Imágenes de páginas

sentiments of inind, and promoting gress in any kind of knowledge ; be•* the good of others. Wherever tiis fide that it endangers men's

running humour prevails, there is commonly into the contrary extreme; for when a great defect of zeal for more im- once men come to see themselves in portant things. It weakens a due re an error, and find they were blinded gard to the greatest matters of import- and deceived in a favourite opinion, ance, by dividing it among a great and which they were taught to think many

litile ones, as the cutting a ri- important, they will be very likely to ver into many channels, weakens its run to the other extreme, or distrust force, and makes it run shallow. It every thing for the fu:ure. Such are is unphilofophical; for it shuts our the peculiar features and consequences eyes against further light, and confines of bigotry. Whether a cure be pracas to present attainments. It is a ticable, may perhaps be the subject of ft ong prejudice in our minds against another letter. new discoveries, or imparcial enquiry,

P. O. and cramps all improvements and pro

Further Extracts from Miss HAMILTON'S LETTERS from

a HINDOO RAJAH. We have already observed, rjee descendant of a thousand rajahs ? Im

page 40) that the rajah Maan- . poflible. From the ant thou mayest daara objects strongly to the design, learn industry. From the dog thou which his friend Zaarmilla had form- mayest be instructed in faithfulness. ed, of visiting England, in consequence The horse may teach thee diligence, of the favourable account he had re- and the elephant instruct thee in paticeived of our customs and manners ence, magnanimity, and wisdom; but from captain Percy. I perceive, says expect not from Europeans to attain Maandaara, in a letter to his friend, the knowledge of any virtue.

that thou art under the influence of I am not, however, surprised that enchantment, and that that false strang- you Should be the dupe of their ener hath used fome charm to deceive chantments. I know how far the evil thy understanding. What would the genii have afifted them in that art : spirit of thy father, what would the of their proficiency in it I had myself learned Pundit *, to whose instructions a very convincing proof. we are equally indebted, what would When the English Saib +, to whom they pronounce, could they hear that Rursha Bedwan was Mounshi, abode Zaarmilla thought it necessary to foc at Agra, he took pleasure in astonishjourn among infidels, and impious ing those who went to visit him, with eaters of blood, in order to acquire a display of his magical skill. Among knowledge ? Can a race who sprung several other tricks, he made the whole from the dust that was shaken from company, consisting of more than the feet of Brahma, and who are on twenty persons, lay hold of each that account beneath the meanest other's hands, and form a circle, and Souder, who is honoured in being then by turning the handle of a little permitted to touch thy fandals, a race instrument, composed only of metal, who though less favage than that of and glass, (but which, I suppose, muft the Müslülmans with regard to those have contained the evil spirits obedithat bear the human form, exceed them ent to his command) he, all at in cruelty to all the other animated in- caused such a sensation to pass through habitants of

of the earth. Can any of the arms of the company, as if a fud. this race be capable of instructing the den ftröke had broken the bone, which

3 A learned Bramin. + A gentleman; a person of estimation. le 10:12


[ocr errors]

was not, however, on examination, whose conduat had been so favourable

found to be in the least injured. As to our nation. The order and reguall felt it precisely at the same mo- larity which prevailed among them, mnent, it was imposible that he could impressed me at first with the higheft have touched each of us, and there- idea of their virtue and wisdom. I fore it is evident that it could be no- had as yet feen no appearance of thing but magic that could produce any religious ceremony among them, fo extraordinary an effect. At ano- when, on the third day after my ar: ther time, he shut out the piercing rival, my a:tention was attracted by Jight of day, which has always been a procession, which I immediately unfavourable to such practices, and supposed to be in honour of their made us behold armies of men, Dewtah * Curious to behold the and elephants, and horses, pass be- nature of their ceremonies upon this fore us on the wall. : When they dis- occasion, I followed the procellion, at appeared, they were succeeded by a which part of the camp affifted. When raging fea, vomiting fire, and foam.'lo! to my equal surprise and horror, ing with all the appearance of a I beheld one poor soldier fripped, tremendous storm. Ships rolled upon tied up, and almost lacerated to death; the bosom of the deep; and men who a thousand lathes being inflicted upon appeared wild with diftress, and pant- his naked shoulders. That one of ing in the agony of terror, were ex. their prietts hould have undergone all erting themselves to save their lives, this in voluntary penance, would not and preserve their ships from the have surprised me. We every day pointed rocks which environed them. fee instances of greater sufferings than This sight of horror drew tears from this, inflicted by our Fakeers upon our eyes ; and we burlt into excla- their own bodies. But I could not mations of sorrow. When lo ! in a forbear aftonilhment, when informed, moment, the sun being admitted into that this cruel ceremony was perthe apartment, the feene vanished, and formed as a punishment upon a folwe faw nothing but the hangings dier, for the trifing crime of purloinwhich formerly adorned the wall. ing a few rupees from one of his

• Would the son of Coalhhind for- officers. - Doubtless, thought I, the fake the Jard of his fathers, and wan- morals of the people mult be very der to regions which the glorious lu- pure, in whose eyes fo small an of minary of heaven scarcely deigns to fence can seem worthy of fo great a irradiate with his golden beams, to punishment. learn 'tricks like thefe ? Surely there • While I yet ruminated upon the are jugglers enough in Hindooftan who scene which I had witnessed, I was would, for a small reward, instruct called to the tent of an officer, who him in the mysteries of the magic art; had, erer fince my arrival at the and as the devi's they employ are of camp, treated ine with great

kindness. our own country, they must be of a I had not long conversed with him less pernicious nature than those of (for he spoke very good Mhors) when ftrangers.

feveral of his brother officers came to So far from being guided by wif- visit him.. They converse in their dom, the la:xs by which these people own language, and appeared, from are governed, are abominable and the frequent bursts of laughter which absurd : which I Mall demonstrate to escaped them, to have entered upon a you, by the following facts, of which very pleasant topic. I was unwilling I was myself an eye-wimefs, during to lose the knowledge of a discourse, my short abode at their camp. Like which seemed to produce so much you, I had suffered my mind to be mirth ; and applied to my interpreter: prejudiced in favour of a people for information. He told me the fub

The divinity to whom worship is offered.

ject of their merriment, was the dif youred by them, without one pang of bonour of one of their own country- remorse. men; a chief of rank and eminence, After some further obfervations of whose wife had suffered the torch of the fame kind, we find the letter in her virtue to be extinguished, by the which the bramin Sheermael gives his vile breath of a seducer. How great, obfervations on what he had obferved, cried I, must be the torture awaiting during his vifit to England, and which the wretch who could be guilty of fo Maandaara sends to Zaarmilla, in or great a crime? If the poor pilferer der to diffuade him from his design: of a few rupees was doomed to suffer Let not your friend, the noble sajah, fo feverely, what must the man un- be deceived. Let him noc vainly dergo, who could basely contaminate imagine the Christians to be in por the bed of his friend, rob him of his session of such an invaluable treasure honour, and destroy his peace? If as the Shafter he describes ; a Shaftet the weight of the punishment keep promulgating the glorious hopes of pace with the gradation in atrocity, immortality calculated to produce imagination can hardly paint to itself the universal reign of peace and justice, any thing so dreadful as the fufferings the exercise of the purest benevolence, to which this wretch must be con- and the perfect virtùe. Let not demned. This observation, repeated the rajah think that the knowledge of by my Mounshi, redoubled the mirth such a book as this exifts among of the company; and I heard; with Christians. If it did, is it posible, astonifhment, that the dishonour of that in the ten years in which I have one of these illuftrious Europeans was intimately converfed with Christians to be compensated, not by the punish- of all ranks and orders ; military comment of the aggreffor, not by the fa- manders, chiefs invefted with the çrifice of his life, and the degradation powers of civil authority, and men of his family, but by a fum of money! who made the ftudy of literature their Can virtue fubfist among a people, employment and delight, is it polla who set a greater value upon a few ble, I say, that I should never once pieces of filver, than upon their ho- have heard of such a book: Let the norar?

noble rajah be the judge. * This circumstance did not fail to • That a book of ancient origin, dekroy the impression I had received vulgarly called the bible, was once in favour of these people. Bat I known to the English, I have had should, perhaps, have remained soma certain information : but, far from longer time among them, had I not containing doctrines of such a nature beheld a deed fo horrible, as filled my as the rajah has announced, the first foul with indignation and disgust

. proof of genius which a young man Yes, my misguided friend, I faw these gives to the world, upon his iffuing heroes, whom you falfely imagine fo from the schools, is to speak of it pure, so harmless, so full of piety and with a becoming degree of contempt. benevolence, I saw them (my heart Indeed, to extirpate from fociety all faudders, and my hand trembles while regard for the pernicious doctrines it I relate it) I saw them devour, with contains, has long been the primary looks that betokened the most favage object of attention to the enlightened fatisfaction, the facred offspring of a philosophers of Europe. How much spotted cow. Yes, Zaarmilla, this the book is detefted by these fage phiunhappy calf, for whom a thousand lofophers, may easily be inferred, holy Fakeers would have risked their when I declares that of the many phi. lives, was 'flain at the command of lofophers I have met with, who had these inhuman Europeans, and de- mofi vehemently spoken and written

• Literally a book. The scripture of the Hindoos, is, by way of preeminenct, called the Shafter.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

against it, not one had contaminated obeyed with the quickness of the himself by deigning to examine its lightning's glance, and the frown of contents. One of these great men, a whose displeafure was followed by the profound writer of history, has given severity of punishment. We had made to the world a work more voluminous two thirds of our voyage to the coast than the Mahabbarat*, more brilliant of Britain, when a fhip appeared at a than the odes of Sancha, undertaken, distance, which our skiltul marinets and accomplished, as I was well af- soon perceived to be in distress. I had fured, with the benevolent purpose of fo often witnessed what I thought to -convincing his countrymen of the su- be the exercise of cruelty during my periority of the Mahommedan to the abode in this fea-borne fortress, that Christian faith. Whether these en- I did not expect the distresses of peo-* lightened men will ever really succeed ple, phom they had never seen, would in their intention of eftablishing the re-excite much of their compaffion. In ligion of Mahometin England, is, how- this, however, I was mistaken. To ever, in my opinion, rather doubtful. my astonithment, every effort was in

However alluring the doctrine of ftantly made to afford relief to these polygamy, and the view.of the Ma- strangers ; and I beheld the toilhommedan Paradise may be to men ftrengthened nerves of these lions of of taste and sentiment, there are some the ocean, strained by the moft vigorobstacles which, I apprehend, would, ous exertions, to save the almost link in the opinion of the people, be in- ing vefsel. At length, the object of furmountable. The chief of these I their labours was effected; and they, .take to be the prohibition of wine, the who had been so zealous to fave, now Arict faft of Ramozin, and, above all, appeared perfely indifferent to the the injunctions + concerning the treat- expressions of gratitude and admirament of slaves, which are so mild and tion which were poured out by the generous, that the Chriftians of Eng- people, whom they had fo galantly laad, who are concerned in the traffic delivered from the jaws of destruction. of their fellow-creatures (and who Our carpenter was employed to repair form a large and respectable part of the breaches in the unfortunate vessel. the community) would never be And, as the weather was now calm, brought to submit to its authority. curiofity led the principal people of

• From the delusive opinion enter our company to visit the nip of the tained in the sublime mind of the rajah, ftrangers. I was among the number. of the religion of the Christians, he But oh! that I could obliterate from will, no doubt, be inclined to imagine, my mind the memory of a scene, the that their philanthropy embraces the horrors of which no pen can describe, wide circle of the human race. How no tongue can utter, no imagination far the rule of “doing to others, as conceive. It was an English vessel, they would be done by, in the like which had been on a 'voyage to the case,” actuates the Christians of Eng. coast of Africa, whence it was now * land, may be learned from the follow- proceeding to the British settlements : ing history of my voyage.

in the West Indies, with a cargo, As I attended the family of a not of filver and gold, not of costly great man, I had the advantage of spices and rich perfumes, but of Being accommodated on board one of some hundreds of the most wretchtheir hips of war, a huge edifice, ed of the human race; a cargo of whose fides were clothed with thunder. faves. These miserable beings were This mighty fabric contained near here huddled together in the fqualid feven hundred people, governed by cells of a moving dungeon. Their a few chiefs, whose commands were uncouch screams, their dismal groans,

* An epic poem in the Skanscrit language.
+ See Sale's Kosan, and Hamilton's tranfation of the Hedeya.


their countenances, on which were • When I mention the flaves of alternately depicted the images of Christians, let not your imagination fury, terror, and despair, the clank. turn to the bondsmen of Asia, as if

ing of their chains, and the favage their fatuations were parallel.. No. looks of the white barbarians, who By the mild laws of our Shafter, and commanded them, exhibited such a even by the less benevolent ixftitutions scene, as mocks description.

of Mahommed, Naves are considered Sarely, the magnanimous rajah will as people who, having bartered their not imagine, that the perpetrators of liberty for protection, are entitled to this cruelty could be the profeffors of the ftricteft justice, lenity, and indul a religion of mercy. Ns. Had a gence. They are always treated with ray of knowledge enlightened their kindness, and are most frequently the understandings, through ther; rawnyfriends and confidants of their masters. hue of the unlettered favage, they But with these white favages, theft would have recognised the emanation merciless Christians, they are doomed of the creating spirit; they would to suffer all that cruelty, infligated by have perceived the kindred mind, avarice, and intoxicated by power, which, in its progreflive courfe through can inflict. Ah! beloved Hindoa. the stages of varied being, might one fan! happy country! paradise of reday inhabit the bodies of their own gions! the plant which in the transoffspring. For my part, when I Atlantic islands is fastened with the contemplated the scene before me, I blood of the wretched, with thee raises anticipated, in imagination, the few its blooming head, a voluntary offerswiftly rolling years, which mighting to thy pure and innocent children. change the abode of the souls of these That lufcious cane, which the inhatyrant whites into the frames of woe- bitants of Europe purchase by the destined negrocs ; while the present enormous mass of misery, is on the vietims of their cruelty, would, in banks of the Gang:, the exclusive their turns, become the masters, and, property of the laughing Deity, the seizing the scorpion whip of oppref- freart-piercing Cama *; with it the fion, retaliate their present sufferings fon of Maya forms the bow, from with all the bitterness of revenge, which his flowery shafts are thrown But, alas ! the divine doctrine of re- ; at the sons of men : with it the blametribution is unknown to these Chrif- less hermit approaches the altars of the tians. No dread of after punishment rural Gods; and from it the simple reftrains the remçrseless hand of cruel reparts of the farcured. of Veelhnú t. ty. No apprehension of the venge- receive their highest relish. ance of an offended Deity diverts them • But my obfervations on the relifrom the greedy pursuits of ayarige, gion of the people of England, stop or disturbs the enjoyments of luxury. not here. To obtain complete ina For let it not stagger your faith in my formation upon this subject, was the veracity, when I inform you, that all object I kept perpetually in my view. this aggregate of human misery is in. And I hope it is known to the rajah, curred, in order to procure a luxuri- that a bramin of my character is not ous repast to the pampered appetites easily to be deceived. The cukom

of these voluptuaries, and that the of dedicating the seventh day. to acts ..unhappy negroes are torn from their of piety and devotion, is inentioned country, their friends and families, by the fajah as an institution, admirafor no other purpose, but to cultivate bly calculated for keeping op the fpithe sugar-cane; a work of which the rit of a religion, which was intended Jazy Europeans are themselves inca- for the purification of the heart, and

of which the duties of penitence and * The Hindoo God of Love, # The Preserving Power

[ocr errors]


« AnteriorContinuar »