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of knowledge.”—There would be no end to the train of grievous and indignant reflections which would arise from the full indulgence of the idea, what wonders of utility might be effected in that interesting island by the judicious application of a very small portion of what is consumed, in needless and waste expense, in the national economy (we exclude private and individual prodigality) of this island.
Our author's observations are directed, in the next place. to the grand field opening to Christian enterprize and hope in the Malayan Archipelago; where, in consequence of our recent successes against the Dutch, the great is. lands, Sumatra, Borneo, Java, Celebes, with various inferior ones, and also the peninsula of Malacca, have acquired a claim to receive from English intelligence and Christianity the illumination to which, it may be hoped, the knowledge already imparted by the Dutch is but the dawn. ... We are now,' he says, ' about to take possession of islands, peo. pled by numbers of Protestant Christians. For in every island where the Dutch established their government, they endeavoured to convert the natives to Christianity, and they were successful. Those amongst us who would recommend, that the evangelization of barbarous nations should be deferred “ till a more convenient season,” will have no opportunity of offering the advice in regard to some of these islands; for, behold, the natives are Christians already. They profess the religion of the Bible. Let it be our endeavour then to do more justice to these, our new Protestant subjects, than we have done to the Christians of Ceylon. We have less excuse in the present, instance, for the Malay Scriptures are already translated to our hands. What a noble field here opens to the view of the Society for promoting Christian Knowledge, and of the Bible Society! . One hundred thousand Malay Bibles will not suffice to supply the Malay Christians.'
It is to be understood that the Christianized Malays constitute but a diminutive proportion of the population of this Archipelago; and the author dwells strongly on the almost incredible barbarism of the nations in the interior of these islands—citing Dr. Leyden's account, that among the Batta tribes in Sumatra it is an approved custom, that
when a man becomes infirm and weary of the world he invites his own children to eat him, in the season when salt and limes are cheapest. He then ascends a tree, round which his friends and offspring assemble, and, as they shake the tree, join in a funeral dirge; the import of which is *** the season is come-the fruit is ripe-and it must descend." The victim descends, and those who are nearest and dearest to him deprive him of life, and devour bis remains in a solemn banquet.'
The Syrian Christians of Malayala*, are the subject of a large and very interesting portion of the volume. When the Portuguese, about three centuries since, reached India, they were surprized and pleased at finding more than a hundred Christian Churches on the Malabar coast. But their pleasure was turned into indignation, on discovering that these Christians were desperate schismatics and here. tics, being entirely ignorant of the Pope, and refusing to acknowledge him after this ignorance had been kindly removed by their European brethren. They had ' for 1300 years past enjoyed a succession of Bishops appointed by the Patriarch of Antioch. “We,” said they, "are of the true faith, whatever you from the West may be; for we come from the place where the followers of Christ were first called Christians.". Their simplicity and obstinacy, however, underwent the discipline of the Inquisition—its fires not omitted-as soon as the Portuguese had gained sufficient strength to establish it at Goa. This rigour failing to effect the object, was, after a while, tempered down into a sort of conciliation, which condescended to a compromise. hy which the sovereignty of the Pope was acknowledged, and a portion of the Romish ritual admitted, but the ancient liturgy of the Syrians retained, and in the native language-though with very great difficulty, and not without a purgation of its errors by a popish archbishop. The posterity of these Christians are the present Roman Catholics of Malabar..
But no art or force availed to reduce to this subjection the Christians residing at a distance from the coast. They preferred even abandoning their homes, taking refuge among the mountains, and throwing themselves on the protection of the native heathen princes. Their descendants have remained chiefly in the most secluded districts of the coun.. try, and bave been so little heard of for two hundred years, that even the existence of such a people has been sometimes called in question. Dr. B. resolved to find them out, investigate their literature and history, collect some of their biblical manuscripts, and endeavour to engage them in translations. This journey was permitted by the Rajah of Travancore, in whose dominions they reside. There is no attenipsing any abstract of the relation of the Doctor's visits
* • Malay-ala is the proper name for the whole country of Tra. vancore and Malabar, comprehending the territory between the mountains and the sea, from Cape Comorin to Cape Ii or Dilly. The language of these extensive regions is called Malayalim, and sometimes Malabar.'
to a considerable number of the churches, his conversations with their clergy, and his inspection of their books. It abounds throughout with the most curious particulars. At the first church, which is in the vicinity of the Romish Christians, and in which he found some defect of simplicity owing to that circumstance, he was received with a degree of suspicion, from the recollection of the visits they had often received from poish emissaries, on purposes appropriate to that character-and, from a strange persuasion, the Doctor says, that the English, too, are of the popish church. They were reconciled after a little intercourse, and an ami. cable debate with the priests ensued, on the question whether the Gospels were first written in Syriac, of which they maintained the affirmative. At the next church, that of Chinganoor, he was struck with the appearance of one of the strongest practical effects of Christianity, the free condition and unaffected dignity of the women. The general air of poverty and depression was explained by complaints of the tyranny of the native princes, and of the extinction of the former glory of the Syrian church. He answered with a consolatory assurance that the glory of a Church could never die if it preserved the Bible. Having set down this as a bold and liberal sentiment, we were somewhat mortified to find it, but six pages further on, pointedly revoked, in these terms. "A national Liturgy is that which preserves a relic of the true faith among a people in a great empire, when the priests leave their articles and their confessions of faith. Woe to the declining Church which hath no Gospel Liturgy:' which seems a very direct assertion that the Bible is not the grand preservative of the glory of a Church.'--At Cande-nad, Dr. B. was introduced to Mar Dionysius, the Metropolitan of the Syrian Church; with whom he had several interesting conversations, in which they discussed a topic of no small delicacy, the advantages of some kind of union between the English and Syrian episcopacy. This discussion lead been preceded by one with several priests, who reported the argument to the bishop, on the still more delicate question of the channel through which the English Church bas derived from the Apostles the power of Ordination. It appears to have been with a considerable effort of resolution that he plainly acknowledged that chi nel to be, that very Church which had sent to these Malabar Christians all the charities of the Inquisition. The possible advantages of the supposed union were represented to the bishop; who at length expressed in a sort of pulite general way, his willingness to assent to such a project, provided-various conditiona
lities, which it would take more than, his and his successor's life to adjust to the mutual satisfaction of the contracting parties.
Dr. B. found every where a most earnest wish to obtain more Bibles, and the utmost' readiness to cooperate in all projects of biblical translation. . But the most curious part of the book, next, perhaps, to the description of the scenes in Orissa, is the account of the Doctor's visit to the Inquisition at Goa. So widely is the English name accompanied by a formidable idea of power, that he could divest himself of any oppressive sense of danger, in entering within the gates of a mansion unspeakably more horrid than the temple of Jaggernautsupping with an Inquisitor, disputing with him on heretical tenets, questioning him relative to the secrets of the prison-house'-and sleeping under a roof which extended also over the Chamber of Torture. Nor was this edifice à mere monument of former iniquities. The execrable Court continues in full power and activity, the only restraint that has been imposed on its operations being that its executions, instead of their former publicity, are to be perpretated within its walls; by which regulation a still more dark and deadly character is given to its economy. The Doctor made at last the daring and repeated and urgent request, to be suffered to see the reported two hundred cells of the dungeons, and to examine some of their inhabitants. He was refused in a manner that left him no doubt of its being time for him to take his departure. One plea on · which he urged his claim for information was, that this Court maintains a cognizance over considerable portions of a' territory, now placed within the line of the British Indian empire; and, therefore, for any thing that can be known to the contrary, there be on the rack, at this very hour, persons taken from among the population over which we boast of having extended our protection. . It is on this special ground that the boundary of the sphere of the Inquisition presumes to intersect that of the British dominion,-a line which ought to be fortified against any such violation with as many terrors as array themselves on the limit of the enchanted grove in the Jerusalem Delivered, that Dr. B. ventures a submissive and almost plaintive hint of a question, Whether the English nation might : not be authorized to make some kind of remonstrance to
the Portugucze government, (if it can be ascertained what and where that government is,) relative to the powers and proceedings of this infernal Holy Office at Goa. He does indeed add some reference to the general rights of humanity
and dictates of religion, and he humbly thus expostulates.
. And shall not Great Britain do her part to hasten this desirable time?' (that of the fall of the Inquisition in Asia.) Do we wait, as if to see whether the power of Infidelity will abolish the other Inquisitions of the earth? Shall not we, in the mean white, attempt to do something, on Christian principles, for the honour of God and of humanity ? Do we dread even to express a sentiment on the subject, in our legislative Assemblies, or to notice it in our treaties? It is surely our duty to declare our wishes, at least, for the abolition of these inhuman tribunals, (since we take an active part in promoting the welfare of other nations,) and to deliver our testimony against them in the presence of Europe.' p. 154.
Now may it be permitted to ask, And if these wishes' should be refused, and this testimony' disregarded, (for that is clearly an iniplied possibility,) what are we to do then ? Must wembut undoubtedly we must go on exerting and consuming our utmost strength, fattening the very soil of Portugal with successive thousands of the dead bodies of our protestant countrymen, to restore or establish a government, the first independent act of which, for any thing we dare think of stipulating to the contrary, may be the re-erection of the Inquisition in that country, and to which, in the mean time, we must not presume to address one word, in the tone of authority, relative to the cognizance exercised at the present, time by its Inquisition at Goa over our own Indian subjects. Were there not something very melancholy in the 'fact, that a nation mighty for schemes of war, should, from a moral cause, be pitiably imbecile for purposes of reformation in society, it would be irresistibly' ludicrous to hear this timid submissive kind of language, respecting our power or our right to mend. the Portugueze government, by just so much fas it would be practically the better for being made to abolish its Inquisition in India ;* a government the continuance of any shadow of which in Europe depends so wholly on the positions of our army in Portugal, that our commander might measure and limit its duration to an hour by his pocket-watch. Is this language of timid submitting suggestion employed from some idea that the principle of the injustice of interfering with the institutions of the governments of neighbouring states, on which we began to act so punctiliously about tiventy years since, may perhaps, on serious consideration
* We have heard the same kind of language employed, in expressing an earnest wish and a doubtful hope, as to the possibility of persuading the Portuguese government to reduce, if not to relid.. quish its Slave Trade. VOL. VII.