Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

PHYSICAL HARDIHOOD.

109

spirit which has won for England her place in history, displaying the steady resolve, undaunted courage, and earnest perseverance after distinction, which distinguish the English nationality, wherever implanted. It is, indeed, very sad to reflect that we have been denied that training which is calculated to implant in us, as shown above, a manly reliance, a sense of national union, and physical hardihood, at the same time while it educates the man in his double relations of the intellectual and the physical being.

Under a foreign government, a people can never rise above a certain amount of material prosperity, and but to a very low point in mental and moral character. Self-government, independence, and patriotism, which, if not the only, are yet the strongest motives to exertion, are denied them. We are far from hereby insinuating that we want self-government; but yet we ask to be prepared for it in our schools and colleges. England cannot hope to be perpetually prominent, and a time may yet arrive when she shall have to yield to retarding influences, and sink into the quiescence of all things mundane ; and it is against this contingency that she has to train up her Indian subjects. When the fall is prepared for her greatness, and she has to withdraw herself from. India, let it not be said that she left us in the miserable plight that Rome formerly left heran easy prey to internal anarchy and foreign invasions, but with the union and courage of a mighty nation, ready to fight its battle of independence, when needs be.* For this end, the boy must be taught at the school that his own hands are the safeguards of his person and rights, and he will naturally learn in his maturer years to look upon his home as his castle, which he must defend with his individual strength. His hardihood, growing with his growth, and matured with his maturity, will have endurance such as a free and hardy citizen enjoys. At present, however, while feats of strength and agility are not wanting in India, we do not fail to meet with instances in which our best athlete quails before the sight of a European, even though conscious of superior strength of body. The reason is, that the mere muscular development which is seen in our Indian

* If England's destiny be, on the contrary, such as we hereafter describe-to establish an universal freedom in the world, then the duty that we here point out becomes the more imperative. England's mission in India is undoubtedly to capacitate her to be great and free, and she must work to this end from now, or she proves herself faithless both to God and mankind!

DEFECTS IN INDIAN TRAINING.

111

athletes was acquired when the adult stepped into the lists, without that regular training at the school which makes the boy hardy and self-relying before he becomes a man.* The state of things must be altered; and if India is to be advanced politically, and if her sons are to act for themselves as a nation is wont to 'act, they must be taught to feel, from training and education, that they are the natural protectors of their person and property, and that each individual possesses within himself the spirit and strength required to become a guardian of the national rights of his country.

* This is a safe deduction from the experience gathered from the writer's connection with the Parsee Gymnastic Institution, at Bombay, as a Member of the Committee, for the last two years, as well as his intimate contact during the same period with Native boys—infantine and grown-up-as the head man directing and controlling the Parsee High School associated with it. He has seen boys so timid and weak as actually to faint away at any threatening order, out of fear; but, after exercise for a year or half-year at the gymnasium, becoming so manly and self-relying as to defy any danger. Had boarding been also associated at the school, this change might, perhaps, have been more general, and more wholesome. But the Parsees have been thinking of a boarding-school for last six years at least, without inaugurating any step in the right direction; and, probably, they may only think, for ever!

112

CHAPTER V.

EXTERNAL CIRCUMSTANCES BEARING ON SUCCESS IN LIFE, AND THOSE WHICH OPERATED ON HARRIS.

EXTERNAL influences from early Teachers.-The Missionary

best adapted to be the Teacher of Youth. Why, however, he is disliked in India. His undue zeal in the propagation of his Religion.—Mr. Gaster quoted. The passage between School and Manhood. How is individual character deter. mined ?-Requisites in the moulding of character.--When and where is fate or destiny determined ?—The preponderance of the romantic over the sober tendency ruinous.The fate of Eugene Aram.—The critical pass in the case of Baboo Harrischander how signalised.--His“ being born

again." The external circumstances that determine the. future character of any individual are those under which he receives his impressions as a boy, from the schoolmasters at school, or companions immediately after leaving the school; or between that time and the time of passing into manhood. Often the boy is idle, desultory, and mischievous ; and it is by some circumstances during his passage from the school to man

EXTERNAL INFLUENCES.

113

hood that he is changed; it is then, as it were, “a renewing of the mind”—“a being born again”-a transformation—a conversion from “death to life and from darkness to light”-a total change from one species of character into another, occurs. But in the case of Harris, these external circumstances of character were fortunately exerted both at the school and during his passage from youth into manhood. At school, Harris had, as a teacher, one of those remarkable men, who are often to be found in a class too much overlooked. This was a Missionary of the Church of Christ-Mr. C. Piffard,—a wise, good, and kind friend—who had a deep sense of the responsibility he incurred in his endeavours to secure the happiness of his pupils, and to form their moral character —which, though not necessarily Christian, yet should be good and moral withal;—a resolute master, too, who, when his pupil was in the wrong, carried his point, and enforced obedience; a real missionary--for there are false ones also,—fully alive to the importance of his mission; and had, therefore, known nothing but integrity and honour. People think lightly of these men of love and labour : perhaps they have a right to do so—because, in their zeal

« ZurückWeiter »