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respecting the age in which they were written. This copy of the scriptures has admitted as canonical the epistle of Clement; in which respect it resembles the Alexandrian manuscript; but it has omitted the Revelations; that book having been accounted apocryphal by some churches during a certain period in the early ages. The order of the books of the Old and New Testament, differs from that of the European copies; this copy adhering less to unity of subject in the arrangement, than to chronological order. The very first emendation of the Hebrew text proposed by Dr. Kennicott (Gen. iv. 8.) is to to be found in this manuscript. The disputed passage in 1 John v. 7. is not to be found in it. That verse is interpolated in some other copies in black ink, by the Romish church, in 1599.
Thus it appears, that during the dark ages of Europe, whilst ignorance and superstition in a manner denied the scriptures to the rest of the world, the bible found an asylum in the mountains of Malayala; where it was revered and freely read by upwards of an hundred churches; and that it has been handed down to the present time under circumstances so highly favourable to accurate preservation, as may justly entitle it to respect, in the collation of doubtful readings of the sacred text.
There are many old Syriac manuscripts, besides the bible, which have been well preserved; for the synod of Udiamper destroyed no volumes but those which treated of religious doctrine, or church supremacy. Two different characters of writing appear ever to have been in use among the Syrian christians; the common Syriac and Estrangelo. The oldest manuscripts are in the Estrangelo.
But there are other ancient documents in Malayala, not less interesting than the Syrian manuscripts. The old Portuguese historians relate, that soon after the arrival of their countrymen in India, about 300 years ago, the Syrian archbishop of Angamalee, by name Mar Jacob, deposited in the fort of Cochin, for safe custody, certain tablets of brass, on which were engraved rights of nobility and other privileges, granted to the christians by a prince of a former age; and that while these tablets were under the charge of the Portuguese, they had been unaccountably lost, and had never after been heard of. The loss of the tablets was deeply regretted by the christians; and the Portuguese writer, Gouvea, ascribes their subsequent oppression by the native powers, to the circumstance of their being no longer able to produce their charter. It is not generally known, that, at a former period, the christians possessed regal power in Malayala. The name of their last king was Beliarte. He died without issue, and his kingdom descended, by the custom of the country, to the king of Cochin. When Vasco de Gama was at Cochin in 1503, Le saw the sceptre of the christian king.
It is farther recorded by the same historians, that besides the doctments deposited with the Portuguese, the Christians possessed three other tablets, containing antient grants, which they kept in their own custody: and that these were exhibited to the Romish archbishop Menezes, at the church of Tevelecar near the mountains, in 1599; the inhabitants, hav ing first exacted an oath from the archbishop that he would not remove them. Since that period little has been heard of the tablets. Though they
they are often referred to in the Syrian writings, the translation itself has been lost. It has been said that they were seen about forty years ago. But Adrian Moens, a governor of Cochin in 1770, who published some account of the Jews of Malabar, informs us, that he used every means in his power, for many years, to obtain a sight of the christian plates; and was at length satisfied that they were irrecoverably lost, or rather, he adds, that they never existed.
The learned world will be gratified to know, that all these antient tablets, not only the three last-mentioned exhibited in 1599, but those also (as is supposed) delivered by the Syrian archbishop to the Portuguese on their arrival in India, which are the most antient, have been recently recovered by the exertions of lieutenant-colonel Macaulay, the British resident in Travancore; and are now officially deposited with that officer.
The plates are six in number. They are composed of a mixed me tal. The engraved page on the largest plate is thirteen inches long, by four broad. They are closely written, four of them on both sides of the plate, making in all eleven pages. On the plate reputed to be the oldest, there is writing perspicuously engraved, in nail-headed or triangular-headed letters, resembling the Persepolitan or Babylonish. On the same plate there is writing in another character, which has no affinity with any existing character in Hindostan. The grant of this plate appears to be witnessed by four Jews of rank; whose names are distinctly written in an old Hebrew character, resembling the alphabet called the Palmyrene; and to each name is prefixed the title of "Magen," that is, Chief,
It may be doubted, whether there exists in the world another document of equal antiquity, which is, at the same time, of so great length, and in such faultless preservation, as the Christian tablets in Malayala. The Jews of Cochin indeed contest the palm of antiquity and of preservation; for they also produce tablets containing privileges granted at a remote period. The Jewish tablets are two in number. The Jews were long in possession of a third plate, which now appears to be the property of the Christians. The Jews commonly shew an ancient Hebrew translation of their plates. Dr. Leyden made another translation, which differs from the Hebrew; and there has lately been found among the old Dutch records at Cochin a third translation, which approaches nearer to Dr. Leyden's than to the Hebrew. In a Hebrew manuscript, which will shortly be published, it is recorded that a grant on brass tables was given to the Jews in A. D. 379.
As it is apprehended that there may be some difficulty in obtaining an accurate translatiou of all these tablets, it is proposed to print a copper-plate fac-simile of the whole, and to transmit copies to the learned societies in Hindostan and in Europe. For this purpose an engraver is now employed on the plates, at Cochin. The Christian and Jewish plates together will make fourteen pages. A copy has been sent, in the first instance, to the Pundits of the Shanscrit college at Trichiur, by direction of the rajah of Cochin.
When the white Jews of Cochin were questioned respecting the ancient copies of their scriptures, they answered that it had been usual to bury the old copy read in the synagogue, when decayed by time and
use. This, however, does not appear to have been the practice of the black Jews, who were the first settlers; for in the record chests of their synagogues, old copies of the law have been discovered, some of which are complete, and for the most part legible.. Neither could the Jews of Cochin produce any historical manuscripts of consequence; their vicinity to the sea-coast having exposed their community to frequent revolutions. But many old writings have been found at the remote synagogues of their ancient enemies the black Jews, situated at Tritoor, Paroor, Chenotta, and Maleh; the last of which places is near the mountains. Amongst these writings are some of great length in Rabbinical Hebrew, but in so ancient and uncommon a character, that it will require much time and labour to ascertain their contents. There is one manuscript written in a character resembling the Palmyrene Hebrew on the brass plates. But it is in a decayed state, and the leaves adhere so closely to each other, that it is doubtful whether it will be possible to unfold them and preserve the reading.
It was sufficiently established by the concurring evidence of written record and Jewish tradition, that the black Jews had colonized on the coasts of India long before the Christian æra. There was another colony at Rajapoor in the Mahratta territory, which is not yet extinct, and there are at this time Jewish soldiers and Jewish native officers in the British service. That these are a remnant of the Jews of the first dispersion at the Babylonish captivity, seems highly probable. There are many other tribes settled in Persia, Arabia, Northern India, Tartary,
and China; whose respective places of residence may be easily discovered. The places which have been already ascertained are sixty-five in number. These tribes have in general (particularly those who have passed the Indus) assimilated much to the customs of the countries in which they live; and may sometimes be seen by a traveller, without being recognized as Jews. The very imperfect resemblance of their countenance to the Jews of Europe, indicates that they have been detached from the parent stock in Judea many ages before the race of Jews in the west. A fact corroborative of this is, that certain of these tribes do not call themselves Jews, but Beni-Israel, or Israelites. For the name “Jew” is derived from Judah; whereas the ancestors of those tribes were not subject to the king of Judah, but to the kings of Israel. They have, in most places, the book of the Law, the book of Job, and the Psalms; but know little of the Prophets. Some of them have even lost the book of the Law, and only know that they are Israelites from tradition, and from their observance of peculiar rites.
A copy of the Scriptures belonging to Jews of the East, who might be supposed to have no communication with Jews of the West, has been long a desideratum with the Hebrew scholar. In the coffer of a synagogue of the black Jews in the interior of Malayala, there has been found an old copy of the Law, written on a roll of leather. The skins are sewed together, and the roll is about fifty feet in length. It is in some places worn out, and the holes have been patched with pieces of parchment. Some of the Jews suppose that this roll came originally
north of Hindostan.
from Senna, in Arabia; others have never, according to tradition, been heard that it was brought from Cash-subjugated by invaders from the mir. The Cabul Jews, who travel annually into the interior of China, say, that in some synagogues the law is still found written on a roll of leather; not on vellum, but on a soft flexible leather, made of goats' skins, and dyed red; which agrees with the description of the roll above mentioned.
Such of the Syriac and Jewish manuscripts as may, on examination, be found to be valuable, will be deposited in the public libraries of the British universities.
The design of investigating the history and literature of the Christians and Jews in the East, was submitted to the marquis Wellesley, before he left India. His lordship, judging it to be of importance that the actual relation of the Syrian Christians to our own church should be ascertained, and auguring something interesting to the republic of letters from the investigation of the Syriac and Jewish antiquities, was pleased to give orders, that publie aid should be afforded to Dr. Buchanan in the prosecution of his inquiries, wherever it might be practicable. To the operation of these orders it is owing, that the proposed researches, of which some slight notices are given above, have not been made in vain.
Cochin, Jan. 1807.
Antiquities at Soddington, Worcestershire. By Mr. J. Milner.
The princes of the Deccan have manifested a liberal regard for the extension of Shanscrit learning, by furnishing lists of the books in their temples for the college of Fort William, in Bengal. His excellency the rajah of Tanjore was pleased to set the example, by giving the voluminous catalogue of the ancient library of the kings of Tanjore. And his example has been followed by the ranny of Rammad, patroness of the celebrated temple of Ramisseram, near Adam's Bridge; by his highness the rajah of Travancore, who has given lists of all the books in the Travancore country; and by the rajah of Cochin, patron of the ancient Shanscrit college, at the temple of Teichiur. It is under-mily of the name of Blount; though stood that a copy of any book in these catalogues will be given when required. The brahmins of Travancore consider that their manuscripts are likely to have as just a claim to high antiquity, or at least to accurate preservation, as those in the temples in the North; and for the same reason that the Christian and Jewish records have been so well preserved; which is, that the country of Travancore, defended by mountains, bas VOL. XLIX.
Soddington, in the parish of Mamble, and the county of Worcester, at a small distance from the road between Bewdley and Tenbury, is the ancient seat of the Baronet fa
at present they reside at a new seat, erected within these thirty years, at Mawley, near Cleobury. The mansion at Soddington has been built at different times; but the most ancient part of it seems to be about four hundred years old. The workmen at present are taking down the whole of it, which has given me an opportunity of making the following discoveries.
In digging beneath the oldest part 3 M of
of the house, at the depth of about three feet, the workmen struck upon an antient focus, formed of thin bricks, which had each of them a semicircular termination, and had evidently been framed m a similar mould. In digging at a small distance from the focus, five feet below the level of it, a pavement, laid with large, thin bricks, such as the Romans are known to have used, and as are commonly to be met with at Verulain and other Roman cities, was discovered. In levelling the ground near the house of Soddington, the labourers have dug up a vast number of curious tubes, which formed an antient aqueduct. The existence of this was previously unknown to the inhabitants of the place. The tubes are formed of the finest clay, and exceedingly well baked, being of a grey colour on the outside, and, when broken, of a dark colour in the interior. They appeared to be exactly of the same composition with several Roman urns which I have seen. Each tube is about two feet long, and four inches in the total diameter; the aperture for conveying the water being about an inch and three quarters in diameter. They have hollow tenons at one end, and mortices at the other, so as to fit together very exactly, and to appear air-tight with out the use of mortar. They were Jaid in the direction of a spring which flows at the distance of a mile and a half from Soddington, at the top of an eminence still higher than the site of the mansion, though the latter is very high ground, and they have been traced a great part of the way
But the most curious discovery of the whole occurred in a field within a quarter of a mile of the old house; where, in levelling a hillock, on which
an oak quite decayed with age, besides other trees, stood, at the depth of about two feet from the so, the workmen found a complete brickkiln, consisting, by computation, of 10,000 bricks, the greater part of which were well-burnt, the rest being only half-burnt. The kiln was not made as kilus are usually made at present; nor were the bricks of the same size with our bricks, being larger and thinner.
These being the facts, it remains for learned and ingenious antiquaries to determine to which race of the successive inhabitants of this island these articles originally belonged, and what is the date of them? It is plain they belonged to a people who were in the habit of building with brick, and of making their bricks larger and thinner than we do at the present day. It is equally plain, that the people in question must have been a civilized and, in some degree, a refined people, from the discovery of the aqueduct, and the perfection of the tubes of which it consisted. I think also it may be asserted that the brick-kiln was made just before some great change in the state of the coun try took place, as the workmen seem not to have had time to finish the burning of their bricks. It likewise appears to me that this change must have been attended with dreadful political consequences, and the desolation, if not the destruction, of the former inhabitants. This I gather from so large a number of bricks, the greater part of them fit for use, being left unemployed in an open field, till, by degrees, a bed of earth was formed over them, upon which an oak tree, now rotten with age, actually grew.
My conjectures are, that Soddington was a Roman fort; the situation