Sivut kuvina

“One hundred original volumes in the Oriental languages and literature, will preserve forever in Asia the name of the founder of this institution. Nor are the examples frequent of a renown, possessing such utility for its basis, or pervading such a vast portion of the habitable globe. My Lord, you have raised a monument of fame, which no length of time, or reverse of fortune, is able to destroy; nor chiefly because it is inscribed with Mahratta and Mysore, with the trophies of war, and the emblems of victory; but because there are inscribed on it the names of those learned youth, who have obtained degrees of honor for high proficiency in the oriental tongue.

“These youth will rise in regular succession to the government of this country. They will extend the domain of British civilization, security, and happiness, by enlarging the bounds of oriental literature, and thereby diffusing the spirit of Christian principles throughout the nations of Asia. These youth, who have lived so long among us, whose unwearied application to their studies we have all wit. nessed, whose moral and examplary conduct has, in so solemn a manner, been publicly declared before this august. assembly, on this day; and who at the moment of entering on the public service, enjoy the fame of possessing qualities (rarely combined) constituting a reputation of threefold strength for pubs lic men, genius, industry, and virtue; these illustrious scholars, my lord, the pride of their country, and the pillars of this empire, will record your name in many a language, and secure your fame forever. Your fame is already recorded in their hearts. The whole body of youth of this service hail you as their father and their friend. Your honor will ever be safe in their hands. No revolution of opinion, or change of circumstances, can rob you of the solid glory deriv. od from the humane, just, liberal and magnanimous

ciples, which have been embodied by your ads. tration,

“To whatever situation the course of future events may recall you, the youth of this service will ever remain the pledges of the wisdom and purity of your government. Your evening of life will be constantly cheered with new testimonies of their reverence and affection; with new proofs of the advantages of the education you have afforded them; and with a demonstration of the numerous benefits, moral, religious, and political, resulting from this institution; benefits which will consolidate the happiness of millions in Asia, with the glory and welfare of our country.

RECORD of the superstitious practices of the Hin

doos, now subsisting, which inflicts immediate death, or tend to death; deducted from the evidence of the Pundits and learned Brahmins in the college of Fort-William.


The offering of children to Gunga.* - The natives of Hindostan, particularly the inhabitants of Orissa, and of the castern parts of Bengal, sometimes make offerings of their children to the goddess Gunga.

When a woman, who has been long married, has no child, she and her husband make a vow to the goddess Gunga, “That if she will bestow on them the blessing of children, they will devote to her their first born." "If, after this vow, they have a child or children, the first born is preserved, till they have a convenient opportunity of returning to the river at the period of assembling at the holy places. They then take the child with them; and at the time of bathing, it is encouraged to walk into deep water, till it is carried away by the stream. If it be un- · willing to go forward, it is pushed off by its pa. rents. Sometimes a stranger attends, and catches the perishing infant, and brings it up as his own; but if no such person happen to be near, it is infalli. bly drowned, being deserted by the parents the moment it floats in the river.

This species of human sacrifice is publicly committed at Gunga Saugor, in the last day of Pous; and on the day of full moon in Kartic. At Bydyabattee, Trivenee, Nuddeea, Agradeep, and

The river Ganges.

other places accounted holy, it is committed on the thirteenth day of the dark fortnight of the moon Chytra, and on the tenth of the bright fortnight in Jystha..

All he Pundits declare that this practice is not commanded in any Shaster. *

II. Kamya Moran, or voluntary death. 1. When a person is in distress, or has incurred the contempt of his society; and often when there is no other cause than his belief that it is meritorious to die in the river Gunga, he forms the resolution of parting with life in the sacred stream.

2. Such persons, at the times mentioned in the preceding article, go to the holy places, where many thousands of people are assembled for the purpose of sacred ablution. Some of them abstain from food, that life may depart from them in the holy place: but the greater number drown themselves in the presence of the surrounding multitude. Their children and other relations generally attend them. It is not uncommon for a father to be pushed again into the river by his sons, if he attempt to swim back to land.

3. At Saugor it is accounted a propitious sign if the person be soon seized by a shark or a crocodile; but his future happiness is considered doubtful if he stay long in the water without being destroyed.t

4. The only passage in the Shasters which has been submitted as countenancing this suicide is the following: “If a person be afflicted with an incurable disease, so painful that it cannot be borne, he is permitted to throw himself from a precipice, or to drown himself in the river.”

5. During the Pooja of the Rutt Jattra, some devote themselves to death by falling under the wheels of a heavy car or wooden tower, containing their gods. At Juggernaut they sometimes lie down in the track of this machine a few hours before its arrival, and taking a soporiferous draught hope to meet death asleep.

* This practice is now abolished by regulation of government. See Appendix C.

The sharks and alligators are numerous at this place, particularly at the time of the annual festival; owing, it is supposed, to the human prey devoted to thom from time immemorial.


Exposing of children. This is a custom not commanded in any of the Shasters, and is wholly confined to the lower classes.

If a child refuse the mothers milk, whether from sickness or from any other cause, it is supposed to be under the influence of an evil spirit. In this case the babe is put into a basket and hung up into a tree for three days. It generally happens that before the expiration of that time the infant is dead; being destroyed by ants, or by birds of prey. If it be alive at the end of the three days, it is taken home, and means are used to preserve its life.

IV. Destroying female infants. This practice is common among a race of Hindoos called Rajpoots. Without alleging any other reason than the difficulty of providing for daughters in marriage, the mothers starve their female infants to death. In some places not one half of the females are permitted to live.*


Immersion of sick persons in the river. When a sick person (particularly if he be aged) is supposed not to be likely to recover, he is conveye ed to the river, in which the lower half of his body is immersed. Water is copiously poured into his mouth; and he seldom survives the operation many hours.

• Lord Teignmouth relates, that tbis infanticide is practised on the frontiers of Juanpore, a district of the province of Benares; and at another place with the same province. Asiatic Res. vol. iv, p. 538.

Bee also Memoir of George Thomas, by capt, Franklin, p. 100.

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