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who had travelled in every part of it, and had been conversant with all classes."-"I have never seen a Persian whom I found, on good acquaintance, that I could safely trust." "It is wonderful," proceeds Mr. Southgate," with what facility most Persians utter a falsehood. It has often seemed to me like an instinct to them. They are fully conscious of the vice, and acknowledge that it prevails everywhere among them. They perpetrate it with the utmost indifference; and, on being detected, seem to have no shame, nor any sense of having done wrong. They practise it with the most astonishing hardihood. I have heard a Persian lie, and persist in it, even against the immediate evidence of my senses. They often do it even

to their benefactors." After giving several examples of this, which any traveller in the country would extend without limit, this traveller adds: “The cause of this pernicious habit it is not difficult to trace. Some have attempted to explain it as a natural consequence of civil oppression. But this is not enough; for the same effect does not, in the same notable degree, flow from the same cause in Turkey. Its chief source is to be sought for in the native character of the Persians. Their imaginative

ness of mind, and their love of the marvellous, may partly account for it in the instances of their wonderful relations. Their extreme affability and politeness, strange as it may seem, help to the same effect; for they will sometimes deceive for the mere sake of pleasing. Their vanity, also, and their love of self, are powerful auxiliaries; and their inordinate fondness for favour, gain, and emolument, leads them to make many false pretensions, and to resort to every species of trickery and fraud to serve the most trivial advantage. But that which lies below all these, and which is the root of all, is their want of conscientiousness"'-a fearful indication of the depravity of the people.

As might be expected in this state of things, the Persians seek to gain credence by abundant oaths and affirmations, which, at last, from frequent use, have become little more than colloquial forms of expression, which serve chiefly to garnish speech. What we should call common swearing, is not considered a vice in Persia, nor indeed in any other eastern country; and, considering the class of men by whom such expressions are employed, it would almost seem that a man was considered the more religious according to the number of

oaths he uttered. Certain it is, that one who has been in the habit of living among people where every third sentence is an oath of affirmation, dwells with peculiar refreshment of spirit upon our Lord's injunction, "Let your communication be Yea, yea; Nay, nay; for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil," Matt. v. 37. Yet, let it be said, that the oaths of these poor people, upon whom the light of the gospel has not shined, although more frequent, and heard in all classes of society, are not of that frightful character which disgrace the streets of a country calling itself Christian; and a Persian, or any other Moslem, would shrink with horror from that frequent invocation of eternal perdition upon themselves and others, with which our own people are so prone to pollute their lips and to dishonour God.

From the chapter of Matthew, just referred to, it appears that the Jews were in the habit of swearing by heaven, by earth, by Jerusalem, by their head. The oaths of the Persians, if not exactly the same, are of the same complexion. They swear less by Allah (that is, by God himself) than other Moslems, or even—it is grievous to say-than Christians; but substitute very much the name of Ali. By the king's life," is a very solemn oath, as among the


ancient Egyptians, Gen. xlii. 15; "By the king's beard," was a very emphatic oath under the last king but one, whose beard reached to his girdle, and was held in great reverence by all his subjects; "By your head," is also one of the commonest, as is also such as, "By your happiness." The speaker also changes the person at his pleasure, affirming by the king's life, by yours, by his son's, as by that of your son, or his own son-and so of the rest, according to his pleasure. They also compliment a person by affirming by that which he is supposed to prize most highly. We remember the case of an English gentleman highly respected by the Persians, whose only child was a little daughter, and to whom persons of high consideration were in the habit of swearing, "By the blood of your daughter," and intended it, if not as a compliment, at least as a very high and strong affirmation.

From the Rev. Judkin Perkins's Residence in Persia, we derive an extract, illustrative of the hollow complimentary habits of the Persians. The Scripture illustration with which it closes had been given some years before in a well-known English commentary, and will be nothing the worse for the corroboration of an

independent authority. "In our flippant host we had a very fair specimen of Persian politeness in general. As he introduced us to our lodgings, he repeatedly declared that the whole house was no longer his but our own, and himself and all his family were our humble servants. Whenever we had occasion to ask for anything, he would respond, with a most submissive bow, and both hands covering his face, Cheshmeh, (My eyes for it ;*) or, in Turkish, when he found we did not comprehend his Persian, Básh-ústá, (Upon my head ;) Corban olam, (May I be your sacrifice.) If he did not understand us in any case, he would intimate it by a rising inflection of voice and obsequiousness of tone, peculiar to a despotic land, as though begging leave to be, Booyoor, janum? (Command me, my soul; that is, dear to me as my soul (life,) condescend to repeat your orders.) In attempting to make purchases of the Persians, as we had repeated occasion to make, on the road as also at other times, the article desired is always at the outset, peishkush, a present to you; and its owner your servant and your sacrifice. And if you request his terms, he reiterates the same assurance, until you strongly insist on his * Rather, "Upon my eyes!"

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