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25th. At any rate, that tone so unmistakeably pointed to annexation, that if there be a party in Fiji who still cling to this idea, their hopes may probably be kindled anew. Should the new Government fail in securing the reign of order and tranquillity, and the wishes of the people be once more expressed in favour of coming under British authority, it would appear that Parliament would be inclined to lend a favourable ear to the proposal.
Whether success or failure has attended the new Government is a question which may even at this moment be decided, and will probably in any case receive its solution in the course of a few months. The latest Fiji papers give no great hopes of tranquillity, and report collisions between the police and the British Subjects' Mutual Protection Society. At any moment we may hear that these collisions have become more serious, and King Cakobau may even find it at last expedient to return to his ' old customs,' and advise his native chiefs to solve the problem of government in the good old-fashioned waj of killing and eating the recalcitrant foreigners. Meanwhile it is not impossible that the labour-traffic question may create further complications. True it is that in communications addressed to Lord Granville upon the 8th of June and 9th of September, 1871, the late Premier of Fiji, Mr. Burt, announced the intention of * His Majesty King Cakobau's Exe'cutive' to deal with this question without delay, and to 'second the efforts made by the British Government to place 'the introduction of Polynesian labourers under salutary regu'lations.' It has not yet, however, been made clear that such regulations have been made and satisfactorily carried out, and sundry occurrences have rendered it doubtful whether Polynesian labourers are by any means secure of good treatment in the Fijian Islands. The ship 'Peri,' which was lately picked up on the Australian coast by Her Majesty's ship • Basilisk,' with fourteen half-starved natives on board, in a miserable state of destitution, and is supposed to have been run away with by the natives, and her white crew to have been murdered, turns out to be the property of Mr. Woods, one of King Cakobau's ( Executive;' and though the circumstances may all be susceptible of explanation, there is an ugly look about the matter, savouring little of care and attention to Polynesians. We write, however, somewhat in the dark upon the present state and prospects, as well as the policy, of the Fijian Government. The course of events during the coming autumn may not improbably determine the future destiny of this fertile group of islands. It is im
possible to believe that the civilised Powers of Europe will be content to leave to lawless anarchy and confusion a group of islands, the resources of which, in spite of all disadvantages, appear to be in course of rapid development—whose trade is steadily and continually on the increase, and in which a white population variously estimated at from 2,000 to 4,000 persons is already resident, and is scarcely likely to remain stationary even at the larger number.
The ensuing session of Parliament will probably bring before the public eye more Fijian debates, and it is not impossible that the necessity of action will be forcibly urged upon Her Majesty's Ministers. Their course must be determined by the inexorable force of events; but whether it be deemed wise still to shun probable expense and avoid further responsibility by a continued refusal to interfere in Fijian affairs in the manner desired by Mr. M'Arthur and his friends, or whether such interference be pressed upon the British Government in a manner which it may become difficult to resist, certain it is that the condition of Fiji is a subject which will not be allowed to drop, and that the future of these islands will be watched with deep interest by those who recognise and appreciate their importance to our colonial trade and to our i osition in the waters of the Pacific.
Art. VI. — Miscellaneous -Essays. By Henry Thomas Colebrooke. With a Life of the Author by his Son. In three volumes. London: 1872.
rriHE name and fame of Henry Thomas Colebrooke are better known in India, France, Germany, Italy—nay, even in Russia—than in his own country. He was born in London on the 15th of June, 1765; he died in London on the 10th of March, 1837 ; and if now, after waiting for thirty-six years, his only surviving son, Sir Edward Colebrooke, has at last given us a more complete account of his father's life, the impulse has come chiefly from Colebrooke's admirers abroad, who wished to know what the man had been whose works they know so well. If Colebrooke had simply been a distinguished, even a highly distinguished, servant of the East India Company, we could well understand that, where the historian has so many eminent services to record, those of Henry Thomas Colebrooke should have been allowed to pass almost unnoticed. The history of British India has still to be written, and it will be no easy task to write it. Macaulay's' Lives' of Clive and Warren Hastings are but two specimens to show how it ought to be, and yet how it cannot be, written. There is in the annals of the conquest and administrative tenure of India so much of the bold generalship of raw recruits, the statesmanship of common clerks, and the heroic devotion of mere adventurers, that even the largest canvas of the historian must dwarf the stature of heroes; and characters which, in the history of Greece or England, would stand out in bold relief, must vanish unnoticed in the crowd. The substance of the present memoir appeared in the 'Journal' of the Royal Asiatic Society soon after Mr. Colebrooke's death. It consisted originally of a brief notice of his public and literary career, interspersed with extracts from his letters to his family during the first twenty years of residence in India. Being asked a few years since to allow this notice to appear in a new edition of his ' Miscellaneous 'Essays,' which Mr. FitzEdward Hall desired to republish, Sir Edward thought it incumbent on him to render it more worthy of his father's reputation. The letters in the present volume are, for the most part, given in full; and some additional correspondence is included in it, besides a few papers of literary interest, and a journal kept by him during his residence at Nagpur, which was left incomplete. Two addresses delivered to the Royal Asiatic and Astronomical Societies, and the narrative of a journey to and from the capital of Berar, are given in an appendix and complete the volume, which is now on the eve of publication.
Although, as we shall see, the career of Mr. Colebrooke, as a servant of the East India Company, was highly distinguished, and in its vicissitudes, as here told by his son, both interesting and instructive, yet his most lasting fame will not be that of the able administrator, the learned lawyer, the thoughtful financier and politician, but that of the founder anil father of true Sanskrit scholarship in Europe. In that character Colebrooke has secured his place in the history of the world, a place which neither envy nor ignorance can ever take from him. Had he lived in Germany, we should long ago have seen his statue in his native place, his name written in letters of gold on the walls of academies; we should have heard of Colebrooke jubilees and Colebrooke scholarships. In England, if any notice is taken of the discovery of Sanskrit— a discovery in many respects equally important, in some even more important, than the revival of Greek scholarship in the fifteenth century—we may possibly hear the popular name of Sir William Jones and his classical translation of Sakuntala; but of the infinitely more important achievements of Colebrooke, not one word. The fact is, the time has not yet come when the full importance of Sanskrit philology can be appreciated by the public at large. It was the same with Greek philology. When Greek began to be studied by some of the leading spirits of Europe, the subject seemed at first one of purely literary curiosity. When its claims were pressed on the public, they were met by opposition, and even ridicule; and those who knew least of Greek were most eloquent in their denunciations. Even when its study had become more general, and been introduced at universities and schools, it remained in the eyes of many a mere accomplishment—its true value for higher than scholastic purposes being scarcely suspected. At present we know that the revival of Greek scholarship affected the deepest interests of humanity, that it was in reality a revival of that consciousness which links large portions of mankind together, connects the living with the dead, and thus secures to each generation the full intellectual inheritance of our race. Without that historical consciousness, the life of man would be ephemeral and vain. The more we can see backward, and place ourselves in real sympathy with the past, the more truly do we make the life of former generations our own, and are able to fulfil our own appointed duty in carrying on the work which was begun centuries ago in Athens and at Rome. But while the unbroken traditions of the Roman world, and the revival of Greek culture among us, restored to us the intellectual patrimony of Greece and Rome only, and made the Teutonic race in a certain sense Greek and Roman, the discovery of Sanskrit will have a much larger influence. Like a new intellectual spring, it is meant to revive the broken fibres that once united the South-Eastern with the North-Western branches of the Aryan family; and thus to re-establish the spiritual brotherhood, not only of the Teutonic, Greek, and Roman, but likewise of the Slavonic, Celtic, Indian, and Persian branches. It is to make the mind of man wider, his heart larger, his sympathies world-embracing; it is to make us truly humaniores, richer and prouder in the full perception of what humanity has been, and what it is meant to be. This is the real object of the more comprehensive studies of the nineteenth century, and though the full appreciation of this their true import may be reserved to the future, no one who follows the intellectual progress of mankind attentively can fail to see that, even now, the comparative study of languages, mythologies, and religions has widened our horizon; that much which was lost has been regained; and that a new world, if it has not
yet been occupied, is certainly in sight. It is curious to observe that those to whom we chiefly owe the discovery of Sanskrit were as little conscious of the real importance of their discovery as Columbus was when he landed at St. Salvador. What Mr. Colebrooke did, was done from a sense of duty, rather than from literary curiosity; but there was also a tinge of enthusiasm in his character, like that which carries a traveller to the wastes of Africa or the ice-bound regions of the Pole. When there was work ready for him, he was ready for the work. But he had no theories to substantiate, no preconceived objects to attain. Sobriety and thoroughness are the distinguishing features of all his works. There is in them no trace of haste or carelessness; but neither is there evidence of any extraordinary effort, or minute professional scholarship. In the same business-like spirit in which he collected the revenue of his province, he collected his knowledge of Sanskrit literature; with the same judicial impartiality with which he delivered his judgments, he delivered the results at which he had arrived after his extensive and careful reading; and with the same sense of confidence with which he quietly waited for the effects of his political and financial measures, in spite of the apathy or the opposition with which they met at first, he left his written works to the judgment of posterity, never wasting his time in the repeated assertion of his opinions, or in useless controversy, though he was by no means insensible to his own literary reputation. The biography of such a man deserves a careful study; and we think that Sir Edward Colebrooke has fulfilled more than a purely filial duty in giving to the world a full account of the private, public, and literary life of his great father.
Colebrooke was the son of a wealthy London banker, Sir George Colebrooke, a Member of Parliament, and a man in his time of some political importance. Having proved himself a successful advocate of the old privileges of the East India Company, he was invited to join the Court of Directors, and became in 1769 chairman of the Company. His chairmanship was distinguished in history by the appointment of Warren Hastings to the highest office in India, and there are in existence letters from that illustrious man to Sir George, written in the crisis of his Indian Administration, which show the intimate and confidential relations subsisting between them. But when, in later years, Sir George Colebrooke became involved in pecuniary difficulties, and Indian appointments were successively obtained for his two sons, James Edward and Henry Thomas, it does not appear that Warren Hastings took any