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every one who has reflected on the subject. It is therefore a strict inquiry and impartial examination of the evil that we principally recommend to our countrymen. In many cases, reason and Shasters do not agree: but in this they are in perfect accordance with each other. Munoo however makes some exceptions. He allows a man to take another wife in case the former one be barren, become leprous, or be otherwise unfitted for the duties of a wife. But this can afford no ground for the system which is followed by the Coolins, and which we are impugning.
After having thus expatiated on the flagrant enormities of the practice he reprobates, the Reformer next proceeds to give an account of its origin, with a view to prove, that as its advocates cannot appeal to reason in its defence, so neither can they appeal to any of the acknowledged Shasters. In this way, he completely demolishes the only stronghold to which an Orthodox Hindoo might betake himself for refuge.
“ According to the Shasters, Brahmuns are classified into three principal orders, the Coolins, the Shrittres, and the Bongshojohs. The first of these are required to possess the following nine qualities, viz. good conduct, modesty, learning, a fair reputation, to have been on the various pilgrimages, devotion or belief, to have unexceptionable connexions, religious austerity, and universal charity. Those of the second order are required to possess all the qualities except that of having unexceptionable connexions. And those of the last order are not required to possess any of these qualities. Before the time of Bullalsen, a great Rajah, all Brahmuns intermarried in each other's families promiscuously, and there was no polygamy among them except in cases allowed by Munoo. Bullalsen, however, strictly forbade such intermarriages, and confined each order within its own members. Some time after, one Debee Bur divided the Coolins into thirty-six classes, and prohibited the intermarriage of the members of one class with those of another. All these classes however can marry the daughters of the Shrittre and Bongshojoh Brahmuns: but cannot allow their daughters to be married to any but those of their own class. The Bongshojohs, who are the lowest order among the Brahmuns, rise in the estimation of the people by giving their daughters in marriage to the Coolins, whilst the Coolins sink in proportion. These absurd rules have been the cause of all the mischief which is now arrived to such a height as to cry aloud for a radical reform. The Coolins, being forbidden to marry their daughters but in their own family, are often obliged to give four or five daughters to one man, and sometimes to marry within the forbidden degrees of consanguinity. But the chief source of evil is the desire of the Bongshojohs to raise their families by Coolin alliances, and of the Coolins to accumulate money, and to live by the bribes, (for we cannot give it a better name,) offered to them by the Bongshojohs. À Coolin who has once married the daughter of a Bongshojoh, and thus lost that purity which he is supposed to possess, makes up his mind to transform this sort of low alliance into a regular traffic. He goes about marrying into as many rich Bongshojoh families as he can, of course upon being handsomely paid for it. A Bongshojoh, who has acquired money, naturally desires to raise his family, and without any regard to the comforts of his children or the dreadful immorality of the system, sacrifices his daughters to his family pride. He soon finds one of these fortune-hunting Coolins, and the bargain being settled, and price paid down, his daughter is married to this fellow, who the very next day goes in search of other jobs of the same kind, leaving his ill-fated wife to mourn in solitude her hard fate, the cruelty of her parents, the abuse of Hindooism, and the indifference of our
Rulers, who, though noted for their high estimation of the fair sex, have allowed thousands of them to be thus sacrificed to avarice and pride. The evil does not end here ; for the man sometimes visits his wife's family in the course of his perambulations. But not without being paid for it: each visit costs the family a sum of money which they can ill afford to pay, and should misfortune render them incapable of paying for the husband's visits, the wife must be content to live all her life without seeing the man to whom she is betrothed. In fact, the Coolin marriage is a complete mercenary traffic, totally void of mutual affection. It is a bane to society, in which it causes a thousand immoral irregularities. It is a stigma on the character of the nation, and ought to be removed without delay.
“ These Coolins being aware, that they can earn an easy livelihood, and eat the bread of idleness by marrying into rich Bongshojoh families, become totally regardless of cultivating their mind, or of acquiring any useful know. ledge. Their Coolin parentage having insured their success in this matrimonial traffic, they never think of possessing the other eight qualities required from them by the Shasters. They are thus the most ignorant and haughty set of people that the country can be cursed with, their sole profession consisting in ruining the happiness of hundreds of innocent females.
“ Is it necessary on this occasion to call upon our countrymen to co-operate with us in banishing this great evil from society? The nature of the case should of itself suggest to them the propriety of coming forward, one and all, to join in petitioning our rulers for the abolition of this root of immorality. Let not our well-disposed countrymen think that Government will lend a reluctant ear to their prayer. The cause is such that we are fully persuaded a less liberal Government would take it up: how much more that which is under the direction of our present, much-esteemed Governor General, through whose instrumentality the horrid rite of Suttee has been abolished, and various other important reformations effected. The interference of Government in this matter would be perfectly justifiable, for polygamy is no more enjoined by the Shasters than the Suttee rite was, and it is equally repugnant to the laws of England. Some cavilers are apt to say, that Government has no right to interfere in the domestic concerns of its subjects. To this flippant objection we would reply, that when domestic rites cause the demoralization of the people, and are opposed to the spirit of the laws, Government is not only justified in interfering, but is in a manner pledged to interfere, provided by so doing it does not interfere with the religion of the subjects, which we have shewn would not be, were polygamy to be made punishable by law.
“ In conclusion we earnestly, but most respectfully call the attention of our Governor General to this crying evil, and humbly pray his Lordship would take the subject into consideration.
Most cordially do we second this petition, most earnestly do we join in this prayer. We do more. We strongly urge our cotemporary not merely to write warmly, but to act boldly; not only to suggest wisely, but to execute fearlessly. About two years ago, the subject was keenly controverted between the Editors of the Chundrika and the Durpun; but the controversy ended in nothing decisive, and certainly, in nothing practically beneficial. Let the Reformer, now that he has entered the field, nobly prosecute what he has begun. Now is the golden season : now is the time for action. Let him forthwith summon a meeting of his enlightened countrymen : let them assemble in the hall of the Brumha Shubha : which has been recently honoured as the chosen place for the display of Hindoo humanity and Hindoo intelligence. Let the present subject be fairly and openly discussed : let the liberal Hindoos publicly express their indignation at the continuance of what is so abhorrent to human nature : let them at once embody their sentiments in the form of a petition to the Government; and sure we are, that the present Government will not turn a deaf ear to such a petition. We should be delighted to call upon the Christian public to petition also ; but on such a subject, the petition of the Hindoos themselves must reach the Supreme Authority with tenfold force. At the same time, we hold ourselves ready to lend any assistance which may be required, and to aid in the promotion of any reasonable plan for the abolition of a practice which, as Christians and as men, we cannot but abhor.
P. S.-After the preceding remarks and extracts were sent to press, the Reformer of Monday the 18th reached us, in which we find an able continuation of the exposure of the infamous practice of Coolin polygamy. After observing that, in consequence of the provision made by the benign providence of the Creator in the equal proportion of males and females, throughout the world, no difficulty can ever prevail in the formation of matrimonial contracts, the Editor proceeds still farther to shew, how the wise economy of nature has been set at nought by the foolish and mischievous attempt of misguided or mercenary men, and how such deviation becomes the 5 fertile mother” of shameless transgressions and consequent misery. Amongst these, he instances the species of slavery to which the criminal practice gives rise.
“ Those Bongshojoh families who are in the habit of giving their daughters to the Coolins, feel considerable difficulty in procuring suitable consorts for their sons. There are, however, other Bongshojohs who instead of paying the Coolins for the supposed honour of their alliance, offer up their daughters to the other Bongshojohs, but not without being paid for the virgin; for say they, “If we are to be deprived of the honour of Coolin alliance, we must be paid an adequate sum in exchange for our daughters. The price of the girl is settled precisely in the same manner as that of any unfortunate female captive offered up for sale in the slave markets of Constantinople. Like the Turkish Corsair, the unnatural father of the Hindoo girl, swayed by one only motive-pecuniary gain, enters into three or four different engagements at the same time with the intending purchasers of his daughter, he endeavours to excite the desire of possession in these purchasers by tantalizing them, and thus having raised the price of the girl in this slave or matrimonial auction, (whichever you choose to call it) he disposes of her, of course, to the highest bidder.
“ Thus it is that slave trade in reality is carried on in the very metropolis of British India, under the very eye of the British authorities. Whilst our Rulers are engaged in abolishing slave trade on the coast of Africa, the states of Gwaliar, and all other places, their endeavours are set at perfect nought, and their praise-worthy exertions mocked to scorn by these sellers
of their own offspring, who carry on the same prohibited traffick with impu. nity, under the ample cloak of matrimonial contract according to ancient custom."
After some additional remarks, the writer thus sums up the evils arising from the polluted source which he has patriotically exposed to the light of day.
“ We are first to observe that the Coolins giving their daughters to none but those of their own class, and yet marrying forty or fifty wives, there is a most undue proportion of females among them, causing all the immorality and crimes we have noticed in our last, and which is the natural consé. quence of such departure from the wise economy of nature. Secondly, the Coolins who carry on this traffick obtain their livelihood by it, and are thus the most useless members of society-nay, we feel authorized to say, the pests of the community to which they belong. Thirdly, a portion of the Bongshojohs having given their daughters to the Coolins, are forced to obtain consorts for their sons by the offer of money; which is the source of that matrimonial slave-trade which we have just been deprecating. Fourth. ly, the poorer Bongshojohs having sold their daughters to the others, are themselves deprived of wives. For, on the one hand, in consequence of the rules of caste they cannot marry any but a Brahmun's daughter, whilst on the other a suitable consort cannot be procured without money, which those who have not cannot marry, and must be content to live in a state of celibacy, or run into the immoralities and excesses to which that state too often tempts a man unguarded by uncompromising principles and a strict adherence to the paths of virtue. But oh ! how little of these is to be seen among the uneducated portion of our countrymen.”
With the Reformer we cordially unite in deploring the excesses of every kind to which the unnatural practice gives at once existence and increasing aggravation : with him, we heartily join in asserting that nothing short of striking at the very root of this prolific tree of immorality ought to engage the thoughts or stimulate the efforts of the Philanthropist : and with him, we fervently rejoice at the prospect of the amelioration that would thus be superinduced on the present degraded condition of so large a portion of our fellow creatures :—but, he will readily excuse us for not being able to keep pace with him in the farther declaration, that the removal of this one monstrous excrescence from the Social Body would “ restore them (the Hindoos) to their primitive virtuous state.”. Oh, no; we know that the source of human depravity is too deep and pervading in its influence to yield to such a remedy; and we believe that the gospel alone furnishes the true panacea of human ills and human miseries. And we earnestly exhort our co-temporary “ to come and see,"—to inquire, and examine, and meditate patiently, continuously, and prayerfully ; and if he discover the true nature of that moral disease that has spread its ravages over the whole family of man, and the true nature of the all-sufficient remedy, we doubt not that he will be equally zealous in promulgating the knowledge of such invaluable discoveries. But, as already stated, we feel thankful for a portion
of good, when we cannot obtain all : and on this principle, we hail with delight the present noble endeavonrs of the Reformer; and would again urge him with all moral earnestness to give prompt attention to the practical suggestion which we have offered ; and lose not a day in calling a meeting of his countrymen to petition the Government.
IX.-The Bishop of Calcutta's Ordination Sermon. A Sermon preached by Daniel, Bishop of Calcutta, at an ordination holden on Sunday, January the 6th, 1833, has lately been published. In the dedication to his Reverend Brethren, the Bishop states the cause of its publication as follows: " In begging your acceptance of the following discourse, I can most unfeignedly assure you that I assented with no little reluctance to the wishes of the Archdeacon, of the Presidency Chaplains, &c. when they requested me to publish it.” The subject of discourse, taken from Acts xxvi. 17–20, is thus designated by the writer, “The commission for promulgating the Christian faith, which St. Paul, in that noble discourse before Agrippa from which the text is taken, testifies that he received from Christ himself.” In considering this commission, three leading topics are successively expounded: "1. The great end which the Apostle had to keep in view in executing it: 2. The primary instructions which he delivered in order to that end: 3. The spirit and manner in which he discharged the whole office.” The general practical parts of the Sermon are in all respects worthy of him who was so familiarly known and beloved at home, as Daniel Wilson. And as for the rest, some may remark that there is nothing new enough to excite much attention, and others that there is nothing strong enough to create much opposition.
The worthy Author's forte manifestly lies in the exposition and defence of vital Christianity; and we cannot help regretting that he who penned the fervent, soul-awakening appeal prefixed to the new edition of Baxter's Reformed Pastor, should ever have been induced to descend to the lower platform of party polemics. As repeatedly announced and honestly professed, we are truly Catholio in our views. We rejoice in the spread of the Gospel, and care little about the name of the denomination that may be honoured in accomplishing so glorious a work. We look to the soul, and we look to eternity; and we tremble to think of allowing paltry earthly distinctions to make us undervalue the worth of the one, or diminish the sublime grandeur of the other. Oh, that the universality of Christian love would overspread every land, and, by the effulgence of its glory, cause every black spot of disunion, and bitterness, and selfishness to disappear for ever!