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tests spring out of motives which, to a European at least, would appear frivolous and trifling. Perhaps the sole cause of the contest is about his right to wear pantoufles; or whether he may parade in a palanquin or on horseback, on the day of his marriage. Sometimes that of having a trumpet sounded before him, or the distinction of being accompanied by the country music at public ceremonies. Perhaps it is the ambition of having flags of certain colours, or with the resemblance of certain deities displayed about his person on such great occasions. These are some of the important privileges, amongst many others not less so, in asserting which the Indians do not scruple occasionally to shed each other's blood.

'As it not unfrequently happens that one of the Hands makes an attack on the privileges of the other: this occasions a quarrel which soon spreads and becomes general, unless it be appeased at its commencement by the prudence or the vigor of the magistrate.

'I may perhaps be thought to have said enough of this direful distinction of right-hand and left. But I may be permitted to relate one instance at which I myself was present. The dispute was between the cast of Pariahs and Cobblers, or Chakili, and produced such dreadful consequences through the whole district where it happened, that many of the peaceable inhabitants had begun to remove their effects and to leave their villages for a place of greater safety, with the same feelings as when the country sees an impending invasion of a Mahrata army, and with the same dread of savage treatment. Fortunately in this instance, matters did not come to an extremity, as the principal inhabitants of the district seasonably came forward to mediate between these vulgar casts, and were just in time, by good management, to disband the armed ranks on both sides that only waited the signal of battle.'

'One would not easily guess the cause of this dreadful commotion. It arose forsooth from a Chakili, at a public fes

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tival, sticking red flowers in his turban, which the Pariahs insisted that none of his cast had a right to wear.'

The Hindoos are not the only people who have suffered from religious fanaticism. The early history of the Christian church, exhibits the most disgraceful and disgusting scenes of tumult and bloodshed. The very altars of St. Sophia, streamed with the blood of the patriarchs of Constantinople, in the disputes between the Arians and Trinitarians; anathemas, excommunications, and all the horrible persecutions invented by bigotry and superstition, were hurled with unrelenting fury at the heads of the opponents of the party who had gained the ascendancy. At one of the councils the bishops of each party came attended by armed men, and the ministers of the gospel of peace, hurried on by religious zeal, converted that meeting which was intended to commemorate the perfections, and declare the attributes of a saviour and mediator, into a scene of massacre, murder and extermination. The pages of the historians of the church, display throughout the most intolerant spirit of persecution, and are stained with descriptions of the blood of martyrs and holy men. A great proportion of the population of the parent kingdom, are, even in these days of illumination, suffering under penalties and disabilities, and are prohibited from the free exercise of their religion. Happy ought we to consider ourselves, who live under a government where universal toleration, in spiritual matters, forms the basis of the constitution: here the catholic, the protestant, the Jew, and every sect and denomination of christians, have the free use and exercise of their respective opinions, without the fear of interruption, or the galling chains of church supremacy!

Our author next proceeds to consider the advantages resulting from the division of casts,' and introduces his subject by several judicious observations on the impropriety of judging from external circumstances, without taking into account the genius and spirit of the people, and argues that, from the

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disposition of the Hindoos, the division into casts, was the only method to prevent them from falling into absolute barbarism. The authority of the casts,' says he, likewise forms a defence against the abuses which despotic princes are ready to commit. Sometimes one may see the traders through a whole canton shutting up their shops, the farmers abandoning their labours in the field, the different workmen and artisans quitting their booths, by an order from the cast, in consequence of some deep insult which it had suffered from a governor or some other person in office.

'The labours of society continue at a stand until the indignity is repaired or the injustice atoned for, or at least the offended cast has come to an accommodation with the person in power.'

I might be justified in asserting farther, that it is by the division into casts that the arts are preserved in India; and there is no reason to doubt, that they would arrive at perfection there, if the avarice of the rulers did not restrain the progress of the people.'

'As soon as it is known that an artist of great skill exists in any district, he is immediately carried off to the palace of the ruler, where he is shut up for life, and compelled to toil without remission, and with little recompense.'

'In the countries that are under the government of Europeans, where the workmen are paid according to their merits, I have seen many articles of furniture executed by the natives so exquisitely that they would have been ornamental in the most elegant mansion. Yet no other tools were employed in the manufacture, but a hatchet, a saw and a plane, of so rude a construction, that a European artisan could not have used them.

'In those parts I have known travelling goldsmiths, who, with no implements but what they carried in their moveable booth, consisting of a small anvil, a crucible, two or three hammers, and files, would execute, with so simple an

apparatus, toys as neat and well finished as any that could be brought from distant countries, at a great expense. To what perfection might not such men arrive, if they were instructed from their infancy under fit masters, instead of being guided by the simple dictates of nature?'

Such absolute enemies to all kinds of innovation are the Hindoos, that they prefer using their own simple tools to those of European construction, though they could execute the work in one half the time. An attachment, such as this, to peculiar customs, must ever retard the advancement of the arts. Independent of the despotism of the rulers, the employment of one family in the same branch of trade, and this handed down from generation to generation, without consulting either the bent or inclination of the party, must tend to repress the genius of the people, and prevent their arriving to that degree of perfection, which they have attained in the continents of America and Europe.

The author then ventures one political reflection on the advantages produced by the division of casts. 'In India, parental authority is but little respected, and the parents, partaking of the indolence so prevalent over all the country, are at little pains to inspire into their children that filial reverence which is the greatest blessing in a family, by preserving the subordination necessary for domestic peace and tranquillity. The affection and attachment between brothers and sisters never very ardent, almost entirely disappears as soon as they are married. After that event, they scarcely ever meet, unless it be to quarrel.

'The ties of blood and relationship are thus too feeble to afford that strict union, and that feeling of mutual support which are required in a civilized state. It became necessary therefore to unite them into greater corporations, where the members have a common interest in supporting and defending one another. And, to make this system effectual, it was requisite that the connection which bound them together,

should be so intimate and strong as that nothing can possibly dissolve it.

'This is precisely the object which the ancient legislators of India, have attained by the establishment of the different casts. They have thus acquired a title to glory without example in the annals of the world; for their work has endured even to our days, for thousands of years, and has remained almost without change through the succession of ages and the revolutions of empires. Often have the Hindoos submitted to a foreign yoke, and have been subdued by people of different manners and customs. But the endeavours of their conquerors to impose upon them their own modes have uniformly failed, and have scarcely left the slightest trace behind them.

'The authority maintained by the casts has every where preserved their duration. This authority in some cases is very large, extending to the punishment of death. A few years ago, in a district through which I was passing, a man of the tribe of Rajaputras, put his own daughter to death, with the approbation of the people of his cast, and the chief men of the place where he resided. His son would have shared the same fate if he had not made his escape; but no person imputed any blame to the Rajaputra.

'There are several other offences, real or imaginary, which the casts have the power of punishing capitally.

'A Pariah who should disguise his real cast, and, mixing with the Brahmans, or even with the Sudras, should dare to eat with them or touch their food, would be in danger of losing his life. He would be overwhelmed with blows on the spot, if he were discovered.'

'But, though the punishment of death is authorised in certain cases by some of the casts, it is inflicted but seldom. Ignominious punishments are more common; such as shaving the heads of lewd women. Sometimes the criminals are forced to stand for several hours in presence of the chiefs of

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