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by rules totally independent of the permit the deduction from it of all cause from which those results arose, those wide and long and powerful curis to take security for our own igno- rents which now mark the social surrance, and to give evidence of nothing face of India. But, be this as it may, but our own folly. This has been all we contend for is, that a grave, a done by the author whom we are now learned, an able author, such as unconsidering; and this has vitiated all doubtedly is Mr. Mill, was bound to his reasonings.
furnish some explanation of the mysThe more difficult and more inter- teries and hieroglyphics painted on esting points in the subject of his the walls, amid which he leads us temgreat work are almost all of them porarily to inhabit. If he merely thus perverted. Nor is there a single copies the inscription, instead of transobject looked at in the light of any lating it, he does not fulfil his task. other master-thought than that of the Or, to take a kindred image, if he afuniversal propensity of mankind to fixes to the words which were writpursue what appears to them their ten in one language the meaning own interest. The writer sees, in the which those sounds indicate in anoinstitution of castes, and in all the ther, he commits an error not glorious laws which are explicable by that in- to himself, and mischievous to the mastitution, (but which he does not so jority of his readers. explain,) only the proofs that a peo The one object of the long and elaple may be deluded to their own mi- borate chapters on the Hindoos, and sery. He does not attempt to under- of many subsequent casual allusions, stand the historical idea of Hindoo is to determine the point in the scale society, which is necessary for ex- of what the writer terms civilisation, pounding all its phenomena. Neither at which the people he speaks of do we profess to understand it. But stood. But it is painful to feel, we at least see its necessity. The throughout, the impossibility of disdifficulties of the subject may, per- covering in his pages any clear achaps, (we speak in doubt and humi- count of what “civilisation” is. Mality,) be explained, by supposing that ny of those things which thinkers of the higher castes, the priestly and the all parties would regard as helping to warlike, were, in some distant age, constitute civilisation, are, by him, unithe invaders and conquerors of India. formly spoken of as being merely its One of those armies of soldiers, con evidences. Many which, in our eyes, ducted by the wisdom of priests, are accidental peculiarities, are,
in his, which, at one period or other of a re- the strongest proofs of it; and those mote antiquity, have
the which are held fo its essence and whole world, and produced changes, life, by the believers in man's religious political and religious, as important to and moral nature, are, by him, either mankind as the greatest of the physi- totally omitted, or treated with some cal convulsions of the earth have been indication of careless contempt. It to the material globe. This notion, seems probable, that if all he has said (we avow it to be nothing more,) as on the subject were brought together, regards India, would give a purport he would be found to place the good and ulterior interest to the wonderful and beautiful of a nation in the knowfact of the Sovereigns of that country ledge and practice of sound political having assumed to themselves, and economy and in an improved judicial still retaining, the rack-rents of the system,-to the entire exclusion of whole Peninsula. We confess that everything which comes home to the hypothesis mentioned above, men's feelings, of all improvement in which we have no pretension to claim the sense of duty, in reverence for as our own, is the only one which oc truth, in love to God and man. curs to our minds, as indicating a We are inclined to think that the source copious and remote enough to majority of the political mistakes of
this reasoner, though the natural out- whole subject as contemptible. His crigrowth of an erroneous and unhappy ticism on the Hindoo works of imaginasystem of human nature, could not tion is, probably, not much too severe, have existed to such a degree without though it exhibits no evidence whatan inattention to the spirit of history, soever of critical science. But it is a kindred product on the same system. scarcely conceivable by what extravaIs it not melancholy that an “ Essay gance of Voltarian empiricism he on Government” should have been should have been led to write as he written, however concise and compen- has done about Indian philosophy. dious, in which we find no more than We doubt not, that, with some excepone or two cursory allusions to the ex- tions, it is absurd and stupid ; and perience of nations ? And is not this that the better portions of it are little fact a symptom of a general tendency understood or cherished by the vast to turn away the eye from all that is majority of the Brahmins. But how necessarily different in the circum- did the Vedanti theory ever arise stances of different communities? to among such a people ? Mr. Mill shut from our contemplation that inner pretends to bring evidence that life of society which is perpetually refined abstract speculations have alworking outward, and flinging off the ways flourished among rude nations; slough and decay of its body; and as but he brings no testimonies, none, at .constantly drawing in to feed itself least, the vagueness of which does not with, and assimilate them to its own make it entirely nugatory, to the exnature, the resources and materials istence of metaphysical science in any that surround it? There is a growth barbarous country, except, indeed, and progress of a people which acts where it has been transplanted from from an interior law of its own, and the Athenian garden, or copied from makes the application to it at any pe- the paintings of the Stoa. Nor can riod, of a merely abstract theory, a we be satisfied with the still more folly and an impossibility. Any man shallow device of asserting, that the who should directly assert, that the “ propensity to abstract speculations same institutions are applicable to all is the natural result of the state of the countries, at every time, to the North human mind in a rude and ignorant American Indians, to the Arabs, the age ;” (History of British India, vol. Hottentots, the Chinese, the English, ii. p. 70, 8vo. edition;) or with the -would not be a man to be answered, ludicrous impropriety of the attempt but one to be put in a strait-waistcoat. to support this statement by the auYet, the reasonings of the “ Essay thority of Condillac, who merely says, on Government” are as universal as that children early learn to class many those of geometry, and if good at all, objects together from observation of would be just as valid arguments for a their outward resemblances. Mr. Negro or an Esquimaux, as for a Pa- Mill pretends that the Vedanti docrisian or a Prussian. To rest satisfi- trine is utterly despicable and worthed, therefore, with it, as with a sound less, both as given by Sir William political system, is quietly to repose Jones and by Sir James Mackintosh. on the pillow of an absurdity. It would be easy for Mr. Mill to say
The chapter of the History on the the same of Plato. But one assertion Literature of India, ought to have is worth just as much as another; and been one of the highest interest and we confess we cannot conceive how value. There are few things of the such a belief can have arisen, except kind more curious, than the absence from the partial perversion of some of all history, the general extravagance early and holy tradition, or from the of the poetry, in connection with the force of a powerful and subtle mind, occasional subtilty and sublimity of jong accustomed to brood over its own the philosophical doctrines, in the books consciousness. Now the difficulty, of the Brahmins. Mr. Mill treats the and it appears in our eyes a great one,
is, to discover in what way a theory duct on the part of children any thing so remote and transcendant, (how- more than imitation ? If not, the ever erroneous; and we con- analogy goes for nothing. But does vinced, that if we have it in its the author really think that so univerintegrity, it is erroneous,) can have sal and so permanent a power as (unbeen united to such gross and mi- revealed) religion is to be accounted serable follies as form the mass of for by a sentence about a child whipSanscrit learning. However, we can ping a foot-stool? And in the pronow pursue no further the examina- cess which he describes, whereby tion of the chapter on literature, and from such an origin religion grows up, must leave to the judgment of its read- till at last the “ ingenuity of fear and ers its heap of irrelevant, ill-arranged, desire” invents “a higher strain of and uncompared authorities, its care- flattery,” and men find out the unity less condemnation of things which the of God, (see History of British Inwriter has not taken the trouble to dia, vol. i. p. 295, 8vo. edition) “in comprehend, and its grave quotation this process, can a calm and candid from Voltaire, of the precious opinion, mind discover causes sufficient to prothat the poetry of the Old Testament duce all the different religions of the is completely worthless. But we world, and all the strange varieties, must turn, to say a few words of a Idolatry, Pantheism, and "pure Thechapter on religion, which is about as ism ?” No; whatever may be said valuable, when compared with the the as to natural religion, by those who ology of Isaiah, as is the poetry of exaggerate what needs no adventitious the Pucell, when weighed against the importance, the value, namely, of rebook of Job.
velation, or by those who depreciate We are very anxious that nothing it from indifference to religion of all we say should tend to excite a reli- kinds, there must be at the root of the gious clamor against the writings now human mind a propensity, the strong
To our fear of abetting est and best portion of our birthright, this theological fury we would give to believe in something higher and up any thing, except candor. And earlier than nature. The trouble is we trust we shall save ourselves from not to account for the existence of heing accomplices in so odious a re- religion, but for the imperfection of it. sult, by premising, that so far as we And nothing can solve the difficulty have seen, this writer has never said but our knowledge of the feebleness any thing against the truth of Christ- of all the faculties of savages, and of ianity. If he had avowed himself to the slightness of any tendency among be a Deist or an Atheist, we should them to refer particulars to universals, still feel nothing but regret, and and exchange notions for ideas. To should endeavor, as earnestly as pos- prove that religious feeling often exsible, to show the cruelty, the folly, ists in no shape but that of debasing the criminality, of persecuting any superstition, is not to prove that man man's conscience. The author at- had better be without religion, but tempts to account for the existence of that his whole nature stands in need of religion in the world (independent of improvement. It strikes us as revelation) by saying, that “prior to tremely curious that Mr. Mill should experience and instruction, there is a not have been more impressed and propensity in the imagination to en interested by the strange mixture of dow with life whatever we behold in true and false, of good and evil, found motion; or, in general, whatever ap- in the books of Indian theology, from pears to be the cause of any event. which he quotes so largely. There A child beats the inanimate object hy are fragments of the most sublime which it has been hurt, and caresses Deism, and others of a beautiful Panthat by which it has been gratified.” theism, mixed in wonderful confusion Now, in the first place, is this con- and in melancholy contrast with all
that is vilest and meanest in a miser- differ from the author. But we beg able system of idolatry. How did our readers to remember, that we have these heterogeneous particles coalesce? judged Mr. Mill by the very highest How did the dust of corruption and of all standards, namely, by contrastthe Spirit of God thus meet together? ing his performance with ideal excelWhence this mingling of life and lence. He is obviously a person of death? No such question as this oc unwearied diligence, of great acutecurs to the writer. It never suggests ness, of a well-compacted and highlyitself to him, that a great truth cannot disciplined intellect; and, above all, of have been the contemporaneous pro- a strong and large benevolence. The duce of the same mind as a host of last of these merits we perhaps estierrors, all of which that truth excludes. mate at least as highly as some of He does not inquire ; he does not those who would be louder and more hesitate; he starts no hypothesis ; indiscriminate in their applause. Nor much less does he search diligently do we overlook the merit of this writill he has found the original key to ter in opposing himself, amid such a the mystery
But he carelessly system as that which now prevails in throws aside the whole matter with England, to the many misdeeds of the observation, that improvement in power. But such is our impression of the language of religion is no evidence the importance of principles, and of of improvement in the idea : and the principles more especially with most certainly it is no evidence with regard to which we differ from Mr. regard to those who employ it, Mill, that we should have outraged but the strongest with regard to the strongest sense of duty, by conthose who invented it. Had we cealing or qualifying our dissent space at command, could we pub- from his doctrine. And no fear of lish a tithe of the pages in one of Mr. being called what we should most abMill's volumes, we would willingly hor to be, persecutors, that is, and biconsider these subjects at far greater gots, shall prevent us from raising our length. As it is, we must now quit voices against a system which, in our them; and we should much regret is, in view, would make reason, imagination, doing so, we were to leave our readers truth, and benevolence, mere instruunder an impression more unfavorable ments for supplying those wants to this teacher than is our own. It which we have in common with the is natural, in examining literary works brutes, instead of their being the powof a speculative character, to dwell on ers which wear the image of God, and those points with regard to which we are designed to raise us towards Him.
No. V.-The Rev. Dr. CHALMERS.
If ever piety looked altogether his birth, his fervid and impetuous beautiful or noble in any one, it does spirit was not, probably, originally exso in Dr. Chalmers. In his case, re- empted from that impatience and preligion is evidently an influence that cipitancy which form the besetting has shed itself over the native charac- disease of extreme sensibility, espeter of the man, only to soften or sub- cially when excited by the consciousdue whatever about it partook of the ness of extraordinary powers; and harsh or the repulsive, and still inore some passages in his earlier history, to exalt and refine all its loftier and indeed, are not yet altogether forgotbetter tendencies. He is a man often, which prove clearly enough that high genius, regenerated by an alchemy in those days bis feelings were rather which is even more powerful than that more than a match for his prudence. of genius. Notwithstanding the gen- He used, at all events, as is well erosity and overflowing kindliness of known, to be one of the most latitudinature which have inarked him from narian and unscrupulous of clergy
men; preaching with his characteris This was not, however, Dr. Chalmtic zeal a very ultra-liberal theology ers' first publication. He had some to his flock on the Sunday, and very years before printed an anonymous often, during the rest of the week, pamphlet in reference to a matter—the throwing off his black coat for a red appointment of Mr. Leslie to the maone ; for at that period the military thematical chair in the University of epidemic was universal, and the reve- Edinburgh-which agitated for many rend doctor had caught it in all its months the whole clerical and literary virulence. It has even been affirmed world of Scotland ; in which he gave that he was wont occasionally to star- still more reckless expression to the tle the villagers by exhibiting himself views he then entertained with regard in his scarlet attire of a summer af- to the obligations of his sacred office, ternoon even immediately after de- by declaring that he knew no other scending from the pulpit—a manifes- duties a clergyman had to perform, tation of warlike ardor which those except to write his sermon on the Sawho know the feelings with regard to turday, and deliver it on the Sunday. the sacredness of the Sabbath that ex But never ought this rash avowal to ist among the Scottish peasantry, will be alluded to, without mention being readily believe must have excited no made at the same time of the manly common sensation. The spirit of sol- and truly noble manner in which it diership by which he was animated at was, many years after, retracted as this time breaks out with most amus publicly as it had been uttered. ing naiveté, in a work on the Finan The General Assembly of the Scotcial Condition and Resources of the tish Church, it may be necessary to Country, which he composed while inform our readers, is a deliberative under its influence, and gave to the body composed of deputies both from world through the medium of a pro- the clergy and the laity of the country,
It is eloquently and to the amount of between three and powerfully written, though in some- four hundred, which meets every year what a different, many will say a bet- at Edinburgh, and continues its sitter style, than his subsequent works ; tings for about a fortnight, for the and abounds in original views develop- final determination of all questions ed with infinite ingenuity and plausi- relating to the internal management of bility; but the direction of every the Church that may be proposed by shilling of the national wealth that can any of its members, or have been rebe spared after the population have ferred to its decision by the inferior obtained the absolute necessaries of ecclesiastical judicatories. Sanctionlife, to the manufacture and mainten- ed as are the sittings of this body by ance of soldiers, is not so much advo- the presence of an enthroned commiscated by the author by dint of argu- sioner from the sovereign, who is alment, as assumed throughout the vol- ways a Scottish nobleman, and surume, without any argument at all, to rounded as its proceedings are with be the only policy a sane government not a little both of civil and military would ever dream of pursuing. It is pomp, it presents—both from these a production which we would recom external circumstances, and from the mend to the perusal of the coming rank and talent of many of its memgeneration, likely as they are to grow bers, among whom are always to be up, it is to be hoped, in the cool at- found, besides the clergy, a considemosphere of peace, in order that they rable proportion of the aristocracy, the may learn in some degree to conceive judges, and the most distinguished what was the state of the general mind names from the bar-a spectacle suffiin the stirring times of their fathers ciently imposing at least to the eye of -in the days when clergymen carried a Scotsman, and not without interest to muskets, and every village in the land any over whose sympathies the aspect bristled with bayonets.
of popular institutions and the voice of 22 ATHENEUM, vol. 1, 3d series.