Imatges de pàgina

to Kota. They are just what I want. A draft for their cost is enclosed. I have ventured to write at last to Captain J. -, one of the Indore assistants, and have sent him the list of your Society's publications. I do not know Captain J but as he has had the chief hand in teaching the Dhar minister's son English, I infer from that, that he is a favorer of dative education. On getting the list back from him I may trouble you, or rather the Secretary of your Society, for a few more books and maps.

“ I send you the Dhar minister's son's letter, thanking you for the travels of Orlando. He is now at Indore, and daily conning over half a dozen pages with Captain J So at least he tells me in a letter I yesterday got from him. I have just written to him, to tell him to thank you in a letter of his own composition.

“ The copies of the Maharau's globes I sent to you through M a fortnight ago. I hope they reached Calcutta in a legible condition. I have long been thinking of writing an essay on Bhaskar Acharya's globes, and still may do so : but in the meantime I have no objection to your publishing all I have said. To me it is quite astonishing how ignorant many people, who have lived 20 or 30 years in India, are of Hindu literature. Colonel now at Nasirabad, who is an astronomer moreover, pressed great surprize in a letter I received from him the other day, and so also did Colonel of the Engineers when recently passing through Kotá, where they heard that the Hindus knew that the earth was a sphere. I shewed the latter the globes and a Hindu quadrant. He had never heard that they had any thing like them, although Davis's and Colebrooke's articles in the Asiatic Researches speak to the fact plainly enough. It is true this knowledge is confined to a very few*.


VIII.-Further Progress of English Literature, and of the

Roman Alphabet. Convinced that the objects mentioned at the head of this article are highly important to the spread of knowledge and religion in this vast country, it is with the greatest pleasure that we proceed to relate some of the evidences which we have received of their gradual progress. In doing so we must be as brief as possible, our space this month being already fully engaged by other articles.

As it regards the plan of notation employed in the expression of the Roman character, (the system of Sir W. Jones improved,) we must say a few words. To any who hesitate on the subject it may be satisfactory to peruse the following extracts. Including, as they do, the opinions of persons who have secured the confidence of the public by their acknowledged general talents and extensive acquaintance with Eastern literature, (such are the Editors of the Asiatic Society': Journal and of the Bombay Oriental Spectator,)

* (The Hindu Astronomers have discovered and assigned within 4'', the precession of the equinoxes, the sphericity of the earth, the period of the moon's revolution round the earth, and the fact of its always having the same side turned to us. They have also determined the moon's distance to be 220,184 miles, which considering the necessary imperfection of their observation, is a very fair approximation to 240,000, the true distance. Bhaskar A'chárya even argues, that the earth is self-balanced in infinite space; and rejects the series of monsters, by which it is said to be supported. The astronomers get over the discrepancy between their accounts and the Shastras, by the ingenious discovery, that though not to be held as matters of faith, they are necessary to be assumed for astronomical purposes.-Ed.]

All na

they may serve to satisfy most, that if taken as the basis of a grand national improvement, the system adopted is decidedly the best; that as such it is superior to Dr. Gilchrist's, which alone appears to have received any support in opposition to it. turally prefer a notation to which they were accustomed, to one which was before quite unknown, and considering therefore the numbers of Europeans who have come out to India previously acquainted with Dr. G.'s system, the general unanimity expressed in favour of the scheme we had the honor to introduce to the world is most satisfactory. It gives ample evidence, if (as we doubt not it will be) perseveringly followed up, of securing at length all but universal acceptance.

The extracts we referred to are as follows:Mr. Trevelyan has done an eminent service to literature, and to the Asiatic Society in particular, by standing forth as the advocate of Sir William Jones' mode of expressing native characters in the Roman Alphabet. The cause had nearly become desperate, both from the influence and popularity of the Gilchristian system*, and from the adoption of a modifi. cation of the latter by the Government in its surveys and records ;—when, we may say, the scale has been turned by one whose official situation, and whose zeal in the cause, promise all the success that human efforts can command. The scheme has been printed and circulated extensively ;-it has been adopted in the Persian office :-and in school-books now printing by the promulgator: while on the other hand all the learned oriental societies and their members have ever pursued it, and will rejoice in lending it their renewed support. The distinctions and marks introduced to discriminate the different classes of letters (guttural, nasal, &c.) are judicious, and can hardly be esteemed a departure from Sir William's scheme, while their occasional omission will be no stumbling-block to the scholar, whose memory will recur to the original orthography of the word in the oriental character. We wish that all contributions to the Journal could be made to conform to the system ; but with Europeans this necessarily presupposes an acquaintance with the native characters, otherwise the fallacious ear must ever continue to guide the traveller's pen as he puts down names and places in his note-book. The promulgation of our author's scheme will however now serve the double purpose of teaching the European alphabet to the natives, while it makes theirs known to us in return.—jour. nal of the Asiatic Society, for June 1834.

Of the system of notation proposed by Alpha in the May number of the Calcutta Christian Observer, we highly approve. “ On the whole," he observes, “after the maturest consideration of the subject, it appears beyond all dispute, that Sir William Jones' system, with such alterations and modifications as experience has suggested, is not only the simplest in itself, but the most convenient in practice, as well as the most susceptible of universal application. And it carries with it one special recommendation, that it is already familiar to every oriental scholar, in every part of the known world. It is therefore proposed to adopt and apply this system, altered and modified, to a certain extent, to all alphabets, whether of Sanskrita or Persian origin.”

* These are the only two radically opposed systems, taking the characters of the vowels as the most obvious test : the numerous modifications of the consonants are of minor importance.

All the modifications proposed in this scheme, have for some time been observed by ourselves. We have not hitherto been able, from the defectiveness of the founts with which our work is printed, either to put diacritical marks above the consonants, like Sir William Jones, or below them, like Dr. Gilchrist and Alpha. We think that they are best placed below. In the ts, ds, &c. it is inconvenient to place them above. We shall feel obliged to our correspondents, if they will observe the system of notation which we have now given. We are glad to find that we can so far agree with our Calcutta friends.-Oriental Spectator, for June 1834.

The Calcutta CHRISTIAN OBSERVER for May, is highly interesting. It is not however within the limits we have prescribed to ourselves to discuss one of the ablest papers, « On the substitution of the Roman character in the oriental alphabets." We believe the Roman Catholic clergy have always been (on this side of India at least) in the habit of writing in the European character the discourses which they preach in Maráthí; and therefore a communication with some of them, upon the principle they adopt in their practice, would probably facilitate any scheme of the kind. - East Indian's Friend, for June 1834.

As it regards the possibility of introducing books in the Roman character among the Natives generally, we have no wish to conceal from our readers that many benevolent and well-informed men have expressed their serious doubts. Some have feared that the bigotry of the natives would make them object to the introduction of a new character. For their satisfaction we would impart the cheering intelligence, that the natives have in general given the system a hearty welcome; that among others Mahárájá Kalikrishna is actively engaged in the diffusion of the new litera-, ture ; and his press and talents, and those of his dependents, are, employed in the preparation of works to print in this character. We would further state the pleasing fact, that other highly respecto able natives, both Hindus and Mahammadans, in Calcutta and other parts of the country, are engaged in aiding the grand effort, by Romanizing primers, spelling books, grammars, dictionaries, and reading books, suitable to assist their countrymen in acquiring the character, and through it the knowledge which it will be the means of imparting. In fact it forms so easy a step to the acquisition of English, at which the best informed of all our cities are now aiming, and which will soon be the object of desire among all the respectable classes in our towns, that as to its growing popularity with the natives there need not be entertained a doubt. "So far from being irksome to them, it seems rather to be viewed in the light of a pleasing exercise by the natives to learn to read their own language in the English character. It is quite delightful to observe the animation with which they recognize old friends in their new dress. Sometimes, after stumbling over two or three lines, as it were, in the dark, they come unexpectedly upon a familiar word which seems to furnish them with the key to the whole system, and after that they proceed with renewed zeal and success. It.

cannot be disputed that it is far easier for a native to learn the English character by reading his own language in it than by reading a foreign language, and when he has once learnt the character the first great difficulty is overcome, and it seldom happens that he is not encouraged to proceed and make himself more or less acquainted with the English language also. The step from reading English to the understanding English is very easy, and when every English book has been unsealed to a native, mere curiosity, without any deliberate plan of study, will generally induce him to master the contents of some production or other, which from any cause happens to have attracted his attention.

The English character in its application to the vernacular languages acts in short as a handmaid to the original English, to which it is continually introducing new admirers.

As regards hand-writing also, both natives and Europeans are beginning to perceive the advantage which they have gained by the possession of a common character. We have heard of some gentlemen, who have desired their Akhbarnavises (or news-writers) to discard the Persian, and write to them in the Hindustání language and the English character; and the Akhbarnavises on their part seem to be delighted at having found out a plan, by which they are able to make themselves intelligible to every European who possesses a common acquaintance with the country language, although he can neither read nor write a word of Persian. The Bengális also, large classes of whom gain their subsistence by copying, have now discovered the means of educating their children to their future profession even from their earliest childhood. It is not now as formerly, when they had first to teach them to write Bengálí, and afterwards, when their fingers were grown stiff and their hand spoilt by using the cramped Bengálí character, to initiate them into the mystery of English writing. Owing to the recent change, they are able from the first to teach them to write not only English and Bengálí, but Hindustání, and it is to be hoped many other languages also, which are becoming expressed in the English character. The saving of valuable time, and the increase in the general knowledge of the English character, and of dexterity in writing it, which will soon take place in consequence, are incalculable. Every body who knows how to write Bengálí will hereafter know how to write English also, and all will write it better because they will practise it from their earliest childhood, instead of taking it up only when their habits are formed, and their facility of acquiring mechanical dexterity is consequently diminished. Regular series of copy slips both in Hindustani and Bengáli

, by some of the best penmen in Calcutta, have been lithographed and bound up in books, and any gentlemen wishing to introduce the English character into Public Offices or Schools will be supplied at a very low price with any number that may be required.

Some have feared, that missionaries and other active friends to education from various causes would not introduce the system. We rejoice to state however, that among these it is rapidly gaining ground. Several are engaged in superintending the preparation and printing of works in the new character. We mention this fact with peculiar pleasure, as on such persons must depend in a great measure its success; if generally introduced into their schools, nothing can hinder its progress. On this subject we beg to introduce the following extracts from letters lately received, persuaded they will be deeply interesting to our readers, and hoping they may induce all engaged in the work of education to give to the system, what alone we are convinced it needs, a fair trial of its advantages.

1.-LAKHNAU SCHOOLS. Extract of a Letter from Captain Paton, dated Lakhnau, July 24. I have the pleasure to send you Rs. 12-8 for the 100 copies of the Sermon on the Mount, in English and Romanized Hindustání. It is excellent for the two schools' boys and girls here. I will give one to each scholar who can read, and it shall also be a class book. Pray send ụs speci. mens of all such on that principle—in the female school, especially, they will do good service. I much regret Mr. Duff's departure. Some little globes are on their way down to you. They will reach you nearly as soon as this. I have also had the pleasure to send you some 18 or 20 copies of the Moral Precepts, to be disposed of as you think best.

2.-Baptist MISSION Schools at CHITPUR, NEAR Calcutta.

Extract of a letter from Rev. J. D. Ellis, dated August 5th, 1834. I am guilty of having "halted between two opinions," regarding the introduction of the Roman character, as I have doubted the possibility of ever making it general among the natives. I am not however blind to the advantages of it, and therefore have commenced with it in the Boarding School, and intend doing so without delay in the English School. Our first class boarding boys will help me in putting the Bakyábali into the Roman character.

3.-GENERAL ASSEMBLY's SCHOOL, Caitpur Road. Extract of a Letter from the Rev. W. S. Mackay, Superintendent of the Gene

ral Assembly's School, dated Calcutta, August 9, 1834. I never had the shadow of an objection to your scheme of writing the native characters in the Roman form. It plainly facilitates the acquisition of the language, saves expense, and adds another strong link to those which already connect Britain and India. Nothing is wanting to ensure its success but time, and the continuance of the English dominion.

To me it appears that while every Missionary ought to countenance, and to push it forward, solicited as he is on all sides by avowedly higher ob jects and more powerful means of accomplishing them, he is not justified in bestowing very much of his time on this. Or, in other words, we would let you originate and arrange the scheme, and then we shall be very happy to make use of it.

I think the best arrangement for its introduction into the Assembly's School, will be to have the Instructor, No. 1., for the present at least, in English, with a translation in the Bengáli character. No. II. can have Bengáli and Roman, and No. III. Roman only. It would be advisable to men. tion on the covers, that throughout the unaccented a is to be pronounced

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