« 上一頁繼續 »
lowing statements will shew briefly the amount of means which have been obtained, and the degree of interest that has been excited respecting it, in different parts of the world.
'In Calcutta, the most promising field of operation for such a mission, a Committee, composed of both European and native gentlemen, has existed for the last three years, and has steadily, and successfully employed itself in calling the attention of the christian public in India, England and America, to this important subject. An Anglo-Hindoo school, that is, a school for the instruction of from 60 to 80 Hindoo boys in English learning, on the principles already described, as far as the difficulty of obtaining qualified teachers would permit, has been in operation during the same period, at an expense of 300 rupees—$150— monthly. Subscriptions for a chapel have been obtained in Bengal, amounting to upwards of 12,000 rupees, or $600, with which ground has been purchased in an eligible part of the city, and vested in trustees. And a library has been formed, denominated "the Calcutta Theological Library," open to the gratuitous perusal of all, under such restrictions only as are required for the purposes of its preservation; already comprehending, by donation or purchase, many very valuable works ; and designed, with a view to facilitate the most extended comparisons and references, to include the standard theological works of the religions and sects of all nations and ages.
'In England, a Society has lately been formed, denominated 'the British and Foreign Unitarian Association;' one of the objects of which is, with especial reference to British India, to employ or assist missionaries in foreign countries, as opportunity and the means of the association may afford; and in the mean time to maintain correspondence and general co-operation. The subscriptions of the English Unitarians for the cause of Christianity in British India, amounted to £1535 15 10 sterling.*
'In America, also, an association has been formed, for inquiry concerning the state of religion in India, from which, as their first year's contribution, 1233 rupees have been received. Other contributions to the cause, which have been received from Boston, amount to 659 rupees.
'In general, it may be stated, that although as is believed, there are many Unitarian Christians in India, and although they are known to be both numerous and wealthy in England and America, yet it is only a comparatively small number in each of
* The subscriptions arc principally for the purpose of the erection of a Chapel for Unitarian worship.
these countries, who have hitherto taken an active interest in the establishment of a mission in Bengal. It is confidently hoped, however, that the interest which has been excited will increase, until it shall extend itself to the whole denomination; and that thus the means of carrying such a mission into effect will be gradually multiplied.'
We learn also by letters, which have just been received from Bengal, that the Calcutta Unitarian Committee held a special meeting on the 21st of November, 1825, at which it was unanimously resolved ;—' that this Committee have received with high gratification, information of the exertions made both in England and America, for the promotion of the objects of a Unitarian mission in Bengal; and pledge themselves to the continued zealous prosecution of those objects, to the utmost extent of the means which may be afforded to them.'—At this meeting, also, the following ' scheme for the permanent support of a Unitarian missionary in Bengal,' was adopted by the Committee ; and it was resolved, that means be employed to recommend it to the attention of the Unitarian public in India, England and America; and to obtain subscriptions for the accomplishment of its object.
'1. It is proposed to form a permanent fund, of from 50 to 60,000 rupees,—or, from 25, to $30,000,—in shares of 500 rupees each.
'2. Each subscriber shall remain the bona fide proprietor of the share, or shares, which he has subscribed, with a view to their ultimate redemption by the mission; the interest, or profits, being in the meantime surrendered, should the proposed scheme be carried into effect.
'3. When the interest, or profits of the shares, shall amount to an adequate revenue, it shall be employed in supporting a Unitarian missionary in Bengal, and in providing for his family.
'4. Both principal and revenue shall be placed under the management of trustees, hereinafter mentioned, who shall be responsible to the share-holders, for the integrity of the former, and the due appropriation of the latter.
'5. If the requisite amount shall not be subscribed within a period of five years commencing from the 1st January, 1826, the trustees shall realize in cash the property or securities in which the funds have been invested, and with the sanction of a general meeting of the subscribers in Calcutta, distribute them among the share-holders, to the extent of their claims for principal and interest. The surplus, if any, created by gratuitous subscriptions, shall be divided by the trustees among such Unitarian institutions, and in such proportions, as they may think fit.
'6. If the requisite amount shall be subscribed within the above-mentioned period, the trustees shall on account,and for the benefit of the mission, repay to the share-holders the amount of their shares, as fast as subscriptions for that purpose are received.
'7. The subscriptions received from England and America, and the donations made in India, for the support of a Unitarian missionary in Bengal, shall be applied, first, to the completion of the necessary amount; and, secondly, to the redemption of the shares.
1 8. The shares shall be transferable to other parties, at the pleasure of the share-holders, the same being notified in writing to the trustees.
9. The following gentlemen are proposed as Trustees, for the collection and appropriation of donations, and of the subscriptions of share-holders, with the power of supplying vacancies in their own number; viz. Rammohun Roy, Prusunnukoomar Tagore, W. Tate, G. J. Gordon, T. Dickens, and W. B. Mc' Leod, M. D.
'10. No missionary shall enjoy the benefits of this provision, except by the election of the trustees.'
To this plan for securing a permanent mission in Bengal, we are solicitous to obtain the particular attention of our readers. We should, indeed, have felt no small hesitation, even concerning the propriety of grounding upon it any appeal to the christian sympathy and liberality of our friends, if it had come to us unattended by any more direct expression of the interest of Unitarian Christians in India. But we are happy in being able to append to it, a list of shares subscribed in Calcutta, up to the 9th of December, 1825.
'It is hoped,' we are told by the Secretary of the Unitarian Committee in Calcutta, 'that the subscriptions' there ' will amount to 30,000 rupees; and that the remaining sum which will be necessary,—from 20 to 30,000 rupees, may be obtained from England and America.' And, he adds, 'it has given to the committee the most unfeigned satisfaction to learn, that there are not only individuals in the U. States of America, who take an interest in the promotion of Unitarian Christianity in this country, but that some of these individuals have formed themselves into an association for inquiry upon the subject. When they view this fact in connexion with the almost simultaneous formation in England of an Institution, on a still more extended scale, for the promotion of Christianity in India, they cannot but regard the present period as constituting a new era in the history of Unitarian Christianity, and as affording an earnest of the ultimate attainment of those objects which the Calcutta Unitarian Committee, during the last three years, have been almost hopelessly endeavoring to promote.' Says Rammohun Roy, also,
'The interest which the friends to religious truth in America and England, have taken in the promotion of our common cause, has successfully put in operation the feeling and spirit of those in Calcutta, who have that interest at heart. They have raised, in a period of less than a month, about 30,000 rupees, in support of a perpetual mission in Bengal; and have directed their attention to the erection of the long contemplated chapel, in the centre of this town. As far as my knowledge of them extends, I feel authorized to assure you, that the intelligent part of the Hindoo community has every inclination to join, or at least to support us; though many of them may perhaps have objections to the honor of being called christians, from aversion to a change in name, and especially in looking to the out-caste converts at Sheerampoor, who, among the natives, for several years, have passed by that appellation. One of the objects our friends here have in view in adopting the measure for the support of a perpetual mission, is, that our institution in Bengal may not be a continual burden upon the friends to liberal principles in England and America, who, we are well aware, have much to do in their respective countries, and much opposition to encounter in this work.'
These, we think, are strong facts; and we do not fear to leave them to act for themselves. Three or four years ago, had we attempted to call the attention of Unitarians to India, as a sphere for missionary enterprise, we might have been baffled by the inquiry, what encouragements or prospects have we of success? But when we can reply, as we now may, that the most remarkable individual in the literary world now living, is a Hindoo convert to Unitarian Christianity; that we are assured by this eminently gifted, and, as we have reason to believe, this good
TOI,. III.—No. it. 11
man, that the intelligent part of the Hindoo community has every inclination to join, or at least to support us, in this cause; and, that 30,000 rupees have been subscribed in Calcutta, towards a permanent fund for the establishment of a mission there, we hope and trust that it will be felt, not only that our encouragements are great, and that our prospects are bright, but that our duty in relation to this cause is most obvious, and most imperative. But this is not all. In Mr Adam, whose name is known more extensively than his character among us, we have a missionary provided, if we can find means for his support, most eminently qualified for the work; who has not now to learn the native languages; who is high in the confidence of the Unitarian Christians in Calcutta ; and of whom no orthodox Christian that knows him will speak lightly. We know not by what principles the will of God is ever to be inferred from events, if it be not clear and explicit in the facts which we have now stated. We may add, that in a list of twenty-eight names, which are before us, of subscribers in Calcutta for the chapel to be erected there, nine are names of natives; and the respectability of their condition may be fairly concluded from the circumstance, that their voluntary contributions for this object amount to 2500 rupees. There is also on this list, a subscription, and it is not Rammohun Roy's, of 2000 rupees, by 'a convert to Unitarianism.'—Measures, we trust, will soon be taken to embody, and to inspirit the friends of liberal Christianity in this cause; and for ourselves, we say, with warm aspirations for that influence, without which neither our desires nor efforts will be efficient, may God prosper them! Unitarian Meetings.—A few weeks since, a large number of gentlemen, delegated and invited from the several Unitarian Congregations in Boston and its vicinity, twice met for the purpose of taking into consideration the objects and claims of the 'American Unitarian Association.' At the first meeting, a unanimous vote of approbation was passed, and a committee appointed, who, at the second, made an able and interesting report, giving an account of the Association and its operations, and stating and combating various objections to its name and plans. At both meetings, the whole subject was discussed with a freedom and earnestness, which evinced the deep interest felt in it by the Unitarian body at large, and which we are confident will lead to important results to the cause of religious truth. Every objection to the institution brought forward, appeared to be satisfactorily answered by members of the ' Executive Committee,' who were present. At the second meet