Page images
PDF
EPUB

prehended and united the remotest regions of the earth, and the most distant nations of the world !"- Dr. Rutherford.

THE SACRIFICE OF WIDOWS Is an East-Indian custom, and is in all its circumstances truly shocking to humanity. It is thus described by an artist, and we may rely on its fidelity

“ UPON my repairing to the spot, on the banks of the river, where the ceremony was to take placc, I found the body of the man on a bier, and covered with linen, already brought down and laid at the edge of the river. At this time, about ten in the morning, only a few peo. ple were assembled, who appeared destitute of feeling at the catastrophe that was to take place ; I may even say, that they displayed the most perfect apathy and indifference. After waiting a considerable time the wife appeared, attended by the Bramins, and music, with some few relations. The procession was slow and solemn ; the victimi moved with a steady and firm step, and, apparently, with a per: fect composure of countenance, approached close to the body of her husband, where for some time they halted. She then addressed those who were near her with composure, and without the least trepidation of voice or change of countenance.

“ She held in her left hand a cocoa-nut shell, in which was a red colour mixed up, and dip. ping in it the fore finger of her right hand, she marked those near her, to whom she wished to shew the last act of attention. As at this time I stood close to her, she observed me atten.

tively, and with the colour marked me in the forehead. She might be about twenty-four or five years of age, a time of life when the bloom of beauty has fled the cheek in India ; but still she preserved a sufficient share to prove that she must have been handsome; her figure was small, but elegantly turned ; and the form of her hands and arms particularly beautiful. Her dress was a loose robe of white flowing drapery, that extended from her head to her feet. The place of sacrifice was higher up on the bank of the river, one hundred yards or more from the place where we now stood. The pile was com. posed of dried branches, leaves, and rushes, with a door on one side, and arched and co. vered on the top : by the side of the door stood a man with a lighted brand. From the time the woman appeared to the taking up of the body to convey it into the pile, might occupy a space of about half an hour, which was employed in prayer with the Bramins, in attention to those who stood near her, and conversation with her relations. When the body was taken up she followed close to it, attended by the chief Bramin ; and when it was deposited in the pile, she bowed to all around her, and entered without speaking. The moment she entered, the door was closed ; the fire was put to the combustibles, which instantly famed, and immense quantities of dried wood and other matters were thrown upon it. This last part of the ceremony was accompanied with the shouts of the multitude, who now became numerous, and the whole seemed a mass of confused rejoicing. For my part, I felt myself actuated by very different sentiments : the event I had been witness to was sucb, that the minutest circum.

stance attending it could not be erased from my memory.".--Hodges.

WILLIAM THE THIRD

MAKES a prominent figure in our history, as the Father of the Revolation of 1688, when our civil and religious liberties were placed on firm. foundations.

“ WILLIAM in his person was not above the middle size, pale, thin, and valetudinary. He had a Roman nose, bright and eager eyes, a large front, and a countenance composed to gravity and authority. All his senses were cri. tical and exquisite. His words came from him with care and deliberation, and his manners, excepting to his intimate friends, were cold and reserved. He spoke Dutch, French, English, and German equally well, and he understood Latin, Spanish, and Italian. His memory was exact and tenacious, and he was a profound observer of men and things. He perfectly under. stood and possessed a most extensive influence over the political concerns and interests of Europe. Though far above vanity or flattery he was pertinacious in his opinions, and from a clear perception or persuasion of their rectitude, was too impatient of censure or controul. He attained not to the praise of habitual generosity from his frequent and apparently capricious deviations into the extremes of profusion and parsimony. His love of secresy was perhaps too nearly allied to dissimulation and suspicion, and his fidelity in friendship to partiality and prejudice. Though resentful and irritable by nature, he harboured no malice, and disdained

the meanness of revenge. He believed firmly in the truth of religion, and entertained an high sense of its importance. But his tolerant spirit, and his indifference to the forms of church government, made him very obnoxious to the great body of the clergy. He appeared born for the purpose of opposing tyranny, persecu. tion, and oppression, and for the space of thirty years it is not too much to affirm, that he sus. tained the greatest and most truly glorious character of any prince whose name is recorded in history. In his days, and by his means, the first firm and solid foundations were laid of all that is most valuable in civil society. Every vindication of the natural and unalienable rights of mankind was, lill he ascended the throne of Great Britain, penal and criminal. To him we owe the assertion and final establishment of our constitutional privileges. To him the intellectual world is indebted for the full freedom of discussion, and the unrestrained avowal of their sentiments upon subjects of the highest magnitude and importance. To sum up all, his character was distinguished by virtues rarely found amongst princes- moderation, inte. grity, simplicity, beneficence, magnanimity. Time, which has cast a veil over his imperfections, has added lustre to his many great and admirable qualities. His political views were, in the highest degree, laudable and upright. He had true ideas of the nature and ends of government, and the beneficial effects of his noble and heroic exertions will probably descend to the latest generations, rendering his name justly dear to the friends of civil and re. ligious liberty, and his memory ever glorious and immortal!".-Belsham,

THE HIGHLANDERS ARE

a very singular class of people ; bold, intrepid, and generous, even to a proverb ; they are always mentioned with particular regard in every History of Scotland.

“ CONSIDERING the inhabitants of the Lowlands in the light of invaders and usurpers, they thought themselves entitled to make reprisals at all convenient opportnnities. What their enemies call violence and rapine, they termed right and justice, and in the frequent practice of depredations they became bold, artful, and enterprising. An injury done to one of the clan was held from the common relation of blood to be an injury to all. Hence the Highlanders were in the habitual practice of war, and hence arose, in various instances, between clan and clan, mortal and deadly feuds, descending from generation to generation. They usually went completely armed with a broad sword, a dirk, or dagger, a target, musquet, and pistols. Their dress consisted of a jacket, and loose lower garment, with a roll of light woollen called a plaid, wrapt round them so as to leave the right arm at full liberty. Thus equipped and accoutred, they would march forty or fifty miles in a day, sometimes even without food, or halting, over mountains, along rocks, through morasses, and they would sleep on beds formed by tying bunches of heath hastily and carelessly toge. ther. Their advance to battle was rapid, and after discharging their musquets and pistols, they rushed into the ranks of the enemy with

« PreviousContinue »