Imatges de pÓgina

LETTER I. Eltham, June 19, 1823.


I have perused with interest the several papers respecting Rammohun Roy, which have occasionally appeared in the Monthly Repository, and being desirous to further the object of their insertion therein, am induced to trouble you with what follows.

A relation of mine, who for some years filled a high and important of ficial situation at Calcutta, was acquainted with Rammohun Roy, and I lately read to him the preface of "The Precepts of Jesus a [the] Guide to [Peace and] Happiness," which bears his name as its author. My relation observed first, that it is not fact (as asserted in pages 2 and 3 of the preface), that the knowledge of Sanscrit is indispensable to the caste and profession of a Brahmin," and said that thousands of Brahmins were altogether ignorant of it.

"The Dewan," he said, "is not," (as described in page 3), "chief native officer in the collection of the revenues, but a kind of steward to a private gentleman."

About the time when he is said to have become Dewan, i. e. in 1814 or a little earlier, my relation knew him, and says that he possessed but the merest smattering of the English language; and though he allows him to have been perhaps the most intelligent of all the natives with whom he ever conversed or had any thing to do, considers his intellect as far below the standard of a moderate European intellect, and altogether decidedly unequal to the acquirement of our language in the degree of perfection which is necessary for criticism, translation, or controversy. His age too, at the time, was beyond the period when people acquire languages with facility. And moreover, he did not appear to him to have a remarkable talent for their acquisition, but the contrary; and, considering his advantages, spoke our language much worse than he ought, or might reasonably have been expected, to do. Considering these circumstances, and how soon afterwards he is represented as the author of several learned works, it is incredible to my relation that he

was or could ever be the author of such productions: and that he should have entered into controversy with Dr. Marshman, and have converted either him or any missionary of good talent to Unitarianism or any other faith, is still more wonderful and incredible to him.

He regards the whole as either a fabrication by persons whose zeal to further their objects has carried them to the length of imposing upon the ignorance of people in this country their own productions, with the additional weight which would be due to them from the pen of a native author of them; or that if Rammohun Roy have any hand in them, he must have received assistance from Europeans, equivalent to their having written them almost entirely themselves.

As to the character of Rammohun, my relation regards him as a man who would not scruple for a sufficient bribe, to lend his name to any publication whatever.

Now, Sir, the high estimation in which I hold the talents and integrity of my relation obliges me to listen to his testimony. At the same time, I cannot in any manner satisfactorily account for the Baptist Missionary Society having acknowledged and complained of the conversion of their missionary, (Dr. Marshman, I believe; is it not?) by Rammohun Roy, on any other ground excepting that of his being really the author of the works attributed to him. For the missionary could not be deceived in this. His own jealousy as well as that of the Society of Baptists would have detected the above-mentioned imposition had it been attempted. "But who" (urges my friend) "are the persons that report these extraordinary facts, that I should yield my own experience to their testimony? Why am I to believe an incredible story upon the testimony of anonymous writers in a periodical pamphlet ?"

If this testimony can be better established than it has hitherto been; if any more particular proof that Rammohun Roy is the real and not the fictitious author of the writings attributed to him; that he is of respectable character; that he really did convert the missionary; and that a missionary was in fact converted by a

native, and that native was Rammohun Roy; and, lastly, if those who report these things to the people at large in this country, can, better than has hitherto been done, satisfy such as my relation, who oppose their own experience to their report, that what they allege is true; and if you, can do this or get it done, you will much oblige a constant reader, and perhaps enable him to turn such interesting facts to some useful account. T. L.


68, Baker-St. Portman-Sqr. SIR, Aug. 4, 1823. I have read the letter addressed to the Editor of the Monthly Repository, signed T. L. dated from Eltham, relating to Rammohun Roy, and I have great pleasure in offering you the following brief remarks on the several points alluded to, giving you entire liberty to use my information or authority in any way that may seem to you most likely to be productive of benefit.

ers, as the term Charter by which they hold their monopoly of that country.

I do not know what was the proficiency of Rammohun Roy in English in 1815; but I can declare that in June 1818, the month of my first arrival in Calcutta, I was introduced to Rammohun Roy, at the house of Mr. Eneas Mackintosh, (now in London,) and was surprised at the unparalleled accuracy of his language, never having before heard any foreigner of Asiatic birth speak so well, and esteeming his fine choice of words as worthy the imitation even of Englishmen. My first hour's conversation with him was in Arabic, that being the oriental language most familiar to me, and not knowing at first that he spoke English with ease and fluency; but accident changing our discourse to English, I was delighted and surprised at his perfection in this tongue. I know, moreover, that he is a profound scholar in Sunskrit, BengalleeArabic, Persian, and Hinduee, all of which he writes and speaks with facility. In English, he is competent to converse freely on the most abstruse subjects, and to argue more closely and coherently than most men that I know. His attention has also been lately turned to Hebrew and Greek, for literary purposes, and to French for colloquial intercourse. To represent a man with such acquirements at the age of thirty-five (for he cannot be much more) as deficient in intellect, must either be the work of extreme ignorance, or malice, or both. For myself, I have no hesitation in declaring that I could not name twenty Englishmen in India, whose intelleclectual endowments I thought even equal to his own, although I have come in contact with most of the distinguished men in the country. He is in short one of the wonders of the present age, and requires only to be known, to excite admiration and esteem.

It is barely possible that some of his earlier works might have been revised by an English pen; but I am convinced that if ever such revisions were made, they must have been merely literal. The subject was all his own. And as to his later writings, his controversies with the Missionaries of Serampore, I do not believe

It certainly is not fact that the knowledge of Sanscrit is necessary to the caste of a Brahmin; because that is a distinction which he derives from his birth, and is neither dependent on knowledge nor virtue, since idiots and villains may be as pure Brahmins as the most learned or the most upright. But it is fact that a knowledge of Sanscrit is indispensable to the profession of a Brahmin, because all his priestly offices are performed and uttered in that tongue; and although there are thousands of Brahmins born that are ignorant of Sanscrit, there can be none of these in the profession as officiating Brahmins, for they would be unable to discharge the commonest portions of their duty.

The Dewan is the chief native officer in the collection of the revenue, although that title is also sometimes, but not always, given to the stewards of private gentlemen-the titles for these last, being more frequently Banian and Sircar. I can scarcely imagine any one long resident in India to be so ignorant as to dispute this; for the great act of the Mogul, by which the Dewannee, or collection of the revenue, was granted to the Company, is as familiar to all India read

3 L


that they have one word in them which is not wholly his own. The Mission ary converted by Rammohun Roy from Trinitarianism to Unitarianism, is a Mr. Adam, and not Dr. Marshman: which Mr. Adam was originally deputed, it is understood, from the mission at Serampore, to discuss personally with Rammohun Roy the several points of difference between their creeds, and being honestly bent on the search of truth, had the frankness to confess the arguments of his opponent to be convincing. Mr. Adam accordingly separated from the Baptist Mission at Serampore, and in conjunction with Rammohun Roy, and others of the same faith, established a Unitarian Chapel and an Unitarian Press in Calcutta. The late Bishop of Calcutta, on hearing of Mr. Adam's embracing Unitarianism, applied to the Advocate-General, Mr. Spankie, to know if it would not be possible to have Mr. Adam banished for preaching this heresy, in a land where idolaters, widow-burners, and slayers of human sacrifices, are allowed to preach their degrading doctrines and practise their abominable rites with impunity! Mr. Spankie then replied that by the law as it applied to India, any man might be banished for any thing which the Governor-General might deem suf ficient cause but he thought the day was past when it would be safe to banish a man for his opinions on religion, and there the matter ended.

If Rammohun Roy had been the wretch which the friend of T. L. supposes, he might have had abundant opportunities of receiving rewards from the Indian Government, in the shape of offices and appointments, for his mere neutrality; but being as remark able for his integrity as he is for his attainments, he has, during the five years that I have known him, and that too most intimately and confidentially, pursued his arduous task of endeavouring to improve his countrymen, to beat down superstition, and to hasten as much as possible those reforms in the religion and government of his native land, of which both stand in almost equal need. He has done all this, to the great detriment of his private interests, being rewarded by the coldness and jealousy of all the great functionaries of Church and State in India, and supporting

the Unitarian Chapel-the Unitarian Press-and the expense of his own publications, besides other charitable acts, out of a private fortune, of which he devotes more than one-third to acts of the purest philanthropy and benevolence.

I am ready to meet any man living and confirm verbally what I here commit to writing for your use; for nothing will delight me more than to do justice to one whom I honour and esteem as I do this excellent Indian Christian and Philosopher. J. S. BUCKINGHAM.




ITH great pleasure I have at length received Dr. Jones's long-promised Greek and English Lexicon, and I may be allowed to congratulate the lovers of sound learning on this valuable accession to their treasures, and to express my sense of the obligation we are all under to the author for his excellent and important work. It is not, however, the object of this paper to enter into any general review of the merits of this Lexicon, but only to offer a few observations on one particular part of the plan which the learned_author has deemed it best to adopt. This is thus stated by himself, in the preface: "The accents I have entirely omitted, as defacing the native simplicity of the language, and as requiring much sacrifice of expense and labour, without bringing in return the smallest advantage to the learner." Believing as I do that there can be no reasonable doubt that the Greek accents, as now appearing in our books, represent the genuine and ancient pronunciation of the language, and knowing from experience their great utility in giving a ready clue to the sense of numberless passages, I may say, without affectation, that I felt grieved to see this author's respectable name going to increase the prejudice which many entertain against them. I have been long used, in reading Greek, to place the accent of every word where it is marked in our printed copies; and know that this practice not only does not corrupt the quantity, but favours the euphony of the language in every respect, as many of my friends have often acknowledged to

me. But not to insist on my own instance, I will quote the words of the celebrated Greek Professor Cheke, of Cambridge. He says, "I can assert, not indeed of myself, for that might seem arrogant, but of many who at this day are studious of the Greek tongue, that they have so well attained this method of pronunciation, that they can express both the true sound of the letters, and the quantity, and the accent, with the greatest sweetness and ease." Such being the case, I request, Mr. Editor, that you will allow me to occupy a few of your columns in an attempt to vindicate and explain these monuments of ancient literature, which appear to me the beauty and perfection of a language which is in other respects also the most beautiful and perfect that we have known.

he says, "is not spoken with the same tone, (Táσs,) but one with an acute, (a,) another with a grave, (Bapia,) a third with both. And of those which have both tones, there are some which have the grave blended into the acute, on the same syllable, and these we call circumflexed (TEPIOTWévas); and others which have each tone in separate places, by itself, preserving its own nature. And in disyllables there is no middle space between the acute and the grave; but in polysyllables, of what sort soever, there is one syllable with the acute tone in the midst of many grave." Dionys. Tepì Evv0ɛs. Sect. 11. Both these circumstances of quantity and accent are inseparable from the nature of human speech, and are therefore common to all languages. Yet all languages have not made exactly the same use of them, nor distinguished them with equal elearness. In some languages, as in English, the difference of the time or quantity of different syllables is not so considerable as in others, such as the Latin and Greek. In these tongues we well know that all the syllables were divided into long and short, and that the long one was equivalent in time to two short. Our ears are certainly not accustomed to such accuracy, and consequently the time of our syllables is undetermined and inconstant. On the contrary, the English accents are marked very strongly, the accented syllable in every word being much elevated above the others, as well as uttered more forcibly. In the languages of antiquity, we have reason to believe, the accent was not so prominent.

Now it is in the nature of the human ear, in relation to speech, to count the syllables as they pass, and to desire a recurrence, at intervals more or less regular, of syllables presenting some one certain distinction. When this recurrence of marked syllables is contrived in a manner more regular than prevails in common speech, it constitutes metre or versification. Now we find by observing different languages, that there are two characters by which the ear is pleased to distinguish the recurring syllables, time and tone. They are either long syllables, or accented syllables, or both at once. In general they appear

The syllables of words, as uttered in connected speech, receive in addition to the articulate sounds conveyed by their letters, two distinct properties or accidents, viz. time and tone, or in other words, quantity and accent. From these arise what the ancients called ywdés Ti μéños, a certain music of speech, which is also the foundation of all metrical composition. Every syllable occupies a longer or shorter time in being pronounced, and every syllable is pronounced in a higher or lower note on the musical scale. In a word of many syllables every one has therefore a certain tone; but at the same time, there is in every word one syllable which is pronounced with a marked elevation above all the rest, and this characteristic elevation not only distinguishes the word from others, but, being variously modified in different cases, is of the greatest use in giving the word its due significancy in the sentence. Although, therefore, every syllable of a word is uttered with some tone, yet there is one which bears a more eminent tone than the rest, and this tone is called, the tone or accent of the word; this syllable is called the accented syllable: its tone is also called acute to distinguish it from those of the other syllables, which being lower are therefore called grave. This is no new doctrine. Dionysios of Halicarnassos, an eminent Greek critic of the Augustan age, explains it at length. "Every word,"


to possess more or less of both these distinctions combined together; yet so combined that in any given language the one or the other is found to predominate and to regulate the And in this we may see exactly what the difference is between the ancient and the modern poetry. It is this: in the former the time, in the latter the tone, is the essential distinction of the recurrent syllables. In a Greek Iambic verse, for instance, the essential condition is, that long syllables shall follow short ones alternately, allowing certain exceptions. Such is the nature of the following line,

Ω τέκνα, Κάδμου τοῦ πάλαι νέα τροφή.

In this line we may observe that the even places are all occupied by long syllables: the odd places generally by short: but the fourth and fifth even places, though long, are not accented. In what is called an English Iambic verse, we shall find that it is essential that the even places be in general accented, but not that they should be long as in this line,

The same thing is attested by Aristotle, where speaking of the letters, he observes, * Ταῦτα διαφέρει, καὶ δασύτητι, καὶ ψιλότητι, καὶ μήκει, καὶ βραχύτητι· ἔτι δὲ καὶ οξύτητι καὶ βαρύτητι καὶ τῶ μέσω· περὶ ὧν καθ ̓ ἕκαστον εν τοῖς μετρικοῖς προσήκει θεωρεῖν. Poetics, cap. 20. They differ in being either with or without aspiration, in being long or short, in being acute or grave, or between both: and to each of these things it is proper to pay attention in versification." We see by this unquestionable authority, that the rhythm of ancient Greek verse depended both on its quantities and on its accents, though undoubtedly the former were what was most essential to its consti


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These preliminary considerations will prepare us to understand the nature and origin of the great charge which is brought against the Greek accents, namely, that they corrupt the quantity. This case admits of a simple explanation. It depends on

an abuse of terms. We have observed
that in English the quantity of sylla-
bles is very imperfectly distinguished;
it is a thing little regarded, and al-
though a good ear must always be
sensible of it, in some degree, yet
were it not for our acquaintance with
ancient literature, quantity would
probably hardly have been mentioned
Accent alone almost en-
among us.
grosses our attention, both in prose
Now we commonly read
and verse.
Latin and Greek just in the same
manner as we do our own tongue, and
in reality pay just as much attention
to the quantity in pronouncing the
one as the other. This assertion may
at first be thought somewhat paradox-
ical, but I am sure that if the matter
is duly considered, it will be found to
be just. It is true that no point is
more insisted upon in our schools
than what is called minding the quan-
tity. But I ask, is the point which is
really insisted upon, an observance of
the proper time of the syllables? Is
it that care be taken to give to each
long syllable twice the time that is
given to a short one? By no means,
nor any thing like it. Nothing can
be more foreign to the ideas both of
masters and scholars. In one word,
the only thing that is attended to is
to place the accent aright. If a poor
school-boy should read facíes instead

And made a widow happy for a whim. Greek verse is therefore constituted chiefly by the time, and English by the accent: but this must not be so understood, as if either the English was wholly independent of the time, or the Greek of the accent; for as we have before observed, in either language both must conspire to make harmonious verse. The English line just quoted, for want of quantity, sounds poor and meagre, as we may judge by contrasting it with one where the times are more duly observed: such as this, All are but parts of one stupendous whole.

In like manner it is probable, though not quite so easily proved, that those Greek verses were, even by the ancients, judged most pleasing, in which a considerable proportion of the long syllables were distinguished also by the accent. At any rate, there can be no doubt that the position of the accents was not at all a matter of indifference. The following Latin line is remarked for its awkward rhythm; and this it owes to malposition of the accents, for there is no fault in the scanning.

Tali concidit impiger ictus vulnerc Cæsar.

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