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view so many pictures nf abominable selfishness and even of pure malevolence. And it is a most melancholy reflection, that numerous tribes of a similar description are spread over a very large portion of the habitable world. It makes one feel degraded when he reflects that he is related, by the ties of a common nature, to beings possessing a character so malignant and depraved. I small select only another example, illustrative of this topic, extracted from the travels of Mr. Park. This enterprising traveller prosecuted a journey of many hundred miles in the interior of Africa, for the most part on foot, and alone. Sometimes, his way lay over a burning sandy wilderness, where he found little to alleviate either his hunger or his thirst; and sometimes he travelled among woods and thickets, and across rivers and marshes, exposed to the wild beasts, and without any path to guide him. Though the negroes of that country frequently relieved his wants and distresses, yet the Moors used him with great cruelty and inhumanity, so that he hardly escaped with life. The chiefs through whose territories he passed, generally exacted a tribute from him, so long as he had anything to give, and, under that plea, they often robbed him of all the articles which he had it not in his power to conceal. When he passed through the town of Deena, the Moors insulted him in every form which malignity could invent. A crowd of them surrounded the hut in which he lodged, and, besides hissing and shouting, uttered much abusive language. Their aim seemed to be to provoke Park to make retaliation, that they might have some pretence to proceed to greater outrages, and to rob him of his property. Suspecting their intentions he bore all with the greatest patience, and, though they even spit in his face, he showed no marks of resentment. Disappointed in their aim, they had recourse to an argument common among Mahonetans, to convince themselves that they had a right to whatever the stranger might have in his possession. He was a Christian. They opened his bundles, and took whatever they thought might be of use, and whatever suited their fancy. Having been kept for some time in captivity by a Moorish tribe, they not only robbed him of the sew articles which were still in his possession, but insulted and oppressed him with the most wanton cruelty. The day was passed in hunger and thirst; to hunger and thirst were added the malignant insults of the Moors, of whom inany visited him, whose only business seemed to be to torment him. He always saw the approach of the evening with pleasure; it terminated another day of his miserable existence, and removed from him his troublesome visitants. A scanty allowance of kouskous,” and of salt and water, was
* A species of food somewhat resembling Scotch porridge.
brought him generally about midnight. This scanty allowance was all that he and his two attendants were to expect during the whole of the ensuing day. “I was a stranger,” says he, “I was unprotected, and I was a Christian; each of these circumstances is sufficient to drive every spark of humanity from the heart of a Moor. Anxious, however, to conciliate favour, and, is possible, to afford the Moors no pretence for illtreating me, I readily complied with every command, and patiently bore every insult. But never did any period of my life pass away so heavily. From sun-rise to sun-set, was I obliged to bear, with an unruffled countenance, the insults of the rudest savages upon earth.” Having, at length, made his escape from these barbarians, he declares, “It is impossible to describe the joy that arose in my mind, when I looked around, and concluded that I was out of danger. I felt like one recovered from sickness. I breathed freer; I found unusual lightness in my limbs; even the desert looked pleasant; and I dreaded nothing so much as falling in with some wandering parties of the Moors, who might convey me back to the land of thieves and murderers from which I had just escaped.”—Alas! what a load of sorrow and of misery have the selfishness and inhumanity of inan accumulated upon the heads of forlorn and unfortunate sufferers | While our disconsolate traveller, after his escape, was wandering-in an unknown desert, fainting with hunger, and parched with thirst, surrounded with pitchy darkness, which was only relieved by the flashes of the lightnings; where no sounds were heard but the howlings of wild beasts, and the rolling thunders:—“About two in the morning,” says he, “my horse started at something, and, looking round, I was not a little surprised to see a light, at a short distance among the trees, and supposing it to be a town, I groped along the sand, in hopes of finding corn stalks, cotton, or other appearances of cultivation, but found none. As I approached, I perceived a number of lights in other places, and, leading my horse cautiously towards the light, I heard, by the lowing of the cattle, and the clamorous tongues of the herdsmen, that it was a watering place, and most likely belonged to the Moors. Delightful as the sound of the human voice was to me, I resolveed once more to strike into the woods, and rather run the risk of perishing with hunger, than trust myself again into their hands.”—It is a most affecting consideration, and shows to what a degree of malignity human beings have arriv. ed, when a hungry, houseless, and benighted traveller prefers to flee for protection to the haunts of the beasts of prey, rather than commit himself to the tender mercies of those who are partakers of the same common nature, and who have it in their power to alleviate his distresses. Mr. Park, when among the Moors, was sorced to pass many days, almost without drink, undes a tourning climate, where, to a Furopean, the heat is almost insufferable. His raging thirst induced him to run every risk, and to burst through every restraint. He sent his boy to the wells to fill the skin which he had for holding water; but the Moors were exasperated that a Christian should presume to fill his vessel at wells consecrated to the use of the followers of Mahomet. Instead, therefore, of permitting the boy to carry away water, they gave him many severe blows; and this mode of treatment was repeated as often as an attempt was made.—On another occasion, when awaking from a dream, in which, during his broken slumbers, his fancy had transported him to his native country, and placed him on the verdant brink of a transparent rivulet, and perceiving that his raging thirst had exposed him to a kind of sever, he resolved to expose himself to the insults of the Moors at the wells, in hopes that he might procure a small supply. When he arrived at them he found the Moors drawing water. He desired permission to drink, but was driven from well to well with reiterated outrage. At length he found one well where only an old man and two boys drew for their cattle. He earnestly begged a small quantity. The old man drew the bucket from the well, and held it out. Park was about eagerly to seize it, when the Moor, recollecting that the stranger was a Christian, instantly threw the water into the trough, where the cows were already drinking, and told Park to drink ther.ce. He hesitated not for a moment. His sufferings made even this offer acceptable. He thrust his head between those of two cows, and, with feelings of pleasure which can be experienced only by those who have been reduced to a similar state of wretchedness, he continued to quench his thirst till the water was exhausted, and “till the cows began to contend with each other for the last mouthful.” In this instance, we can partly account for the barbarity of the action, from the inveterate prejudices which all Mahometans entertain against Christians; but it still remains to be accounted for, why any one should refuse to a suffering fellow-creature the common bounties of Providence, which he has in his power to bestow, however different he may be in complexion, in national character, or in the religion he professes. A religion which encourages such prejudices, and which leads to such inhumanity, must be an abomination in the sight of Him who has a special regard to the wants of all his creatures, and who “ sendeth rain to refresh the fields of the just and of the unjust.” The prevalence of such characters and dispositions over so large a portion of the world, shows that the moral constitution of man has suffered a sad derangement since the period when he proceeded as a pure intelligence from the hands of his Creator Such incidents as those to which I have now
adverted, when properly considered, are calculated to inspire us with contentment, and to excite to gratitude for the common blessings which we enjoy without the least fear of danger or annoyance. How often do we enjoy the refresh. ment of a delicious beverage, without thinking of the parched tongues of the African pilgrims; and how often do we spurn at a wholesome dish, which would be hailed with transports of gratitude by the houseless and hungry wanderer of the desert Yea, how many are there, even in our civilized country, who enjoy, in luxurious abundance, all the blessings which nature and art can furnish, who never once acknowledge, with heart-felt gratitude, the goodness of Him “who daily loads them with his benefits,” nor reflect on the wants and the sufferings of their fellow-men! Mr. Park, when oppressed with hunger and satigue, applied, at the chief magistrate's house, in a village named Shrilla, sor some relief, but was denied admittance. He passed slowly through the village till he came without the walls, where he saw an old motherly-looking woman at the door of a mean hut. She set before him a dish of boiled corn, that had been left the preceding night, on which he made a tolerable meal. “Overcome with joy,” says Park, “at so unexpected a deliverance, I listed up my eyes to heaven, and, while my heart swelled with gratitude, I returned thanks to that gracious and bountiful Being, whose power had supported me under so many dangers, and had now spread for me a table in the wilderness.” When Mr. Park was returning from the in. terior of Africa, he was encountered by a party of armed negroes, who led him into a dark place of the forest through which he was passing, and stripped him entirely naked, taking from him every thing which he possessed, except an old shirt and a pair of trowsers. He begged them to return his pocket compass; but, instead of complying with his request, one of them assured him, that, if he attempted to touch that, or any other article, he would immediately shoot him dead on the spot. He was thus left in the midst of a vast wilderness, in the depth of the rainy season, naked and alone, without food, and without the means of procuring it; surrounded by savage animals, and by men still more savage, and 500 miles from the nearest European settlement. “All these circumstances,” says this intrepid traveller, “crowded at once on my recollection, and, I confess, my spirits began to sail me. I considered that I had no other alternative, but to lie down and die. The influence of religion, however, aided and supported me. At this moment, painful as my reflections were, the extraordinary beauty of a small moss irresistibly caught my eye. Can that Being, thought I, who planted, watered, and brought to persection, in this obscure part of the world, a thing which appears of so small importance, look with un
concern on the situation and sufferings of creatures formed after his own image 3 Surely not. Reflections like these would not allow me to despair. I started up, and, disregarding both hunger and fatigue, travelled forwards, assured that -elief was at hand, and I was not disappointed.” Thus was this unfortunate adventurer delivered, by the care of Providence, from those accumulated distresses which had been brought upon him by the malignity and inhumanity of man.
Such are a few specimens of the inhumanity displayed by uncivilized tribes towards strangers, and unfortunate voyagers and travellers. They exhibit dispositions and conduct directly repugnant to every principle of benevolence, and present to our view a gloomy prospect of the difficulties and dangers to be surmounted by philanthropic missionaries, before the habitable world can be thoroughly explored, and before the blessings of knowledge, civilization, and religion can be communicated to the benighted and depraved tribes of mankind.
MALEvo LENT D1s positions, As display ED in disriqu Ring the HuMAn eo dy.
The human frame, when preserved in its original state, is one of the finest pieces of mechanism which the mind can contemplate. In beauty, in symmetry, in the harmony and proportion of all its parts and functions, it is superior to the organical structures of all the other ranks of sensitive existence. There is no part imperfect or deformed, no part defective, and no part useless or redundant. All its members are so constructed and arranged as to contribute to the beauty and perfection of the whole, and to the happiness of the intelligent mind by which it is governed and directed. In combination with the power of thought and volition, and when unstained by malignant passions, it is a visible representative of the Creator, having been formed after his image ; and it displays, in a most striking manner, the wisdom and the goodness of its Almighty Maker. But, notwithstanding the acknowledged excellence of the human frame, it has been the practice of the degraded tribes of mankind, in almost every country, and in every age, to disfigure its structure, and to deface its beauty; as if the Creator, when he formed it, had been deficient in intelligence and in benevolent design. Such practices, I am disposed to think, imply a principle of malevolence directed towards the Creator, and a disposition to find fault with his wise contrivances and arrangements. At any rate, they display a degree of ignorance and solly, a vitiated taste, and a degradation of inind, inconsistent with the dignity of a rational intelligelice. The following facts will, perhaps, tend to illustrate these remarks:—
Condamine, when describing the natives of South America, insorms us, that the Omaguas, and some other savages, flatten the faces of their
children, by lacing their heads between two boards; that others pierce the nostrils, lips, or cheeks, and place in them feathers, the bones of fishes, and similar of naments —and that the savages of Brazil pull the hair out of their beards, their eye-brows, and all parts of their bodies, which make them have an uncommon, and a ferocious appearance. Their under-lip they pierce, and, as an ornament, insert into it a green stone, or a small polished bone. Immediately after birth the mothers flatten the noses of their children. The whole of them go absolutely naked, and paint their bodies of different colours.Captain Cook informs us, that, in New Zealand, both sexes mark their faces and bodies with black stains, similar to the tattooing in Otaheite. The men, particularly, add new stains every year, so that, in an advanced period of life, they are almost covered from head to foot. Besides this, they have marks impressed, by a method unknown to us, of a very extraordinary kind. They are surrows of about a line deep, and a line broad, such as appear upon the bark of a tree which has been cut through after a year's growth. The edges of these surrows are afterwards indented by the same method, and, being perfectly black, they make a most frightful appearance. Both sexes bore their ears: they gradually stretch the holes till they are so large as to admit a finger. Into these holes they put feathers, coloured cloth, bones of birds, twigs of wood, and frequently the nails which they received from the ships.-The same voyager, when describing the New Hollanders, tells us, “Their chief ornament is a bone, which is thrust through a hole bored in the cartilage which divides the nostrils. This bone is as thick as a man's finger, and six inches in length. I' reaches quite across the face, and so effectually stops up both nostrils, that they are forced to keep their mouths wide open for breath, and snuffle so when they attempt to speak, that they are scarcely intelligible to each other. Our seamen with some humour, called it their sprit-sail yard; and indeed it had so ludicrous an appearance, that, till we were used to it, we found it difficult to restrain from laughter.” He also describes a custom of a peculiar nature which prevails in the Friendly Islands. “The greater part of the inhabitants, both male and female, were observed to have lost one or both of their little fingers. This custom seemed not to be characteristic of rank, of age, or of sex; for, with the exception of some young children, very few people were discovered in whom both hands were perfect. They likewise burn or make incisions in their cheeks.” All the eastern nations are said to have a predilection for long ears. Some draw the lobe o. the ear, in order to stretch it to a greater length, and pierce it so as to allow the admission of an ordinary pendant. The natives of Laos so pronigiously widen the holes in their ears, that a man's hand may be thrust through them. Hence, the ears of these people often descend to the tops of their shoulders.” Gentil assures us, that the women, in the northern parts of China, employ every art in order to diminish their eyes. For this purpose, the girls, instructed by their mothers, extend their eye-lids continually, with the view of making their eyes oblong and small. These properties, in the estimation of the Chinese, when joined to a flat nose, and large, open, pendulous ears, constitute the perfection of beauty.—We are informed by Struys, that the wo— men of Siam wear so large and heavy pendants in their ears, that the holes gradually become wide enough to admit a man's thumb. The natives of New Holland pull out the two fore-teeth of the upper jaw. In Calicut, there is a band of nobles called Naires, who lengthen their ears to such a degree, that they hang down to their shoulders, and sometimes even lower. The Arabs paint their lips, arms, and the most conspicuous parts of their bodies, with a deep blue colour. This paint, which they lay on in little dots, and make it penetrate the flesh, by puncturing the skin with needles, can never be effaced. Some of the Asiatics paint their eye-brows of a black colour, and others eradicate the hairs with rusma, and paint artificial eye-brows, in the form of a black crescent, which gives them an uncommon and ugly appearance. The inhabitants of Prince William's Sound, paint their faces and hands, bore their ears and noses, and slit their under lips. In the holes made in their noses, they hang pieces of bone or ivory, which are often two or three inches long; and, in the slit of the lip, they place a bone or ivory instrument with holes in it, from which they suspend beads that reach below the chin. These holes in the lip disfigure them greatly, for some of them are as large as their mouths. Such distortions of the beautiful structure of the human frame, are not peculiar to the savage tribes of the human race, but are practised by nations which have made considerable advances in science and civilization. It is well known that, in China, a ridiculous custom prevails, of rendering the feet of their females so small, that they can with difficulty support their bodies. This is deemed a principal part of their beauty; and no swathing nor compression is omitted, when they are young, to give them this fancied accomplishment. Every woman of fashion, and every woman who wishes to be reckoned handsome, must have her feet so small, that they could easily enter the shoe of a child of six years of age. The great toe is the only one left to act with freedom; the rest are doubled down under the toot, in their tenderest infancy, and restrained by
* Smellie's Philosophy of Natural History, vol. ii. * Thid. Portlock's Voyage round the World.
tight bandages, till they unite with, and are buried in the sole. I have inspected a model of a Chinese lady's foot, exactly of this description, which, I was assured, was taken from life. The length was only two inches and three-fourths; the breadth of the base of the heel, seven eighths of an inch ; the breadth of the broadest part of the soot, one and one fourth of an inch; and the diameter of the ankle, three inches above the heel, one and seven eighths of an inch. With feet of this description the Chinese ladies may be said rather to totter than to walk; and, by such practices, they evidently frustrate the benevolent intentions of the Creator, and put themselves to unnecessary inconvenience and pain. Yet such is the powerful influence of fashion, however absurd and ridiculous, that women of the middling and inserior classes frequently suffer their feet to be thus maimed and distorted, in order to ape the unnatural customs of their superiors.
We have every reason to believe that the harsh and ugly features, and the ferocious aspect, by which numerous tribes of mankind are distinguished, are owing to such voluntary distortions of the human frame, and to the filthy and abominable practices in which they indulge. Father Tertre assures us, that the flat noses of the negroes are occasioned by a general practice of mothers, who depress the noses of their newborn infants, and squeeze their lips, in order to thicken them; and that those children who escape these operations have elevated noses, thin lips, and fine features.—It is somewhat unaccountable, and it shows the perversity of the human mind, in its present degraded state, that such practices should be so general, and so obstinately persisted in, when we consider the pain and inconvenience with which they are attended. —To pull the hairs of the chin or eye-brows from the roots; to slit the under lip, till the incision be as large as one's mouth; to pierce the nostrils, till a bone as large as a man's finger can be thurst through them; and to cover the body with black streaks, which make the blood to flow at every stroke of the instrument by which they are produced, must be attended with excruciating pain. Sir Joseph Banks, who accompanied Captain Cook in his first voyage, was present, in the island of Otaheite, at the operation of tattooing, performed on the back of a girl ol thirteen years of age. The instrument used had twenty teeth; and at each stroke, which was repeated every moment, issued an ichor or serum, tinged with blood. The girl bore the pain with great resolution, for some minutes, till, at length, it became so intolerable, that she burst out into violent exclamations; but the operator, notwithstanding the most earnest entreaties to desist, was inexorable, while two women, who attended upon the occasion, both chid and beat her for: struggling.
I am therefore disposed to view such absurd and barbarous practices, as intimately connected with the operation of a principle of malevolence, as an attenupt to frustrate the wise designs of divine benevolence, and as directly repugnant to the spirit of Christianity, and to the benevolent precepts of the gospel of peace. And it becomes some of the ladies, and the dandies of modern Europe to consider, whether some of their awkward attempts to improve the symmetry of the human frame ought not to be viewed in the same light. Not many years ago, it was considered, in the higher circles of society, as an admirable improvement of the female form, to give the lower half of the body the appearance of the frustum of a large tun, as if it had been ten times the capacity of its natural size, by supporting their robes with enormous hoops;—and, about the same period, the lower ranks of female society considered it as the perfection of proportion and beauty, to have their waists compressed into the smallest possible space, till the vital functions, in many instances, were deranged, and ultimately destroyed. Were the dictates of sound reason universally attended to, and were the influence of Christianity sully felt among all nations, the preposterous and savage practices to which I have now adverted, would not only be discontinued, but held in abhorrence. And were such customs completely abolished, we might soon expect to behold, among all the tribes of mankind, every distortion of the features or the countenance removed, and the human form restored to its original beauty and perfection. Instead of a warlike visage, and a ferocious aspect, and the frightful appearance of naked savages, streaked with colours of black and blue, we should behold, in every land, every countenance beaming with the radiations of benevolence, and reflecting the moral image of the Creator.
There is scarcely a nation on the surface of the globe but what appears to have some impressions of the existence of a Superior Power, and to have formed a system of religious worship. But, it is a striking fact, that, among the greater portion of human beings, their religious notions, and their sacred rites, instead of breathing a spirit of kindness and benevolence towards their fellow-creatures, are blended with a principle of haired and revenge. This might be illustrated by an induction of a great variety of instances, in reference to almost every uncivilized portion of the human race. I shall content myself, however, with stating only one instance, in reference to the Nesserie, a tribe not much known in Europe, and which may serve as an example of many others. The territory of this people extends from Antioch nearly to Tripoli. They occupy almost
all the mountains to the east of Latakia, and a great part of the plain. Among them is perceived a mixture of the religious usages of Paganism of the Jewish law, of that of Mahomet and Ali, and of some dogmas of the Christian Religion. —The women are considered as a part of the domestic animals of the house, and treated as slaves. They have no idea of religion, and when they are bold enough to inquire of their masters concerning it, the latter answer them that their religion is, to be charged with the reproduction of the species, and to be subject to the will of their husbands.—The Nesserie say their prayers at midnight, and before sun-set. They may say them either sitting, standing, or walking; but they are obliged to begin again repeating their ablution, is they speak to a person not of their religion,--if they perceive, either near or at a distance, a camel, a pig, a hare, or a negro. In their prayers, they curse the man who shaves below the chin, him who is impotent, and the two Caliphs, Omar and Abou-Bekr. They detest the Turks, to whom they are sworn enemies. This warlike people of mountaineers would be strong enough to shake off the yoke of the Turks, and live independently, if they were not divided by interested motives, almost all occasioned by implacable family hatreds. They are vindictive, and cherish their rancour for a length of time: even the death of the guilty person cannot assuage their fury; their vengeance is incomplete, if it does not fall besides on one or several members of his family. They are so obstinately superstitious in their attachment to their peculiar system, that no threats nor punishments can extort from them the secrets of their religion.* Here, then, we are presented with a system of religion which appears to be founded on malevolence,—which directs its devotees to curse their fellow-men—which leads them to keep their wo— men in profound ignorance of every thing which they hold sacred—which induces them to conceal its mysteries from all the rest of the world—and which, in so far from producing any beneficial ef. sects on their own conduct, leads to “implacable family hatreds.” A religion, unless it be founded on a principle of benevolence, is unworthy of the name ; it must be an abhorrence in the sight of God, and can never communicate happiness to man. And were we to examine the various religious systems which prevail in the numerous islands of the Indian and Pacific Oceans, in Cabul, Thibet, and Hindostan, and among the uncivilized tribes which are scattered over a large portion of Asia and of Africa, we should find them, not only blended with malevolent princi ples and maxims, but sanctioning the perpetration of deeds of cruelty, obscenity, and horror. In the preceding pages, I have endeavoured to
* See Dupont's “Memoirs of the Manners and Religious Ceremonies of the Nesserie,” a work lately published.