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should choose to relinquish the connexion, let them do so; for the happiness of a Christian brother or sister ought not to be sacrificed to circumstances over which they have no controul; remember, however, that we ourselves, as Christians, are not justified, in these cases, in assuming that liberty of divorce, which we have no power to prevent our heathen connexions from taking advantage of, should it please them to do so. Perhaps it may so happen, that by continuing to live with her heathen husband, the Christian wife may be the means of his conversion; and perhaps the Christian husband may, in like manner, promote the salvation of his hea then wife."

Many more similar opinions might be given: these must suffice, not to decide the lawfulness of polygamy, &c. but to shew the Calcutta Missionaries not to have put forth nove! notions, but such as have been entertained by learned and devout men of all religious persuasions; many of them, even while warm opponents of the practice themselves, justly contending against any intrinsic evil therein. "To the law and to the testimony," then, without prejudice or clamour. Let every Christian be zealous to prove all things, and to "hold fast that which is good." The sole view the Missionaries propose to themselves, is to prevent irregularity and injustice; to maintain the purity of the Church, without going beyond the precept or example of the Lord and his Apostles; neither allowing an unholy laxity to their discipline on the one hand, nor straining it to an unjust and impolitic degree of rigidness on the other. HAVARENSIS.

III.-The State and Prospects of A'sám, as it regards Education and Religion.


Asám is in many points of view a most interesting country. Situated on the north-eastern extremity of the British territory, and bordering on the powerful neighbouring states of Bhután, China, and Burmah, Asám is the key to our possessions in this quarter, and deserves, therefore, the attention of the statesIt is possessed of rivers, in number and extent, at least equal to those of any country in the world of the same size; and its extensive low lands, and its mountain tracts, give it already the productions both of the tropics and of temperate regions, and require but further cultivation by a more numerous and enlightened peasantry to produce ten times the present amount:-it must, therefore, interest the political ecois evident, therefore, that here was the instance of a compact not entailing a reciprocity of obligation between the contracting parties, the Christian having no legal redress, should the heathen be disposed to take that advantage which the constitution of his country allowed, for releasing himself from the restraints of marriage. The decision of St. Paul, therefore, though at first sight it may appear to be an infringement of our Saviour's exclusive rule, is, in reality, confirmatory of it, and founded upon the same just principle; namely, that in every mutual covenant, the want of faith (fidelity) in one of the persons concerned, operates a virtual release from any conscientious obligation in the other. It was probably with a view to obviate the recurrence of this difficulty, that, in a subsequent passage, (vii. 39) he enjoins widows, if entering upon a second marriage, to confine their choice to such persons for their future husbands, as shall be professed Christians."-Dr. Shuttleworth's ~Apostolical Epistles.

nomist. Its unexplored mineral treasures, among which gold and silver, as well as iron, are abundant; its animal and vegetable productions, almost all yet undescribed; the descent, customs, and languages of its numerous mountain tribes, &c. present subjects of inquiry, which deserve, and if vigorously prosecuted, will abundantly repay the researches of the lover of nature and the observer of mankind.

But it is to the philanthropist and the Christian that Asám exhibits the most interesting aspect; and it is in this point of view that we now wish to present it to our readers. Its inhabitants, though worshippers of a god named Chang, appear formerly to have been but slightly attached to their superstitions, and to have entirely escaped the influence of Hinduism, till within the last 150 years. About this time, however, this anti-social system was introduced, and its propagation being found conducive to the interests of both the Rájá and the Bráhmans*, through their united influence it rapidly gained ground, especially in the parts of the province contiguous to Bengal. Hinduism, however, having been but introduced at comparatively a recent date, has not yet secured its full hold on the affections of the inhabitants of these parts; while the Gáros, Khásiyas, &c. on the S., and the Daflas, Meris, Abors, Mishmís, and other tribes to the N., have been till lately almost exempt from its influence. Hence Asám presents a most interesting and encouraging field of labour for the Christian philanthropist; and the late intelligent Commissioner and Agent of the Gov. Gen. in this province (Mr. Robertson), and several of the officers under his authority, have repeatedly alluded in their public despatches to the character of the Asamese, as appearing to be "particularly open to improvement." In reference to a statement of this nature, Mr. R. adds:" To this praise the inhabitants of Asám are, I suspect, entitled in the inverse ratio of their proximity to Bengal. Hinduism has for some time past been stealing on them from the West, and has gained most ground in the provinces contiguous to its ancient empire. In the eastern parts of Kamrup, and in Durung, it has made so little progress, that

* As an instance of this we may mention the following:-In the early part of the last century, the Asámese, though possessed of salt springs at Burháth and near Sadiya, could not work them, in consequence of the invasion of the country by the Singphos and other tribes, and were therefore obliged to procure salt from various vegetable substances. This the Brahmans and the Rájá contrived to turn to their mutual profit. The former persuaded the Asamese, “that it would be more agreeable to Brahma, if they substituted the pure and wholesome salt of the sea for that which they used. The sovereign consented to this, on condition that the exclusive trade should be in his own hands; that it should only be brought by the people of Bengal; and that the boats laden with it should stop at the frontiers of his dominions."-Dictionary of Words used in the East Indies, &c. 1804, p. 34.

the people in that quarter are disposed to treat all the frivolous distinctions of caste with derision; while they evince but very little attachment for the hereditary superstitions of their own. tribe. It is impossible, however, that they can continue in such a state*; and it must now be decided, whether we are to stand by, and witness the extension of Hinduism following up our rule, or step in to occupy the ground on which there is not only nothing to oppose, but every thing to invite us to proceed to pave the way for the introduction of a better faith." Efforts for the moral improvement of Asám, appear happily to be regarded by the Honorable the Court of Directors with approbation. In a despatch of so recent a date as the end of last year, we understand, they express themselves generally favorable to the adoption of measures affording a prospect of improving the minds of the rude and uncivilized people of that country, where, as they observe, "the absence of religious prejudices and jealousies seems to encourage the expectation of success;" and they suggest to their Indian Government, the propriety of obtaining from the late Commissioner, an explanation of the system by which he proposes to aim at the accomplishment of that desirable object. In such a country, it is remarked by the Court, "the range of instruction, being unrestricted by caste, bigotry and suspicion, might be enlarged, and rendered more efficacious and rapid than in those territories, in which the prevalence of the Hindu and Mahammedan religions. rendered extreme caution necessary, and consequently impeded the progress of civilization and knowledge."

Among public officers in India, also, it seems generally agreed, with regard to this province, that the labours of Missionaries like the Moravians would be of essential advantage. Independent of their efforts for the education and moral improvement of its inhabitants, the greater knowledge and industry, which such establishments would introduce, would tend rapidly to bring the vast tracts of excellent, but at present uncultivated ground which it contains into profitable employment, and thus to secure from it the increased revenue which it is capable of affording. Impressed with these sentiments, another intelligent public functionary, only a few weeks ago, writes as follows:

*During the short time that has elapsed since this assertion was made, its accuracy has been demonstrated by the rapid progress of Hinduism in the province; it has now even extended to Sadiya, the most remote extremity from Bengal. As an illustration of this we may state, that the Ex-Khawa, or principal chief of that place, who before felt himself delighted to eat and drink with the Europeans of the station, has lately declined doing so for fear of defiling himself! This change, which has been produced by his conversation with the Hindu sepoys, naturally influences the minds of the lower orders of his countrymen, and is leading numbers of them to follow his example.

"We have 3 or 400 square miles of land about Bishwanath, on the northern frontier, of fine high downs, covered only with a short grass, totally uninhabited, in consequence of its not being a fit soil for rice, the only grain, and almost the sole plant (barring opium), raised by the A'samese, until very lately; but these high plains are admirably adapted for wheat, barley, potatoes, sugar-cane, and mulberry: perhaps coffee and indigo might be added. The Government might not probably be able to make a better use of a portion, than by making a grant of 50 or 60 square miles to a colony of Moravians, for they would soon make the remainder of use. This is speaking financially, but I do not see why it would be unbecoming, or in any way improper, to make grants of wastes in different parts of the country to any Missions, employed in the education and the moral instruc tion of the people."

We presume, therefore, that were any Missionary body, including within the sphere of its operations the instruction of the Natives in an improved system of agriculture, horticulture, and manufactures, to make the application, a grant of land as above proposed, would readily be afforded it by Government. Such a grant might be made with propriety to a colony of industrious Chinese, as well as to Moravian or other Missionaries:-it would be made to both, not with reference to their religious opinions, but for developing and improving the resources of the country: we conceive, therefore, that as to its propriety the most determined and consistent objector to Government interference in religion need not hesitate. We shall therefore be glad to find, that this notice, when it reaches Europe and America, elicits an offer of the kind; so that by this means, in common with others, the temporal and eternal interests of this promising people may be promoted.

In the mean while, who amongst our readers can notice without regret, that the enlargement of our authority should extend the influence of a system, so antisocial and immoral in its present effects, and so dismal in its future prospects, as that of Hinduism; and who will not wish to see, that through the influence of Government, in imparting general education, and the zealous exertions of Christian Missionaries, in propagating the light of the Gospel, the Asámese, and the numerous tribes around them, may be delivered from the chain of caste, with which their more artful neighbours have already fettered them, or are likely soon to do; and may speedily be blessed with the light, and purity, and benevolence, which it is the glory of the Gospel of Christ to infuse into its followers? What has already been effected, or proposed, with a view to this object, we will now proceed to relate.

Our readers are probably aware, that the late Dr. Carey, several years ago, completed the translation of the Scriptures into the Asamese language; and that a branch of the Serámpur Mis sion is established at Gowahati, the capital of the province, where Mr. Rae has been for some time laboriously occupied

in the education of the young, the preaching of the Gospel, and the distribution of Scriptures and Tracts. The Education Committee, we are happy to state, has also lately turned its attention to this quarter; and an active teacher has proceeded during the last month to establish an English school under its auspices there. This, we hope, will be found useful, not only in the education of the residents, but also of the sons of the principal chiefs of the district.

The station of Gowahati, however, though well adapted to communicate to the inhabitants of the interior and western part of the province the benefits of Education and Christianity, is too far to the S. W. to benefit the Meris, the Khamptis, the Singphos, and numerous other tribes on its N. E. border. For this purpose, and for introducing the light of the Gospel (immediately by books, and eventually by living instructors) into the provinces dependent on Burmah, Tibet, and China, Sadiya, the last town to the N. E. under British authority, is admirably adapted. Our readers will therefore rejoice to learn, that through the generosity of the European gentlemen in the province, a mission at this station is likely soon to be commenced. It is interesting to every friend of his species-it urges him to fresh efforts to witness the benevolent exertions of others; and we therefore hope, that the individuals to whose liberality we are about to refer will forgive us for thus presuming, although without their consent, to exhibit their conduct to the imitation of our readers.

Captain Jenkins, the Governor General's Agent and Commissioner in Assam, had been furnished by Mr. Trevelyan with the last Report of the American Mission in Ceylon, and in common with every other reader of that interesting document, had been impressed with the excellency of the general plan pursued by that body of Missionaries, and the greatness of the result which may be confidently anticipated from the union of Christianity and Science in the work of Native Education. He had also become acquainted with the American Mission in Burmah and Siam, and perceiving, as he thought, a common descent and resemblance in language betwixt these nations and the tribes inhabiting the N. E. of Asám, he was particularly anxious that a branch of this Mission should be established at Sadiya. On the importance of Missionary efforts at this particular point, he writes as follows to Mr. Trevelyan, under date of March

10th last:

"The ground, I would particularly wish to bring to the notice of the Directors of the American Missions, is the north-eastern district of Asám, occupied by two the Khamptis and the Singphos. very little from the Siamese and are essentially the same; and in

tribes of the great Shán family, The dialects of these tribes differ Burmese, and the characters in use consequence of the supremacy of

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