Obrázky stránek
PDF
ePub

proper for such a service, the affembly refolved to fend to the island of Cuba for one hundred of them, and to engage a fufficient number of the Spanish huntfimen, to attend and direct their operations. The employment to which thefe dogs are generally put by the Spaniards, is the purfuit of wild bullocks, which they flaughter for the hides; and the great use of the dog is to drive the cattle from fuch heights and receffes in the mountainous parts of the country, as are least acceffible to the hunters.

The aflembly were not unapprized that the measure of calling in fuch auxiliaries, and urging the canine fpecies to the pursuit of human beings, would probably give rife to much obfervation and animadverfion in the mother country. Painful experience on other occafions, had taught them, that their conduct in the present cafe, would be fcrutinized with all the rigid and jealous circumfpection, which ignorance and hatred, and envy and malice, and pretended humanity, and fanaticifm, could exercife. The horrible enormities of the Spaniards in the conqueft of the new world, would be brought again to remembrance. It is mournfully true, that dogs were ufed by thofe chriftian barbarians against peaceful and inoffenfive Americans, and the juft indignation of all mankind has ever fince branded, and will continue to brand, the Spanish nation with infamy, for fuch atrocities. It was forefeen, and strongly urged as an argument against recurring to the fame weapon in the prefent cafe, that the prejudices of party, and the virulent zeal of reftlets and turbulent men, would place the proceedings of the affembly on this occafion, in a point of view equally odious with the conduct of Spain on the fame blood-stained theatre, in times part. No reasonable allowance would be made for the wide difference exifting between the two cafes. Some gentlemen even thought that the co-operation of dogs with British troops, would give not only a cruel, but also a very daftardly complexion to the proceedings of government.

To these, and fimilar, objections it was answered, that the fafety of the island, and the lives of the inhabitants were not to be facrificed to the apprehenfion of perverfe mifconftruction or wilful mifrepresentation in the mother country. It was maintained that the grounds of the measure needed only to be fully examined into, and fairly stated, to induce all reasonable men to admit its propriety and neceflity. To hold it as a principle, that it is an act of cruelty or cowardice in man to employ other animals as inftruments of war, is a position contradicted by the practice of all nations.—The "Afiaticks have ever ufed elephants in their battles; and if lions and tygers poffeffed the docility of the elephant, no one can doubt. that thefe alfo would be made to affift the military operations of "man, in those regions of which they are inhabitants. Even the ufe of cavalry, as established among the moft civilized and polish"ed nations of Europe, must be rejected, if this principle be admitted; for wherein, it was afked, does the humanity of that doc

[ocr errors]

trine confift, which allows the employment of troops of horse in the pursuit of discomfitted and flying infantry; yet shrinks at the preventive measure of fparing the effufion of human blood, by tracing with hounds the haunts of murderers, and roufing from ambush, favages more ferocious and blood-thirsty than the animals which track them?

The merits of the queftion, it was faid, depended altogether on the origin and caufe of the war; and the objects fought to be obtained by its continuance; and the authority of the first writers on publick law, was adduced in fupport of this conftruction. "If the cause and end of war (fays Paley) be justifiable, all the means that appear neceffary to that end are justifiable alfo. This is the principle which defends those extremities to which the violence of war ufually proceeds: for fince war is a contest by force between parties who acknowledge no common fuperior, and fince it includes not in its idea the fuppofition of any convention which fhould place limits to the operations of force, it has naturally no boundary but that in which force terminates; the deftruction of the life againft which the force is directed." It was allowed (with the fame author) that gratuitous barbarities borrow no excufe from the licence of war, of which kind is every cruelty and every infult that serves only to exasperate the sufferings, or to incense the hatred of an enemy, without weakening his ftrength, or in any manner tending to procure his fubmiffion; fuch as the flaughter of captives, the subjecting them to indignities or torture, the violation of women, and in general the deftruction or defacing of works that conduce nothing to annoyance or defence. Thefe enormities are prohibited not only by the practice of civilized nations, but by the law of nature itself; as having no proper tendency to accelerate the termination, or accomplish the object of the war; and as containing that which in peace and war is equally unjustifiable, namely, ultimate and gratuitous mischief. Now all thefe very enormities were practifed, not by the whites against the Maroons, but by the Maroons themselves against the whites. Humanity therefore, it was faid, was no way concerned in the fort of expedient that was propofed, or any other, by which fuch an enemy could moft speedily be extirpated. They were not an unarmed, innocent and defenceless race of men, like the ancient Americans; but a banditti of affaffins and tenderness towards fuch an enemy,' was cruelty to all the reft of the community.' P. lxv.

[ocr errors]

It is pleasant to find that the terror only of the dogs accomplished the conclufion of the war. Not a drop of blood' (fays Mr. Edwards) was fhed after the dogs arrived.' But, when he expreffes himself in the following language, he cannot expect to efcape animadverfion.

Painful experience on other occafions, had taught them' (the affembly) that their conduct in the prefent cafe, would be fcruti

nized with all the rigid and jealous circumfpection, which ignorance and hatred, and envy and malice, and pretended humanity, and fanaticifm, could exercife.' P. lxvi.

It is not unfair to afk Mr. Edwards, whether there are not men in this country, both in and out of parliament, who may be defirous of fcrutinifing the juftice of a proceeding. and yet may not be actuated by the catalogue of failings and vices which he has enumerated. Becaufe, among the profeffed friends of humanity, there may be fome who wear it as a convenient mask, are all to be indifcriminately condemned? This furely is not the language of a juft fenator, anxious that the propriety of a proceeding thould reft upon the refult of inquiry. Whatever painful experience the affenbly of Jamaica may have had, either of parliamentary or any other fpecies of public inveftigation, the pain cannot have arifen without fome degree of confcioufnefs, and, as many wife and humane regulations have been adopted fince the flave-trade became a fubject of legislative inquiry, we may conclude that fuch regulations ought to have taken place at an earlier period, and that what this uncandid writer calls ignorance and hatred, envy and malice, and pretended humanity, have been, in fome inftances,

of fervice to the world.

Inflitutes of Hindu Law: or, the Ordinances of Menu, according to the Glofs of Culiúca. Comprising the Indian Syfem of Duties, Religious and Civil. Verbally tranflated from the Original Sanferit. With a Preface, by Sir William Jones. 8vo. 65. Boards. Sewell.

FOR this extraordinary publication we are indebted to the late fir William Jones. An elegant preface, from his pen, ftates his motive for undertaking the tranflation, attempts to afcertain the age of the author, adverts to the gloffes or comments on the text, and points out its facred importance. In reference to India, few literary productions could have been of more ufe; whilft Europeans will find in it-

abundance of curious matter extremely interesting both to fpeculative lawyers and antiquaries, with many beauties which need not be pointed out, and with many blemishes which cannot be juftified or palliated. It is a fyftem of defpotifm and prieftcraft, both indeed limited by law, but artfully confpiring to give mutual fupport, though with mutual checks; it is filled with ftrange conceits in metaphyficks and natural philofophy, with idle fuperftitions, and with a fcheme of theology moft obfcurely figurative, and confequently liable to dangerous mifconception; it abounds with minute and CRIT. REV. VOL. XXII. March, 17974,

childish formalities, with ceremonies generally abfurd and often ridiculous; the punishments are partial and fanciful; for fome crimes, dreadfully cruel, for others, reprehenfibly flight; and the very morals, though rigid enough on the whole, are in one or two inftances (as in the cafe of light oaths and of pious perjury) unaccountably relaxed: nevertheless, a fpirit of fublime devotion, of benevolence to mankind, and of amiable tenderness to all fentient creatures, pervades the whole work; the style of it has a certain auftere majefty, that founds like the language of legiflation, and extorts a respectful awe; the fentiments of independence on all beings but God, and the harfh admonitions, even to kings, are truly noble; and the many panegyricks on the Gayatri, the Mother as it is called, of the Veda, prove the author to have adored (not the vifible material fun, but) that divine and incomparably greater light, to use the words of the most venerable text in the Indian fcripture, which illumines all, delights all, from which all proceed, to which all muft return, and which alone can irradiate (not our vifual organs merely, but our fouls and) our intellects. Whatever opinion in fhort may be formed of Menu and his laws, in a country happily enlightened by found philofophy and the only true revelation, it must be remembered, that those laws are actually revered, as the word of the Moft High, by nations of great importance to the political and commercial interests of Europe, and particularly by many millions of Hindu fubjects, whofe well directed induftry would add largely to the wealth of Britain, and who afk no more in return than protection for their perfons and places of abode, juftice in their temporal concerns, indulgence to the prejudices of their old religion, and the benefit of thofe laws, which they have been taught to believe facred, and which alone they can poffibly comprehend.' P. XV.

The Inftitutes at large are divided into twelve chapters, under the following titles.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

-

[ocr errors]

I. On the Creation; with a Summary of the Contents. II. On Education; or on the First Order. - III. On Marriage; or on the Second Order. IV. On Economicks, and Private Morals. V. On Diet, Purification, and Women. — VI. On Devotion; or on the Third and Fourth Orders. . VII. On Government; or on the Military Clafs. VIII. On Judicature; and on Law, Private and Criminal. - IX. On the Commercial and Servile Claffes.-X. On the Mixed Claffes, and on Times of Diftrefs. -XI. On Penance and Expiation. - XII. On Tranfmigration and final Beatitude.'

As fpecimens of the work, we offer one extract from the firft chapter, and another from the laft.

1. Menu fat reclined, with his attention fixed on one object,

the Supreme God; when the divine fages approached him, and, after mutual falutations in due form, delivered the following addrefs:

2. "Deign, fovereign ruler, to apprize us of the facred laws in their order, as they must be followed by all the four claffes, and by each of them, in their feveral degrees, together with the duties of every mixed class;

6 3. "For thou, Lord, and thou only among mortals, knowest the true fenfe, the first principle, and the prefcribed ceremonies, of this universal, fupernatural Véda, unlimited in extent and unequalled in authority."

[ocr errors]

4. He, whofe powers were measurelefs, being thus requested by the great fages, whofe thoughts were profound, faluted them all with reverence, and gave them a comprehenfive anfwer, faying:

"Be it heard!

• 5. "This universe existed only in the first divine idea yet unexpanded, as if involved in darkness, imperceptible, undefinable, undiscoverable by reafon, and undifcovered by revelation, as if it were wholly immersed in fleep :

6.Then the fole felf-exifting power, bimfelf undifcerned, but making this world difcernible, with five elements and otherprinciples of nature, appeared with undiminished glory, expanding his idea, or difpelling the gloom.

'7. "He, whom the mind alone can perceive, whofe effence eludes the external organs, who has no vifible parts, who exifts from eternity, even he, the foul of all beings, whom no being can comprehend, fhone forth in person.

8. "He, having willed to produce various beings, from his own divine substance, first with a thought created the waters, and placed in them a productive feed:

[ocr errors]

9. "The feed became an egg bright as gold, blazing like the luminary with a thousand beams; and in that egg he was born himfelf, in the form of Brahmá, the great forefather of all fpirits.

10. "The waters are called nárá, because they were the production of Nara, or the spirit of God; and fince they were his first ayana, or place of motion, he thence is named Nárayana, or moving on the waters.

11. "From that which is, the first caufe, not the object of fense, exifting every where in fubftance, not existing to our perception, without beginning or end, was produced the divine male, famed in all worlds under the appellation of Brahmá.

6 12.

"In that egg the great power fat inactive a whole year of the Creator, at the close of which, by his thought alone, he caufed the egg to divide itself;

13. "And from its two divifions he framed the heaven above and the earth beneath; in the midft he placed the fubtil ether, the eight regions, and the permanent receptacle of waters.

14. From the fupreme foul he drew forth mind, exifting

« PředchozíPokračovat »