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This with much more of a similar description, sounds well and forcibly enough in the ears of uninformed men, and in the tone of ignorant declamation; and by the mass of those before whom it is employed, the facts are shuddered at, and the inference is admitted. Yet the chief characteristic of the Hindoo is indubitably mildness.
The Hindoo religion is essentially inoffensive, the Mosaic, the Mahometan, and the Catholic, essentially the reverse; and it may well be doubted whether Boodhism tends more to darken the human mind, which it induces to put forth in the efficacy of its few recommended (for it has no enjoined) sacrifices of the nature described, than do the two last-named faiths the former by engendering and nourishing a firm belief in a sensual Heaven, to be gained by deeds of sanguinary persecution; and the latter, by compelling the blind and absolute credence of its professors in the sure efficaciousness of corporeal laceration, the certain benefit of posthumous expurgatorial masses for the soul, and the entire sufficiency of an earthly absolution and remission of their sins. We are too apt to condemn a religion with which we are not very familiarly acquainted, without taking the requisite pains to compare it with those which circumstances have enabled us more deeply to examine, and the ceremonies of which have no longer the power of novelty to startle or revolt us. It is thus that the Brahminical religion has frequently been condemned for incomparable superstition and cruelty of principle, when a very little reflection and comparison would convince the censurers that it yielded to several others in its most idolatrous and bloody traits, and greatly surpassed them in the amount of its humanity.
< Without setting myself up as a profound theologist, or a most exemplary and faultless Christian, I can yet judge with impartiality between the several religions that are best known to a commonly-in. formed person; and wholly free from persecuting bigotry, I am a sincere friend to the cause of heathen and other conversion to what I devoutly believe to be the least erroneous faith. But while I give willingly and unqualifiedly my entire assent to the pious and philanthropic sincerity of those who compose our Bible and other coadjutant associations for the dissemination of the gospel, I do not, and I never did, concur with them as to the mode in which they proceeded so recently as twelve years ago, of converting to Hindoos by the exertions of erratic and often illiterate missionaries, who madly began by reviling the religion they were sent gradually to subvert; and who deemed the stern and censuring style of the primitive apostles (they never reflected on the difference between their own unletteredness, and the inspiration of the Deity), the only model on which their preachings should be delivered. In that part of the system, 1 never could concur, nor can I say that I have ever been opposed by a sufficient defence of it, though this is neither the first nor the most public manner in which I have expressed my sincere conviction of its utter inefficiency. The natural mildness of the Hindoo character was never more forcibly exemplified, than by the forbearing manner in which these traducers of their ancient religion were received. They were uniformly listened to with the most urbane attention, and they neither exhausted the patience, nor excited the vengeance of their gentle auditory; but they would 3 R
soon have succeeded in diffusing alarm, where they failed to spread conviction, had a notion been generally, as it certainly was partially, entertained, that the British government contemplated the use of force in the work of conversion. I need not say what the consequences would have been, nor how difficult the task of re-establishing confidence.
"In the year 1816 a most alarming rebellion was fostered and increased, if not actually commenced in the district of Bareilly, by the apprehension of such a procedure; and both Mussulman and Hindoo (the detesters of each other's faith) united in such formidable and determined numbers to frustrate the apprehended design of subverting both, that many lives were sacrificed, and much popularity lost, before the government authority could be fully re-established. In many instances (some of them within my personal knowledge) the supreme power has had to interfere, by ordering back to Calcutta, from the interior of the country, certain wandering missionaries, whose extreme indiscretion was producing the most dangerous consequences to the State, while, at the same time, it greatly injured the sacred cause with which they were entrusted. No wonder! the majority of these spiritual envoys were of low degree, and of little education.
A learned and a pious divine, like the incomparable Bishop Heber, did, and will ever do, more spiritual good among the natives of India, than a myriad of such well-meaning but ignorant envoys as were formerly sent there.'
We find no fault with the Captain for not being a profound 'theologist,' but when he talks of the essential inoffensiveness of the Hindoo religion-that is of the worship of Kali and Seeva ;and of the natural mildness of the Hindoos,'-to wit, the Thugs, and Phansigars, and Pindarrees, and Decoits of Bengal and Hindostan, and the Rajpoots of Malwah and Marwar;-when he praises the tolerance of the Brahminical extirpators of the Buddhic tribes, while every part of India exhibits the monuments of the desolating wars carried on between the votaries of different deities, he betrays an ignorance which is discreditable in any one who undertakes to write upon such subjects, but the more unpardonable in one who attempts to build ingenious inferences upon such premises. His account of the causes of the insurrection of 1816, is, however, worse still: it is a falsification of well attested facts. A eulogy upon the amiable Bishop Heber, coming from such a pen, is indeed cruel satire. Were the good Prelate still living, how deeply wounded and mortified would he feel at the disparaging encomiums which have been passed upon him, by worldly and indevout men who misunderstood his character!
Among the other contributors to the Amulet will be found the names of the Ettrick Shepherd; the Author of Corn-Law Rhymes; Viscount Strangford; Thomas Kerrick; the Author of Selwyn; Mrs. Godwin; Mrs. Hofland; Miss Landon ;
Mrs. S. C. Hall; Miss Mitford; Miss Pardoe; Charles Swain ; Isabel Hill; Laman Blanchard; Horace Smith; the Author of Darnley; and Dr. Walsh. There is also a paper, entitled 'The Spirit of Philosophy,' which bears the name of William Hazlitt, -we presume a posthumous production. A splendid array of contributors; and there is a very fair display of talent; but we find nothing that we can conveniently extract, the longest communications being-which is not always the case the best.
Friendship's Offering awakens solemn and painful recollections. The Editor of the previous volumes, our lamented friend Thomas Pringle, was to have been succeeded by Mr. Inglis, the Author of some popular sketches of Ireland and the Channel Islands; but he, too, has been suddenly cut off in the prime of life; and Mr. Harrison, well known to our readers by his Tales of a Physician,' has been called to supply his place. Under such circumstances, it would be unfair to criticise very narrowly the contents of a volume prepared under some disadvantages; but there will be found a very agreeable admixture of tale, essay, and poetry. From the latter we select the following elegant verses.
By T. K. HERVEY.
'Again-again she comes !-methinks I hear
Her wild, sweet singing, and her rushing wings!
Was scarce more tuneful than its glad reply:
'She comes! I know her by her starry eyes,-
That hung, enamoured, round her fairy feet,
'Come back! come back!-thou hast been absent long;
Who comes, and comes again, with pleading strong,
Though every year she wears a sadder look,
But come!-thy coming is a gladness yet,-
Bright spirit, come !-the mystic rod is thine
The places where its buried treasures rest,—
That grief had choked, and ruins had concealed,And sweetly spreading, where their waters play, The tints and freshness of its early day!
'She comes! she comes! her voice is in mine ear,
Her wild, sweet voice, that sings, and sings for ever, Whose stream of song, sweet thoughts awake to hear, Like flowers that haunt the margin of a river, Flowers that, like lovers, only speak in sighs. She comes! I know her by her radiant eyes. And if a darker shade be on her brow,
And if her tones be sadder than of
And if she sings more solemn music now,
And bears another harp than erst she bore,—
And if around her form no longer glow
The earthly flowers, that in her youth she wore,That look is holier, and that song more sweet,
And Heaven's own flowers-the stars-are at her feet!'
Art. V. Travels in Ethiopia, above the second Cataract of the Nile, exhibiting the state of that Country, and its various Inhabitants, under the dominion of Mohammed Ali; and illustrating the Antiquities, Arts, and History of the ancient Kingdom of Meroe. By G. A. Hoskins, Esq. Map and Plates, 4to., pp. xix. 367. London, 1835.
WHY is it that travellers are so perpetually losing sight of their proper vocation, and wandering into all sorts of theo-. ries and unprofitable imaginations? In proportion to the pleasure we derive from an unvarnished and straight-forward narrative of observation and adventure, is the annoyance inflicted by the intrusion of hypothesis, and the substitution of empty speculation for plain reasoning. Facts, not comments,-would be our urgent advice to the tourist, unless he were prepared to enlighten the world by such an exhibition of evidence and inference as few men have the ability to collect or to combine. The simplification of mechanism applies, in its beneficial effects, to affairs of authorship, as well as to matters of handicraft; and, excepting in the rare instances to which we have just alluded, it might be well if the explorer of far countries would attend to one thing at a time, using his head simply as the regulator of his eyes and hands, and eschewing, as the most irredeemable of literary offences, the first whisper of temptation to make a book, or to interweave a thesis.
We are sorry to say that this slight interruption of our usually bland and imperturbable mood, has been occasioned by the volume before us. Mr. Hoskins evidently possesses many of the best qualifications of a thorough-bred traveller. Undismayed by danger, present or menaced; patient of the miseries and inconveniences of travelling, even amid the privations of an African desert; active and observant; such a man could not but make a clever and instructive book, and he has accordingly given us a work full of valuable information, and enriched with a profusion of most interesting illustrations, both picturesque and scientific. Views, plans, sections, elevations, with copies, both plain and coloured, of hieroglyphic sculpture and decorative painting, are even lavishly introduced, and we are quite sure that nothing short of an extensive sale can indemnify the Author for his actual expenditure. He has evidently looked upon the whole concern as one in which he was interested, not as a mere writer, but as an amateur and a discoverer. Now these, it is cheerfully admitted, are excellent things; and we are not disposed to make it cause of quarrel, that they are mixed up with ingredients less attractive and less trustworthy. The worth of a writer's positive information is not materially affected by the failure of the hypothesis to which it may please him to make his facts subservient.