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“The Gentoos, in general, are as degenerate, crafty, superstitious, litigious and wicked a people as any race of beings in the known world, if not eminently more so, especially the common run of Brahmins; and we can truly aver, that during almost five years, that we presided in the judicial Cutcherry court of Calcutta, never any murder, or other atrocious crime, came before us but it was proved in the end that a Brahmin was. at the bottom of it.”+
3. At Benares, the fountain of Hindoo learning and religion, where capt. Wilford, author of the Es-. says on the Indian and Egyptian mythology,, has long resided in the society of the Brahmins, a scene has been lately exhibited, which certainly has never had a parallel in any other learned society in the world.
The Pundit of capt. Wilford having, for a considerable time, been guilty of interpolating his books, and of fabricating new sentences in old works, to answer a particular purpose, was at length detected and publicly disgraced. As a last effort to save his character, "he brought ten Brahmins, not only as. his compurgators but to swear by what is most sacred in their religion to the genuineness of the ex-. tracts."I Capt. Wilford would not permit the ceremonial of perjury to take place, and dismissed them from his presence with indignation..
Among what tribe of barbarians in America, or in the Pacific Ocean, could there be found so many of their principal men, in one place, who would come forth, and confirm a falsehood in the presence of their countrymer, by a solemn act of the country's religion, like these learned disciples of Brahma at Benares?
4. To the foregoing we shall add the testimony of a Brahmin himself, extracted from a paper, entitled “A Defence of the Hindoos."-"These ra
Holwell's Historical Events, p. 15%. i asiat. Res. vol, viii. p. 28.
vages of Hindostan (from the repeated invasion of the Mussulmans) so disturbed the peace of the country, that the principle of its inhabitants were confounded, their learning degraded, and their customs entirely forgotten. Thus reduced, having no means of support, they were induced to practise the vices forbidden them; they would have become savages, or have been entirely rooted out, had not the glorious British nation established the standard of their government.”
See Defence of the Hindoos against Mr. Newnham's College Essay; by Senkariah, a learned Brahmin at Madras. Madrass Gazette, 10th Novem-ber, 1804..
K fervish scriptures at Cochin. - There is reason to believe that scriptural records, older than the apostolic, exist on the coast of Malabar. At Cochin there is a colony of Jews, who retain the tradition that they arrived in India soon after the Babylonian captivity. There are in that province two classes of Jews, the white and the black Jews. The black Jews are those who are supposed to have arrived at that early period. The white Jews emigrated from Europe in later ages. What seems to countenance the tradition of the black Jews is, that they have copies of those books of the Old Testament which were written previously to the captivity, but none of those whose dates are subse-, quent to that event. i
Some years ago the president of Yale college, in America, an eminent archaiologist, addressed a letter to sir William Jones, on the subject of these: manuscripts, proposing that an inquiry should be instituted by the Asiatic society; but sir William died before the letter arrived. His object was to obtain the whole of the fifth chapter of Genesis, and a collation of certain other passages in the Old Testament; and also to ascertain whether the MMS. at
Appendix to Memoir.
Cochin were written in the present Hebrew character, or in another oriental palæography.
In the year 1748, Mr. Romaine, the learned editor of Calasio's Hebrew Dictionary, was meditating a voyage to India, for the sole purpose of consulting these manuscripts.
The latest information respecting them is contain ed in a letter lately received from a learned missionary in the south of the peninsula, who had resided for some time in the vicinity of Cochin. He states, that he had constantly been informed that the Jews at Cochin had those books only of the Old Testament which were written before the Babalonian cap. tivity; and that thence it is generally believed by the Christians of the Deccan, that they had come to India soon after that event. He adds, that the MSS.. were on a material resembling paper, in the form of a roll, and that the character had a strong resemb. lance to Hebrew, if not Hebrew."
By the inspection of these MSS. some light might be thrown on the controversy respecting (1.) the Hebrew and Samaritan letters; (2.) the antiquity of the vowel points; (3.) the scripture chronology; and (4.) the correctness of the European copies of the Old Testament. Dr. Kennicott complains of a practice among the western Jews of altering many cop. ies to a conformity with some particular manuscript. He also accuses them of wilful corruption. Bishop I.outh suspects them of leaving out words in certain places, to invalidate the argument of the Chris-tians. But Jews in the east, remote from the learned controversy of Christians, would have no motive for such corruptions.
It is in contemplation of the author of this Me. moir to visit Cochin, previously to his return from India, for the express purpose of investigating these. ancient Jewish records; and also of examining the books of Nestorian christians, who are said to possess some MSS. in the Chaldiac character, of a high antiquity.
. Shanscrit Testimonies of Christ.
The learned Wilford, who has resided for many years at Benares, the fountain of Shanscrit literature, and has devoted himself entirely to researches into Hindoo mythology and oriental history, has just finished a work which will be received with much satisfaction by the public. It is a record of the testimonies contained in the Shanscrit writings of the truth of the Christian religion. '
This work which is yet in manuscript, is now in circulation (January, 1805) with the members of the Asiatic Society, previously to its publication in the Asiatic Researches. It is entitled, “Salivahana; the son of the Jacshaca, or Carpenter; or introduction of the Christian religion into India; its progress and decline.”
From these evidences it appears, that the prophecies of the Old Testament were recorded in the Shanscrit Puranas of India, as in the Sybilline books of Rome; that the rumour of the universal dominion of the Messiah had alarmed the emperors of the eas: as well as the emperors of Rome; and that holy men journeyed from the east, directed by a miraculous star, to see the heavenly child. It further appears, that many of the Shanscrit writings to which had been attributed a vast antiquity, were not only composed after the Christian æra, but contain particulars of the advent, birth, life, miracles, death resurrection, and ascension of our saviour.
To establish fully the authenticity of these important records, and to invite investigation, captain Wilford has deposited his authorities and vouchers. in the library of the college of Fort-William; and among the archieyes of the Asiatic Society.
At the conclusion of the work the learned author thus expressed himself; “I have written this account of the Christian religion with the impartiality
of an historian; fully persuaded that our holy religion cannot possibly receive any additional lustre from it."
Chinese Version of the Scriptures; and Chinese Lite
rature, 1. The projected translation of the scriptures into the Chinese language in England; which we understand, has already obtained the most respectable patronage, is considered here as an undertaking, which will be attended with extreme difficulty, if it be not found altogether impracticable. Before any commencement be made, the subject ought certainly to be maturely considered, both in regard to the expense and the execution. The estimate is stated to be thirty thousand pounds sterling, and doubtless the expense of executing the work in the proposed form, by types, (or even by copperplate, which would be the cheapest and perhaps the only practicable mode in England,) is not over-rated at that sum.
2. But who is to translate the work? Dr. MonLucci's dictionary, now in the press, must indeed be a valuable performance, (judging from the genuineness of the materials and the erudition of the compiler,) and it will be of considerable use to any translator whether in China or in England. But will the united labours of Dr. Montucci and Dr. Hager ever produce a chapter of the Bible which will be intelligible to a native of China? Without the aid of learned natives of the country to write their own language, or to hear it read by the translator, no work of this kind can be prosecuted with any confidence of its utility. This has been sufficiently prove ed to us in the versions in other oriential languages (much more simple than the Chinese) which have been undertaken at the college of Fort-William.. Even the Arabic Bible, which is now republishing in England, can never be useful as a popular work in