of Bengal, properly so called, and was voted myself to the study of Sanscrit, and the born, (according to the preface to one of his theological works written in it, which contracts,) in Burdwan, the most fertile and popu- tain the body of Hindu literature, law, and lous district of all British India. As this religion. district was ceded to the British Government " When about the age of sixteen, I comso early as 1760, Rammohan was, of course, posed a manuscript, calling in question the born a subject of that rule. In Lower Bengal validity of the idolatrous system of the Hin
there are two distinct classes of Brahmans dus. This, together with my known senti! namely, those who trace their pedigree to the ments on that subject, having produced a
ancient priesthood of the country, and those coolness between me and my immediate kinwho trace their descent from certainemigrants dred, I proceeded on my travels, and passed from the north-west of India, who planted through different countries, chiefly within, themselves in Bengal shortly before the Mo- but some beyond, the bounds of Hindustan, hammedan conquest of that country, or nine with a feeling of great aversion to the estacenturies back. The true Bengalee Brahman blishment of the British power in India. is little respected, being neither esteemed for When I had reached the age of twenty, my learning nor for purity of blood; those of father recalled and restored me to his favour; western descent are highly venerated, and of after which, I first saw, and began to asso
this order was Rammohun Roy. Considerable ciate with Europeans, and soon after made | pains appear to have been taken with the myself tolerably acquainted with their laws
early education of Rammohun, long before and form of government. Finding them he had formed any acquaintance with Euro- generally more intelligent, more steady, and peans; for, in his own district, he was in. moderate in their conduct, I gave up my prestructed in all the learning usually bestowed judices against them, and became inclined in upon a Brahman, and was afterwards sent to their favour; feeling persuaded that their the celebrated seminary of Benares, where he rule, though a foreign yoke, would lead most remained several years, engaged in studying speedily and surely to the amelioration of the the Sanscrit language.
native inhabitants. I enjoyed the confidence A brief sketch of the outline of the life of of several of them even in their public capaRammohun Roy, previous to his visit to Eng- city. My continued controversies with the land, will, however, be read with greater inte- Brahmans on the subject of their idolatry and rest than the preceding facts. It was fur- superstition, and my interference with their nished by Rammohun at the request of a custom of burning widows, and other pernifriend, and one who was acquainted with the cious practices, revived and increased their Rajah has described its simplicity to be animosity against me with renewed force; truly characteristic of the man. This auto- and, through their influence with my family, biographic sketch is as follows:
my father was again obliged to withdraw his “My ancestors were Brahmans of a high countenance openly, though his limited pecuorder, and from time immemorial were devoted niary support was still continued to me. to the religious duties of their race, down to “ After my father's death I opposed the my fifth progenitor, who about 140 years advocates of idolatry with still greater boldago gave up spiritual exercises for worldly ness; availing myself of the art of printing, pursuits and aggrandizement. His descen- now established in India, I published various dants ever since have followed his example, works and pamphlets against their errors in and, according to the usual fate of courtiers, the native and foreign languages. This with various success, sometimes rising to raised such a feeling against me that I was honour, and sometimes falling; sometimes at last deserted by every person, except two or rich and sometimes poor; sometimes exulting three Scotch friends, to whom, and the nation in success, sometimes miserable through dis- to which they belong, I always feel grateful. appointment. But my maternal ancestors The ground which I took in all my controbeing of the sacerdotal order by profession, as versies was not that of opposition to Brahwell as by birth, and of a family than which manism, but to a perversion of it; and I en. none holds a higher rank in that profession, deavoured to show that the idolatry of the have, up to the present day, uniformly ad- Brahmans was contrary to the practice of hered to a life of religious observances and their ancestors, and the principles of the an
cient books and authorities, which they pro- at Calcutta, and devote himself to the cul. fess to revere and obey. Notwithstanding tivation of literature. Mr. Arnot, who knew the violence of the opposition and resistance Rammohun Roy in India, relates that to my opinions, several highly respectable “ Sanscrit and Arabic learning, Rammohun persons, both among my own relations and had studied deeply in his youth; Persian, others, began to adopt the same sentiments. the court language of the East, he knew as
" I now felt a strong wish to visit Europe, his mother tongue; he had read and tasted and obtain by personal observation a more the beauties of its poets, and often recited thorough insight into its manners, customs, with enthusiasm the mystic strains of Hafiz, religion, and political institutions.
and the fine moral maxims of Sadi.” In frained, however, from carrying this intention India, he published a weekly journal in Perinto effect until my friends, who coincided in sian, which he carried on for some years, my sentiments, should be increased in num- until discouraged by the laws made against ber and strength. My expectations having the press in 1823; a measure against which at length been realized, in November, 1830, he took a more decided part than, perhaps, I embarked for England, as the discussion of he ever took in political affairs. the East India Company's Charter was ex- His vigorous mind was, however, chiefly pected to come on, by which the treatment of directed to religion. “ Having rejected the the natives of India and its future govern- corrupt systems of the Brahmans," observes ment would be determined for many years to
Mr. Arnot, “and exposed the pretended come; and an appeal to the King in Council revelations of Mohammed,” he evinced great against the abolition of the practice of burn- talent in illustrating the doctrines of the ing Hindu widows, was to be heard before Hindu Scriptures. He next studied the the Privy Council; and his Majesty the Em. Christian Scriptures in the original; the Old peror of Delhi had likewise commissioned me Testament, with a Jewish rabbi, and the to bring before the authorities in England New, with Christian divines. These invescertain encroachments on his rights by the tigations led him to adopt, (though in deEast India Company. I accordingly arrived gree,) the principles of the Unitarians; and in England in April, 1831.
thenceforward, according to Mr. Arnot, the “RAMMOHUN Roy." Rajah gave his whole support to the views of In early life, Rammohun, by untiring in this sect. “ He compiled and printed an dustry, laid the basis of his fortune. He abstract of the moral principles of the gospel, had many and formidable obstacles to en. apart from its miracles and doctrines, which counter: the renunciation of the religion of he published under the title of The Precepts his native country caused him to be disin- of Jesus, a Guide to Peace and Happiness :" herited by his family, and his prospects of this work led the author into controversies, to employment under the British Government which he replied in forcible and luminous were, by no means, cheering. He, however, argument. entered their service, and attained the highest The principal object of Rammohun Roy rank any native could possibly hold in the in visiting England is stated to have been of branch to which he was attached. He was a political nature. Here he shunned rather dewan, or head native revenue officer of the than courted religious controversy. His first district of Rungpoor, one of the most easterly respect being shown to the Unitarians, he is portions of Bengal ; " and, to the practical said to have exclusively attached himself to experience and knowledge of business, he that sect: but such was not the case.f Mr. acquired in that office, the public are indebt. Arnot says, " he occasionally joined the coned for most of the valuable information he gregations of persons of every persuasion, has afforded the British Government. It led from the Roman Catholic to the Free-thinking also to the formation of a friendship between Christian, listening to all with the same him and Mr. Digby, (a gentleman in the reverence, or appearance of external respect. East India Coinpany's Civil Service, who He was a most regular attendant, however, was in the revenue department in that quar
on the ministration of the Rev. D. A. H. ter,) which had an important influence on Kenney, of St. Olave's, Southwark, which he his future life. They studied Orieutal and called his church."" Other persons who European languages together, and it is stated have contributed particulars of Rammohun that to Mr. Digby, Rammohun was indebted to the newspapers, state that he regularly for his earliest acquaintance with the English attended the Unitarian chapels at Hackney, language.
in Moorfields, in Essex-street, or RegentIn his office of dewan, Rammohun acquired the small fortune which enabled him to become
+ A note in the Literary Gazette review of one of a zemindar or proprietor, with an income of his opinions from Unitarianism as follows:
Rammohun Roy's works, explains the distinction of 10001. a-year. The death of relatives next ena- Uuitarians in England hold the proper humanity of bled him to retire from public life, to settle
Christ as one of their fundamental tenets; Xammo.
hun Koy, on the contrary, maintains his pri-existence • Communicated to the Athenæum, by Mr. Sandford and super-angelic rank and dignity." Arnot, private secretary to Rammohun Roy.
street; and a short time previous to his death, his translation of the Veds ; and his vernacular he attended Dr. Lant Carpenter's Unitarian tongue, the Bengali, owes to him a wellchapel, at Lewin's-mead, Bristol.
written Grammar, in the English language." “ In politics, Rammohun Roy was a re. He also spoke and wrote the English lan publican. At Calcutta he seldom or ever guage with considerable facility, correctness, visited the Government-house. Among and elegance. Europeans he associated chiefly with the In private life, Rammohun Roy was disultra-liberal party. In 1823, he wrote and tinguished by social endearments of the most printed a petition to his Majesty in Council interesting character. Mr. Arnot describes against the Government measure against the him to have been “affable in his manners, Press at Calcutta. In 1820, on the breaking cheerful and instructive in conversation, and out of the Spanish, Neapolitan, and Sardinian scrupulously attentive to the rules of society.” Revolutions, Rammohun gave a public enter. He was a quick and keen observer of chatainment in horour of them. In England, racter, and in the ordinary intercourse of life his politics were less obtruded than in India, discreet and prudent; and about his whole but still he never allowed an opportunity to demeanour there is stated to have been a pass of expressing his hearty approbation of charm of modesty and reverence that proall liberal institutions. The progress of the duced the most agreeable effect on all who Reform Question kept him in a perfect fever saw or conversed with him. He lived in of anxiety."
genteel style, and kept a carriage ; but he Rammohun Roy was charged with a mis- never altered his simple regimen. Since his sion from the King of Delhi to enforce a arrival in England he had been, as it were, claim against the East India Company, to overwhelmed with those fashionable hospi. the extent of half a million of money. He talities by which the reception of an enlightsucceeded in the negotiation, and a few weeks ened foreigner in England is usually characprevious to his death, the matter was brought terized. He studied the “ sweet small courto a termination by a compromise. As the tesies” almost fastidiously: invitations pressed arrangement now stands, 30,0001. a-year are on him from all quarters, and Mr. Arnot says, added to the stipend of the fallen King of " he often sacrificed to etiquette both utility Delhi; and, as The reward of his services, and personal comfort." Rammohun was to receive from the King, Of Rammohun's reception in the best an annual sum of from 3,0001. to 4,0001. society, we find the following records in the sterling, to be continued to his heim for ever. Literary Gazette of last week: Among other objects of his visit, were certain Among the persons in this country with improvements in the internal administration whom he was most intimate, was Sir Alexander of the government of India, particularly the Johnston ; whose great general intelligence introduction of juries in the judicial courts of was not the less acceptable to him from being Hindustan; an improved system of collecting accompanied by a comprehensive and minute the revenue ; the abolition of the salt mono- knowledge of India, and the having spent poly; and an internal trade with the East many valuable years in endeavouring to ameIndia Company and the natives.-Upon all liorate and improve that vast dominion. From these subjects, he either published or pre- that gentleman we have obtained some inJared for the press various able papers or teresting particulars relative to the subject essays; but his most valuablu political work of this memoir. At his suggestion, the Rajah, is his Remarks on the Judicial and Revenue had he lived, had determined to translate two Systems of India, in the form of queries and English works into Sanscrit, Arabic, and Perreplies, .contained among the minutes of sian, for the use of his countrymen in India; evidence laid before Parliament on the India the one is the Introductory Discourse to the Question.
Library of Useful Knowledge, written by the Mr. Arnot may be referred to in regard to present Lord Chancellor; the other, the work the literary, attainments of Rammohun : "he upon the Elements of Logic, written by the was acquainted, more or less, with ten lan- present Archbishop of Dublin. The circumguages-Sanscrit, Arabic, Persian, Hindus stances connected with his determination to tani, Bengali, English, Hebrew, Greek, Latin, translate these works are strikingly indicative and French. The two first he knew criti- of his habits and way of thinking :Sir Alex. cally, as a scholar; the third, fourth, fifth, ander, shortly after his arrival in London, took and sixth, he spoke and wrote fluently; in him one morning, with his lordship’s permisthe eighth, perhaps, his studies or reading sion, to breakfast with the Chancellor. Ramdid not extend much beyond the originals of mohun was so much pleased with this interthe Christian Scriptures-; and in the latter view, that he immediately after asked Sir A. two his knowledge was apparently more li- Johnstone if his lordship had written azpy mited. He has published works in Sanscrit, work? Upon which Sir A. J. gave him hais Arabic, Persian, Bengali, and English: his Introductory Discourse, which he immediate bly most usefui labour, in regard to the first is offered to translate, and to illustrate the trans• Correspondent of the Times,
lation with such drawings as would facilitate
the understanding of its contents to the na- the palace, made him fix a day for dining
C. Jatics : ndicat Sir.id lon, tu · Per
* His grand desire was to see a monarch whose early life had been passed like that of a common
-a truth which influenced his wisdomtempered life.
1 Sir. ten de him ledate ne tra