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* To do something to instruct, but more to updeceive, the timid and admiring student;-
Fragment on Government.
JANUARY TO DECEMBER INCLUSIVE.
Printed for the Editor, by George Smallfield.
An Account of the Life and Writings of RAMMOHUN Roy, a learned
Brahmin, and of the New Sect in India, of which he is the Founder. [We have already introduced the bably the nature of those works, and Hindoo Reformer to our readers, XIII. the intiinacy which he formed at an 299 and 512, and XIV. 561-569. early age with Mahometans whom he We now lay before them a further seems to have esteemed, contributed account of this interesting man, trans- both to shake his faith in the Brahmilated from a French pamphlet, lately nical religion, and to lead him to the sent to us from Paris, by the Abbé design and the means of examining Gregoire, formerly Bishop of Blois, other religious systems. It is not creThis pamphlet has been since inserted dible that his masters intended to give in the Chronique Religieuse. The such latitude to his mind; for although biographical part of the article is a there are in India many intelligent and communication to the Abbé from well-inforined Mahometans, yet there Bengal, drawn up in French by M. is not one of them who, with respect d'Acosta, an Asiatic well versed in the to religion, is otherwise than intolerant. languages, history and antiquities of At nimeteen or twenty years of age, India, and the present Editor of The Rammohun Roy was not a believer in Times, at Calcutta : the concluding any one of the three religions which remarks upon Rammohun Roy's sys- caine under his observation ; that is to tem and writings are by the Abbé say, the Mahometan, the Christian, or himself. Our translation is literal, the Hindoo. At that time he knew which we premisc, as a matter of jus- very little of the English tongue, and tice to ourselves, should any of the that little he had taught himself. The statements appear questionable. We awe with which his father inspired him have reason to believe that the Monthly prevented the open acknowledgment of Repository is read in India, and we, his scepticism; but from some indirect therefore, take this opportunity of re- reproaches which he received, he imaquesting communications from our gines that he had fallen under his susreaders in that part of the world on picion; the father, however, was too this subject, or any other within the sincerely a Hindoo to conceive the exprovince of our work. Ed.]
tent or the cause of his son's incredu
lity, and he undoubtedly attributed the AMMOHUN ROY BANOUD. young man's apparent irregularities Roy, and the grandson of Roy Bry We may here remark, that the educarBiraud. The latter resided at Mour. tion which he gave to his son was, for shedabad; he filled some important the country in which he lived, of a very offices under the Moguls, but was ill- superior kind. Brought up himself in used by those despots towards the end the midst of a Mussulman court, he of his life, which circumstance led his was inclined to give the young man son, Ram Hant Roy, to take up his those qualifications that would recomabode in the district of Bordouan, mend him to the ancient conquerors of where he rented land of the English India, rather than to the more recent, government. Rammohun Roy was in whose language even he did not have born in Bordouan about the year 1780. him instructed: the Sanscrit, which he He there beneath his father's roof re- caused him to learn, could be intended ceived the elements of education, and only to support his Brahminical rank. also acquired the Persian language; he Ram Hant Roy died about the year was afterwards sent to Patna to learn 1804 or 1805, after having divided his the Arabic, and lastly to Calcutta to property, two years before this period, obtain a knowledge of the Sanscrit. His among his three sons, in order to premasters at Patna gave him Arabic vent all disputes on the subject. The translations of some of the writings of eldest son died shortly after; RammoAristotle and of Euclid to study. Pro- hun Roy then became the elder, and in
a short time the only survivor. From have prevented his losing custe, a spethis period, he appears to have con- cies of excommunication, that his ceived his plans of reform; he thought countrymen would gially have subit expedient to quit Bordouan, where jected him to; which would be a dreadhe had resided but little, and removed ful punishment, since it would deprive to Mourshedabad; he there published, him of the society even of his wife and in Persian, with an Arabic preface, a his only son. To the causes enumework, entitled Against the Idolatry of rated for his exemption from this puall Religions. No one undertook to nishinent, we should arid the entertainrefute this book ; but the host of ene- ment be gives daily (actuated by prumies which it raised up against the dence, equal to his ardour for reform) author, among the Mahometans and to a certain number of Brahmins, who Hindoos, obliged him to retire to Cal- are thereby led to take a personal incutta in the year 1814. This step points terest in the defence of him; for if out the limit of British influence in In- they had once eaten at his table, they dia; for though all the places hitherto would be all involved in the excominhabited by him were equally under munication deserved by him. This the authority of the English govern- proves how impotent, under certain ment, they were not equally influenced circumstances, those institutions beby English manners. At Calcutta, come which are not founded on nature Rammohun Roy applied himself more and reason ; and how their contrivances seriously to the study of the English may be turned against themselves. If tongue, both by reading and conversa- this be true respecting the Hindoo tion. He learnt a little Latin of an En- system, which of all the ancient instiglish schoolmaster, named Pritchard; tutions has preserved most of its priand a German, of the name of Makay, mitive harshness, how much more is it a man of a philosophic turn of mind, applicable to all the others ! instructed him in the mathematics. Whatever be the abstract merit of He purchased a garden, with a house Raminohun Roy, there is, probably, constructed in the European mode, in throughout India no Brahmin who is the Circular-Road, at the eastern ex- less a Brahmin and less a Hindoo than tremity of the town.
he; and thousands of dupes who have Rammohun Roy found means to re suffered the loss of their caste have commend his religious opinions to a been less offenders against the peculidozen of his countrymen, all distin- arities of their religion than he. guished for their rank and opulence ; Rammohun Roy, considering that and with their aid he has founded á youth is the period most adapted to sect, which may comprise a thousand the reception of novelties, either good disciples. To conciliate the Europeans, or bad, has established a school at his he has not only given the appellation own expense, where fifty children are Unitarian to this sect, but likewise taught Sanscrit, English and Geogradeclares, that his morality is no other phy. How slender soever these atthan that of the gospel. The members tempts at reform may appear, they of the sect unite every Sunday at the will, probably, more or less rapidly dwelling of Rammohun Roy, where attain their object ; aided as they are they eat, drink, and sing hymns in by European influence, and, above all, Sanscrit and Bengalee to the honour by the art of printing. It is against of the only true God. Rammohun the division of his countrymen into Roy is the most respectable individual castes that Rammohun Roy's correcting amongst them; the only one, perhaps, hand is turned, and in that the strength who is really so: the rest are little of his judgment is evinced. The disknown, with the exception of one tinction of castes may be regarded as named Kamo, a man of great wealth, the cement of the polytheism and the and excessively fond of spirituous li other errors prevalent in India: let quors. We may easily imagine, that that distinction disappear, and all the the Hindoos, from their attachment to Hindoo superstitions will crumble bethe Vedas, earnestly set themselves neath the touch of human reason. It against innovation: 'Rammohun Roy is the division into castes, carried to a has been attacked in various ways; but frightful excess, which consolidates the his intelligence, his firmness, his know- Hindoo systein, by incorporating it ledge, joined to the affluence he enjoys, with the daily habits of domestic life.