Page images
PDF
EPUB

nature are also looked upon as hateful in that religion. Not taking evil actions into consideration, even forming evil designs in the mind, dooms a man to burn in the fire of hell. The main aim of the Christain religion is to shew kindness, to forgive, to be mild, and do good unto others; so, it is by no means probable that the indigo planters, who follow such a true and pure religion, ever give false evidence. My lord, we do serve such indigo planters; we have reformed our character according to theirs, and even if we desire, we can by no means teach the witness anything false, since if the sahebs, the lovers of truth, find the least fault in their servants, they punish them according to the rules of justice. The Amin of the factory, the witness of the defendant, is an example of that. Because he deprived the ryot of his advances, the kind saheb drove him from his office; and being angry on account of the cries of the poor ryot, he also beat him severely.

Wood the Planter.-(To the Magistrate.) Extreme provocation! extreme provocation!

Plaintiff's Attorney.-My lord, many questions were put to my witnesses; had they been witnesses who were prepared ones (perjured) they would have been caught by those very questions. The lawyers have said, "the judge is as the advocate of the defendant," consequently the questions to be put by the defendant, are already asked by your honour. Therefore there is no probability of any advantage to the defendant, if the witnesses be brought here again; but on the other hand, it will prove very disadvantageous to them. Honoured sir, the witnesses are poor people who live by holding the plough. By the plough they maintain their wives and children; their fields become ruined if they do not remain there for the whole day; so much so that because it proves a loss to them if they come home, their wives bring boiled rice and refreshments bound in handkerchiefs to them in the fields and make them eat that; it proves an entire loss to the ryots to come away from the fields for one day; and at such a time, if they be brought to such a distant part of the Zillah by summons, then the labours of the whole year will go for nothing. Honoured sir, honoured sir, do as you think just.

Magistrate. I don't see any reason for that. (As advised by Mr Wood.) There seems no necessity for that.

Defendant's Attorney.-My lord, the ryots of no village take the advances of the indigo planters with their full consent. Indigo planters, accompanied by the Amins and servants, or his Dewan, goes on horseback to the field, marks off the best pieces of land, and orders the preparation of the indigo. Then the owner of the land brings the ryots to the factory, and having made known to them the particulars of the matter, takes their signatures for the advances. The ryots, taking the money in advance, come home with tears in their eyes; and the day on which any of them comes home with the money, his house becomes filled, as it were, with the tears of persons weeping for the death of a relation or friend. On the payment of the indigo to the indigo planters, even if the latter have something still to pay to the

farmers above the sum of the advances as the price of that article, yet they keep it in their account-books that the farmers have still something to pay. The ryots, when they have once taken the advance, will suffer pain for not less than seven generations. The sorrow which the ryots endure in the preparation of the indigo is known only to themselves and the great God, the preserver of the poor. Whenever some sit together, they converse about the advances and inform each other of their respective sums; and also try how to save themselves. They have no necessity for forming plans and mutually taking advice of each other. Of themselves they are become as mad as a dog who received a blow on the head. The witnesses gave evidence that the ryots were willing to prepare the indigo; but that the person who has engaged me had, by advice or intimidation, stopped their engaging in the preparation of indigo. This is a very striking and an evident forgery. Honoured sir, once more bring them before the bench, and thy servant will by two questions disclose the falsity of their evidence. I do acknowledge, that Nobin Madhab Bose, the son of Goluk Chunder Bose, who engaged me, tried his utmost to extricate the helpless ryots from the hand of the giant-like indigo planters. do acknowledge this. He also proved himself successful in stopping the tyranny of Mr Wood; which is known fully by the case which was brought here for the burning of the village of Polaspoor. But Goluk Chunder Bose is of a very peaceful character; he fears the indigo planters more than a tigress, never engages in any quarrels, at no time injures another, and even is not courageous enough to save another from danger. My saheb, that Goluk Chunder Bose is a man of a good character, is known to all persons in the Zillah, and can be known even by enquiring of the Amlas of the Court.

Goluk.-Honoured sir, the whole sum due for my indigo of last year was not paid; still only through fear of coming into Court, I consented to take the advance of 60 bigas of land. My eldest son said, "Father, we have other ways of living; the loss of the indigo for one year or two might stop feasting and religious ceremonies, but will not produce want of food. But those who entirely depend on their ploughs; what means have they? Losing this case, if we be obliged again to engage in the indigo cultivation, all will be obliged to do the same afterwards." He said this a wise man; and consequently I told him to make the saheb, by entreaties and supplications, to agree to 50 bigas. The saheb said nothing, neither yes nor no; and simply made preparations to bring me, in my old age, to gaol. I know that the only way to get happiness is to keep the sahebs contented; the country is the sahebs, the judges are their brothers and friends; and is it proper to do anything against them? Extricate me, and I make this promise, that if I cannot prepare the indigo from want of ploughs and kine, I will annually give the saheb Co.'s rs. 100 in the place of that. Am I a person to tutor the ryots? Do I meet them? Defendant's Attorney.-Honoured sir, of the four ryots who came as witnesses, one is of the Tikiri caste; he has no knowledge of what a plough is; he has no lands and no rents to pay; has no kine and no

cow-house; and this can be best known by proper examination. Kanai Torofdar is a ryot of a different village; and as to our Babu he has no acquaintance with him. For these reasons we do pray that this man be brought again. The legislators have said, before the decision, the defendant ought to be supplied with all proper means. Saheb, if this my prayer be granted, I shall have no more reasons for complaint.

Plaintiff's Attorney.-Saheb.

Magistrate. (Writes a letter.) Speak, speak, I am not writing from hearsay.

Plaintiff's Attorney.-Saheb, if at this time, the ryots be brought here they will suffer great loss; else, I, also, would have prayed for their being brought here again, since the offences of the defendant, which are already proved, may receive stronger confirmation. Sir, the bad character of Goluk Chunder Bose, is known throughout the country; he who benefits him, in return, receives injuries. The indigo planters, crossing the immeasurable ocean, have come to this land, and have brought out its secret wealth; have done great benefit to the country, have increased the royal treasurs, and have profited themselves. What place, besides the prison, can best befit a person who thus opposes the great actions of this man.

Magistrate (Writes the letters.) Chaprasi!
Chaprasi.-Sir, (comes to the saheb).

Magistrate. (Advises with Mr Wood.) Give this to Mrs Wood. Tell the khansamah, the saheb, who is come here, will not go to-day. Sheristadar.-Sir, what orders are to be written?

Magistrate. Let it remain within the Nathi or Court documents. Sheristadar.-(Writes.) "It is ordered that it remains within the Nathi. (Signed by Magistrate.) Saheb, thou hast not yet made signature on the orders of the reply of the defendant.

Magistrate. Read it.

Sheristadar. It is ordered that the defender is to give Co.'s rs. 200, or two persons as security, and that the subpoenas be sent to the truthful witnesses. (The Magistrate gives the signature.)

Magistrate. Bring the case of the robbery in Mirghan to the Court

to-morrow.

[Exit Magistrate, Mr Wood, Mr Rose, Chaprasi, and bearers. Sheristadar.-Nazir, take the security-bond from the defendant properly. [Exit Sheristadar, Agent, Plaintiff's Attorney, and ryots. Nazir.-(To the Defendant's Attorney.) How can we write now; while it is the evening; moreover, I am somewhat busy now.

Defendant's Attorney.-The name is great, but any property there is none, (speaks with the Nazir). This money they will give by selling the ornaments.

Nazir.-I have no estates, have no trade, nor lands for cultivation. This is my whole stock. It is for your sake only that I have agreed to take Co's rs. 100. Let us go to our lodging. Be careful that the dewan does not hear this. If not, they got something as their own.

[Exit all.

TRANSLATION OF THE HEBREW SCRIPTURES.* Is "WAW" CONVERSIVE.

THE labours of Mr Robert Young have already done much to extend a knowledge of the Shemitic languages, and hopes may well be entertained that the careful study of the Holy Scriptures in the ancient and original tongues will be prosecuted more generally by all earnest theologians, since much has been done to assist the learner in acquiring this important knowledge. The increase of light which has lately been thrown on questions hitherto involved in obscurity, is truly great. Antiquarian research, in exploring the existing architectural monuments in 'lands classical and sacred,' is gradually establishing a powerful auxiliary evidence of the historical truth of the record which has come to us with so much solemn significance. Not a year passes that does not add, by the patient investigations of travellers and philologers, to our knowledge of those ages which have extinguished so many lives, so many dynasties, and even changed the aspect of the globe itself; but the human records, being subject originally to fraudulent interpolation or fallibility of judgment, require to be collated diligently, and interpreted meekly, without arrogant dogmatism, inasmuch as they often contradict each other, or, at least, seem to do so in the present very imperfect state of our acquaintance with them. Layard, Rawlinson, Keith, and many other worthy men have published the story of their examinations, and we are on the eve, doubtless, of innumerable discoveries, even more startling, and fraught with important results. Meanwhile, courtesy and caution would be better for the large tribe of enlightened free-thinkers-the stay-at-home pseudo-philosophers, who are generally impatient to sound a note of triumph over every assertion made by the sceptics of Germany in disparagement of Biblical veracity.

We are far from asserting that there have not been many errors maintained by theologians and the historical students of Scripture. A large number of hasty assumptions concerning the authorship and chronology of various books of the Old Testament, have remained for a few years uncontroverted, until at length an impression has become general, that each of these old assertions is a fundamental article of belief; that we must not surrender at the demand of clearest evidence, our faith in the dicta of some well-intentioned, but imperfectly informed schoolmen of former times. It might easily be shown how a few "happy guesses," when perplexed amid the difficulties of interpretation, have been caught up, and elaborated into theories, and incorporated into systems; and without themselves having ever been

*The Holy Bible, containing the Old and New Testaments, literally and idiomatically translated out of the Original Languages. By Robert Young, author of several works in Hebrew, Chaldee, Samaritan, Syriac, Greek, Latin, Gujarati, &c. Edinburgh and London: A. Fullarton & Co. 1862. In twenty fortnightly parts. II., III, and IV.

subjected to processes of exhaustive analysis, other systems or theories have been denounced and demolished, simply because of their refusing to harmonise with what had become a popular expression of opinion. One good result of the present agitation is this, however; a search into the grounds of historical evidence is being maintained by earnest scholars, of every variety of temperament and habit, and we need have no fear that every truth will have justice done to it in the judicial enquiry that is being undertaken by so many able work

men.

Relinquishing consideration, at present, of the other interesting problems, we desire, in as few words as possible, to direct attention to a matter of philological research, viz., the answer which is being given by Mr Robert Young, to a question often raised by Hebraists, -a question which meets every student in the attempt to interpret the Old Testament narrative in the ancient languages. This question may be best stated in Mr Young's own words :

"IS WAW CONVERSIVE' A FACT OR A FICTION? "The doctrine of Waw Conversive,' according to the common Hebrew Grammars, is:

"The past tense, with the prefix Waw, expresses future time when preceded by a verb in the future or by an imperative.' And again:

"The future tense, with the prefix Waw, and Dagesh in the following letter, is used to express the past.'

"The objections to this doctrine may be summed up in four particulars:— "I. It is insufficient to explain the many thousands of passages in the Hebrew Bible where a past tense is preceded neither by a future nor by an imperative, yet where it is 'converted' in the Common English Bible, and with as much propriety as in any of those instances which are supposed to be indisputable: e. g.

[ocr errors]

"Gen. 9. 12, 'This (is) the token of the covenant which I am making between Me and you . . . my bow I have set in the cloud, and it hath become the token of the covenant.. and it hath come to pass... that it hath been seen. . . and I have remembered and the waters do no more,' &c.

[ocr errors]

"Gen. 17. 4, Lo, My covenant (is) with thee, and thou hast become the father of a multitude of nations.'

"The true solution of the principle involved in these passages is: That the Hebrews were in the habit of expressing the certainty of an action taking place by putting it in the past tense (see particularly Gen. 23. 11, 'I have given. I have given... I have given;"" also in verse 13, 'I have given'), taking its fulfilment for granted.

"II. It leads to results rather startling: viz., that most, if not all, of the Hebrew particles are conversive. Grammarians have already been driven to admit, or rather assert, that az, then, and terem, not yet, are conversive as well as waw.

"But the list might be enlarged with such as the following:

1 Kings 10. 22-ahath, once....
Num. 3. 23-ahari, behind..
Gen. 6. 4--asher, when...
Deut. 12. 30-aicah, how?..
Eze. 21. 32-gam, also....
1 Sam. 21. 14-hinneh, lo..

Gen. 32. 26-ki im, except...

.'

[ocr errors]

once in three years cometh.'

behind they do encamp westward.'

'when they come in.'

how do they serve?'

this also hath not been.'

lo, you see the man is mad.'

except thou hast blessed me.'

« PreviousContinue »