Imágenes de páginas

lined with wood'; but, as may be readily supposed, the upper tiers were thinner than the bottom one. Soon after all was finished, the dead man was brought on a rough bier, which I can readily sup. pose might have been constructed by one man, in less than a qnarter of an hour. The sides were two bamboos, sufficiently thick for the purpose, and across them were tied eight smaller ones, some of them about the due length, and some of them considerably too long. The corpse was partially wrapped in a quilt, and a mat, and it was brought, by four brahmuns, preceded by a fifth. This leading brahmun carried a bundle of straw, tightly bound up, about the length and thickness of a man's arm, and ignited, in which way the Hindoos often preserve fire for a considerable time. These men seemed to be repeating some formula, but they very readily left off to answer any questions that were put to them, relative to the bu. siness they were about.

“Soon after this, received a message which obliged me to go home, and returning as expeditiously as I could, I found that the man had been placed in the pit, in a sitting posture, with his back resting against the side. The fire, too, had been lighted, but the wind blew it from the body. Proceeding, now, the way the woman was expected, I soon saw the procession (if it may be called a procession) halting a few hundred yards before me. The crowd was kept off the woman, by a square made of four bits of woud each five or six feet long ; I believe the men who carried it were all bralı.

The rabble was preceded by some of their rude music, which was not playing when I got up to them ; but I had the pleasure of seeing two of my worthy countrymen, humanely employed in persuading the woman not to destroy herself. These gentlemen were Lieut. W

and T. B-.Esq. and they gladly accepted my assistance; but alas! we all laboured in vain. I urged the grief which her death would occasion to her daughter, and I would have added her son, but as I understood that he was ready to act his part in the infernal tragedy, I rejected that argument as a useless one. I assured her that God would not be pleased, but displeased with her conduct- that she was going the way, not to beaven, but to hell-that the aot was not required, even by their own shastras ; and finally I assured her of a sufficient maintenance if she would consent to live. But it was all of no use; she said that her daughter bad a husband and children, and would not ba


[blocks in formation]


A way

grieved at her death. As to the morality and safety of acting as she was about to act, she denied the truth of what I said, and assured me that she did not want money. She was so far from seeming depressed, that she laughed when she replied to what I said. Seve. ral times she desired us to allow her to proceed; and when she did proceed, it was with as composed a mien and as firm a step, as any other person there. Unwilling to see her burn herself, my worthy companions tried, I think twice more, to prevent the horrid deed, and I lent my feeble assistance, but to no purpose. They halted twenty or thirty yards from the flaming pit, where the last effort was made, and that failing, her infamous co-adjutors gave her a lighted lamp, which I think she put into an earthen pot, that she carried under her arm. What became of this, afterwards, I do not know, for in a little time all was confusion, and a scene, the most perfectly hellish that we ever saw, was presented to us. was made for the woman to the pit, and its margin was left clear. She advanced to the edge, facing her husband, and two or three times waved ber right land. She then walked hastily round the pit, and in one place I thought the flames caught her legs; having completed the circle, she again waved her hand as before, and then, without either hurry or hesitation, jumped into the fire.

At this moment, I believe, the drums beat, and a dreadful shont rent the air, but I can scarcely say I know: all was confusion, a dense smoke issued from the pit, intermixed, at intervals, with partial bursts of flame. This was occasioned, I suppose, by quantities of powdered rosin being thrown into the pit by handfals, and what was thrown in at one time, popped off in a sudden blaze, whilst what followed it obscured the pit with smoke. In a little time, however, they allowed the fire to clear itself, and we then saw the wretched woman in the midst of it. I think her posture was that of kneeling down, and sitting on her heels, her body was erect and motionless, except that she sometimes moved gently, backwards and forwards, as if she bowed. The assistant murderers kept throwing a little rosin at her, but she did not seem likely to be out of ber misery in a little time, for the fire was not large and fierce enongh, to do the dreadful business very quickly.

“The poor creature still kept her erect position, but at length she seemed partially to rise, and she pitched forwards with her head against the side of the pit, about two feet from her husband's "left hand. Part of her dark skin was burnt off, and we thonght she had lost one hand, but I now believe this was a mistake. The mo. tion of her bead, in this new position, indicated pain, and she continued to live for perhaps two or three minutes longer. The other gentlemen then went home, but I staid a little longer, and saw the bodies taken out; for though the women are burnt to death in these pits, the bodies are taken out wbilst they are distinguishable, and consumed in two different fires. At least that is the case here, and we are told it is done that the son may make sure of some fragment of both his parents, to throw into the Ganges.

“Now the ropes came into use, which, I have said, were wetted with cow dung and water: one of them was doubled, and the middle thrown down to catch the man's chin. I think it was guided to his chin by a bamboo : onc or two bamboo levers were then put under his head to raise it, and get the rope round his neck. The rope was then twisted, that is, the two ends of it were twisted together, in order to fasten it, and they began to draw; but they failed, for the rope slipped off. Another man then attempted to fasten the rope ; he succeeded, and they drew up the body,

with the exception, I think, of the legs; but it was quite dark, and no• thing could be seen, but by the light of the fire. As they were not very expeditious, the ropes must have been in considerable danger of being burnt, but the people threw a little water on them occasionally, to prevent it. They then tried to raise the woman, but could not easily get the rope round her neck, so they put it on her arm, which projected in such a way as to favor their doing so, and after twisting it well, they drew her nearly to the top of the pit, but they seemed afraid that they should lose her again, if they trasted entirely to her arm, so she was held just below the edge of the pit, till another man put the other rope under her chin, and she "was then drawn quite up. Some of the people then employed "themselves in arranging the wood for the fires, that were to consume the bodies, and I stood perhaps ten minutes longer, finally leaving both bodies on the brink of the pit, that of the woman still blazing The joints of her knees were exposed, and most of the flesh burnt off one leg. I said yesterday to a fourth gentleman wbo was present, did you ever see such a scene before ?" to which ho replied “No, and I will never see such a scene again." the facts, and I leave them to produce their own effect.

I remain, &c. W. BAMPTON."

[ocr errors]

Such are








(Continued from page 197.) Ceylon.- Sir Edward Paget arrived at Colombo, as successor in the Government to Sir Robert Brownrigg, on the 1st of February 1822; Sir Edward Barnes, who had, in the mean time, held the office of Lieutenant Governor, returning home : but Sir Edward Paget having been appointed, on the retirement of the Marquis of Hastings, Commander-in-Chief in Bengal, Sir Edward Barnes returned to Ceylon to assume the Government of the Island. Sir Edward has always been the friend of those who labour for the good of the Natives under his au. thority.

“Sir Richard Ottley, we regret to say, was obliged, last summer, by the state of his health, to take a voyage to the Cape.

“This Colony has been highly favoured, in the beneficent views of persons in authority. A deserved testimony is borne on this subject, in the following passage of the Tenth Report of the Colombo Bible Society :

It is not solely to the number of copies of the Scriptures which the Committee have been enabled to circulate, important as that object undoubtedly is, that the advantages arising from an Institution of this nature are to be estimated. Much, very much, is to be expected from the beneficial influence of example. The Natives of this Colony have now, for a long course of years, beheld the Governor of the island, and all the principal Officers of the Government, however various and dissimilar may be their general habits and pursuits, steadily combined together in cordial and zealons co-operation for the advancement of one object, obviously disinterested on their part, and solely intended to promote the welfare of the people. “A Narrative of the Establishment and Progress of the Wes


[ocr errors]

leyan Missions in Ceylon and India, was published, last year, by Mr. W, H. Harvard, in an 8vo volume of nearly 500 pages. Mr. Harvard was one of the first Missionaries of the Society to the East, who went out with Dr. Coke. After his death at sea, they landed at Bombay; from which place, Mr. Harvard's associates proceeded to Ceylon in June 1814, he himself not landing there till February 1815. Having spent about four years in the Island, during which he contributed greatly to the establishment of the Mission, particularly in its printing de. partment, ill health obliged him to leave it, on his return home, in February 1819. The Volume coutains ample notices relative to Bombay and Ceylon, and their respective inhabitants ; and conveys much interesting information, in a truly Christian


The missionary stations in Ceylon are arranged in two divisions, the Cingalese, and the Tamul. In the former are included Columbo, Negombo, Kornegalle, Kandy, Cotta, Cultura, Baddagame, Galle, and Matura: and in the latter, Batticaloe, Trincomalee, Tillipally, Batticotta, Oodooville, Panditeripo, Manepy, Jaffna, and Nellore. These stations are occupied by twenty-five missionaries, with a number of native and other assistants, who are under the patronage of the Wesleyan Missionary Society, the Baptist Missionary Society, the Church Missionary Society, and the American Board of Missions,

INDIAN ARCHIPELAGO.-“The following extracts will shew the provision making for the supply of the Scriptures to this Division of our Survey. It is stated, in the last Report of the British and Foreign Bible Society.

By the Eleventh Report of the Columbo Bible Society, we are happy to see, that," the entire volume of Sacred Writ has been translated and prioted in the Singhalese language, and the greater part of the impression of one thousand copies has been already drawn from the stores of the Society for the purpose of distribution Two thousand copies of the Tamul New Testament are being printed at Madras for the Society.

« AnteriorContinuar »