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the part of God would have been in great measure frustrated, if these fruits of the garden had grown ripe all at once, like those of the field. Is not the Goodness of God evidently exhibited in this instance? Nevertheless, I have never heard it remarked either in conversation, or seen it noticed in any bqok, though it may have often been observed in both ; as indeed it is one so plain and obvious, that a child might have remarked it.' pp. 384'—385.
It is but justice to say, that Mr. H. appears to have been a well meaning man; and that he has collected, in his treatise, a multitude of very common but important truths. But he has fallen into a variety of gross and often pernicious errors, which we should have more minutely examined, and to the best of our ability exposed, had not his work contained so much feebleness and absurdity, so many preposterous phrases and unintelligible propositions, as render it more an object of disgust than a source of alarm.
Art. VII. Indian Recreations ; consisting of Thoughts on the Effects of the British Government on the State of India: Accompanied with Hints concerning the Means of Improving the Condition of the Natives of that Country. By the Rev. William Tennant, A. M. LL. D. and VI. A. S. lately one of His Majesty s Chaplains in India. Vol. III. Second Edition. 8vo. pp. 380. Price 9s. bds. Longman and Co. 1808.
T}R. T. announces this volume as the termination of his labours on the subject of India. The inquisitive reader will receive it with a measure of real gratitude, as con* taining additional information, and as being a much more elaborate performance than the former volumes. At the same time, he may not regret that it should be the conclusion; judging that three good sized volumes are quite as much as the public can reasonably claim from the author, and that they do or might contain as much additional valuable knowledge as the writer is qualified to contribute to the public stock,—that they consequently occupy for him a sufficient space in that most enormous mass or composition and compilation, which the subject is now in the full course of creating. Dr. T. is not exactly one of those few writers, who, after communicating the substance of what they know, can still attract their readers through new volumes .on the same subject by the mere beauties of their authorship. He will fare very fortunately, if those who take the trouble of reading his work shall be so much of hrs own opinion respecting its solid value, as to share in his indifference about its literary faults. Those faults are of such a nature and extent, as to require no ordinary measure and value of knowledge as an atonement. The composition is very slovenly, and often incorrect. In the pride of reflecting that he was writing about India, and writing about it as ,a person who had actually been there, and that by the subject and by this circumstance he had a great advantage over the majority of book-manufacturers in this country, (a pride not attempted to be concealed in our author's writings), he seems to have accounted himself absolved from the obligation,— perhaps even thought it would be generous to leave humbler scribes the merit,— of endeavouring at general neatness of language, at conformity to the plainest rules of grammar, completeness in the construction of sentences, and ..clear connexion and succession in reasoning. With all due apprehension, however, of the greatness of the subject, with all imaginable veneration for India, where Dr. Tennant has been, where fortunes are made, where the Marquis Wellesley has built a superb palace, where a few English soldiers have often frightened a pagan army out of sight almost as easily as if It had been composed of rabbits ; where a faggot, or a wheelbarrow-full of mud, will make a dozen of gods, and 'where simpletons are reckoned by the million,—with all due impressions of so splendid a subject, it is yet difficult to consent it should overawe the laws of correct writing iruto an acquiescence in such forms of expression as the following. 'They attempted to form, at once, all those different chiefs, collectively, into a combination.'—'the Zemindar illegally acquired by partial rent-rolls, and by secreting the lands and rents, &c.'—'these abuses were far surpassed by the exactions which were imposed at the markets''—' who enjoy the peculiar felicity of hardly ever having been suspected of undue partiality—'to unfit the members of our Universities from affording much assistance in so important a discussion' — 'these labourers prosecute the task by means that are impracticable1—' this product affords the universal beverage of all ranks.' We ought to learn from such an expression as the following, that the ancient Roman power is still very formidable; 'much probably is owing to the deprecated ambition of that celebrated nation.' There ought to have been at least a lucid belt of context to reflect some meaning round a sentence like this: 'It will not, however, be denied, that a continued series of victories gained by Europeans, must have forced the stream of this calamity (war) with peculiar aim against those princes whom it endangered, either in their power, independence, or personal safety.'p. 125.
We think that no severity of criticism can well be too paucb for writers, who at the present day scorn to take the trouble of observing; the ordinary proprieties of language, unless they are convinced that the ' people are actually perishing for lack of the knowledge,' which they are thus breaking down the just laws of both writing and thinking in their hurry to impart. It is not solely in bad constructions of language, that Dr. T. is willing to shew his readers what liberties a man becomes intitled to take from having doubled the Cape of Good Hope. His pages are suffered to abound with careless assertions, sometimes apparently of very imperfect meaning, sometimes thrown out as if just to take their chance of being right or wrong, (the author scorning to be under any responsibility about them,) and sometimes palpably absurd. For example, after mentioning a late native Asiatic scholar, and agent of the British government, Tuffusil Hossein Khan, he says, 'the charge against the Orientals of tasteless floridity, of unchaste ornaments, and of inaccurate and superficial knowledge of all scientific learning, by his writings has either been greatly weakened or"completely overthrown.' p. :J64. Just as if all the Asiatic dreamers and ravers of what the courtesy of Europeans has admitted under the denominations of philosophy, history, and poetry, were embodied and identified in this one man; as if some writings of his, thrown on the stupendous heap of ^ancient or modern oriental trash, had by some magic obliterated all the intellectual drivelling, the puerile extravagance, and the gaudy scarlet coloured diction, of the whole precious assemblage. —After stating the beneficent practical effects of Christianity on human society, and the moral contrast between the Christian and pagan nations, he adds, 'The very imperfections, however, of heathenism, seem to set limits to its extent and duration.' And this assertion is not followed by any thing calculated to ascertain its meaning, nor by any guess at the period when the Hindoo superstition, for instance, may be expected to destroy itself by its own depravity.—Speaking of inoculation, and the 'Jennerian improvement of the discovery,' he says, 'Taken together they assuredly constitute the most solid benefit that one portion of the human race has ever conferred upon another,' and does not seem aware of a possibility of any reader's recollecting the art of printing, or the conveyance from one region to another of Christian knowledge. Nor when, in another place, he lays it down as a general truth, on the narrow basis of the particular fact of the Roman conquests, 'that no nation can carry its con
?|uests to any great distance without carrying also the useu| arts,' does he betray any sign of ever having heard of Goths, "Huns, or Tartars. It is also forgotten to be stated what improvements, of the nature of .civilization, accompanied or followed the establishment of the late Mahratta empire by the most signal course of conquest, except the British, that has for some ages been witnessed in the East. —As another very needless display of the difference which the Doctor puts between his own understanding and that of his readers, it is worth mentioning that the most formidable personage that has ever appeared on the earth since Timour, a personage before whom the whole policy and power of the civilized world are sinking, is disposed of with the most pleasant facility, as ' an upstart, distinguished by no depth of policy.' It is peculiarly consoling to dwell on this term * upstart,' since, whatever advantages perverse fortune may have hitherto flung at the shallow head of the man, it cannot be, in the nature of things, but he must be beaten in the long run by the profound talent confessedly inseparable from hereditary rank.
Our author has an extraordinary faculty of maintaining a perfect gravity, in uttering truisms as important observations; important, not in the manner of those self-evident f>ropositions which are sometimes requisite to be formally aid down as the basis of reasoning, but important per se. For instance, we are here informed that, 'the internal energies of a free, commercial, and enterprising nation, are great, yet, by adverse circumstances they may not only be weakened, but ultimately destroyed' (p. 39.); which proposition may be simplified, generalized, and shortened into this, that any thing may be injured or destroyed by a cause which is competent to injure or destroy it; and this would perhaps be related, not very remotely, to that tribe of propositions ('whatever is, is,' &c. &c ) the grave inanity of which so vexed Locke.—To exhibit the author's loose and rambling mode of reasoning, it would be requisite to give room, which cannot be afforded for such a purpose, for whole paragraphs and pages, as examples. Often, when it will not be denied that the drift and conclusion of the reasoning are just, and when the question it ot such importance that the reader will be anxious to apprehend the argument clearly, he will fretfully perceive that the process is conducted in a careless, crude, and inconsequential manner; insomuch that he is forced to take the Doctor's premises, and try to get at a conclusion by some straighter and plainer road.
In the few preceding observations, we have been actuated by no feeling but that just discontent, which is excited at seeing with what self-complacency men of learning and information can waste the time, and contribute to spoil the intellectual habits, of the reading part of the community. Those habits are bad enough in all conscience without the assistance. There is little enough order in statement, clearness and concentration of reasoning, and simplicity and precision of language, even among those who are not completely absorbed in either business or dissipation, and who employ a tolerable portion of their life in inquiry. It might reasonably be expected, that when a man of intelligence and a scholar intends to occupy their time and attention lo a large amount with what he is writing, he would be anxious not only to communicate a certain quantity of knowledge, but to communicate it in a manner that should have the effect of a sound discipline to their minds; that he would make a severe effort so to dispose and condense the statements, and to give such a perfect construction to the reasoning and the language, that the readers- might be trained to logical thinking and good taste, an advantage of greater value than that of merely getting the knowledge of a certain number of facts more than they knew before. The neglect <rf this grand duty of an author would be inexcusable, even if he were not seeking general attention to his subject and his'book, but mersly intending a statement of some particular matters of fact for the information of a particular class of persons, the young writers and cadets, for instance, who are preparing for the India service; since if India be so important as every maker of a book on the subject avers and continually repeats, there is very good reason why writers and cadets should be habituated to beware of tolerating themselves in random assertions, trivial observations, or loose reasoning. But Dr. T. did not intend his book to be con/ fined to this specific use. He knew that India was becoming one of the subjects, of which intelligent men throughout the county are expected to have some knowledge; he probably intended his work as a kind.,.of Vade-Mecum (though not of the most commodious bulk for such a kind of servant); and yet he thought it quite beneath him (having been in India) to. Uke the time and pains to reform his manuscript to that moderate state of completeness, without which a book is, in some degree mischievous to the intellectual discipline of its readers.
The value of the knowledge conveyed in the work, made it well worth while that it should have.been wrought to this completeness; for the author supplies, in this volume especially, a very good share of that kind of information, which is received with gratitude by persons who are wishing to appear, in general conversation, respectable on the