Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

TRUE PATRIOTISM,

149

country. His warnings were verified ; and a sad tragedy followed on the heels of his words. Now was his real character discerned. People thought, from his denunciations, that he was a rebel at heart, and that his restless energy would soon exchange the pen for the sword. In times of social risings, men of impetuous and untiring energy have always added their own weight to the balance of confusion, carnage, and ruin of the country. France teems with numerous illustrations ; England herself is not wanting in this dark scene. But this Indian of activity and energy always measured his position: in early life he had come in contact with the very best and most powerful representatives of that calm glory-achieving people—English

He knew the strife was unequal; he also knew it was injudicious; and stood, therefore, in the troublous times of the rebellion, boldly by his Government, singing more loyally than ever-God save the Queen! After the storm subsided, he rose placidly to propound his notions of government, and claim the just rights and privileges of his country. A zealous member of the British India Association, he made appeals and protests; and proprietor and editor of a respectable English hebdomadal, he gave depth and extension to his cause; and asserting thus a powerful voice, the cause of India and the Indians became the spirit of the age. He became the man of his day, his class, and connections; so that when he stood up in awful majesty for the oppressed ryot, others---missionaries, writers, Englishmen, Government themselves, followed in the train, and relief came positive in prospect. It was great heroism this! the “haughty island-nation," with all their imperfections the first for ability and power in the world ; the most difficult to win, impossible to subdue ; the quickest in their perception of pretence and show; the most unshrinking in their demonstration of contempt and indifference; the most unrelenting in their demands for something worth hearing, if the man wishes to be heard; and the most equitable in the long run, let us unequivocally add, in their recognition of merit,---with this nation, we say, Harris occupied a respectable position in public estimation, and continued to dictate, suggest, and advise.. Voltaire, with all his imperfections the best satiric painter of human nature, very briefly solves the problem of the right and position of a great mind, when in one of his happiest hits_" Le Fanaticisme”-he strikes wonder

men.

LABOURS OF HARRIS.

151

ment into the heart of Zopire at the audacity of Mahomed in changing and reforming the entire position of his country, and burst forth at length in the long-hovering query

" Quel droit as-tu reçu d'enseigner de predire,
De porter l'encensoir et d'affecter l'empire ?

“ Mahomet
Le droit qu'un esprit vaste, et ferme en ses desseins
A sur l'esprit grossier des vulgaires humains."

There! the whole solution is offered: What right has any man to command ?-_Why, the “ right of a vast mind, firm in its designs, over the lowly-minded of the common multitude.” Write this, reader, on thy soul; have this as thy guide, and thou shalt succeed: the difference between the feeble and the strong, the insignificant and the great, has always been FIRMNESS-UNSHAKING DETERMINATION;

-a purpose once fixed in the mind, and then DEATH OR VICTORY!

152

CHAPTER VIII.

THE POETRY OF HIS HEART.

[ocr errors]

FEELING nature of his character.-Poverty unlocks the best

sympathies of the heart.-Harris's grateful remembrance of past favours.—Emotion at mention of the name of his first kind Teacher. His irrefragable ties of gratitude and reverence to Colonel Champneys.—His neglect of self-interest and advancement for the sake of the Colonel.-Harris and Ramnohun Roy.--Military glory and valour not wanting in India even in her degenerate days.--Her intellectual vigour yet unsurpassed.--Social battle is the last achievement of humanity.--India has yet to fight it.--Harris did not commence it.--Nor has it yet commenced.— The Social Science Association in England.-A similar Institution for India recommended.—Necessity for Educated Natives travelling in India.-An “Indian Travelling Fellowship."-Natives

alone capacitated to describe social anomalies. But that trait in the character of Harris which procured for him the proud title of the “Indian Lucullus” in the vivid pages of Russell's Diary in India is worthy of separate consideration. His heart was of the noblest-ever glowing to assist the poor, ever ready to sympathise with all that was high and estimable. His ready zeal to assist the poor and the oppressed may be

SOURCES OF BENEVOLENCE.

153

explained—we must once more recall it—as the result of the influence of poverty in early life. The man, we may justly say, who has not suffered, is unfit to be the minister of beneficence to others. We are all made alike, though not all suffering ; and though there is a nobler, because severer kind of suffering, than that arising from mere poverty and external circumstances, yet to the poor man, the pinchings of his own state bring up vividly before his mind and heart the sufferings of others from a similar condition of things. Thus it is that the inner sympathies of the heart are unlocked ; thus it is that some of the grandest lessons of humanity are brought home to the bosom and business of man; and were the rich and the poor to change positions for a short term, beneficence and sympathy would be far more active and expansive in our world than they have hitherto been, or will otherwise ever be. There are natures, no doubt, which are not proof against poverty: when it comes to them, their affections are scorched ;* they grow impatient;

*

Indeed, it cannot be otherwise in this country, where, after reading the chapter on the condition of woman in India, the reader perceives an utter want of early religious instruction in the domestic circle.

« ZurückWeiter »