Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

of those who believe that the end sanctifies the means, or that the cause of our Blessed Master can be furthered by exaggeration and falsehood.

The truth is we have never felt any inclination to exaggerate the number of immolations under the wheels of Juggernath’s car; we have known from the beginning that such suicides were occasional, and not very numerous, while the waste of life from the destructive pilgrimage was very much greater than any in England, or than the authorities in India supposed. Our testimony, solemnly and repeatedly borne, has been to the awful destruction of life occasioned by the pilgrimage to the shrine; and about this we must testify yet again; for no idolatrous shrine in ancient or modern times has occasioned so much misery, immorality and death, as the shrine at Pooree. I trust, too, that the important statment of the author of “Orissa” will receive the attention which, I am confident, it merits, that "every year this homicidal enterprise massacres six times more men than Plassey, which won for us India, and Waterloo, which redeemed for us Europe, put together cost the British troops, in missing and slain.” Men are unworthy of the name of christian that can read unmoved the statement that the evidence goes to show that ten thousand peasants yearly sacrifice their lives to a pilgrimage to Juggernath."*

But there is another aspect of the question. Dr. Hunter in correcting prevalent misapprehension in one direction has, as it appears to me, gone to the other extreme. Cases of self-slaughter were really more numerous than he supposes. I pass over his arguments with the remark, that it is a question not of logic, but of facts, and has to be decided by evidence. The impression conveyed that there have been only three immolations since Orissa became a British province certainly requires considerable qualification.

The Author's reference to Dr. Buchanan's visit to Pooree in 1806 is singularly inaccurate. His words are," Dr. Claudius Buchanan witnessed the car festival in 1806, but even his clerical denunciations do not record a single case of self-slaughter, (Diary 20th June 1806.)"The reader will be surprised to learn that Buchanan witnessed two such cases-one, a man, on the 18th June, the other, a woman, on the following day. The Diary of 20th June begins with the well-known lines of Milton,

"Molock, horrid King, besmear'd with blood,

Of human sacrifice, and parent's tears.' It then proceeds, “The horrid solemnities still continue. Yesterday a woman devoted herself to the idol. She laid herself down on the road in an oblique direction so that the wheel did not kill her instantaneously, as is generally the case, but she died in a few hours.” As Buchanan's testimony has been so unaccountably—but of course unintentionally-misrepresented, I may add to the above that a letter from the Dr. to a clerical friend in London was inserted in the Christian Observer for June, 1807. This letter was written -at Tanjore, and bore date September 1st, 1806. It describes his visit to Orissa, but is too long for insertion here. After remarking that “ Juggernath appeared to him to be the chief seat of Moloch in the whole earth, and the centre of his domain in the present age,” he adds, "at Juggernath first saw human victims devote themselves to death by falling under the wheels of the moving tower in which the idol is placed.” This is surely conclusive.

The following is as correct an account as I am able to furnish of the number of voluntary sacrifices under the wheels of Juggernath's car since 1803—the year when Orissa came under British rule. I regret that the * Orissa Vol. I. pages 156, 157.

+ Orissa Vol. I. page 307.

1

[blocks in formation]

as

66

list is by no means complete, especially for the first twenty years, and shall be obliged if any of your readers can supply trustworthy evidence of what is lacking in this narrative. The question is now only interesting as an historical one, and as illustrating the results of Juggernath's worship.

In 1806 two immolations were witnessed, as stated in the foregoing, by Dr. Buchanan. In 1811 the number of pilgrims at the car festival was unusually large, and there was a great rush when the doors of the temple were opened; the people trod one upon another, and it is said that " many as one hunded and fifty or thereabouts were killed in the crowd.” It is added, “numbers killed themselves by falling under the wheels of the idol's car: they lay themselves flat on their backs for the very purpose of being crushed to death by it.” These particulars are given in the “periodical accounts” published at Serampore, vol. iv. pp. 408—409.

Stirling, quoted in Peggs's History, pp. 127, and by Dr. Hunter, vol. 1, pp. 307, says, “ During four years that* I have witnessed the ceremony, three cases only of this revolting species of immolation have occurred, one of which, I may observe, is doubtful, and should probably be ascribed to accident; in the other two instances the victims had long been suffering from severe excruciating complaints, and chose this method of ridding themselves of the burden of life in preference to other modes of suicide."

Ward, in his work on the "Mythology of the Hindoos," observes, • Many recent instances might be collected of persons diseased, or in distress, casting themselves under the wheels of the ponderous car, and being crushed to death." In another part of the work he remarks, "At Juggernath, in Orissa, severalt perish annually. Many are accidentally thrown down by the pressure of the crowd, and are crushed to death. The victims who devote themselves to death in these forms have an entire confidence that they shall, by this meritorious act of self-murder, obtain a healthful body in the next birth.”

It appears from Parliamentary papers that the attendance of pilgrims at the shrine in several of the years between 1803 and 1823 was very large; and it may be safely assumed, in regard to those years of which no definitive particulars can be given, that fanaticism would have one or more victims, but the above is all that I have been able to collect respecting the first twenty years of our being rulers of Orissa.

The Mission Archives contain a pretty full report of nearly all the car festivals since 1823, and to these I now refer, remarking that I cannot find any well-authenticated case of such sacrifice since 1840. The festival of 1825 presented one of the most appalling scenes of desolation and death ever exhibited at any idolatrous shrine. The number of pilgrims was unusually numerous, and the mortality was frightfully high ; but no record is given of any deluded pilgrims throwing themselves under the wheels of

In the following year, 1826, the scene was in the general much less appalling; but there was one of these horrid sacrifices witnessed by two missionaries—the Rev. C. Lacey and the Rev. A. Sutton. The description is sickening, and I will not lacerate the reader's feelings by quoting it. " It was one of the most horrid spectacles I ever beheld,” wrote one of the brethren, “but some hardened wretches said, see, sir, the glory of Juggernath." The other adverted to the admiration and applause of the people at the “great devotedness” of the deluded self-murderer.

the car.

* Probably 1819, 1820, 1821, and 1822. + The Italics are mine. I quote from the edition of 1822, vol. III, pp. 164 and 337. The work was

first published at Serampore. I believe about 1811.

In 1827 a similar sickening scene was witnessed by the Rev. W. Bampton; and in 1832 Mr. Sutton wrote as follows, Several such sacrifices have occurred to my knowledge within the last seven years." Subsequent records furnish less information on this point, while the particulars given of the awful mortality among the pilgrims is appalling in the extreme. In a report of the festival in 1840, Mr. Lacey writes, “Two wretched men sacrificed themselves under the wheels of the idol's car, and were in a moment crushed to death. The car went over the head of one of them.” In a note it added, “ And since then nine more.' But probably some of these were accidental. This is the last notice I have found.

Accidents, attended by an appalling loss of life, have frequently occurred at the great festival, but I think they have been less numerous in later years.

Your readers may be assured that none rejoice more heartily than the missionaries that these revolting sacrifices have ceased; but I hope it will not be supposed that this happy result has been in any way occasioned by the benevolent teaching of Chaitainya, or "the gentle doctrines of Juggernath.” No mistake could be greater; the Ethiopian has not changed his skin, nor the leopard his spots. No more have the priests of Juggernath become the patterns of meekness and kindness. It is British authority, and that alone, that keeps these evil-doers in check. Let that be withdrawn-give the votaries of the ugly god license to do as they please, and suttee, immolations under the wheels, and other atrocities of former years would soon be renewed.

At the risk of repetition I must, as a matter of justice, ask your readers to remember that the testimony of missionaries has been to the terrible destruction of life occasioned by the Juggernath pilgrimage, and on this point their testimony has been abundantly confirmed by medical officers, district superintendents of police, and now by the historian of Orissa. Well may the latter say, “We have descriptions, by unimpeachable eyewitnesses, of the streets of Pooree in former times which the most distant generation will be unable to read without a shudder. They are so incredibly horrible that I do not venture to put them into my own words."* The picture of the city in 1811 is said to be from a letter to Lord Fitzgerald on Juggernath ;” but it must have been extracted from the report of the late Rev. C. Lacey, then senior missionary at Cuttack. The entire report is in my possession, as well as others from the same pen not less horrible and heart-rending.

Yours truly, Cuttack, September 16, 1872.

JOHN BUCKLEY.

* Vol. I. pp. 152.

A VISIT TO “BRITISH BURMAH."

BY THE REV. W. BAILEY,

IN the month of November last, in consequence of a severe attack of illness, I was compelled to leave the station. Entire rest and change were indispensable to my restoration. For the first time since my connection with the mission, now more than 27 years, I had to go away on “sick leave.” My medical at

tendant advised my going to the Neilgherries. The climate there is admirably adapted for invalids, but the cost would have been more than I should like to have incurred. I resolved to go to Calcutta, and thence to Benares. A beloved christian brother there in the medical profession would have given me a most hearty welcome;

A Visit to British Burmah."

281

cess.

but the long railway journey from Calcutta, of more than 500 miles, was too formidable for me to undertake. I therefore took a passage on one of the British India steamers to Burmah.

The readers of the Observer will no doubt remember that Burmah is the chosen field of the “ American Baptist Board of Foreign Mission ”—that not a few noble men and women have been, and are still connected with it, and that their unwearied labours have been crowned with remarkable suc

The first missionaries to Burmah were sent from Serampore. In 1810 the London Missionary Society sent Messrs. Brain and Pritchard; but the former soon died, and the latter removed to Vizagapatam on the Madras coast. The field which for so many years required such patience, selfdenial, and suffering, seems to have been reserved. in the providence of God, for the enterprise of the American churches.

“ British Burmah,” or as it is sometimes called “Farther India,” is one of our most important possessions in the East, and though so recently annexed it is said to be more remunerative, according to area and population, than any other part of the empire. It is extremely productive, and has been called “the garden of the East.” The teak forests are of immense value, and are carefully conserved by the government. The entire country is rich in vegetable and mineral productions.

We left Calcutta, on Monday the 25th of November, on board the “ Himalaya," and on Wednesday, soon after sunrise anchored at Akyab. This is the principal port on the Arracan coast. The bay is extremely beautiful. It is completely sheltered by the surrounding hills, and large enough for all the fleets in the world. In the rice season there are ships from all parts of the world. A very large trade is carried on viâ Liverpool with South America. In India all rice is husked by the same oldfashioned rice-pounder that was in use thousands of years ago. In Burmah, however, there are steam mills for this purpose, but the rice has to be polished in London and Liverpool before it is fit for the English market. A merchant on board assured me that he had seen at one time sixty thousand tons of rice at this port. The town of Akyab is very unhealthy owing to the heavy rain fall. Several missionaries have laboured here, and we saw the cemetery where some of them found a grave.

The station is occasionally visited by the Baptist missionaries from Chittagong, but there is not, we believe, any native christian community here now.

Our next port of call was Rangoon, the capital of British Burmah, memorable in

the annals of missions as the scene of Jud. son's early labours and trials. It was in this city that Havelock's soldiers, in consequence of their steadiness and sobriety, served such good purpose in driving back the enemy when their comrades were helplessly drunk. And it was here too where Havelock and his saints converted the Pagoda into a house of prayer. Rangoon is on one of the branches of the Irrawaddy, and is very accessible from the sea. The trade of the port is rapidly increasing, and a monthly line of steamers has been commenced between it and Glasgow. One of the chief objects of attraction in Rangoon is the Dagon Pagoda, about two miles out of the town. It is the largest and most costly Pagoda in the whole of Burmah, and from the base to its summit is covered with gold. It is said that almost untold wealth has been buried in the foundation. Last year the King and the nobles determined to place a kind of minaret on the top. This is studded with all manner of precious stones, and cost not less than £50,000.

There was, however, nothing in Burmah that interested me so much as my visit to the Karen College, under the care of the venerable Dr. Binney. At present the classes meet in a temporary building, but an admirable site has been chosen for the erection of a college, and a second tutor is shortly expected from America. At present there are eighty-five students; but when more accommodation is secured that number will be considerably increased. The students receive board and lodging, and nothing more. Clothes, books, stationery, &c., they must provide themselves. All kind of work required on the premises the students willingly undertake without any remuneration. A good many of the young men are by trade carpenters, and they will be called upon out of college hours to assist in the erection of the new building. Should any student demur to do any kind of work he is instantly dismissed, for the missionaries maintain that men who are ashamed to work will never succeed as pastors of churches. During the vacation all the students are expected to be engaged as teachers or preachers. They go into the interior, and wherever they find an opening there they abide, and the Karens, whether heathen or christian, give them hospitality.

The late Bishop Cotton visited this institution some years ago, and with the help of Dr. Binney, who acted as interpreter, he examined the students in theology. The iii. chap. of Romans was selected. Dr. B. was not aware at the time of the position Bishop Cotton had sustained as a tutor in England. Such a thorough examination the students had never had. The Bishop expressed his great pleasure with their

attainments, and said he had seen nothing -the tradesmen are Chinese, and some of like it in the whole of India. He was most them are said to be very wealthy. The anxious to ascertain the motives of these pagodas and temples are so numerous that Karen students in seeking a ministerial it would be difficult to find sites for more, education. “What object,” said the Bishop, and a most fabulous sum must have been “have you in view ?” “ The preaching of spent in their erection. Our American the gospel to our countrymen.” “ What friends have two chapels here, one for Burremuneration do you expect?” “Food and mese, and the other for English service. raiment?” “But what kind of food and siss Haswell has been very successful with raiment ?” “Just such as the people have her Burmese school, and a new building is to give ?” So impressed was the metropolitan in course of erection which will cost 10,000 with the apostolic simplicity of the students rupees. We met with much hospitality that he not only wished them God spood, and kindness during our visit both at Maulbut left a donation for the institution. mein and Rangoon. The American mission

And there is now a memorable and aries in Burmah have a very unmistakably mournful interest connected with the visit veneration for Amos Sutton. Dr. and Mrs. of Lord Mayo to this

college at the begin- Haswell and Mr. Jas. Haswell came out with ning of last year. His excellency, after him from America. Dr. Binney said " he had congratulating the students on their pro- never met with a man with such buoyancy ficiency, said that however much they might of spirit and power to work. No man,” he recognise their indebtedness to the English said “in America had advocated the cause government and civilization, yet they must of missions better than he." The merə never forget that christianity was the fact of my being connected with the same foundation of all, and their obligation was mission as Sutton gave me at once favour first to that and to their teachers who had in the eyes of the missionaries. It was my given it to them. He trusted they would privilege to meet with several of the ladies discharge the debt in the only possible way connected with the woman's mission” in by going among their own people and freely America. There are fourteen or fifteen imparting what they had so freely received. unmarried ladies who are doing a most imAt the close his excellency stated that Lady portant work in connection with the Karen Mayo would be glad to see the Burmese schools and churches. Mrs. Ingalls, whom and Karen christian women at Government we saw in Rangoon, has been thus engaged House. The scene was described to us by for fifteen years. She was about to start, an eye-witness, a member of government, in company with Miss Evans, to Mandalay, as one of intense interest. This address the capital of Burmah, and was taking with was the last we believe his excellency de- her a staff of helpers, preachers, teachers, livered. In a few hours he landed at Port and Bible women, expecting to remain there Blair, and his melancholy end made the for some months. It was said in the recent whole land mourn for very sorrow.

His mission controversy that men would not be last words testify to the excellence of chris- found to come out and work alone. These tianity, its superiority to all governments American ladies do this, and their interest and civilization, and the duty of those who in the work is beyond all question. During have received it to extend its influence. my brief sojourn in Burmah, the devo

Maulmein, which was one of our earliest tion of the old men especially impressed possessions in Burmah, was our last port of One of them had just returned from call. As we entered the river there was America who came out 43 years ago. Dr. one spot of special interest-Amherst, the Wade, who died a short time since, had been burial-place of the first Mrs. Judson, whose out 47 years. The American board did not heroism and devotion to her husband amid seem to think that length of years disqualibonds, imprisonment, and even sentence of fies a man for work in the mission field. I death, can never be forgotten. The scenery was cheered with the manner in which these around Maulmein is extremely beautiful. veterans spoke of their joy in the past, and The town is on the banks of the Salween, their hope for the future. We have nothing and is almost surrounded by a range of hills in India to be compared with the Karen covered with pagodas. From these hills churches. A fow years ago they were a may be seen a range of mountains four or despised race, without even a written lanfive thousand feet high. Ship-building was guage. There were now amongst them formerly carried on here by some of the more than 20,000 members, 74 ordained ship-owners in London, but owing to the and 310 unordained preachers; and their cheapness of iron has been discontinued. contributions in 1871 amounted to the noble A large export trade in timber is carried sum of 32,710 7 4 rupees. In numbers on, which must yield a considerable revenue these sons of the forest are about equal to to government. The population of Maul- our own denomination, but their contribumein is of a very mixed character the tions exceed ours by several hundreds of servants are nearly all Tamils and Telegoos

pounds.

me.

« ZurückWeiter »