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men have been more eminently useful in their destined spheres of action; few have more amply merited the honours bestowed on them, or better vin. dicated their rightful claim to elevated rank by their talent and integrity, than Lord Teignmouth. We might enlarge upon his personal and private virtues,—but we restrain ourselves, in the language of Tacitus: "Abstinentiam et integritatem hujusce viri referre, injuria fuerit virtutum."

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RAM MOHUN ROY.

Betwixt Asiatics and the nations which belong to our system of civilisation, there is a line of

separation so broadly marked, that they seem superficially, in respect to moral as well as physical properties, almost to be of distinct species. When the Siamese ambassadors visited Paris, in the seventeenth century, La Bruyère tells us,* that the inhabitants of that city were as much surprised that their oriental guests could discourse rationally, and even sensibly, as if they had been monkies endowed with speech and human action : “ forgetting," he observes, “ that reason is confined to no particular climate, and that correct thinking may be found in all the branches of the great family of man." The surprise of the Parisians would have been more natural and excusable, had its object been a brahmin of Hindustan—a solitary example amongst

• Tome ïi. ch. 12.

many millions,—who, by his own proper energy, emancipated himself from the tenacious prejudices of his nation and sect, who deeply embued his mind with European as well as Eastern erudition, and whose intellectual pretensions were not limited to the common qualities of mind which are the property of mankind in the gross, but exalted him to a level with philosophers of the West.

Such was the individual who, after being domiciled amongst us for two years, has recently paid the extreme penalty of his visit to our uncongenial climate, which has unjustly avenged in his person the fate of multitudes of our countrymen who have been sacrificed to an Indian sun, seeing that their temerity was prompted by motives far less benevolent and philanthropical than his.

The sketch we are about to give of the history of this remarkable personage is supplied partly from personal knowledge, partly from memoranda published and unpublished. *

• Of the biographical accounts of Ram Mohun Roy hitherto published, the best and most authentic are the following: a memoir of considerable length, inserted in the Bristol Gazette of October 2, 1833, by the Rev.Dr. Lant Carpenter ; one in the Athenæum, October 5, written by Mr. Sandford Arnot (who acted as his private Secretary here), which contains a slight autobiographie cal sketch by the Rajah himself, in a letter to Mr. Arnot; another in the Court Journal of the same date, by Mr. Montgomery Martin, who, as well as Mr. Arnot, knew him in India.

Ram Mohun Roy was descended, as he states, from a long line of brahmins of a high order, who from time immemorial were devoted to the religious duties of their race (that is, they were priests by profession as well as by birth *), down to his fifth progenitor, who, about one hundred and forty years back, in the reign of Aurungzebe, when the empire began to totter, and the hopes of the Hindus to germinate, “ gave up spiritual exercises for worldly pursuits and aggrandizement. He and his immediate descendants attached themselves to the Mogul Courts, acquired titles, were admitted to offices, and underwent the customary vicissitudes of the courtier's life; “ sometimes," he says, “ rising to honour, and sometimes falling; sometimes rich and sometimes poor.” The grandfather of Ram Mohun filled posts of importance at the Court of Moorshedabad, the capital of the Soubah of Bengal, then, probably, the scene of those transactions which ultimately led to the establishment of the British power in India. Expe riencing some ill-treatment at court, towards the close of his life, his son, Ram Kanth Roy, took up his residence at Radhanagur, in the district of Burdwan, where he had landed property, the patrimony of the family. There the subject of this

• It is a vulgar error to suppose that all brahmins are priests.

memoir was born, about the year 1780. His mother, a woman of rigid orthodoxy, was, he tells us, likewise of a brahmin family of high caste, by profession as well as by birth of the sacerdotal class, to the religious duties of which they have always adhered.

This diversity in the views and pursuits of Ram Mohun Roy's relatives was the cause of his early and careful initiation in Mahomedan as well as Hindu languages and literature. After receiving the first elements of native education at home, he was, in conformity with the wish of his father and the policy of his paternal relations, sent to Patna, the great school of Mahomedan learning in Bengal, in order that he might acquire the Arabic and Persian languages, a qualification indispensable to all who looked for employment at the courts of the Mahomedan princes. On the other hand, agreeably to the usage of his maternal ancestors, he devoted himself to the study of Sanscrit and the body of Hindu science contained in that classical tongue, which he pursued not at Benares but at Calcutta,* where he must have come in contact with Europeans, or, at all events, observed their character. All these accidents had, no doubt, a

• This is doubtful; he once said he had studied at Benares.

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