*APPENDIX II: Extracts from Dr. Gilchrist's Dialogues, English and Hindoostanee [[536-637]]* -- part 3
Were any of; my readers to conclude, from what I have [] urged in these pages, that we should never employ the Hindoostanees in lucrative or confidential situations, I hope he will pay attention to what follows. That they may be highly useful in stations of the above description-- nay, that sound policy perhaps requires them to share largely in the fruits of their own country, are positions I shall never attempt to confute or deny. All I insist on is that, while subservient to us as our dependents, they never ought to assume the tone and character of our masters; nor should they be trusted in any important duty too far beyond the active control and inspection of an intelligent superior British officer.
Thus situated, and with salaries worthy of their acceptance, they may frequently shorten the voluminous detail of litigation throughout the country, and beneficially expedite the grand purposes and administration of justice in India; and above all, their learned men may become, under due patronage and peculiary encouragement, not less useful to a foreign government, than the clergy of Scotland, with similar treatment are the staunch friends in their own country of the powers that be.
Some knowledge in the whole of the proceding particulars becomes, in a great measure, essential to any Hindoostanee, lest he should unwarily offend where he intended nothing of the kind, and when his chief object was to conciliate attention from strangers and thus gain information at their hands. In the acquisition of foreign tongues, we find that in spite of everything which can be urged against the premature use of dialogues for this purpose, almost every learner insists on their utility, and adopts them accordingly, with a partinacity which no arguments can overcome.
This being more particularly applicable to the Hindoostanee, with some show of reason [] too, I have, by the advice of several intelligent friends, yielded to the tide against me, by publishing at once a large collection of dialogues, colloquies, &c. in this work, but without a constant reference to the rules on which their construction depends, after having given as many illustrations of the grammatical principles on which the whole are founded, as any reasonable student can require, and probably more than could be expected in a performance like the present, it has been very justly observed that thousands of people speak English remarkably well, without being able to assign any other cause for their doing so, than the simple rule of practice to which from infancy they have been accustomed: the very same rule therefore may, with the most salutary consequences, be supposed to apply to the popular mode of learning the general language of India.
At all events, these dialogues must prove very useful exercises for regular scholars in their progress through the rudiments of the Hindoostanee; to facilitate a reference to the dialogues, I have attempted to systematise them as much as possible, in the following useful and easy manner. Thus, under the article "speaking," its various ramifications of letting, explaining, ordering, directing, saying, conversing, observing, &c. &c. will all appear; and under "eating," may in like manner be found drinking; sipping, sucking, smoking, snuffing.
The names of eatables and drinkables, as well as the utensils connected with them, will in general be met with under breakfasting, &c., but such very necessary sentences as cannot well come regularly under any particular head, may be treated as miscellaneous, and will occur in the course of our progress, wherever they may appear most beneficial to all classes of readers, among whom the civil, military, and medical [] servants of the honourable company will perceive their several duties have not been overlooked.
How far the arrangement will answer present expectation, is a question which time only can answer satisfactorily; however simple and concatenated the principled may appear on which the whole has been founded. The prominent verb or principal word of every sentence will naturally lead to the classification of the dialogues, and thus point out the page very readily to every reader, who may previously consult the index or contents for that purpose.
When conversations in Hindoostanee take a literary or historical turn, without some acquaintance with the technical terms of grammar and common names, it would be impossible for a beginner to bear any part in the colloquy, satisfactorily for himself or the audience, unless certain facilities be afforded him here for such an ordeal. Towards the end of the dialogues, a large collection of grammatical words, such as verb, noun, &c. will be found; and still further on, among the names of places, the learner has at his command a variety of persons, famous in scripture or history, whose appellations are very differently pronounced in the eastern and western world: so much so indeed, as to make their identity rather equivocal, though in many instances the coincidence be pretty correct; thus, Habiyul Abel; Ibraheem Abraham; Adum Adam; Ibnyumeen Benjamin, and so on.
When a person discovers that with a little assiduous and persevering attention to the mere orthograpical key of this work, he is enabled in the course of a week, to read many sentences in the Hindoostanee with elegance and grammatical precision, he will naturally feel some wish to know why and how this happens. [] That every learner who finds himself in such a predicament, may at once learn the oriental orthography, even with the pronunciation in roman characters, I have adopted the scheme recently published in the Story-teller or Hindee-Roman Orthoepigraphical Ultimatum, because, in the instance of an inquisitive scholar, it may ultimately produce much good, and can be productive of no harm to those who really mean to go no farther than the parrot prattle of dialogues in the grand popular speech of India. To them, accurate spelling can be of no use, though without the most correct pronunciation, it is very evident that the natives never will comprehend what such scholars may say on any subject whatever.
I cannot therefore insist too much on the absolute necessity of first acquiring the system of roman orthography followed in the Dictionary, &c., as a sine qua non to the use of the dialogues. After this reiterated intimation, every reader who slights the advice must blame hisself entirely, if he be not immediately understood by the natives of India so well as he could wish, and as indeed he would certainly be, with due attention at first to the unalterable systematic mode of spelling introduced there, and without which, in fact, no work of this nature can be productive of the smallest good.
Even with every attention to orthography and pronunciation, newcomers must meet with many disappointments from the stupidity of the natives, or the strangeness of a foreigner's first attempts to pronounce any tongue but his own. Although we may and must dispense with the oriental alphabets in these sheets, I deem it proper, as already observed, to refer at once to the consistent plan of roman orthography founded upon them in the Story-teller; and I promise every beginner who shall invariably sound the letters in words with the exact powers they possess there, more [] satisfaction and a greater chance of being understood by the high and low people of India, than he can derive, from any other mode yet submitted to the public
We may conclude this portion of the preface by fairly asserting that in spite of every precaution there are many words with a final inspirate, so uncommonly troublesome to beginners, that months may elapse before they can master the requisite inspiration, though the h be often a very essential discriminative letter, as in sat,h, with; bag.h, a tiger; dood,h, milk; guár,h, a fort; kooch,h, some; thus distinguished from sat, seven; bag, a bridle rein; dood, smoke; g,hur, a house; kooch, the breast; and kooch, a march. In kooch,h, with a few such, the h is scarcely perceptible to the ear, and in all the rest, in fact, it is by no means a full very distinct aspirate; sat,h must not therefore be made satuhu, sat,hu, nor satuh, but merely sat,h, with a smooth gentle inspiration, as close after the t as l is to r in curl, purl, &c. in our language.
The references from one work to another should often be made, with the view to impress the subject more com-letely on the mind, and, in some cases, to let the scholar reap the fruits of his own diligence, by discovering a few repetitions and omissions, which he cannot possibly find out unless he reads and weighs every part with more than ordinary assiduity. In this event he certainly will catch me apparently tripping, and be thereby enabled to correct some errors purposely left for the due exercise of youthful reflection upon them....
[] .... In acquiring the Hindoostanee through the medium of these sheets, the learner will find it his interest to go entirely through them in a cursory manner, that he may immediately possess a tolerably accurate idea of their contents in general, previous to that particular, reiterated perusal, which alone is calculated to stimulate thought and reflection to an adequate comprehension of every essential part, which ought to be indelibly imprinted on the memory, rather as the produce of intellectual exertion, than of mere parrot-like efforts by a thoughtless schoolboy, whose soul may occasionally prove sluggish enough to require hard knockinng at the door of its mansion before one can stimulate the spirit within to persevering exertion, even during this very essential pursuit of future ease, honours, and fortune, in the distant regions of the east, through the medium of the grand colloquial speech of all India.
Should any sapient sneerer cock his nose at the term grand or popular, which I apply to the Hindoostanee, let him recollect, that I have an equal right to raise the dignity and renown of this important tongue, which others have who talk of the divine Hebrew, the sacred Sanskrit, the sublime Arabic, the celestial Persian; or who reverence the name of a heaven-born premier, a grand Turk, or the great Mooghul. All this is a matter of mere taste, and [] when I prefer the utile dulciae; de gustibus non est disputandum.
On the particular theme of eastern pedantry, I have observed so much in page 248 of the Guide, that it would almost prove a mere repetition to state more to the same purpose here; I cannot, however, suppress the following remarks. Although Persian writings are too often liable to the very same misplaced display of Arabic erudition, which every person will detect even in the best Hindoostanee authors, I have been credibly informed, that the present monarch of Persia is very partial to simplicity of style in his epistolary correspondence and compositions; consequently, that the modern language of his dominions now inclines much more to the ancient Puhluwee, than ever it has yet done, since the Moosulmans subjugated that delightful country, and its fascinating original tongue.
How far the present countenance which the Hindoostanee receives from the highest authority now in India, will be equally successful in reducing its compositions in future to the level of common sense, and the comprehension of the people at large, time only can tell; and I fondly hope that the hoary sage will not frustrate all my endeavours for so desirable an event to the natives of India, as well as ourselves.
To Persian works composed by the people of India, the very same objections may be started, that actually exist against Hindoostanee compositions executed by Moosulmans born in Bungalu. To the former, the real vernacular speech of Persia must be very imperfectly known, and that it has a considerable bias to the Puhluwee seems pretty evident from many particulars, which cannot with propriety be introduced here.
Writers, under such circumstences, must conceal their want of local knowledge [] beneath the splendid cloak of that classic lore in which the Qooran is solely composed, and as they do not labour under the same impediments which naturally check the literati of Europe from similar incroachments, the blind even may see that the misapplication of oriental erudition is too often the genuine offspring of real ignorance
I shall illustrate this, I trust, to every candid reader's satisfaction, by the following fact: in Hindoostan, the local dialects everywhere assimilate so much with the pronunciation of the grand popular tongue, that numberless Hinduwee words pervade the current speech or Hindoostanee in that quarter, which are freely used and well understood by the Moosulmans as well as Hindoos. in the province of Bungalu. The whole phenomena are reversed; little or no intermixture of the provincial dialect can or does take place; consequently Arabic or Persian words must supply the want of local terms in that region.
Let any oriental scholar attend carefully to the Hindoostanee, spoken in the markets by the bulk of the people beyond B.hagalpoor, and to that idiom of it which is current on the Bungalu side of the boundary, for the truth of my doctrines. If he find me wrong, and will come forward with his observations and sentiments as a gentleman and a scholar, I shall do my best to meet him on the same footing, before the public tribunal; and I promise, when confuted there, to sign my recantation in the face of all the world.
I might also venture to extend my opinion even to the Hindoostanee writings, under the same limitations and terms, were I not conscious that the itch of pedantry has long been the literary epidemic of India; which may yet, in spite of every nostrum, become more inveterately confirmed than ever, and even spread its baneful influence to the British Isles.
[] The persevering efforts which I have made to banish all learned lumber from the Hindoostanee, will not, at this period, I flatter myself, be misconstrued into any wish for the expulsion also of all concord, propriety, accuracy of speech, and pronunciation, by those men who, not having at first acquired the grammar of that language, wisely affect afterwards to undervalue and despise it. The absurd and risible blunders that inexperienced or foolish scholars must at first commit, in their indiscriminate essays to speak grammatically to individuals of the various tribes and nations scattered over india, as Johnson observes on a similar occasion "may for a time furnish folly with laughter, and harden ignorance in contempt, but useful diligence will at last prevail, and there can never be wanting some who distinguish desert."
Should my exposure of Hindoostanee pedantry ever be maliciously represented as a hostile attack on the learned languages of the east, let my enemies carefully peruse the polyglot translation of Esop's fables, and then candidly declare how little I merit such censure, and how much those very acquisitions :are esteemed by me, though I have not yet enjoyed leisure enough for any great progress in them myself. That Arabic and Sunscrit are the grand sources of profound oriental literature; I never was silly enough to deny; on the contrary, I respect them in the higher regions of science, as they richly deserve.
It is only when these deep fountains overflow their natural bounds, and come sweeping down like a torrent on the plains of common sense, language, and ordinary discourse, that I take up arms to oppose their overwhelming career. I, perhaps absurdly, conceive that a wide diffusion of classical eastern erudition is neither very requisite for our general transactions in India, nor that it is so conducive to mental improvement, happiness, and morality, as our own, however [] much I may rejoice to see the british youth in progress of time sufficiently initiated in the grammar, idiom, and useful works of all the languages spoken or understood in India, after learning the most essential of the whole, before they proceed to that distant region.
Whoever reflects for a moment that the people who speak their own general language grammatically, are invariably understood much better by the vulgar in each province, than they can comprehend the provincial dialects, I fancy he will not hesitate to decide in favour of learning the Hindoostanee on sound principles at once, leaving those particular acquisitions to future exertion when they also prove essential. If education be an ingredient in the character of a gentleman among us, its limits must be narrow indeed, when they do not embrace a grammatical knowledge of our own tongue; then why despise the same criterion in other languages?
Some very young students have been absolutely deterred from learning the most popular speech of india, by assurances that neither I nor my scholars can make ourselves understood by the natives; if those good men, who so confidently say so, could only accompany my pupils or me, by way of trial, through all the intermediate stages of society in Hindoostan, I am confident of convincing them in person, that they never were more mischievously deceived or mistaken in their lives; and that to deter others, who cannot know better, from a useful pursuit, by fabricated stories of blunders which never existed, is a species of green-horned bull-baiting, neither very manly nor becoming in any gentleman.
The Sunskrit being the grand palladium of every Hindoo art and science, a knowledge of it is indispensable for any person who expects to be, when circumstances require it, an adept in the religious and civil history of India: on the other hand, the Arabic is no less advantageous in all [] that relates to Moohummud and his followers, though my suspicions are strong against every hope of learning one solitary truth in the whole circle of science, that does not actually exist or has not already been much better explained in most of the European tongues.
Youths of extraordinary talents might be deputed, at the expense of the state, with encouraging allowances, expressly to acquire beneficial arts and recondite knowledge abroad, in the several walks of life, for which their various capacities may prove best adapted, wherever these really can be found, were the common weal the pole star of all governments, or utility preferred by them to worse pursuits.
Men who leave their native homes merely in quest of fortune in foreign climes, have commonly important duties to perform, which allow them little leisure to cultivate that local science and information with sufficient accuracy, which might probably be acquired in every region of the globe, were people resident there with no other official avocations. One class of such scholars may, with great propriety, be compared to simple gleaners in the wide fields of a literary harvest, from whom the public can expect but a slender stock for the commonwealth of letters; whereas men appointed purposely to this duty must become reapers at once; and, to preserve their own character, will naturally return loaded with an ample supply of literary materials to their patrons and employers.
In this way, a few years will effect more in the service of real knowledge, than a century possibly can procure by the other, in which it must be recollected that half of the subsequent time is too often fruitlessly spent in forgetting or correcting all the mistakes generated during the preceding period of desultory research; and on the whole, it has long since been discovered how truly advantageous national ignorance is to the few who rule the roost, because [] the many in this predicament have not then the means of learning any thing worthy of the name of profitable science.
The reader will, I hope, excuse my inserting a few extracts from the learned, animating, and valuable discourse of a late governor-general of India, at the public disputation in the college of Fort William, on the 27th february, 1808. Lord Minto, since deceased, then speaking to the students, thus addressed them:-- "You are about to be employed in the administration of a great and extensive country, in which it would not be much beyond the truth to say that the English langauge is not known. You will have to deal with multitudes who can be communicative with you; can receive your commands, or render an accountof their performance of them; whose testimonies can be delivered; whose engagements can be contracted; whose affairs, in a word, can be transacted, discussed, and recorded, only in some one or other of the languages which are taught at the college of Fort William.
"Were it only for your personal ease, security, and comfort, the vernacular and colloquial language of Bengal would be infinitely valuable; but whoever considers the tediousness and delay, and what is yet more material, the imperfection and error, which must attend the conduct frequently of trivial and ordinary, but often also of complicated and important, affairs, by the clumsy and unsatisfactory transposition of loose discourse or intricate discussion, ore tenus, from one language to another, must acknowledge the important advantage derived from the ready use of the native languages.
"Tediousness and error are not the only, nor the worst, evils resulting from ignorance of the languages of India; it creates almost unavoidable, and almost unlimited, dependence on native and subordinate officers. How much prejudice to the interests of the Company; how much oppressive [] vexation, extortion, and cruelty towards out native subjects; and how much loss of character, how much disgrace and ruin, to the unfortunate European, whose ignorance has delivered him over to that helpless and dependent thraldom, and wedded his fair fame and his best hopes to the chances of so foul a connexion, making him responsible in his reputation and fortune for the corruption of a servant, whom this one defect has erected into his master, and into the arbiter of his fate; how much public loss and calamity; how much individual shame and ruin, have resulted, and are daily resulting; from this cause, a very short acquaintance with the affairs of India will too clearly show.
"To these serious evils the government of this country has determined to oppose the best remedies it can devise. Instruction in these languages has been provided, both in England and in Bengal, for the junior members of the service. Every imaginable facility is furnished, as you are now experiencing, to the diligent student; and amongst other incentives, we are this day employed in one, and not the least efficacious, means to stimulate and quicken study."
On the various works preparing for publication his lordship observes, that "Meer Sher Ulee, the head moonshee in the Hindoostanee department of the college; having compiled and arranged, in the Hindoostanee language, a work on the history and geography of India, has been encouraged by the college to print it for publication. The dissemination, by means of the press, of works composed by natives eminent for their knowledge and practical skill in this dialect, must gradually polish, and fix a standard of excellence in, a language which, though long employed as an elegant medium of colloquial intercourse, and as the vehicle of poetical imagery, has hitherto been little used for prose composition."
[] At that time there were forty-nine students in the Hindoostanee class only, a number greater than the total of the other four classes conjoined; which may easily be accounted for, by that language being generally used all over India, while the Bungalee and others never extend beyond the bounds of their respective territorial and official provinces: though this fact, as it regards the provincial dialect, was left for more particular animadversion and judgment to the present governor-general, who is certainly a more competent discriminator in these matters, than the whole of his predecessors combined.
Between thirty and forty years ago, had the governor-general of that period been as experienced and able a statesman as the present, he never would have answered the suggestion of the author of these sheets, for the appointment, even in those early days, of regular interpreters to courts martial, in these discouraging terms: "Let the Portuguese drummers perform this duty as they have hitherto done, gratuitously; the Company cannot afford to pay for interpretation in cases of that kind, and we must continue in the very track we have trodden so long." Had Hastings the first acted as he ought in this matter, his noble successor of the same name could have called on hundreds of military men as capital linguists, for the dozen or two who may yet be viewed in that character at any of the presidencies.
These extracts, and a reference to the passing events in British India, will prove to the world how very essential a knowledge of the oriental languages in general, and of the Hindoostanee and Persian in particular, is daily becoming, to every person residing in india either as a civil or military servant of the East India Company, or as a sojourner there in any capacity whatever. Those of the legal profession who may wish to try their fortunes in the [] east, are yet little aware of the vast advantages they would derive by being able to converse immediately with clients liable to be betrayed by every third person who may act as interpreter, in law pleas, where often secrecy of counsel alone can command success.
Young men connected with the maritime or nautical affairs of India cannot have recourse to a better monitor than Roebuck's valuable little work styled A Naval Vocabulary, which is well calculated for study at sea, when there are intelligent Indian sailors to consult on the subject by every passenger.
To corroborate my notions of the Hindoostanee's superior claims to attention, even above the Persian tongue, as well as my own acknowledged success in that department, I shall insert extracts of letters from the late resident at Dilhee, and Major Smith; who is not only a native of India, but a gentleman of so much knowledge and experience as an excellent oriental scholar and military character, that he has been actually employed in high confidential situation by our government, while the former is at present chief secretary in the secret and political department in Bengal.
"I trust that I shall be able to give you some satisfactory information on the subject on which you express a natural anxiety. In every part of India in which I have been employed, from Calcutta to the vicinity of Lahor, and from the mountains of Kumaoon to the Nubuda, among Ufghans, Murhatus, Rajpoots, J,hats, Seek,hs, and the various tribes which inhabit the countries through which I have travelled, I have found the general use of the language in which you instructed me.
[] "Captain Thomas Roebuck,
"I have the pleasure to send you the manuscript vocabulary of the Hinduwee, which my poor brother began, but did not live to finish, if it can be of any use to Mr. Gilchrist, I shall be much pleased. I shall hope to hear on my arrival in India, that Mr. Gilchrist intends to benefit the followers of fortune to the east, by a complete edition of his works printed in England, a benefit which is incalculable to Europeans going to India. Perhaps no person ever undertook a more arduous task, or completed it more fully and correctly, than Mr. Gilchrist performed in his works on Indian philology. I regret his long labour has been unprofitable; for in these times when money is more necessary than fame, every correct and useful writer ought to reap something more by his taste or his industry than mere praise. I hope, above all things, that Mr. Gilchrist will give us a second volume of his dictionary, for I may venture to say, without the risk of contradiction, that no enlightened Asiatic ever understood the Hindoostanee language more correctly, or pronounced it more perfectly, than Mr. Gilchrist. Being born and bred in India, I have some right to pronounce so decisive an opinion. Wishing you health and speedy return to Madras, I am, in haste, my dear sir, your's most truly.From one of the first and most distinguished students at the Calcutta college, the deceased Mr. Jonathan Lovett, I received the following note on his departure from that establishment.
"Wherever I go, I shall carry with me the same grateful recollection of your kindness and assistance, the same [] zeal for the honourable cause in which you: have been so long engaged.
Extract of a letter from a gentleman at Madras, dated "19th June, 1802":
[] The next work which I would recommend is the East India Register for the current year, as one replete with such valuable information that no person proceeding to India should be without a copy; nay, everybody connected with the Company's service should have the above book always by them, for reference and advice, which can seldom be procured so accurately elsewhere, and which I have refrained from inserting in this volume merely because I consider the above directory as a sine qua non for those who may wish to consult my own publications on the subject of Indian affairs.
The Asiatic Monthly Journal, from the commencement, will likewise prove an interesting performance; and to cadets let me mention, in terms of the highest praise, the Military Mentor, as one of the best books ever yet published, to make a youth a good officer, a brave soldier, an accomplished gentleman, and an honest man. It will be found an inestimable companion by night and by day; one from whom no vice can be learned, and every virtue may be acquired,which should warm the heart, and guide the head, of a juvenile warrior. Every well-disposed young man will honour his portable mentor, the more he reads and ponders upon the excellent instructions with which it is filled, conveyed in the easy unaffected style of paternal solicitude, enlivened with elegant and affecting anecdotes, to enforce or demonstrate the truth of the many honourable principles which the mentor is constantly inculcating
I shall never forget how much I owe to a little work called "A Master's Present to an Apprentice," which I received from my instructor when leaving school, and continued to study it often for some years afterwards, not only out of respect to him, but from the advantage I was daily deriving from a practical system of ethics, exactly suited to my station and capacity, the [] military mentor is to a young officer or cadet just such a treasure; and, elegantly bound, would prove a very appropriate present from a sincere friend, as a memorial of real affection and esteem for a youth about to leave him or her, perhaps forever. Many of the subjects in the mentor are of great importance to civil as well as military servants of the King and East India Company, such as friendship, love, gaming, drinking, duelling, health, prudence, reading, languages, &c. &c. &c., the whole of which are treated in a concise but masterly manner, and cannot fail of edifying and gratifying every rational reader
Letter XL, on languages, is so short, that I shall insert the whole.
"All languages are not of equal importance. Life is so short that in regard to study, whatever is not useful may in some views be considered as pernicious. The principles of the Latin language are of the highest utility; this contributes likewise much to the knowledge of the French; which, being now the language of all Europe, ought to be acquired in its utmost perfection.
The story of the Englishman and German conversing in Latin, is well known. John Bull observed, "Sunt ne omnia pacata in Germania!" to which the German gruffly replied, "Multa sunt peccata in Germania sed spero plures virtutes"; and had it not been for a Highlander, who happened to be of the party, they could [] not possibly, even by farther explanation, have understood each other. So much for English Latin, merely as a colloquial medium; but as a learned language, it never should be attempted by the British youth, until they have acquired an accurate grammatical knowledge of their mother tongue, as one of the most rational steps to the speedy acquisition of a much more difficult foreign language and grammar.
What the general observes of our public seminaries, is but too true. Though he has not proceeded to detail the method by which three or four years might be saved in the ordinary course of education in this country, a few hints in my other works have been given by myself for the accomplishment of this desirable object, and I shall in this subjoin some more observations on the same subject, to induce, if possible, better qualified pens to do it all the justice which so great a reform in fact demands.
It is a singular truth, that were ten girls, and an equal number of boys, of the same rank, capacity, age, &c. selected from any society in the united Empire, as competitors for prizes to the best English composers among them, the victors would prove all female, from the great pains which have long been taken with the fair sex in this most essential branch of education; while, in general, boys are most preposterously allowed to pick up what knowledge they ever gain of their mother tongue, merely en passant, in the prosecution of learned languages, the best way they can. A young lady will write a more elegant letter in English, much sooner than her brother can turn it to bad Latin, if he ever gets far enough even to do so; and compared to his sister's proficiency in epistolary talent, it is a thousand to one if he ever, with all his classic lore, come near her in useful knowledge; nay, were she afterwards induced to acquire Latin or Greek, from [] her previous acquaintance with English on grammatical principles, she would soon make a fool of him in those very pursuits.
Suppose two youths, of equal capacities, were to start at eight, nine, or ten years of age, as general scholars, one in the common way to be prematurely crammed with Latin and Greek rules on versification, and the lord knows what; the other to learn, progressively, reading, writing, arithmetic, English grammar, composition, &c. till twelve or thirteen, and then to proceed, when indispensable, with these dead tongues. I would stake everything on the head of the latter, by the time both had reached their sixteenth year, especially if due pains be taken to lead him gradually from simple to complex, from easy to difficult themes, rather by expanding his mind with rational instructions, than by loading his memory with too many rules, that he may learn to think actively for himself, instead of becoming a mere passive machine. The transition from well-conducted English studies to the Latin, or any foreign speech, will enable him to reason upon it as he had been accustomed to do with the other, and he will speedily observe that the grammar of all languages is so much alike in general principles, that he has only to be well versed in his own, to make it the natural stepping-stone to every other tongue.
It would only be repeating my remarks from the Guide, were I again to dwell on the necessity and advantage of giving English lessons, more or less easy, as pupils advance, without some of the leading words in them, as illustrated in page 158 of that work, which I here recommend to the serious attention of every preceptor, who may improve upon the hint in various ways for the benefit of his pupils, through every stage of their progress in English or other tongues.
[] In the life of Sir William Jones, we have an instructive lesson, not only from his andrometer, but from the successful method which his enlightened mother adopted for the education of her promising son, as related by his noble biographer and friend, Lord Teignmouth.
"In the plan adopted by Mrs. Jones for the instruction of her son, she proposed to reject the severity of discipline, and to lead his mind insensibly to knowledge and exertion, by exciting his curiosity, and directing it to useful objects. To his incessant importunities for information on casual topics of conversation; which she watchfully stimulated, she constantly replied, "Read, and you will know;" a maxim to the observance of which he always acknowledged himself indebted for his future attainments. By this method, his desire to learn became as eager as her wish to teach; and such was her talent of instruction, and his facility of retaining it, that in his fourth year he was able to read, distinctly and rapidly, any English book. She particularly attended at the same time to the cultivation of his memory, by making him learn and repeat some of the popular speeches of Shakespeare, and the best of Gay's fables.The andrometer supposes a child, at six years of age, to be acquainted with English grammar, which is premature by two years, at least for ordinary abilities; we shall therefore suppose eight or nine as the most probable for such an attainment. Latin, according to the same scale, is put down at twelve, but may safely be protracted to fourteen, as it will be much more rapidly attained by the Gnglish grammatical scholar, than by one who can merely read his native tongue.
The same prejudices which have hitherto retarded the due cultivation of our mother tongue operated long, and do so now, against the acquisition of the Hindoostanee on grammatical principles, not only among the bigoted natives of India, but among our own more enlightened countrymen, who ought to have known and candidly avowed half a century ago, that the general vernacular speech of so extensive a region, was and is much more essential than any learned or foreign language to us, as the rulers and sojourners among various nations and tribes, to the bulk of whom Arabic, Persian, Turkisb, and Sunskrit, are as little familiar as French, Latin, Greek, and Hebrew are to the great body of the people in the united Empire.
To stem the torrent of overwhelming erudition, I have stood, almost alone, for nearly fifty years past, in favour of the vulgar tongue in British India, as the one thing [] most needful, and have now the consolation to believe that my labours, in so trying a situation, have not been wholly in vain. Fame, wealth, and honours, during that period, have certainly cheered the literary studies and toils of my more erudite contemporaries, while mine were preying upon my health, and sinking my fortune and prospects to the confines of a jail, from which nothing but the seasonable establishment of the college in Bengal extricated me.
After a hard struggle, for many years, in favour of the Hindoostanee tongue, I have lived to see it cultivated and esteemed as a useful acquisition, instead of being stigmatised as a jargon, though as much above the comprehension of the unthinking multitude, as it was far below the notice of men of letters, when I first visited India. Even the learned natives, for the basest purposes, affected, as long as they durst without the fear of detection, to neglect and despise their mother tongue when put in competition with Persic lore, with which they had too successfully hoodwinked our unsuspecting countrymen at all the settlements of the east, from the period of our establishment as conquerors in Hindoostan.
While I have little to boast of for my exertions in the humbler walks of oriental literature, by which a supposed jargon has been raised to the rank of a refined popular tongue, I cannot lose the great consolation which naturally flows from a consciousness of having been of some service in my day and generation, nor can I conceal the supreme satisfaction of having always endeavoured to raise the English language to that pre-eminent rank and estimation which it merits in every seminary of learning within the extended bounds of the British Empire, as the first and surest step to all other classical pursuits. That it will one day become so, there can be no doubt in the breast of any rational being who has seriously attended to the progressive [] improvement of every other art and science; but whether this shall happen in my time or not, the praise of being an advocate for so necessary a reform can hardly be denied me by those who must reap the greatest advantage from such a change, if they peradventure cast their eyes on these sheets, when the writer of them is numbered with the dead.
To the foregoing list of useful publications, I subjoin with real pleasure, Johnson's Oriental Voyager, as a very agreeable companion to a young man on the passage to India, not only for the local information it contains, but for the laudable example such a work before every reflecting mind, and the excellent bias which it is admirably calculated to give to those who, in early years, read little, and think far less on the passing scenes of life. To the honourable East India Company's booksellers, no. 7, Leadenhall-street, London, whoever shall apply for a catalogue of books connected with Indian affairs and the literature of the east, will not, I am convinced, call in vain, as they appear to possess a larger stock of everything in that department than any other booksellers in the metropolis; and what is of some moment when purchasers are not affluent enough to provide a complete library for literary pursuits, they will be supplied with a list of those publications only that hardly can be dispensed with, by persons anxious to convert a long tedious voyage to the laudable purpose of self improvement in local knowledge and eastern tongues. They are moreover both able and willing to furnish such advice and information to people proceeding to India, as will prove highly useful previous to their departure from this country, after arrival in India with an adequate supply of books, and other necessaries for an East India voyage, limited or extended according to circumstances.
[] A sedulous examination of this book and the dialogues in regular progression, will do more to pave the way for analysing the Hindoostanee on all occasions, than a thousand mere rules acquired by rote, with which a poor school-boy's memory is generally overloaded, like an ass's back, while his mind is allowed to remain as empty of thought, its proper food, as a heron's belly is of meat; whence from our public seminaries we have spouting automatons in abundance, who seldom evince great mental energy or conception, till they learn the positive necessity through life of thinking and acting for theirselves, rather as intelligent; efficient beings, than sheer passive machines or vehicles of useful knowledge. Should I be accused of too many appeals to the risible faculties of my scholars, my answer is simply this, "laugh and be fat if you please;" but with the same breath let me beseech every reader who does not get too drowsy, upon the dry theme of language, in these words, "rouse thyself in due season from the waking dreams of implicit confidence on others through life; think for thyself, and be wise."
That none of my pupils may plunge headlong into the vortex of irrational dialogism, before they can reason upon what may be put into their mouths in the first person, or proceed from those addressed in the second, I have thought proper to introduce in this stage of their progress, a few more striking illustrations of the principles in the East Indian guide, pages 7 and 47, and of some other grammatical rules inculcated in that rudimental work for a similar reason; some colloquial stories and other compositions will be found at the end of the present volume; thus provided with an alpha and omega as the requisite caveats against that premature use of speech, which half-fledged dialogists are too apt to imbibe, more as mocking birds, who are proud of unmeaning sounds, than as men [] acquainted with the sense and due application of all the words they use in any discourse.
[[Here begins the language textbook proper: *page 602*]]