Sivut kuvina
PDF
ePub

pecting one of the Schools under the patronage of the Hibernian Society, exhibits a pleasing instance of liberality of mind.

" In another part of the country, the school had been so opposed by some persons in the neighbourhood, as to discourage the masterto such a degree, that he talked of giving it up. A well-disposed Catholic priest hearing of this, sent for the master, and asked him to stay all night with him. When the master rose in the morning, he found his host was gone out. On his return to breakfast, he desired the master to try one day more.

This he was unwilling to do; but at the earnest solicitation of the priest, he consented. When they came near the school-house, the master was surprised to hear the voices of children, expecting to have found it deserted. On entering, he found above fourscore children, assembled, and waiting for him. The worthy priest had risen very early, and had been over mountains and bogs from house to house, to induce the parents to send their children to school. The number aferwards increased very considerably.”

[merged small][ocr errors]

X. Contents of Dig-durshuna, No. IV.

[ocr errors]

No. IV of the Dig.durshuna, the monthly Bengalee publication, conti. nning the sketch of General History, contains the division of the Roman Empire into Eastern and Western--the Fall of the Western part—some account of Mahommed-the rise of the Musulman Empire in Asia-in Spain--in Africa and Egypt.—The Five later Musulman Empires,—that of the Seljuks at Bagdad-of Ghizniof Jinghis-khan-of Timur-beg-of the Turks, with reflections on the fall of the four former of these. It contains further, a Dialogue between a Teacher and his Disciple, respecting Newton's discovery of the doctrine of Gravitation ;-and the Apologue of the Earth, and her Children complaining to her of their various miseries.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

THE FRIEND OF INDIA.

.

No. IV.

New Asylum for Lepers. WHILE we were proceeding with our view of the Institutions at this Presidency for alleviating and removing the misery of men, we were pleasingly surprized by receiving an account of an Institution different from any we have yet had occasion to mention ; the propriety and importance of which seemed to warrant our laying aside other things for the sake of bringing it before the public as fully as we are able.

The disease of Leprosy is one of the most dreadful that can affect the human frame. From it no age or situation in life seems to be exempt. Its existence in the time of Moses gave rise to those directions relative to the discernment of it, and to the seclusion of those who were afflicted by the disease, which for precision and a regard to general comfort, can be paralleled in no human code of laws.

1

We have little left us on record respecting the Leprosy as existing among the Greeks and Romans. Except by those who wrote on medicine, little notice is taken of the disease, and very few intimations given respecting persons affected therewith, who, we have reason to think, were not numerous. Even the few medical writers themselves, do not mention the Leprosy as a disease highly frequent, But the history of this disease in Europe during the middle ages deserves our serious perusal. For a full thousand years, reckoning from the beginning of the sixth century, it was said to prevail in so great a degree, that it was one of the chief objects on which the benevolence of christians exerted itself; and ultimately it absorb

M

[ocr errors]

ed a very large proportion of the wealth of Christendom, which was appropriated by the donations of the charitable to the reliel and maintenance of those afflicted therewith. Every country in Europe abounded with its hospitals erected for the exclusive re. lief of Lepers. It appears tha in France alone there were above two thousand, as Lewis VIII, king of France, made bequests in the year 1227 to two thousand Leprosaries within his own domi. nions. In England also there were great numbers of these establishments; it is said that the city of Norwich alone contained five. A most extensive institution of this kind was founded also in Leicestershire, as early as the reign of king Stephen, at a place from thence termed Burton Lazars. It was dedicated to the Virgin Mary and St. Lazarus, and ultimately became possessed of immense riches,

[ocr errors]

One cause of this peculiar attention to Lepers was, a mistaken idea that Lazarus mentioned by our Lord in the parable as lying at the rich man's gate full of sores, must have been a leper;

and hence the superstitious spirit of the times erected him into the tutelar saint of all afflicted with this disease : An order of knighthood was also instituted of which this saint was the patron ; and the knights of St. Lazarus had the double duty to discharge, of war. ring against infidels, and of attending on lepers, the lazarettos being in general placed under their controul. Lepers indeed were admitted into this order, andin some instances the master of it was a leprous knight. The immense wealth they accumulated became at length a temptation to the cupidity of sovereign rulers; and Philip the Yth. of France, as is well known, accusing all the Hospitallers of conspiring against Christianity with the Turks and Jews, seized their property throughout his dominions, and cruelly caused a great number of them to be burnt alive.

But while this disease, through the mistaken ideas of the age, was rendered the means of enriching many religious, and doubt. less of supportingún idleness a great multitude in reality never in

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

fected with this disease; in many cases the restrictions imposed on lepers were harsh and cruel, particularly when so many circumstances join to render it at least doubtful whether this disease be at all contagious. A person afflicted with a real or supposed leprosy was treated like a dead body, funeral obsequies were performed for him, and masses said for the benefit of his soul. The following is the description of their treatment given by a French writer :

"A priest, clothed in a surplice and stole, repaired with the cross to the leper, who was prepared for the ceremony. The holy minister began by exhorting him to bear patiently, and in a spirit of resignation and penitence, the incurable affliction with which God had stricken him ; he then besprinkled the sufferer with holy water, and conducted him to the church. Here the leper put off his ordinary clothes; and, having put on a black habit prepared for the purpose, fell on his knees before the altar, be.. tween two trestles, and heard mass ; after which he was again sprinkled with holy water. This ceremony, it will be remarked, differed very little from that which is usually performed at funerals. While the leper was conducted to the church, the same verses were sung as at burials, and after the mass, which was also the same as that which was performed for the dead, the Libera was sung, and the leper was then conducted to the house destined for him. When he had arrived, the priest again exhorted and consoled him, and threw a shovel-full of earth on his feet. The hut (where there was no lazaretto) was small, and was furnished with a bed and bedding, a vessel for water, a chest, a table, a chair, a lamp, a towel, and other necessaries. He was presented with a cow!, two shirts, a tunic, and a robe called housse, a little cask, a funnel, a rattle to give warning of his approach, a knife, a stick, and a girdle of copper.

“ Before the priest quitted him, he interdicted him from appearing in public without his leper's habit and his feet naked; from

going into churches, mills, or where bread was cooking; from washing his hands, clothes, &c. in the wells and brooks; from touching any commodities that he desired to purchase at market, except with a stick, in order to point out the article wanted ; and from entering houses, or taverns, for the purpose of purchasing wine, as he had only the privilege of remaining at the door, of asking for what he required, and receiving it in his little cask. He was farther enjoined not to draw water, but with a proper ves. sel ; never to reply to the questions of any one who met him on the road, unless he was to leeward, in order that the inquirer might not be infected by his breath and the contagious odour exhaling from his body ; never to place himself in narrow roads ; never to touch children, nor to give them any thing which he had touched; never to appear in public meetings ; and never to eat or drink with any but lepers. In short, these wretched people were regarded as dead among the living: their children were not baptized at the fonts; and the water employed at their baptism was thrown into lonely places. When a leper was sick, the priest administered the sacrament to him, and extreme unction ; and when he died, he was buried in his hovel, or in the place of interment appropriated for the leprous." See Ogée, Abregé de l'Hist. de Bretagne, prefixed to the Diction. de Bretagne.*

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

While we thus survey the prevalence of this disease in Europe for so many centuries, however, and contrast therewith the almost complete extinction of this dreadful malady in modern times, par. ticularly in England, we cannot but hope for results of the same nature in this country where this malady is so dreadful. What has been effected by the application of European science elsewhere, may be reasonably expected here; and we cannot speak too highly of the wisdom and philanthropy which have thus generously opened the way for its application. While by this institution much will be done to alleviate the personal sufferings of those who may be afflicted with this disease, an opportunity will be afforded

[ocr errors]

See Encyclop. Brit. vol. xx.

« EdellinenJatka »