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nations. The work must go forward, if not by the instrumentality of Britain, by other agents who shall succeed to the honour and to the reward.
There is a most simple and apostolic address to the Christians of the Roman Catholic persuasion througbout Germany,' by the Rev. Mr. Wittman, inserted in the first volume of the History, which breathes the very spirit that one would wish to see infusing itself into all the Members of Bible Institutions ; and it is the more remarkable as coming from a minister of the. Romish Church. ' Christian poverty and love,' the Director remarks, ' have accomplished greater things in the world, than
the power and riches of the world could do.' What follows, we transcribe for its accordance with the preceding remarks.
• O Lord! Redeemer of our souls! Shepherd of the small de. spised flock! Do with this work as may please thee. Thy kingdom proceeds an incessant pace in a still small way; and those who oppose it can do nothing against it, but become thy footstool, and contribute to the rest of thy feet in the peace of thy people.' p. 176.
We have no occasion to institute a critical examination into the present volumes. The majority of our readers have, we doubt not, familiarized themselves with their contents ; if not, they will do well to give them a place in their libraries, as one of the most interesting national records that our domestic history presents. Some of our remarks have had a partial application to Mr. Owen's bistory; but we are anxious not even to seem to disparage in any degree the amiable candour and impartiality by which it is characterized. We are glad to bear that the work is reprinting at Geneva, as well as. at New York. The narrative breaks off at the end of the tenth year (1814). There are already materials enough furnished by the subsequent progress of the Society for another volume. We noticed in our last number the very interesting document relative to Mr. Pinkerton's proceedings in Germany, Russia, and Poland. Since then, the bull of the Pope, addressed to the Primate of Poland, has found its way into the public prints, exhibiting the Romish usurpation in its genuine, unchanged, and unchangeable character. Thus the Pope and his forces have fairly taken the field against the Bible confederacy, the importance of which to the cause of Protestantism may speedily be made too conspicuous to the nations of Europe, in consequence of the revival of the Jesuits and the restoration of the Pope to secular power. While war has been driving its ploughshare over the nations, this Society, and we now may recognise the peculiarity of that dispensation of Divine wisdom, wbich selected this period for its operations, has been silently scattering the precious seed in the furrows at every propitious interval. A happy circumstance it may eventually prove, that the years of war were not lost.
Art. II. A Collection of Facts and Opinions relative to the Burning
of Widows rith the Dead Bodies of their Husbands, and to other destructive Customs prevalent in British India. Respectfully submitted to the Consideration of Government, as soliciting a further Extension of their humane Interference. By William Johns, Member of the Royal College of Surgeons, London, 8vo. pp. 112.
Gale and Fenner. 1816. HOWEVER specious in appearance it was requisite that
evil should be in its first approach to tempt man, it is striking to reflect in how great a degree that tempter has ever since been enabled to dispense with the refinements of deceptive management. Experimental acquaintance being once made with evil, such a predilection for it was created, that thenceforward it might boldly present itself in the most palpable form of turpitude, with little hazard of disgusting or affrighting. Nothing can be too obvionsly and flagrantly wicked and atrocious, (not to say absurd, which is comparatively a slender charge,) to be accepted by millions of the beings endowed with reason; and to be accepted even in the character of that one thing which is the best and noblest thing there can be in the world--religion. Indeed, the worst things to which depraved inclination naturally led, and the worst which stimulated invention could arbitrarily devise, seem to have at an early period obtained a peculiar preference to be constituted that solemn thing in which man recognises his relation to a superior intelligence, and to another state of existence; as if from some infernal instinct of evil, let it but occupy the highest ground, and it will easily find its way down to invade all the others.
One of the most glaringly monstrous of the abominations thus invented, and thus accepted in the character of religion, by large portions of the human race, is the Hindoo sacrifice of widows. No dictate of the eternal principles of justice, could ever have been more obvious to the sense of any reasonable creature, than that this class of human beings ought to be the objects of a most solicitous kindness and protective care in the arrangements of the social system. That they are the sole natural guardians of the children, who, by the death of the father, would in numerous instances be thrown destitute on the world, would be a palpable consideration at once of benevolence and policy, to be added to the compassion due to their loss and their desolate condition ; and it would seem almost impossible to conceive a more flagrant sign of a system founded in fallacy and iniquity, than that it should have a malignant aspect on this class of beings. There is, however, an immensely numerous nation, which, through many ages, has accepted with reverential faith, a moral and religious system, of which one of the practical institutes is the burning alive of widows with the dead bodies of their busbands. That this system possesses whatever can be conceived of Divine authority and virtue, is the firm persuasion or the submissive concession of unnumbered millions of miserable dupes, and the authoritative inculcation of a set of men whose characters are combined of the superstitious believer and the detestable impostor. It is a memorable fact also, that in recent times a very considerable number of cultivated men of this part of Europe, and a great proportion of them avowing their adherence to the Christian religion, have regarded with no small complacency the moral economy of which this sacrifice of widows is a congenial part and a fair representative sample. After this there hardly can happen any thing to wonder at in the form of perversity of human reason.
As to the allegation, so often repeated, that the sacrifice is voluntary on the part of the victims, it has as often been shewn that this is little better than a bitter mockery of those hapless beings. Where the state of widowhood is not pitied and consoled as forlorn, but is despised, insulted, and oppressed; where the wish to breathe a little longer the vital air is regarded as a base and irreligious weakness; where even the vile selfishness of avaricious relatives sometimes reinforces the demands of superstition; where the honour of the family is considered as implicated in the question of a handsome religious show being exhibited, or not; where those detestable Brahmins, having often a direct personal interest as well as the general one of their superstition, blend menaces with their exhortations; where the promises which superstition makes relative to another life, co-operate with the certain knowledge of what would be the unfortunate person's lot in protracting the present life; and where the submissiveness inculcated universally and systematically on the sex, has left no power of resistance against superior wills : where all these combine, it is idle to apply the term voluntary to these sacrifices. It is to be recollected too, that if, in the strong emotions of grief, immediately preceding or following the death of the husband, the widow has been heard to utter any expressions of an intention to perish with him, it is seized upon as a vow of solemn and irreversible obligation, which she would be rendered infamous by violating, if indeed she would be suffered to violate it ; and also, that if she has once come to the funeral pile, her fate is then absolutely determined, as an attempt to escape would instantly bring upon her the Brabmin blood-bounds, who would drag her back to the fire, and would be assisted, if there were any necessity, by her own interested relatives.
The adventurous military European government under which these people now live and die, has manifested a marvellous scrupulosity as to any interference with their superstitious cruelties. Against some of these atrocities, however, it has latterly dared put forth its hand. The integrity of the system being thus destroyed, we may presume that the talisman of its sanctity, in the estimation of the Christian governors, is broken ; and may hope that interferences progressively more material will be ventured, upon the precedent of perfect impunity in the first experiments; some of which experiments (for instance the penal interdiction of throwing children to the sharks and alligators) it would have been deemed a desperate hazard to make, till the matter came under the attention of a strong-minded Governor General, who was capable of despising that idle fancy or pretence of danger. About ten years later than the time of this enactment, the enforcing of which was not accompanied with the slightest difficulty, some restrictive regulations were appointed even with respect to this grand abomination, the female sacrifice; and the Compiler of the present collection has brought together a number of published opinions, some of them of authorities wbich would be acknowledged on all sides to be of great weight, that the practice might, with perfect safety, be entirely abolished by an unqualified exercise of authority. What an opprobrious statement then it is, that the practice has been more prevalent since the English Government acquired the command of the country, than under the previous Mahomedan authorities. And it is really very curious to see a distinguished divine, quoted by the Compiler, making it a matter of high merit in the English Government at Bombay, to have imitated the example of the expelled Mahomedan Government, in the total prohibition of the burning of widows.
The Compiler urges a general exertion of power in so good
While he is by no means insensible of the influence of British example, and especially of the introduction of the Christian religion, to remove these evils, his hopes are derived principally from the Government. The operation of example and religion will necessarily be very slow in its progress, and greatly limited in its effect: whilst waiting for these as an adequate remedy, thousands of innocent victims will be consigned to this most cruel death. The widow's life way ultimately be preserved by these means, but she will not thus be saved from the degradation attached to widowhood; whereas, whenever the Government shall see it prudent in these cases to indulge its humanity, the interference will be prompt, general, and complete. Thousands of mothers will be preserved to their necessitous offspring; and as it will no longer be the result of their own choice, the reason of their degradation will cease. Pref. p. vi,
The Compiler bas rendered a very useful service, by bringing into one collective exhibition, which acquires the appearance Vol. VII. N.S.
of a grand massacre, so many separate tragedies of superstition. The series of citations begins with comparatively early authorities ---Tavernier, Herbert, Bernier, &c. These gentlemen--living before the age of philosophic Christian polytheism, some of them, especially Bernier, apply terms of very little complaisance to the superstition and its sacred ministers. The
devils of Brahmins,' ---such is the language in which the last had tbe temerity to speak of a class of personages for whom in recent times professed adherents to our national religion, have demanded a reverential respect and phraseology. Nor is it that there is any change of character in this revered tribe. Such as they were beheld by this honest and intelligent relater of a former age, while active and interested in the detestable transactions which he describes, such they appear in the later descriptions, by missionaries and other witnesses, of whose reports the latter part of the collection consists. The greater part of these relations have been read by the religious public in periodical missionary reports ; but it was highly proper thus to assemble the most remarkable and perfectly authenticated facts, in order to the single effect of a full glaring illustration of an unrivalled monstrosity.
The descriptions afford considerably more than might be ex. pected of diversity, by means of incidental circumstances, and modifications, and perhaps caprices, in both the preparatory and the fatal parts of the process. Of the points of uniformity, one of the most conspicuous and horrid, is the unconcern, the utter levity, of the attendants, including often the relatives of the victim. They gabble, and laugh, and joke, and quarrel, just as they might at a fair or a revel, instead of that solemnity of mingled tender and awful emotions, which might have been supposed inevitable and overwhelming in such a scene. Infernal effect of superstition! But it is right it should be so, that these enslaved spirits may not be bound to their delusions by the most deadly perhaps of all captivations, that of elevated enthusiasm and refined sentiment. Many circumstances are recounted of this matchless and inconceivable insensibility. In one instance, when the pile was completed, and the devoted fe, male was preparing to ascend it, there was an angry dispute between the Brahmins and the undertakers, as they might be called, who had supplied the fuel, about the quantity of wood in the pile,--as a matter of payment ;-the furnishers insisting it was the quahtity for which they charged, and the Brahmins, that it was not more than half that quantity. The business was compromised to a payment of the middle price between the two accounts. In another instance, when the widow, already stretched on the pile, was to be bound down, the Brahmin, who had to perform this office, in tightening the cord pushed