William and Robert Chambers,
Text on page A-25
potence by firing salutes in their honour ; when they will suffer no document dedicated to 'the lord of devils,'* or profaning the name of Jehovah,+ to leave the public offices ; when they will cease to appeal to the e vanities of the heathen ' for rain and fruitful seasons ; when they will neither in respect ' make mention of the name of heathen gods, nor cause to swear by them,'J nor regulate the affairs of their worship, nor settle the rank of their deluded votaries ; and when they will no longer bewilder the minds of the 4 twice-born ' youth by the exploded and absurd science of the Yedas and Purnas, taught in Sunscrit colleges, and qualify them for dexterously poisoning the souls of the people throughout the length and breadth of the land, by compositions prepared under the auspices of the great destroyer. We hope, we say, that this, the most happy day which India has seen, and the prelude of one still more glorious, will speedily arrive ; and we invoke the blessing of God on all, in India and Britain, who by remonstrance with man, and prayer to God, may seek to hasten it."
My personal knowledge of Hindustan and the Hindus, though too limited to authorise me to pronounce new opinions, is abundantly sufficient to satisfy me of the truth of portraits drawn by others. I read much on both sides, and constantly marked whatever tended to show up the native character, and the tendency of Brahminism, and at every step was more and more confirmed in the opinion of Lord Teinmouth, whose Personal knowledge of India was so extensive, that "the Grentoos are as degenerate, crafty, superstitious, litigious, and wretched a people, as any in the known World, and especially the common run of Brahmins ;" and of Claudius Buchanan, who pronounced the Hindus to be " destitute of honesty, truth, and justice ;" and of Sir James Macintosh (quoting Sir William Jones's opinion as his own), who, among the evidences of their depravity, speaks of "the general prevalence of perjury, which is, perhaps, a more certain sign of the general dissolution of moral principle than other daring and ferocious crimes, and much more horrible to the imagination." Of the same mind with these distinguished men is Forbes, author of the " Oriental Memoirs," already several times quoted. He says, " I cannot praise a religion which encourages thousands, perhaps millions, of idle vagabonds, who practise no virtue ; but Under the mask of piety, with a sort of stoical apathy and pharisaical zeal, undergo needless austerities and penances near their celebrated temples, or pervade the Provinces of Hindustan, singly, and in large bodies, to make depredation on the hard-earned property of the poor villagers, and violate the chastity of their wives and daughters, under a cloak of sanctity and religious Perfection."
I will only add the very temperate remarks of the celebrated Wilkes.A "The Hindu character, like all others, is of a mixed nature; but it is composed of strange and contradictory elements. The man who may be safely trusted for uniformly unfolding the whole truth to an European in whom he reposes confidence, may be expected to equivocate, and even to contradict, every word he has said, if called on to repeat it in the Presence of a third person, whom he either fears or Suspects ; and in one of these descriptions he usually includes all strangers. The same individual, who, from Pique, and often without any intelligible motive, will Perjure himself without shame or compunction at a Public trial, is faithful, kind, and respectable, in the mtercourse of society."
Were all such testimony rejected as partial or vindictive, the fine rhapsodies 011 Hindu innocence and happiness would be exploded by the slightest inspection their declared religion. The utter contrariety of the whole system to all mildness, purity, benevolence, ?nd peace, may be seen on opening any of their sacred books.
* Ganesh. t 0r $ Jo911, ?a
A History of Mysore.
" The abode of the chandalas must be out of the town ; they must not have the use of entire vessels ; their sole wealth must be dogs and asses ; their clothes must be mantles of the deceased; their dishes for food, broken pots; their ornaments, rusty iron; and continually must they roam from place to place.' Let food be given to them in potsherds, but not by the hands of the giver ; and let them not walk by night in cities or towns."
In the code of Menu, it is declared, that if one of the Shoodra caste reads the Yedas, or listens to them, heated oil, wax, or tin, shall be poured into his ears, and the orifice stopped up. And if a Shoodra gets by heart any of the Yedas, though he may not have seen the book, he shall be put to death. The same code affirms, that the only things in which Shoodras, and other low castes, need be instructed, is the superiority of Brahmins, and that the great means of obtaining favour from the gods is giving them charity.
The following turgid and shocking account of the Brahmins is quoted from their own liamayana :a
" Even he who cannot be slain by the ponderous arms of Indra, nor by those of Kali, nor by the terrible Chackra of Vishnu, shall be destroyed if a Brahmin curse him, as if he were consumed by fire." In other parts, brahminical potency (almost it may be said omni-potency) is strongly enforced.
"Let not a king, although in greatest distress for money, provoke Brahmins to anger, by taking their property ; for, once enraged, they could immediately, by sacrifices and imprecations, destroy him, with his troops, elephants, horses, and cars."
" Who, without perishing, could provoke these holy men, by whose ancestors, under Brahma, the all-devouring fire was created ; the sea, with waters not drinkable ; and the moon with its wane and increase ?" " What prince could gain wealth by oppressing those who, if angry, could frame other worlds, and legions of worlds acould give being to new gods and mortals ? When a Brahmin springs to light, he is born above the world ; the chief of all creatures; assigned to guard the treasury of duties, religious aud civil."
" He who through ignorance of the law, sheds blood from the body of a Brahmin not engaged in battle, as many particles of dust as the blood shall roll up from the ground, so many years shall the shedder of that blood be mangled by other animals in his next birth ; or so many thousand years shall the shedder of that blood be tormented in hell."
The accompanying picture of Brahmin. a Brahmin shows the marks of
clay, and c., on his forehead and breast. In his hands he holds a native book.
All the writers I have been able to consult, and most of my friends in various parts of Hindustan, declare India to be in a state of progressive poverty and depression. The following observation of Hamilton embodies the general idea. After stating many facts, and adducing public records to prove his assertion, and remarking that the nature of the connection which binds the country to Britain will sufficiently account for this tendency to deterioration, without resorting to local mismanagement, he saysa" All the offices of emolument, civil and military, and the highest lines of commerce, are in the hands of strangers, who, after a temporary residence, depart with the capital they have accumulated. Under native rulers, even the extortions of rapacity, and the drains of tribute, returned into circulation, and promoted in some form, territorial industry. Under its present# constitution, the remit-All the writers I have been able to consult, and most of my friends in various parts of Hindustan, declare India to be in a state of progressive poverty and depression. The following observation of Hamilton embodies the general idea. After stating many facts, and adducing public records to prove his assertion, and remarking that the nature of the connection which binds the country to Britain will sufficiently account for this tendency to deterioration, without resorting to local mismanagement, he saysa " All the offices of emolument, civil and military, and the highest lines of commerce, are in the hands of strangers, who, after a temporary residence, depart with the capital they have accumulated. Under native rulers, even the extortions of rapacity, and the drains of tribute, returned into circulation, and promoted in some form, territorial industry. Under its present# constitution, the remit-