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ment of nearly sixty millions of British degradation of full three-fourths of the subjects, a population thrice as numerous population. The dust from the feet of a as that of the parent country, that it may thousand brahmuns, and even of a lack, well excite the attention of every British has actually been collected, and drachmas philanthropist, and awaken his closest re- of it disposed of, from time to time as a Hection. It is not refined or speculative specific against various diseases. There improvement which these people need; is now living, at Calcutta, a spice-seller, they are, as respects all knowledge which named Vishnoo-sah, who believes that by can enlarge the mind or amend the heart, a pinch of the dust shaken from the feet as low as the most savage tribes.
of a lack of brahmuns, worn as a charm, “ What then is the law of caste? After he was cured of the leprosy. Amongst forming the families composing the whole others who have gathered and preserved mass of the population into four distinct the dust from the feet of a lack of brahtribes, the framers of this social, or rather muns, are mentioned the names of Gunga anti-social, institution appointed the duties Govinda-sing, and of Lala-baboo his of each. The work of the Brahmun is that grandson. The former, preserving this of offering sacrifices, and presiding at the dust in a large sheet, as often as he was presenting of these offerings, reading and visited by brahmuns, took them aside, teaching the veda, offering gifts and re
and made them shake the dust from their ceiving presents. The work of the Kshu- feet upon this sheet for the good of mantriya is thus laid down : To protect the kind. Even the dust collected from the earth, its cattle, and brahmuns. That of feet of single brahmuns is given away in the Vishya is, 'to keep cattle, carry on
pinches, and is inclosed in gold, silver, and trade, lend upon interest, cultivate land,' brass caskets worn on the body, and car&c. To the shoodra is assigned the work ried about as a charm against diseases, of serving the brahmuns.'
evil spirits, &c. When a poor Hindoo “ The law for preserving these orders leaves his house, to proceed on some diffor ever distinct, enjoins, that the higher ficult business, he rubs a little of this dust order shall not have the least communion
on his forehead; and, if it remain on his with the tribe or tribes below in mar- forehead till he arrive at the place where riage, in eating, or in any degree of fami- the affair is to be adjusted, he feels certain Jiar friendship, on pain of degradation, and of success. loss of all earthly connexions.
“ In addition to this mark of super“ This institution thus affects the whole stitious devotion to this tribe, we have order of society, since it elevates beyond heard that it is common, six days after the measure the highest order, and deeply birth of a child, to rub the dust from the oppresses the lowest, which contains the feet of the brahmun guests upon the foregreat bulk of the people (the two middle head, the breast, and other parts of the orders being little more than a name), and child's body, as a security against disease. fixes every individual in this state of ele- “ It is further very common for a shoovation and depression without the least dra to solicit a brahmun to dip his foot reference to natural or moral acquisitions.
into a little water, which he brings in a “ The whole of the literature of the cup for the purpose, that he may receive country is assigned to the first tribe ex- the benefits insured to the individual who clusively, with all its honours and emolu- drinks the water in which a brahmun has ments. In this arrangement, the actual washed his feet. Some preserve in the exceptions to this rule are all contrary to house a quantity of water thus impregnated the terms and the spirit of the Hindoo with divine virtue, and drink of it daily. institutions. Upon the shoodra who shall “ The same abject subjection to this dare attempt to acquire a knowledge of the tribe of their countrymen is seen in the learning of his country, the most horrible article of eating. To entertain a number anathémas are poured: for reading the of brahmuns is an act of transcendent meveda 'a shoodra is condemned to have rit, and to eat their offals is equally meriboiling oil poured into his throat ; for torious. After the sacred guest has eaten hearing it, into his ears; for committing it to perfect satiety, the remainder is careto memory, he is to be put to death.' fully collected, and a few grains are sent as
“ Thus all the honours of the country an invaluable present to each family. are confined to one hereditary class, with- “Should a brahmun beat a shoodra, and out any regard to wealth, education, or
should the latter, while enduring the pain, character. But what is worse, these ho- threaten to complain to the magistrate, he nours are, as is seen, connected with the is at once pacified by the representation CHRIST. OBSERV. No. 258.
that the brahmun has, in this act, been claim the right to think and act for himreally conferring a blessing on him. self. When even a brahmun offends
It might be naturally supposed that against this law, the honour of the caste, such a yoke as this would be so intolerable and the dread of pollution and ruin, rouse that men could never be kept under it; all his relatives against him, who are obthat they would revolt and reject such liged to abandon him, unless a powerful abominable pretensions as these. Let us bribe to those at the head of his division then survey the massy walls and the iron of the tribe becomes efficacious. gratings of this prison-house of the shoo- “ Among all the higher castes there are dras, and consider the interest which the particular persons and families, who mainjailors have in preventing the escape of tain an authority nearly as oppressive as any of their prisoners.
that of the puramaniks over the shoodras. « The penalty connected with loss of To these persons and families all the knotty caste is the loss of the whole world. The
cases concerning the breach of the rules of offender is not only rejected by father, the caste are referred, and their decision inother, brother, sister, and all that are is final. Amongst the rajpoots, voidyas, dear to him, but by all his countrymen. and kayust'has, the caste is left for its preHe in vain looks through this inhospitable servation to the pride of these orders, and world: not a hut will open its door to to the operation of the terrors by which it him, and henceforth he can see no more is guarded. But among almost all the other the face of father, mother, brother or sis- divisions of shoodras, a class of men are ter, or even of his wife or children. He found at the head of the caste, called Pramust tear from his heart every tender tie maniks or Puramaniks. When parents and recollection, and must hide his head wish to contract for the marriage of their amongst the most degraded outcasts, with- child, the puramanik is consulted, and his out the least hope of ever again seeing the commands are solicited in reference to the faces of those who gave him birth. His family with which the alliance is proposed own father and mother will run away at to be formed. Sometime he forbids the his presence, as from one infected by some contract out of mere caprice, or because deadly distemper. Many an individual he has a private quarrel with one of the involved in these circumstances, by his parties; and his concurrence must be own trespasses, or those of his wife cr purchased by bribes. The parties have no some near relative, has abandoned the remedy if the puramanik forbid a union, world, and become a religious mendicant- When the guests, perhaps to the amount or has fled to Benares as a place of refuge, of two or three hundred, are all assembled, -or has put an end to his existence. the father of the girl asks leave of this offiOthers have offered a thousand, two thou- cer to give his daughter to the bridegroom. sand, ten thousand, a lack, of rupees, to be Sometimes he starts objections, and stifly restored to caste, without success. Here refuses his consent till he has extorted such then is a prison, far stronger than any bribes as he thinks the parties can afford. which the civil tyrannies of the world have “ The whole frame of Hindoo society ever erected; a prison which immures is anti-social ; and this afflicted people many millions of innocent beings. are placed under a regular system of or
“We may judge of the interest which ganized oppression, extending even to the the brahmuns have in the continuance of minutest domestic arrangement,interfering the caste, from the following circumstances. with every part of that intimate and enAfter the taxes of government and the deared intercourse which can form the bare necessities of the body have been only solace of human society, and subjectprovided for, almost the whole property ing' every thing sacred in hospitality, in of the productive classes comes into the friendship, and family connexions, to the hands of the brahmuns. The Hindoo le- cupidity, the intrusion, the despotic cagislators have united religious ceremonies price of a wretched inquisitor. We have with almost every civil transaction: and removed only half their miseries, by delithe performance of these ceremonies is the vering them from the tyranny of the naexclusive right of the brahmuns, and they tive governments : nor will any considerare ever connected with presents and feasts able portion of the good which the Brito brahmuns.
tish Government is capable of bestowing : “As the guardians of the caste, we upon Hindoostan, be realized among the may naturally suppose that the brahmuns governed, till the principles of eternal jusare ever vigilant ; and though there are tice (the first principles of all rule and leno officers amongst them whose express gislation) be applied to the interior of duty it is to bring delinquents to punish- Hindoo society, to remove the inconceiva, ment, yet there is vigilance enough in the ble miseries arising out of the caste, and whole body on this head and the pri- the other parts of this barbarous system.
So completely within their “ This institution appears to have been power, and the men of property so ready formed without any just view of the powto throw in the whole weight of their in- ers of man, and without any desire to exfluence to enforce reverence to the priests, tend the operations of the human faculties. that he must be a bold shoodra who shall Society can make progress only when every member has the rewards of merit laid open sailed from Nice, early in March, accomto him. That the labours assigned to the pamed by the Rev. Mr. Lewis, the mispriesthood, the military, the merchant, the sionary just alluded to. His object will agriculturalist, and the labourer are es- be, to collect accurate information as to sentially connected with social order, is cer- the state and disposition of the Jews_to tain; nor can society be preserved without circulate among them Hebrew Bibles, religion, police, trade, and the use of ser. Testaments, and tracts-and to call the vants : yet it must be evident to every attention both of Jews and Christians to man, that piety, enterprize, and diligence, the objects of the Society. At Nice, Mr, wherever found, should lead to respect and Way had frequent conversations with the elevation, and that vice and idleness should rabbi of that place, who came to hear him be connected with degradation. Capacity, preach,andfurther testified his candour and and talent for the discharge of the duties good will by giving him a letter of introrequired in the social state, are diffused duction to a brother rabbi at Jerusalem. pretty equally among the different orders Subscriptions were also entered into for of the community: and it is a most shock- a " Palestine fund for the erection and ing principle of legislation when the insti- maintenance of chapels, schools, &c. and tutions of a country, instead of encourag- for other missionary purposes, within the ing mutual good-will and reciprocal kind precincts of the holy land.". Upwards of attentions, say to the great bulk of the 2301. were contributed towards this object. people, . Neither piety, talent, nor exer- In consequence of this gratifying intellition shall avail you: you were born in a gence, the Committee have felt themdegraded class : you have no inheritance selves called upon to adopt a plan so ausin the learned institutions of your coun- piciously commenced by their friends at try, and it would be a crime were you al- Nice, and have opened a “special fund lowed to become rich. You can perform for the support of a mission to Palestine.” no duty so meritorious as that of serving They entertain no doubt that many friends a brahmun without fee or reward.' To of Israel will gladly pour in their offerings prevent, by a law connected with penal- to so interesting a department of the Soties equal to death, all intercommunity ciety's treasury. between the different orders into which “ Nor are your Committee,” it is addthe population is divided, is to destroy all ed, “without much encouragement to the social feelings by which the comforts enter upon this work. What they have of society are preserved. And to make learned, during the past year, concerning trades and professions hereditary in cer- the Jews in Palestine and the adjacent tain families, and confine them there, is to countries, has strongly confirmed their war against every principle of our nature, previous persuasion that a prospect of and to prevent all improvement in the very extensive usefulness lies open to the state of the arts. That this is the very Society in these regions. point of stagnation in which the arts “It will be remembered that Mr. Wolff, among the Hindoos are found at this mo- a Jewish convert, who had been sent out, ment, is known to every one who possesses under the direction of one or two beneany information upon the subject. volent individuals in this country, as a
* A long continued and dreadful expe- missionary to his brethren in the East, riment has thus been made on an immense was stated, in the last Report, to be propopulation, and the Hindoo caste stands ceeding on his way from Cairo to Jerusacondemned as one of the most barbarous lem. Reference was also made to the institutions that human depravity ever favourable testimonies which had been formed ; and one than which none ever transmitted respecting him from various more effectually kept the people in a quarters, and to the encouraging reception state of complete ignorance, inaction, and which he had met with from his countryslavery."
men, in the different places at which he
touched on his way to Egypt. During LONDON SOCIETY FOR PROMOThe very frequently had long and amicable
his temporary residence in that country, ING CHRISTIANITY AMONG discussions with learned Jews from various THE JEWS.
parts of the world, who came in large The Fifteenth Report of the Society for bodies to his room, treated him with the Conversion of the Jews has just been the greatest kindness, and even with published. We shall extract its leading respect, and willingly received from hini statements; confining ourselves, in the the New Testament and other Christian present Number, to a notice of its infant publications. On his departure from operations in the countries bordering on Cairo he carried with him recommendathe Mediterranean and the Levant. tions from the Jews who had resorted to
One missionary has already been sent him there, to some of the chief rabbies out thither, and another is preparing to at Jerusalem, who, on his arrival, seemed follow him. The Rev. Lewis Way like- to vie with their brethren, in Egypt, in wise intends to visit the shores of the demonstrations of cordiality and good will Mediterranean - and for this purpose, towards him.
" He soon found out a small colony of majority of them (says Mr. Wolff) deCaroite Jews ; was introduced to the sýna- clared that they would not in any case gogne by the rabbi himself, and present. regard the anathema of the rabbies; and ed them with copies of the Hebrew Tes- one rabbi declared publicly, that he was tament, which they received thankfully, reading the New Testament to examine and read in his presence. A Talmudistic it, and to tell me his candid opinion about rabbi called upon him shortly after he it;' and, in spite of the injunctions of the arrived, stating that he had heard of his superiors, even rabbies continued to apconnexion with Jews in Egypt-wel- ply to him for the New Testament and to comed him to the holy city-offered him read it.” every civility in his power-conversed Mr. Wolff thus sums up the effects of freely with him on the subject of religion his visit: -spoke favourably of the Hebrew New Tes- “ The whole result of my conversation tament, which he had not only seen, but even with the Jewish high priests, at Jerusaread through with great attention, when at lem, was this, that they perceived and beAleppo, in the house of a rabbi at that came persuaded that a better spirit must place; acknowledging that those passages exist among the Christians in England of the Old Testament which are cited in the than among those in the Levant; that the New do undoubtedly speak of the Messiah, and Gospel does not contain the superstitious that the New Testament cites them faithfully. tenets which the Christians of this country The chief rabbi of the Polish Jews re- practise; and they perceived that they siding, at Jerusalem-generally acknow- must give to Judaism a more spiritual ledged, even by the Spanish Jews, as the dress, in order to gain ground with truly greatest divine of the present age, and spiritually minded Christians. I gained regarded, by his own disciples, as a pro- so much their confidence, that they condigy of Biblical learning—sent for him, sulted with me about their own business : with an apology for not waiting, in the they made me acquainted with the history first instance, upon him,-offered to read of Jerusalem in the last century, and coHebrew with him gratuitously, every day, pied for me the poetry of their famous and to converse with him on the subject rabbies about Jerusalem's condition, of religion, argued with him in the pre- which I shall send to you the next opporsence of his disciples, receiving with tunity. The great Solomon Sapira, who meekness his answers to the Talmudical is considered as the greatest Hebrew criinterpretations of the Old Testament, — tical scholar at Jerusalem, has written a consented to receive a copy of the New criticism about the Hebrew New TestaTestament, promising to read it,-and ment and the Hebrew Bible I gave to told him that, knowing from himself that him ; but as he had not yet finished when he was once a Jew, he would be more I left Jerusalem, he wrote to me a very kind to him than before he knew it. kind letter to Jaffa, and desired me to go Numbers of rabbies came, separately back to Jerusalem; for he does not dare and in bodies, to his room, applying for to trust the letter to any body else.". Hebrew Bibles, Testaments, and tracts, The Committee feel the difficulty of and remained some time with him, read- pronouncing upon the evidence before ing them and proposing questions about them, unsupported as it necessarily is by them, frequently with considerable can- collateral testimony; yet they think that dour. One rabbi, in particular, gave him the result of Mr. Wolff's visit to Jerusamuch hope that a deep, impression was lem has been such as fully to justify the made upon his mind. He read the New expectations of those at whose desire it Testament diligently from day to day- was undertaken. heard Mr. Wolff preach the Gospel very Mr. Wolff went from Jerusalem to Anattentively, and seemed much affected; tioch and Aleppo, where (to use his own and, after hearing and reading daily for words) several Jews" seriously confessed, nearly a month, confessed, with tears in openly confessed, that the truth of the his eyes, that he was convinced Jesus of Gospel cannot be denied.” He adds, Nazareth is the Messiah, and said that he “ The Austrian, Danish, Russian, and should now speak with his wife and mo- . Prussian Consul-Generals, who are Jews, ther about Christ Jesus the Lord.'. visited me often, as did several hundred of
“ That all this should be suffered to go the most learned Jews of Aleppo, so that on without opposition, is more than could it was necessary to place a guard at the be expected : in fact, considerable enmity entrance of the house to keep them in appears at last to have been excited against order; for Mussulmen, desirous to hear my Mr. Wolff, even among those with whom arguments with the Jews, accompanied he had been allowed freely to converse; them.". 80 much so that some of the rabbies prohi- Mr. Wolff had quitted Aleppo and Anbited further discussion with him, threat- tioch only a day or two before that treened to anathematize those who should mendous earthquake " by which," as he dare any longer to argue with him, and says, “all the towns, villages, and cities, ordered the Bibles and Testaments which twenty leagues around Aleppo, were utterly he had distributed to be burned. But "the destroyed s and very many thousands of our fellow-creatures lost their lives." He Testament, and to see what it contains, himself most providentially escaped the and to state the difficulties they met wide wasting destruction, by sle-:ping in with. the fields, near Lattachia. From thence “I had, at Alexandria, the satisfaction he proceeded to Alexandria, and thence of being visited by aged Jews, who came to Malta, intending to return to this not with the intent of arguing, but, as they country. But on his arrival at that island, expressed themselves, to hear from me finding it to be the wish of his friends in words of peace.' There came Jews to England that he should repeat his visit to me, who were already in possession of the Jerusalem, he sailed thither on the third New Testament, and were acquainted and of January last, in company with two delighted with the contents of it. They American Missionaries destined to the received me most kindly, when I entered same spot.
their synagogues, and even gave me perWe have before us an address delivered mission to read aloud to them in their Law. by Mr. Wolff at Malta in December last, They complained to me of the decline giving a succinct account of his late journey; of learning among the Jews at Alexandria, from which we copy the following parti- of which the plague, which prevents them culars as a supplement to this part of the sending their children to school, is one Society's Report
of the chief causes. “ I left Malta August 25, 1821, and “ I had likewise the satisfaction of obarrived at Alexandria, the 5th of Septem- serving a great eagerness among Gentiles, ber. I visited the burial-ground of the as well Catholics as Greeks, to receive Jews, where I ascertained from the in- the word of God, and other publications, scriptions that there must have been very which prove the doctrines of Christianity, many Jews at Alexandria 900 years ago, with which I was able to furnish them, and among them great and learned men. and for which I must here express pubThere are now perhaps 250 families re- licly my Christian thanks and obligations siding there, a few of them well acquainted to the Malta Bible Society, who kindly with their Law. These few well-informed supplied me with them before my deparpersons did not only receive from me, with ture to the Levant. the greatest readiness, the New Testa- « At Cairo there are two sects of Jews. ment and tracts, but even desired them The first and most numerous are the Tal. with the greatest eagerness: and two Jews mudists, who take for their guide not only called on me on my second arrival in Alex- the Old Testament, but likewise the Talandria, as I returned from Jerusalem, and mud, a compilation by the rabbies about desired New Testaments and Bibles; and the time of Christ. The second sect of both of them expressed their high vene- Jews at Cairo are the Caraites, who admit ration for the Christian religion, as it is only the authority of the Old Testament, believed by Protestants. I dined one Sab- and reject entirely the Talmudical tradibath-day with a whole party of Alexan- tions. drian Jews. One of them desired to learn “ In the Consul's house at Cairo I exfrom me the reasons why the English pounded the word of God every Sunday have translated the New Testament into to Catholics, Protestants, two renegadoes, the holy language of the Jews ? I replied, and one Jew. They all kneeled down, • The English Christians are anxious to and said, Amen, when I addressed myself make the Jews acquainted with the doc- to our Lord Jesus Christ, and besought trines of Christianity; and many Jews him to bring back the lost sheep, and to have read it, and have either been con- receive kindly the prodigal son. Some vinced of the truth of Christianity, or disciples of the modern philosophy advised have published their objections against it.' me, however
, to preach the Gospel only They asked me whether those Jews who to learned men : I told them it was my have stated their objections against the duty to communicate the glad tidings of New Testament, had not been punished peace even to babes. by the English ; and they were surprised “ From Cairo I went to the Red Sea, to learn, that the English Christians have and mount Horeb, and Sinai. The monks not only been very far from punishing in the convent on mount Sinai, twentythose Jews who have candidly stated their five in number, received the word of God difficulties, but that they were even re- with great readiness. joiced to observe an inquiring spirit among “ From Sinai I returned to Cairo, and the Jews. They told me that no Jew then went through the desert to Judea. throughout Egypt would even dare to I came first to Gaza, then to Askelon, state to a Mohammedan their objections and then to Jaffa. I met at Jaffa with two against the Coran. I had here then a of the descendants of the ancient Samarigood opportunity of making those Jews tans, so often mentioned in the Bible. acquainted with the true spirit of Chris- When I came to Jaffa a second time, I tianity, which consists in meekness, pa- observed, to my great joy, that one of them tience, forbearance, long-suffering, gentle had read through the whole New Testaness, and kindness, and which teaches us ment, and was delighted with the conwhen we are reviled, not to revile again. versation our Lord had with one of their They became anxious to read the New countrywomen; and he mentioned with