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would neither afford a judge to protect the poor man from injury, nor with healing justice to repress his crimes ; and though it might lessen, it would by no means destroy, either the interest or the power of the few, to keep the many in degradation.
Tythes are an obstruction to prosperity. That is not to be denied. But let us not exaggerate. Tythes will not account for the wretchedness of Ireland ; nor would the abolition of tythes, to the last potatoe, introduce prosperity. Superior causes exist, amply sufficient to keep full the cup of misery, independent of tythes. In fact, it is only when a country is progressive, that tythes are an evil greater than a land-tax. Where there is no additional capital, or labour, ready to be employed upon the land, a tythe operates merely as a tax upon rent; a very inconvenient, and vexatious one, we allow,—but which has no peculiar tendency to restrain production. It is only where there is fresh capital and labour ready to be employed upon the land, that tythes are exorbitantly mischievous, and operate as a tax, often as a prohibition, upon improvement. Where other things are favourable, they will not, as is proved by England, altogether prevent improvement; but they will always make its progress slower. Whatever may be the rate of improvement of any tythed country, it would always be greater were it not for the tythes. When improvement is the most easily obstructed, that is, when it is just beginning, tythes are naturally the most pernicious. In Ireland, therefore, the reason is peculiarly great for substituting a better, to this most impolitic of all imposts.
The blame, however, should not fall on the wrong place. The clergy are not materially in fault. They take, as any other men would take, the provision which the law appoints for them; and they are in general obliged to content themselves with much less than the law allows them. It is merely an illusion, or imposition of the imagination, from which one might expect that it would not be very difficult to wean the clergy, which makes them sticklers for the perpetuity of tythes, in which they have no interest. To the existing generation of clergymen, beyond the period of their own lives, the benefit of tythes does not extend. They leave them not to their heirs. It is the existence of a certain income for life, which is the interest of the existing clergy; and that, on every principle of justice, ought to be secured to them.
The matter of fact is, and not a fact of little importance, that the Church, that is, the riches, the emoluments of the Church, are the patrimony of the Oligarchy, among the relatives and de pendants of whom they are, for the purposes of Influence, from
age to age, distributed. In Influence and Oligarchy is lodged the fee-simple ; in the clergy, only a life interest, on the payment of a rent;-a rent of which the payment is pretty well secured-a rent of servility and dependence. The emoluments of the Church, when properly considered, will appear only as a great instrument in the hands of the Oligarchy, which they work for the confirmation of their own dominion, that is, for the degradation of the people. Abolish the usurpation of the Oligarchy, and a beneficent composition with the Church, a composition for the benefit of all parties, will be easily arranged. Of the opposition which is now presented by the clergy to that arrangement, a small proportion arises from their clerical character or interests it arises from them as the tools and organs of their political factions. The opposition of existing clergymen, who have no interest in the perpetuity of tythes, is the opposition of Influence and Oligarchy, to whom, and to whom solely, every particle of the benefit accrues.
We have long doubted whether Middlemen are intrinsically any greater evil in Ireland than in England ; and some of the most careful of the late observers in Ireland—Mr Wakefield for example--share in our doubts. We remember when one class of 'middlemen, those who come between the grower of corn and the consumer, were as unpopular in England as the middlemen in Ireland. In a wholesome state of the country, it would be the interest of the middleman to encourage, not to oppress, the occupiers of his land. It is not the middlemen, to whom the unwholesomeness of that state is owing. Higher causes must be found. The body being full of corruption, the middlemen and the tythe-practors are only irritable spots, upon which the eruption most conspicuously appears. Drive it back from these spots, without cleansing the constitution ; and you only force it to appear in another part, or to mix itself more intimately with the system, and increase the malignity of the disorder.
Of the land of England, suppose that as great a proportion as of that of Ireland were let to middlemen, would it be in the power of these middlemen to lower the condition of the people of England? We can hardly believe that any one will say so. The cake is then decided. The misery of the Irish is not the result of their having middlemen. The effect in England, were any middleman to adopt a system of oppression, would immediately be, to deprive him of tenants. In England, the country is not overstocked with a needy population; and the competition of land for cultivators is as great as that of cultivators for the land. Under an efficient administration of law, it would
be easy to secure the rights of the inferior cultivators, and render them as independent of the middlemen, as any other order of lessees are of their lessors. Without this grand security, all other proposals are ridiculous. In Ireland, however, to produce independence, to produce it any where, is the object, of all others, the most assured of desperate resistance. To produce independence, is to shake the pillars of the system. For the support of the system, the chain of dependence, of the Cotter upon the Middleman, and the Middleman on the Lord, is absolutely necessary. The consequences are-what the world beholds. The cure, so long as that chain remains unbroken, is a moral impossibility
The ignorance of Irishmen, and its consequences, form a subject upon which we should have been well pleased to have had more time and space to bestow. We are well assured, that the ignorance of a people, and its attendant evils, subjugation to superstition, and abandonment to the priest, are the natural fruit of poverty and degradation. In the natural order of things, ignorance is an effect of misery, before it is a cause. Place any race of men in comfortable circumstances, and dependent, for their comfortable circumstances, upon their own works alone, and they will seek knowledge, as the eye seeks for light. As soon as you make the Irish happy, you will break the charm of the priest. Nothing is so effectual as the enjoyments of the present life for weakening the influence of those who pretend to a power over the character of a future one.
Never yet was a very comfortable people found to be a very superstitious one; never was a very wretched one found to be otherwise.
Under the pressure of the circumstances which now tend to corrupt and debase the population of Ireland, we cannot flatter ourselves that the effects of artificial education would be very conspicuous. If the force of these circumstances was broken, artificial education would accelerate the progress of cure. But if the unhappy circumstances of that people have overcome the still more important faculties of speech, and of reason, and have rendered them almost an useless possession, what can we expect from the comparatively feeble endowments of reading and writing? Not that we think any exertion should be forborne to promote these acquirements. They are always something gained ; and when the time arrives (which, sooner or later, must arrive), when the chains which bind Ireland from improving shall be taken away, the faculties of reading and writing will then be of primary importance; they are essential to the right exercise of the elective franchise, and, with a due knowledge of ale neture of the art, should be rendered indispensable.
One of the great uses of artificial education would be, te spread the knowledge of the English tongue. The men the best acquainted with Ireland, Mr Grattan, Mr Wakefield, and others, concur in observing, that a deeper shade of barbarity accompanies, throughout Ireland, a total unacquaintance with the language of a civilized people. Even this circumstance, however, derives its malignity from the pestilent habits of Ireland in general
. Diversity of language is, no doubt, an unhappy circumstance. But in the Highlands of Scotland, and in Wales, it has not given occasion to such complaints.
When one hears of schemes for the instruction of the Irish, and considers, that in many parishes of Ireland not a man understands English, and in a great proportion of parishes, very few, and that there is scarcely one of the clergymen of the Established Protestant Church, who knows any thing of the Irish language-and probably not one who ever preached or prayed in it,—it is impossible not to be struck with the pains which that Church has bestowed upon the religious instruction of that people. The Church of Scotland, however, provided somewhat differently for the instruction of her Celtic flocks. No minister can be ordained to a parish in the Highlands, who cannot speak the language of the natives, and who is not bound to perform divine service in it once every Sunday. The bible is translated into that language,--and the children are taught to read it in their schools. This is true pastoral care. In a letter from the Bishop of Limerick to Mr Wakefield, which he has published in his recent work, that prelate says, he had found ' parishes in his diocese · which had never even seen a Protestant minister.' Yet there would the tythe be collected--and naturally with more severity, than when the clergyman resided, and could not withdraw his eye from any hard- , ships which severity might produce.
The grand concluding remark is,-that improvement is the natural tendency of human beings themselves. All that legislators have to do, is to remove obstructions: and it is melancholy to think, that, owing to obstructions which may be removed, mankind are, in so many situations, stationary in wretchedness.
ART. VI. Bija GANNITA, or the Algebra of the Hindus. By
EDWARD STRACHEY, of the Last-India Compaay's Bengal
Civil Establishment, London, 1813.
Sanscrit, is sufficient to excite the most lively interest in all who take any concern in the history of human knowledge. The Bijă Gănvită is understood in India to be the work of BHASKARA ACHARYA, a Hindu mathematician and astronomer, who lived about the end of the 12th century of the Christian era ; and who, beside this book on Algebra, has left behind him other mathematical treatises, particularly the Lilavati, on Arithmetic and practical Geometry. From a work which he composed on Astronomical Calculation, which has also been preserved, it appears, that Bhascara wrote about the year 1105 of the astronomical era of Salibahn. This era began in the 83d of the Christian era ; so that the preceding date answers to the
year of Christ 1188. Col. Colebrooke (Asiat. R. vol. 9.) has given the time of his birth (1063 Saca), or 1141 after Christ.
These books, written originally in Sanscrit, had the highest reputation in the East, and were translated into different languages. The Lilavati was translated by the order of the Emperor Akbar into Persian, on account, as FYZEE, the translator, says, of the rare and wonderful arts of calculation and mensuration which it contained. The Bija Gannita was also translated into Persian in the year 1634; and it is from the Persian that Mr Strachey has made the English translation, with which he has now favoured the public. The idea thus given of the original work, is certainly less perfect than if the translation had been made from the Sanscrit; but, in a matter where authentic information is so difficult to be obtained, we must be satisfied with what can be procured, though it may not be in all respects what we would wish. Mr STRACHEY appears to have great merit in the double capacity of a translator and commentator ; and it adds not a little to the value of his communication, that it is accompanied with notes by Mr Davis, who is known to be deeply versed in Oriental science, from his papers on the Indian Astronomy. That gentleman, who is master of the Sanscrit, had been fortunate enough to procure a copy of the Bija Gannita in the original, out of which he inade several extracts, and has added to them some notes and illustrations. Though these notes are evidently written only for the author's own use, they convey a great deal of information, and assist in distinguishing the original Hindu composition from the interpolations of the Persian translator.
Mr Strachey had also the use of a translation of the Bija Gannita from the Persian, by the late Mr REUBEN BURROW, which is now in the possession of Mr DALBY, of the Military School at High Wicombe: this, however, is less valuable than might have been expected from one so well acquainted with